Since the surprise presidential election of Donald Trump and the ensuing rally in the Dow Jones index, many Wall Street insiders are now anticipating a record-breaking milestone — Dow 20000. One of the primary catalysts of “Dow 20k” is the financial sector. Thanks to Trump’s campaign promises of reduced regulations, big banks collectively rejoiced. Additionally, Janet Yellen and the U.S. Federal Reserve is geared favorably for the incoming administration due to its hawkish monetary policy.
That spells a great time in 2017 and beyond for the financial sector. With key interest rates moving higher from record lows — and Janet Yellen all but promising that they will move higher still — the big banks will be more profitable on their lending services. That eliminates a major headwind. And now that regulations are seemingly out of the picture, big banks can pursue aggressive revenue-generating strategies. Since the blue-chip financial sector is really the bellwether of the markets, Dow 20000 appears an inevitability.
But for the Dow 20k partygoers, a word of caution is advised. For one thing, the market rally under Donald Trump started with a bang, but ended with a whimper. Of particular concern is the financial sector — they started the rally, and apparently, they are finishing it. As a prime example, shares of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) skyrocketed to a 37% leap between election day and mid-December. Since then, BAC has dropped 4.6%. Other big banks have seen similar waning of momentum.
Of course, that’s a mere pittance of the huge gains achieved towards the path to Dow 20000. But again, we are reminded that the bellwether of the Dow Jones works both ways. If the big banks aren’t feeling it, that’s a risk factor that needs accounting — or at least recognition among investors.
Then there’s the matter of those interest rates. Janet Yellen might appear to be more fiscally sound than her predecessor. But let’s not fall for the mainstream trap. Whether interest rates move higher or lower is a symptom, not a cause of economic dynamics. More to the point, unless the Donald Trump administration substantively addresses the core problems of the national economy, we will not get anywhere. Currently, Janet Yellen and the Fed are merely filling in brake fluid while ignoring the worn out pads and busted rotors.
Thus, I don’t give much credence to Dow 20000. Admittedly, Dow 20k has a nice ring to it — and it may get there rather quickly. However, it doesn’t mean much of anything unless GDP growth and real employment rates improve “big league.”
Indeed, Dow 20000 is a “yuuge” risk factor if we continue to ignore the “check engine” lights.