Dow Futures Nervous as 25% Wipeout Looms If Trump Loses White House

October 17, 2019 10:19 UTC

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures traded marginally higher on Thursday, pointing to a nervous stock market open. While traders are gripped by US-China trade negotiations, Brexit, and corporate earnings, there’s another worrying factor on the horizon: Trump losing the White House.

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman said yesterday that equities could shed 25% if Democrat Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders took office. In an interview with CNBC, legendary investor Mark Mobius agreed with the prediction.

“I’d go along with that. If Trump is not re-elected the market will go down. I don’t know how much but 20-25% is probably possible.”

As Elizabeth Warren emerges as the new Democrat front-runner, traders have one more thing to be nervous about.

Dow futures tentatively climb 30 points

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures swung in and out of positive territory in early morning trading Thursday. At 5.03 am ET, Dow futures traded 30 points higher.

Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) futures swung back and forth on Thursday as Elizabeth Warren emerges as clear Democrat front-runner. Source: Yahoo Finance

S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq Composite futures climbed 0.15% apiece.

Stock market risks dump if Trump isn’t re-elected

Trump’s pro-business policies and tax cuts helped spur the Dow Jones to record highs after his election in late 2016. But the prospect of anti-business Democrats in the White House has investors nervous. As Leon Cooperman said:

“If Elizabeth Warren is elected president, in my opinion, the market drops 25%. Bernie Sanders, same thing in my view.”

This isn’t Cooperman’s first public comment on the prospect of a Warren presidency. He previously joked:

“They won’t open the stock market if Elizabeth Warren is the next president.”

Dow still at risk under Trump

That’s not to say a Trump re-election is a sure path to new stock market highs. While emerging markets guru Mark Mobius echoed Cooperman’s comments, he also said the stock market faces risks under Trump.

“If you look at the other side of the coin, you must remember we’re in a situation now where the trade war is having a global impact so there’s definitely a slowdown in the global economy… The trade war is having an impact and hopefully China and the US will come to some agreement soon.”

In other words, a Democrat White House, particularly an Elizabeth Warren White House, would trigger a reversal. But Trump’s prospects are little better unless there’s a trade breakthrough with China.

Trump still favorite for 2020 win

Elizabeth Warren tightened her grip on the Democratic nomination this week after a strong debate performance. Warren now leads rival Joe Biden while Sanders continues to slip down the betting odds. Outsider UBI and cryptocurrency proponent Andrew Yang has shot up the betting odds to third place among Democrat candidates.

Trump remains the top White House candidate according to betting odds. Source: OddsShark

Still, Trump remains the leading favorite to clinch the 2020 election. On top of that, a tailwind of strong economic factors in key swing states point to a clear victory for the sitting president.

“Democrats need to be on high alert. If history is any guide and we get typical turnout, they are going to lose” – Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Then again, a lot can change in a year…

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.