Looking beyond media narratives

If you’ve read these pages over the last few months, you’d know that one prevailing theme is to take the Trump phenomenon with a grain of salt. There is a lot of hysteria surrounding his entry into politics, and it’s the job of investors to separate the hysteria from the facts. And, according to a survey conducted by RBC Capital Markets, it would appear as though Wall Street has been taking our advice, or something like that.

Wall Street weighs in

Specifically, over 70 percent of investment professionals surveyed by RBC believe Donald Trump will be reelected as President of the United State. As simple a result as that is, what can be gleaned from it is considerable. First, that number, 70 percent, is considerably more than any presidential approval rating you can get your hands on, the highest of which usually has the president at 50 percent approval, if that.

So, what does this gap between investment professionals and lay-people mean? Well, it means that the investing world makes it their business to separate media hysteria from real-world fact. And, according to real-world facts, the investing world has had a much more positive view of Trump’s impact on investing, and the economy, than average people have.

The facts speak for themselves

And, if you look at what’s actually happened in Trump’s over two years in the White House, the investor class has been proven right, hasn’t it? Trump hasn’t made the world burn. He hasn’t destroyed the economy. Heck, he isn’t even guilty of Russian collusion despite undergoing one of the most massive investigations of presidential conduct in the history of humankind.

This doesn’t mean that investing professionals necessarily love Donald Trump. According to the same survey, they believe former Vice President Joe Biden will have the most positive impact on the world of investing among all the possible Democratic Party presidential candidates.

So, when it comes to being a discerning investor, it’s not about being caught up in media popularity contests. Instead, investors should always looks at the facts as impartially as possible. Remember, it’s about getting the best return on your investment dollars. It’s not about getting headlines in the media.

ASCEND GRP is an asset-management firm, with offices in Toronto, Richmond Hill, and New York, that services clients seeking investment opportunities worldwide.


The Trump factor

An important rule to follow when investing is to try and not let emotion get the best of you. Investment decisions should be based on facts and analysis, and not reaction and personal feelings. As much as it might be difficult for some to do this, the same rule should apply when considering President Donald Trump’s impact on the global investment environment.

There is no getting around the fact that Donald Trump is a controversial figure. In fact, it’s a trait that many of his supporters tend to like about him. However, it is important for the discerning investor to separate facts from emotion. And, when it comes to emotion, too much of it makes its way into commentary about the president, while facts are often ignored.

Facts versus emotion

Donald Trump controversy

Why is this important? It’s important because, if a person were to base his or her opinions on Trump’s impact on global affairs based solely on the emotional reactions of his opponents, Trump would never have become the Republican nominee for president, he would never have become president, and he would never have presided over some of the best economic numbers America has seen in decades.

Whether you think Trump is responsible for this economy is another matter, of course. Yet, those same opponents of his predicted economic disaster upon him becoming president, and it hasn’t happened yet, has it.

That’s not to say that a person has to like Trump, or even like that he’s president. It’s just to say that no person is as bad as his opponents say he is, just as he is never as amazing as his fans believe, either. The point is that even a very controversial figure such as Donald Trump occupies a zone that consists of truths somewhere between the extremes, even as his enemies accuse him of being extreme.

Avoid extreme viewpoints

So, on the one extreme, Trump is accused of playing poker with the world’s economy, raising tariffs willy-nilly, exchanging crazy tweets with a North Korean dictator, and being too nice to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. On the other extreme, Trump’s supporters say he’s the greatest President America has ever had. Yet, again, the truth always lies somewhere in between doesn’t it?

Specifically, while Trump has raised tariffs, he has also gotten both the EU and Mexico to the negotiating table, and potential hostilities on both fronts have been diminished significantly. In fact, even though Mexico was once Trump’s target in NAFTA negotiations, those talks are going very well, according to recent reports. Trump has also managed to bring North Korea into direct peace talks, which hasn’t happened in decades. And various other advances, as well as setbacks, have been made by Trump, both domestically and internationally.

Does all this mean you have to like Donald Trump? Of course not. But it does mean that, as an investor, you should always read between the headlines to get to some sober facts about the world and the investment landscape. And, on that score, the world has yet to blow apart, despite all the screaming headlines you read on a daily basis.

ASCEND GRP is an asset-management firm, with offices in Toronto, Richmond Hill, and New York, that services clients seeking investment opportunities worldwide.

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