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The market doesn't care if Trump wins or loses

CNBC CNBC 27/04/2016 Mark Fahey

© Provided by CNBC If you listen to a lot of experts on Wall Street, they'll say the markets are horrified that Donald Trump might be president.

It could be a widespread disaster for the market, according to many commentators. One trader suggested the S&P 500 would fall by 50 percent if Trump has the chance to implement his economic policies.

And yet, the data suggest that the market doesn't actually care at all.

Trump's chance of winning the presidency shifts with news events and primary results on a daily basis, according to the implied odds on the PredictIt betting market, but the market doesn't seem to react to those changes.

The day-to-day movement of the S&P 500 (.SPX) shows no sign of correlation with Trump's odds of winning.

The market has been putting odds on a Trump presidency since June, but the correlation between the daily movement in those odds and the S&P 500 over that time is almost exactly zero. 

That doesn't mean there aren't local correlations — in some 30-day periods there were correlations as high as 0.4 (a correlation of 1 would mean the change in Trump's predicted chances went up and down with the market) and as low as -0.4 (Trump's chances moved opposite the market).

In the last 30 days, the two variables have moved together at around that level of correlation. It could be that the market is just happy that we're close to picking anyone at all.

Still, 0.4 is not a very impressive correlation, and there isn't much other evidence that the market is pricing in any sort of cataclysmic event if Trump becomes president.

We looked at major Trump-related events in the analytics tool Kensho and found a similar lack of reaction. Days with Trump campaign speeches and days in which Trump's chances of winning rose or fell at least 2 percent in a single day behaved the same as any other trading day.

According to a new CNBC survey, Trump's popularity on Wall Street has fallen substantially in recent weeks. In March, 13 percent of the economists, fund managers and strategists surveyed thought he was the best economic option for president — this month it's just 4 percent.

John Kasich is the most popular on Wall Street, but no one said they thought he had a shot at the presidency. The other candidates in the race also showed no correlation with daily stock market movements.

Right now, Trump's chances are around 25 percent — he has to finish vanquishing Ted Cruz and then overcome his Democratic contender. Maybe Wall Street will take note if he gets above 50 percent. But for now, all the talk of massive market movements in response to a Trump presidency is just talk and nothing more.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.

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