Donald Trump likes to boast — or perhaps threaten is the more accurate term — that the stock market will crash if he is impeached.
He likely believes that the sky will fall, the seas will boil, and the mountains will crumble as well, if only in his own mind.
A Wall Street investment firm begs to differ, however.
Chris Meekins, an analyst with the investment firm Raymond James, told CNN Business that the reverse was actually true and that he predicts that the stock market will actually rally if the president steps down — which, in the mold of Richard Nixon, he’d likely do rather than face impeachment.
Meekins provided the reasoning to back up his prognostication of an event that he admitted had a “low probability” of taking place, saying that a President Pence would help stabilize the financial sector.
“After the initial shock, we think the market rallies as Pence is a predictable, traditional, conservative choice,” the investment firm wrote in report earlier this week.
The analyst told CNN Business that the chatter inside the Washington beltway over the possibility of the president resigning rather than being removed from office inspired the report.
“Independently, different people associated with Trump’s orbit brought this idea up unsolicited,” Meekins told the cable news outlet.
With the idea of a potential President Pence restoring tranquility to the market, Meekins says that his firm’s report was one of the most widely read in its history.
“It creates some certainty, which the market historically craves,” he said. “Some investors have reached out saying, ‘We’ve been talking about this for months and we’re glad you finally raised it.'”
Investors have reacted poorly to President Trump’s unruly, shoot-from-the-hip, demeanor and unpredictability which makes planning for the future so arduous for both investors and corporate CEOs.
“At any moment, there could be a tweet coming out that changes a position. There isn’t the traditional policymaking process,” Meekins said.
In a telling bit of political acumen, the investment firm reasoned that Trump’s departure would lead to an end of the trade war with China and benefit the businesses that rely upon Chinese manufacturing and cheap labor, including pharmaceutical companies, technology firms, and defense contractors.
It qualified its rationale by cautioning that this prediction would only play out thusly if Wall Street believes that the move would reduce the possibility of the Democrats taking over the presidency and control of the Senate in the 2020 elections.
“The markets can live happily with Pence, on trade in particular,” said Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, on CNN Business. “Pence would get along far better with the Chamber of Commerce and the free trade advocates. He’d shy away from tariffs.”
“Trump has become so erratic and unpredictable that it’s annoying for the markets,” Valliere continued. “Pence is a boring, conservative, pro-business Midwesterner.”
While the Wall Street analysts’ forecasts of potential market reaction to a Trump resignation may make logical sense, the president has a logic of his own that may prevent any thoughts of resignation from ever entering his brain absent a full pardon for any federal crimes, immunity from state prosecutions, and exile in a gilded foreign retirement haven.
Trump knows full-well that once he leaves the presidency he will be subject to prosecution for a panoply of crimes ranging from obstruction of justice and campaign finance felonies to tax fraud.
Meanwhile with Wall Street apparently displeased with the current situation and fearful of a Democratic victory next year, you can be sure that senior GOP leaders will be carefully considering whether continuing to support President Trump is the most promisingly profitable way forward for their party.
If Trump has lost the support of the financial oligarchs — despite his windfall grant of copious tax relief to the billionaire class — then it’s doubtful he can last much longer. “Money talks and the president walks” may be the best prediction of a future headline.
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Original reporting by Matt Egan at CNN Business.