Shiller: ‘This is a very different midterm election,’ and markets may act differently

Investing News

Nobel laureate Robert Shiller isn’t using midterm election patterns to help construct his latest market forecasts.

The Yale University economics professor sees this electionas an expression of voter confidence about President Donald Trump. He suggests it’s unwise to use the vote as way to predict economic and market trends.

“This is a very different midterm election,” he said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “There’s a lot of anxiety at this point. A lot of anger. I don’t think this is easily grouped into past midterm elections. So, I think that the history of the market responses to that doesn’t tell us very much.”

Historically, wild swings shake the stock market in the weeks before midterms. Following the elections, the markets are known to calm down on less uncertainty. LPL Financial found the market has surged more than 10 percent, on average, into year-end following midterms since 1950.

However, Shiller prefers to stick to the fundamentals.

“Even if the election is very disturbing, it doesn’t tell us that something very dramatic is going to happen in the stock market,” he said. “The market is almost unforecastable over short intervals of time. And, that’s because it’s not just the level of emotion, it’s the overall narrative that goes along with it.”

The comments by winner of the 2103 Nobel Prize in economics came as the major U.S. stock indexes try to regroup after a painful October. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 posted their fourth positive day in five sessions. The S&P is up 3.6 percent over the past five trading sessions, and is now up 2.4 percent this year.

Shiller acknowledges economic and earnings growth has been solid. However, he questioned investor sentiment around the numbers.

“It’s partly the Trump narrative. He promised to make America great again, and the economy is growing,” he said. “It’s not as outrageously good as some people would have you believe.”

Shiller has been warning that the longest bull market in history is showing striking similarities to 1929. His latest comparison on “Trading Nation” came in late September when he suggested the current environment looks a lot like the Roaring ’20s.

“We’re coming out of a very low interest rates regime that we’ve never really seen before except possibly, you can say, in the Great Depression. So, we don’t know what to expect,” Shiller said.

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