Trump’s Wall Street fans cheer as markets churn
NEW YORK – Wall Street supporters of Republican Donald Trump chanted “USA, USA” and clinked glasses as he won the key battleground state of Ohio in a nail-biting presidential election.
Small groups of bankers and brokers gathered in bars in midtown Manhattan alternated between watching the results on television and checking their iPhones for updates on a sinking US dollar and plummeting stocks as investors digested the possibility of a surprise win by Trump.
“No one on Wall Street knows how to price this in,” said Steven Chiavarone, associate portfolio manager for Federated Global Investment Management Corp, a fund that invests in stocks, bonds and currencies globally.
“If he wins a bunch of people will need to figure out what the hell is going on,” said Chiavarone, who was attending a Young Republicans party at a bar off Madison Avenue. Around him, revelers hugged and called out “MAGA!” – the acronym for Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” – as Fox News called Florida for Trump.
Gathered in the bar at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, bankers and brokers mingled with dozens of other Trump supporters, many of them wearing baseball caps emblazoned with “Make America Great Again.”
They cheered and raised their glasses every time Fox News projected a state win for their candidate.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” said one man, who said he worked at Ameriprise Financial. “All the momentum is on his side,” he said, sipping on a Manhattan cocktail. He declined to give his name.
In general, Wall Street has supported Clinton with buckets of cash, seeing her as a status quo candidate. Trump, meanwhile, is feared by many financiers as someone who could disrupt global trade and damage geopolitical relationships.
The neck-and-neck race sent the US dollar swinging wildly in Asian trade and pulses racing in plush penthouse apartments on the Upper East Side and New York suburban mansions.
Many hedge fund managers, bank executives and other financial bigshots eschewed Manhattan bars, preferring instead to gather at their homes in New York City or the suburbs to watch TV coverage in tense quiet with families or a few friends.
On the Upper East Side, hedge fund manager Jim Chanos said his Republican guests were in a “good mood” at an election night party held at his penthouse condominium.
Chanos, a staunch supporter of Democratic President Barack Obama, said he had not voted for any presidential candidate this election cycle but instead concentrated on the US Senate and House of Representatives races.
Matthew Farley, a lawyer for Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in New York, said he had been warning friends and colleagues about an electoral upset for months.
“‘I told them that … a significant portion of the country wanted someone to do a cannonball into the pool and mess up the status quo,” said Farley, who advises Wall Street brokerages on regulation and arbitration issues.
“The cannonball party is not united. They’re progressives and conservatives, but they’re fed up with the status quo and all they know is that anything is better than what we got.”
Trump’s band of Wall Street supporters were staying close to their candidate. Investors Anthony Scaramucci, Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross said they planned to be at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, the campaign’s official base for the night. “Since I have already voted in Florida, I will be at the New York victory party,” said Ross, who is an adviser on Trump’s economic team.
Hours before the election results started rolling in, Ross said by telephone: “I’m feeling good. Most of everything is in the margin of error, so that is a good thing. This is going to be tight.”
Chivarone, the portfolio manager, said the market gyrations should not be seen as a harbinger of doom. “The world doesn’t end. Assuming capitalism survives, you manage through the volatility and then find the opportunity.” -Reuters