By a CNBC count, he has tweeted about the rally no fewer than 11 times just since July 2, often chiding the media for not focusing on the string of record-setting closes. One of Trump’s tweets during that time also boasted that unemployment is at its “lowest in 17 years,” even though he routinely mocked the jobs numbers as fake during Barack Obama‘s presidency. (His claim about 17 years also is false; the unemployment level is at a 10-year low.)
Still, his supporters are likely to write it off as just Trump being Trump — or any other politician who has claimed achievements regardless of his influence over them.
“Every president takes credit for things or blames things that the previous president did. I don’t think this is really specific to Trump,” said Michael Yoshikami, founder and CEO of Destination Wealth Management. “If things were really horrible we’d be hearing that it was Obama’s fault.”
Things are not, in fact, horrible, though perhaps not as bountiful as Trump insists.
The stock market takes its cues from a number of places, with emotion often surpassing facts and data that paint an uneven picture for growth.
GDP has been growing a bit faster this year than it has during the recovery at an average 1.8 percent. Consumer confidence, as measured by the University of Michigan’s benchmark survey, surged early in Trump’s administration but is now at the lowest point this year. The unemployment rate has dropped considerably, falling from 4.8 percent in January to 4.4 percent in June. Job creation has averaged 180,000 a month, a bit slower than last year.
With everything taken together, Trump’s “bubble” claims from last year don’t hold up particularly well if he’s going to keep praising stock market gains.
If anything, the market actually has gotten more expensive this year when comparing price with earnings. The S&P 500 is currently trading at about 21 times trailing earnings, or about half a percentage point higher than 2016, said Sameer Samana, global quantitative strategist at the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
“At least from a valuation standpoint, you’re not too different right now than you were at this point a year ago,” Samana said.
But he, too, doesn’t blame Trump for changing gears on his market view.
“The more you can persuade people that not only have things gotten better, you’re the cause of them getting better, that’s just good politics,” he said.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.