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对于弹劾总统,华尔街关注这两个数字

Bob Sellers 2019年11月14日

华尔街关注华盛顿,而华盛顿也在关注华尔街。

华尔街喜欢数字:利润、市盈率、投资回报率、上方阻力位、账面价值、市场份额和折现现金流,诸如此类。在众议院准备推动弹劾总统的调查时,华尔街关注的是两个数字:67和88%。前一个是众议院提出弹劾后,将特朗普总统赶下台需要的参议院赞成票数。88%则是目前共和党内部对特朗普的支持率。除非这个数字出现变化,否则除了已经和民主党站在一起的47名参议员外,将不大可能再出现20位持有同样立场的共和党参议员。

或许是出于这个原因,在众议院议长南希·佩洛西宣布正式启动弹劾调查后,美国股市第二天出现上涨。专业投资者的选择是更关注于中美贸易紧张局势可能得到化解以及能够为美国农民提供帮助的美日贸易协议。股市和弹劾总统的历史就是这样。除非政治行为触及其底线,否则投资者就会视而不见。

虽然美国国会此前的三次弹劾调查均未能把现任总统赶下台,但在这一点上也许需要特别说明一下——理查德·尼克松在几乎肯定将被弹劾前辞了职,并被民主党领导的国会逐出了白宫,当时他的支持率已经跌破30%,共和党也已经放弃为他进行辩护。由于安德鲁·约翰逊被弹劾的时间比道琼斯工业指数几乎早了30年,我们将只关注现代的两位可比较人物,也就是理查德·尼克松和比尔·克林顿。

毫无疑问,水门事件时期的股市很难看。20世纪70年代初期至中期,道琼斯工业指数从高点到低点一共下跌了40%以上。但除了涉及理查德·尼克松总统的隐藏问题被一点、一点地揭示出来所造成的心理创伤,同样起作用的还有一些经济因素。通胀开始产生影响,部分原因是不断恶化的中东石油危机;钢材价格不断上涨;这位共和党总统还实行了工资和价格管制。实际上,1973年5月水门事件开始听证,听证会电视直播还成为了夏天的全国收视焦点,而当年11月就出现了经济衰退。没错,70年代中期就是有这么多迈向悲惨世界的途径。

1974年,杰拉尔德·福特在宣誓就职后说:“我们国家的长期噩梦结束了。”但在尼克松辞职后,美国仍然陷于衰退之中,它一直延续到了1975年3月,随后是失业率的持续增长,无法控制的通胀以及70年代末急剧上升的利率。(迪斯科音乐随后崛起,这多多少少和福特的话相悖。)实际上,1982年的牛市或许才是美国噩梦的真正终结,因为从那时起,美国经济和股市才开始出现持续的正增长。

克林顿遭弹劾期间的股市

这和比尔·克林顿那场弹劾大戏期间的股市相比俨然是经济上的“双城记”——一个是最好的时代,另一个则是最糟的时代。70年代的状况最为糟糕,最好的时代则是互联网热潮让一些股市涨到了令人眩目的水平,而且维持了好几年,直到2000年泡沫破裂。但在1998年下半年,金融市场显然出现了一个缓和期,与之相伴的就是9月斯塔尔报告的出炉以及共和党占多数的国会启动弹劾程序。当时的一大未知数是将在11月到来的大选。

急于利用对比尔·克林顿的弹劾对共和党产生了反作用,他们在中期选举中丢失了5个众议院席位。南希·佩洛西对这段历史心知肚明,可以认为她一直到现在才登上民主党的弹劾列车的原因就在这里。(人们经常忽略的一点是共和党在弹劾克林顿的风波过后夺回了白宫,就像水门事件后的民主党那样。)在弹劾克林顿失败后,股市很快重拾升势,这也许是一个巧合,但很可能不是。让成为新宠的互联网股票在2000年跌落神坛的是它们未能奏效的“新典范”基本面,收入不重要,利润也不重要。

为了评估弹劾调查对市场的影响,华尔街将关注67和88%这两个数字。为了便于比较可以告诉大家,水门事件期间理查德·尼克松在共和党内的支持率降到了54%。要重现这样的局面,当前的政治格局必须发生重大变化,或者经济状况出现巨变。实际情况是,尼克松的支持率恰好在经济就要陷入衰退时出现了暴跌。

华尔街关注华盛顿,而华盛顿也在关注华尔街。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Wall Street loves numbers: earnings, P/E, ROI, overhead resistance, book value, market share, and discounted cash flow, just to name a few. But as the House prepares to move forward with an impeachment inquiry of the president, Wall Street is watching two numbers: 67, and 88%. The former is the number of U.S. Senators who would have to vote to remove President Trump from office if he is impeached by the House. And 88% is Trump’s current approval level within the GOP. Until that number changes, it’s unlikely the Senate would find 20 Republican Senators to join 47 who caucus with the Democrats.

That may explain why the stock market went up the day after Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced plans for a formal impeachment inquiry. Professional investors chose to focus more on the possible easing of trade tensions with China, as well as a trade deal with Japan that will help American farmers. That’s the history of the stock market and impeachment efforts. Investors ignore the politics unless and until those actions affect the bottom line.

While Congress has never removed a sitting president from office in its previous three inquiries, that statistic might need an asterisk since Richard Nixon stepped down before he most certainly would have been impeached and removed from office by a Democratically-led Congress, as Republicans gave up defending a president whose popularity had dipped below 30%. Since Andrew Johnson’s impeachment preceded the Dow Jones Industrials Index by almost 30 years, we’ll stay in the modern era with the two relevant comparisons: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

There’s no question that the Watergate era stock market was ugly. From top to bottom in the early to mid-70s, the DOW Industrials fell more than 40%. But aside from the psychological pain of the drip, drip, drip of cover up evidence being revealed involving President Richard Nixon, there were economic issues at work as well. Inflation was starting to take hold, pushed in part by the burgeoning Middle East oil crisis; steel prices were going up; and wage and price controls were imposed by a Republican president. In fact, while the televised Watergate hearings began in May of 1973—mesmerizing a nation’s summer viewing—a recession began in November of that same year. Yes, there were many ways to be miserable back in the mid-70s.

“Our long national nightmare is over,” Gerald Ford said after taking the oath of office in 1974. But America was still in recession after Nixon’s resignation—it lasted until March of 1975—and was followed by a continuing rise in unemployment, rampant inflation, and zooming interest rates into the late 70s. (That was followed by the rise of disco music, which may or may not have contradicted Ford’s statement.) In fact, the bull market of 1982 might have been the actual end of the national nightmare, because it was then that the economy and stock market started moving in a sustained positive direction.

The stock market during Clinton’s impeachment

Compare that with the market during Bill Clinton’s impeachment saga, and you get the tale of two economies. The best of times and the worst of times. The worst being the 70s dynamics, and the best being the dot.com boom that drove some stock market prices to dizzying levels for several years before their eventual bust in 2000. But there was a clear lull in the financial markets in the second half of 1998. It coincided with the release of the Starr report in September and impeachment proceedings initiated by a Republican Congress. The great unknown was the impending November election.

The drive to capitalize on Bill Clinton’s impeachment backfired on the GOP in the midterms as they lost 5 seats in the House. Nancy Pelosi is fully aware of that history, which is presumably why she delayed getting on board the Democratic impeachment train until now. (It’s often ignored that Republicans took back the White House the next election, as Democrats did following Watergate.) It might have been a coincidence that the stock market started back on track shortly after the failed attempt to remove Clinton from office, but probably not. It was only the failed “new paradigm” fundamentals of the new-fangled dot.com stocks – revenue doesn’t matter; earnings don’t matter– that brought them back to earth in 2000.

To assess the impact of the impeachment inquiry on the markets, Wall Street will be watching 67, and 88%. For comparison’s sake, Richard Nixon’s support within the GOP fell to 54% during Watergate. There would have to be a huge shift in the current political landscape for that to happen now. Or perhaps a huge shift in the economic landscape. The fact is, Nixon’s support collapsed just the economy was heading into recession.

As Wall Street watches Washington, Washington will be watching Wall Street as well.

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