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Trump-Fueled Financials Rally Is Lining Wealthy Bank CEOs’ Pockets

From Brad Hoppmann: Donald Trump is still a week away from becoming the 45th president of the United States. Yet that hasn’t stopped him from making CEO stock options great again.

That’s the thrust of a recent Reuters story on the big gains in CEO stock option values since the billionaire businessman won the White House.

Here’s the first, and quite compelling, paragraph from the article:

Donald Trump once described Jamie Dimon as “the worst banker in the United States,” but the president-elect has helped make the boss of JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM) $50 million richer.

Becoming $50 million richer since the election isn’t too shabby. So, if you’re a bit jealous of Mr. Dimon right now, I understand.

The story point outs that the JPMorgan chief is just one of many high-profile CEOs to run companies where the share prices have spiked since Election Day.

Reuters conducted an analysis of CEO option grants from the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It found that things really are great again for many of the world’s top chief executives.

Per Reuters:

Stock options held by Dow 30 CEOs surged in value by 23 percent to about $1 billion in 2016, with most of the gain coming after Trump’s election win.

Reuters said that the figures reflect outstanding stock options that could be exercised at the end of 2015, and not options that expired or vested in 2016.

The Reuters analysis pointed out that Jamie Dimon has seen his stock options spike in value by more than $50 million to $146 million since the election.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein, a company that candidate Trump criticized harshly during the campaign, witnessed his stock options go from being worthless to being worth more than $11 million in a matter of weeks.

Again, per the Reuters piece:

Blankfein’s 322,104 outstanding options, granted in 2007 with a $204.16 strike price, were under water by $7.3 million on the eve of the presidential election. But by the end of 2016, their value had soared to $11.4 million. That was an $18.7 million swing, thanks to the Trump-inspired stock market rally and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to increase interest rates, a boost for banks and credit card companies.

Now, I don’t know which candidate for president Mr. Blankfein or Mr. Dimon voted for on Nov. 8, but I do know that both are Democrats. So, I presume that means they probably didn’t vote for Donald Trump (although I can’t be certain).

My point here is not to comment on either executive’s vote. Nor is it to criticize CEO compensation in general, or to demonize those who have benefited mightily since Election Day.

Related story: The Rich Got $237 Billion Richer in the ‘Year of Populism’

Rather, I want you to realize that the reality of investing (as well as the reality of life) is that — regardless of whether you love or hate the current state of politics or the politicians in charge — you need to know that even the whiff of the proposals proffered by them can really move markets.

Goldman Sachs’ stock has soared 27% since Election Day, and JPM is up 18.2% in the same time frame.

We’ve seen that already, not just in the Dow, but also in the S&P 500, the Nasdaq Composite and particularly the Nasdaq-100, which is up nearly 4% so far in this young 2017. In all of 2016, the Nasdaq-100 was up just 5.9%.

The willingness on the part of Wall Street to, so far, buy into the Trump pro-growth, anti-regulation, lower-tax proposals reflects the optimism wafting throughout the country that we may indeed see a renewal of economic activity that “makes America great again.”

Yet be forewarned here that if a President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress fail to deliver on the agenda Wall Street has bought into, then things could get very uncomfortable for the bulls … and very quickly.

The Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSE:VFH) closed at $59.95 on Friday, up $0.36 (+0.60%). Year-to-date, VFH has gained 1.01%, versus a 1.57% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

VFH currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #2 of 39 ETFs in the Financial Equities ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of Uncommon Wisdom Daily.

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