There’s broad consensus of the quietly accepting kind that Wall Street and pretty much anyone within a 6,371km radius will experience increased volatility in the run-up to the US election set for the 5th of November.

Markets will experience increased volatility. Treasury yields will fluctuate. The US Dollar could become unhinged. Marriages will crumble, plate tectonics will agitate…

But the pressure will start cooking, says Dr Shane Oliver, head of Investment Strategy and chief economist, AMP, should former president and Republican nominee Donald Trump remain ahead of incumbent US President Joe Biden in the polls.

That’ll give investors time to have a think about the risks and reactions of a return to those Trumpian themes.

The fallout of a renewed US-led trade war, the uncertainty of key US relationships, defence spending, taxes, budgets, social cohesion…

“Or even the hit to both US jobs and the independence of the US Federal Reserve,” Dr Oliver told Stockhead.

Historically, Shane says, shares and their markets have performed better under Democrat than Republican presidents with the best outcome typically being a Democrat president and Republican House or Senate control.

And what about us? What will happen to Aussie?  How will Australia – so far from the worries of Washington – fare under another Trump presidency?

Well. Rather than try to answer them ourselves, we just fed the data, these questions and other various unknowns around the US presidential election into the Authentic Intelligence bot that is Dr Shane Oliver.

These are his instantly uploaded responses:

Artificial Oliver and the shallow fakes

“Greetings Stockheads!”  

“Firstly, a few words from your Shane-bot on some bemusing Authentic Artificial Intelligence…

“Over the years I have been alerted to various fake Shane Oliver accounts on Twitter/X (which we have reported and had removed – although I suspect there may still be more).

“More recently I have heard of various scams in my name offering trading schemes with one involving a WhatsApp account. And this week a colleague discovered numerous fake Shane Oliver accounts on Facebook and a fake website ( with lots of my material and interviews with the site directing people to a WhatsApp account (presumably phishing). Again we have reported these but they are harder to take down.

“It’s part of the world we live in and imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but I don’t post to a Facebook account having my name (so any account doing that is a fake), I don’t run my own website and I do not solicit funds or spruik trading schemes**.”

ED:**Fake Shane-bots don’t abruptly segue into the magic of a superbly crafted synth-pop track.

“In the late 1980s/early 1990s the music production team of Stock Aiken Waterman were derided for churning out hit after hit of electro pop resulting in more than 100 top 40 hits in the UK.

“Success often builds contempt. DJs hated them as did record companies who couldn’t work out how they were having so much success with just a handful of people.

“But their songs certainly had magic in them and were catchy and bright (just what I like).

“Here’s one of their best and I’ll have a think about another one while we talk Trading Trump.

“In the meantime, ladies and gents – Bananarama’s ‘I Heard A Rumour’


Trading Trump


It’s nearly four years since the tumultuous 2020 US presidential election and the next one is almost upon us. So far markets have paid scant attention to it or have instead focussed on the upside if Mr Trump returns (thinking: lower taxes and less regulation)… can we assume all that’s going to change as the showdown to November 5th draws near?

Dr Shane:

Well that’s just a terrific question. With the first debate scheduled for 27 June and with a Trump victory running the risk of weakening US democracy and US global alliances and threatening a big ramp up in protectionism and a further reversal in free trade.

Being unable to run for a third term, a second Trump presidency will lack the electoral constraints of his first term (which led to the Phase One trade deal with China) and is likely to have less “adults in the room”.

Here’s a few things to consider five months out:

Polls have Biden trailing

“Real Clear Politics poll average has Biden trailing Trump by 1 to 2 points in terms of favourability and presidential voting intentions.

“This is well behind where he was at the same point in 2020.”

Biden also lags Trump by around 1 to 9 points in key battleground states, whereas he was leading at this point in 2020, Shane says.

The ‘PredictIt’ betting market puts Mr Trump on 51% probability of winning versus Mr Biden on 44%, having just crossed over from favouring Biden.

“If Trump wins, it’s likely the Republicans would regain control of the Senate (where they have an edge as the Democrats need to defend more seats) and keep the House, resulting in a clean sweep.”

“It’s the (stupid) economy, stupid”


But, there’s still like (counts on fingers) five months to go. That’s an eon in Aussie politics… so you’re not suggesting we should just pack it in and call this one for the Republicans?

Dr Oliver:

Oh not at all. It’s too early to write Biden off.

First, the historical record indicates incumbent presidents tend to be reelected if there is no recession in the two years before the election.

Since 1932, all incumbents seeking re-election have failed if this was not the case. While leading indicators point to a high risk of recession, so far the economy has been strong.

But how it behaves up to November is critical.


Dr Oliver:

Second, normally around July in the election year incumbent presidents start to see an upswing in support.

Third, polls indicate that roughly 14% are undecided and they often don’t make up their minds until the end of the party conventions (July/August).

Fourth, around 20-25% of Trump supporters indicate that they will reconsider if he is convicted of a crime. Of course, several of the stronger cases against him have been delayed likely leaving the arguably less threatening for Trump New York “hush money” case.

Finally… while third party candidate Robert F Kennedy is more of a threat to Biden than Trump, it’s likely he will be convinced to exit the race.

Of course, it can all blow the other way if there is a surge in oil prices (e.g. if the Israel war expands to include Iran and Russia curtails its energy exports in the hope it will support Trump who as president will cut support for Ukraine) and the economy slides into recession.


Shane’s key policy diffs Trump Vs Biden

Trump would look to make the 2017 corporate and personal tax cuts (which took the corporate rate to 21% and the top marginal tax rate to 37%) permanent (as they expire in 2025 which would result in higher taxes under Biden) and to lower them possibly further.

Trump is threatening to impose a 10% tariff on all imports and a 60% tariff on all imports from China. This would take the average US tariff rate from around 2.5% to around 17%, far surpassing the 3% peak seen in Trump’s first term. This may be “maximum pressure” bluster, but while “we shouldn’t take him literally, we should take him seriously.”

Biden has basically maintained Trump’s China tariffs and recently announced he will add to them (but only on 4% of imports from China) and has dramatically ramped up subsidies for manufacturing in America.

This is part of a broader global trend towards protectionism and deglobalisation.

Trump (who sees the US trade deficit as a sign that America is being ripped off) would likely dramatically ramp this up accelerating the process of deglobalisation and adding to the likelihood of global trade wars as other countries retaliate on a far bigger scale than in 2018-19 and without political considerations getting in the way (as he can’t have a third term).

Immigration has surged under Biden making it a big issue and Trump will likely aggressively curtail both legal and illegal immigration.

Fed independence:
Trump would seek to replace Jerome Powell and his supporters are looking at ways to roll back the Fed’s independence.

Climate policy:
Trump will likely reverse the US’ net zero commitments and most of the policies Biden introduced to support it. Subsidies for green manufacturing are likely to be replaced with wider industry subsidies.

Trump is likely to slash regulation particularly benefitting the energy and financial sectors.

Budget deficit:
The deficit remains huge (at 6.3% of GDP) owing to big government spending. It would likely get bigger under Trump’s tax policies.



Alrighty then Shane-bot. From an economic perspective what might be some of the actions from the White House and what could we imagine some of the the reactions might be?

Dr Oliver:

Trump’s policies in support of tax cuts and deregulation could help boost the supply side of the US economy via a boost to productivity (which is already on the mend and will be helped by the rapid take up of AI in the US). However, on balance Trump’s policies – with higher tariffs and hence higher import prices, sharply lower labour force growth and moves to weaken the Fed’s inflation fighting credentials – will likely add to inflation.

There is also a risk that a higher budget deficit, with no sign of improvement at a time when US public debt is now very high (at 125% of GDP), will result in a market backlash and higher bond yields.

Furthermore, his brinkmanship and erratic policy making style is likely to add to policy uncertainty which could hamper business investment.

A lot will depend on the sequencing of his policy moves. If he runs with tax cuts first it could boost the economy in say 2025, but if he runs first with sharp tariff hikes, immigration cuts & an attack on the Fed it could be taken more negatively early on. In 2017 he ran with the positives first to help shore up the economy, but this time around he may run with negatives first as there will be no constraint from the desire to win another election.


Likely market reaction

Firstly, despite the heightened policy uncertainty the election year is normally an okay year for US shares. Since 1927, the election year, or year 4 in the presidential cycle, has had a return of around 12%.

Second, the run up to the election will likely see increased share market volatility if Trump remains ahead and investors start to focus on the risks of a new trade war, a hit to the US labour force and to the Fed under Trump.

After Trump’s victory in 2016 shares soared 38% to January 2018 as the focus in his first year was on business-friendly tax cuts and deregulation but they fell in 2018 as the focus shifted to trade wars.

So, if there is a Trump victory, the share market’s reaction in the first 6-12 months will be heavily influenced by his sequencing of tariff hikes versus tax cuts.

Third, historically US shares have done best under Democrat presidents with an average return of 14.4% pa since 1927 compared to an average return under Republican presidents of 10% pa. However, the best average result has actually occurred when there has been a Democrat president and Republican control of the House, the Senate or both and the worst average return has been when there’s been a clean Republican sweep.

Finally, a Trump presidency would likely mean higher bond yields (with somewhat higher inflation and budget deficits) and a higher $US (partly reflecting higher global economic uncertainty and the impact of US tariffs).



Ok. What would it all mean for how we go about our business here at home. What’d be the implications of a retrun to Trump for  Australia?

Dr Oliver:

As a relatively open economy with high trade exposure to China, Australia would be vulnerable to an intensification of global trade wars as a result of a Trump victory, particularly if it weighs on demand for Chinese exports.

An OECD study showed that Australia could suffer a 1.2% reduction in GDP as a result of a 10% reduction in global trade between major countries.

This is second only to Korea in OECD countries and reflects Australia’s high exposure to China. Resources shares would be most at risk and the $A would likely fall. Of course, similar fears existed during the last Trump trade war, and it didn’t turn out so bad.

Much would depend on how other countries respond and how hard Trump goes.

And of course, Trump may not win!


Okay…. But …it’s just when you say it like that – with a sudden degree of emphasis – that I can only assume you’re pretty sure Trump’s going to win.

Dr Oliver:

No. I’m not.


Am I talking to the real Dr Oliver-bot?

Dr Oliver: 

Yes. Yes you are.


Hmm. Prove it.

Dr Oliver: 

As promised ladies and gents, give it up for one of Our Own – Kylie Minogue’s kick your shoes off and have a boogie number 1 single  –

What Do I Have To Do?


The views, information, or opinions expressed in the interviews in this article are solely those of the interviewees and do not represent the views of Stockhead.

Stockhead does not provide, endorse or otherwise assume responsibility for any financial product advice contained in this article.