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The one bright spot President Trump has been able to point to in the turbulent first months of his presidency has gone dark.
The U.S. stock market soared after the real estate impresario and reality show television star won the White House. Between Nov. 7 and early march the broad U.S. stock market index known as the S&P 500 was up more than 12.4 percent, amid a surge of optimism that Trump would cut taxes and regulations, especially on financial firms.
The administration wasn’t shy about trumpeting the surge in the stock market as proof that the President was instilling confidence in the country’s business class.
“In his first month in office, the President has already taken numerous actions to boost job creation, and key economic indicators are showing that it’s working. CEO and [consumer] confidence are up, the stock market continues to reach record highs,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters back in February.
But in recent weeks, as Trump’s plans for the health care collapsed and his popularity rating has sunk, the Trump-inspired stock rally has run out of steam. Stocks are down more than 1 percent so far in March. At last glance they’re heading for another decline today.
This isn’t the end of the world. Many seem to think that the stock market needed a bit of cooling off anyway. But to the extent that the market weakness reflects growing skepticism that Trump has the political chops to get his agenda of deregulation and tax cuts enacted, that could leave the market searching for a while to find a new reason to resume its upward climb.