The stock market is concerned about the economic views of far-left Democratic presidential candidates, Wall Street veteran Byron Wien told CNBC on Thursday.
“The market is afraid of the more progressive Democratic candidates” who are promoting higher taxes on the rich and ambitious climate change goals, said Wien, vice chairman of private wealth solutions at Blackstone.
“Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders are kind of terrifying to the market, ” Wien said in a “Squawk on the Street ” interview. If one of those senators were to be nominated, stock reaction “would be negative,” he added.
On the flip side, Wien said the market would react well to a more moderate Democratic candidate such as Joe Biden. However, he predicted that the former vice president’s poor performance in last month’s debate could bring him down. “Biden is less likely to be a candidate.”
Right now, Wall Street is pricing in the assumption that President Donald Trump will be reelected in 2020, Wien said, adding that investors are also counting on a U.S.-China trade deal and a Federal Reserve interest rate cut.
U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday indicated a rate cut was likely. The S&P 500 went back above 3,000 in early trading after eclipsing that level Wednesday for the first time ever. In a second day of congressional economic testimony, Powell appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.
Wall Street currently anticipates as much as 0.75% worth of rate cuts this year, with the first move coming at the end of the month at the central bank’s July 30-31 meeting. Wien said, “I hope we don’t get that.”
He thinks a Fed rate cut is unnecessary in a growing economy. “I don’t think the Fed needs to do anything,” he said, adding that the market is getting ahead of itself on rate cuts.
Wien sees the S&P 500 consolidating around 3,000 for the rest of the year, which would keep the index around its current 20% gain for 2019.
In January, Wien included a more modest 15% increase in the S&P for the year as one of his 10 surprises for 2019 — a list that he’s been compiling since 1986 when he was a chief strategist at Morgan Stanley. He joined Blackstone in 2009.