DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach said Donald Trump, if he’s elected president, would help the U.S. economy recover by going further into debt, just as Ronald Reagan fueled growth in the 1980s.
“Trump is going to win, and Trump is going to increase the deficit,” Gundlach said during a panel discussion Thursday in New York. Reagan “did it by taking three or four decades of stable nonfinancial debt-to-GDP ratio and putting it on a hockey stick higher.”
Gundlach, 56, isn’t endorsing any candidate, according to Loren Fleckenstein, a DoubleLine analyst. The fund manager, who has been predicting a Trump election victory since February, noted that Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” resembles Reagan’s “Let’s Make America Great Again.”
Under Reagan, the U.S. debt grew to more than $2.3 trillion at the end of 1988 from $807 billion eight years earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The total U.S. debt as of Dec. 31 was $15.1 trillion.
Markets might not react favorably to a Trump election at first, because the Republican presidential candidate has criticized international trade agreements, according to the fund manager.
“First, I think you’re going to get a global growth scare, trade-based,” Gundlach said. “That could cause a market rollover which to me looks like it’s already under way.”
This retreat in the S&P 500 Index could be “an excellent buying opportunity,” Gundlach added, as the debt binge “will probably stimulate growth, at least temporarily.”
The S&P 500 is down about 0.6 percent since Trump’s victory Tuesday in the Indiana primary. His win prompted his two remaining Republican opponents, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich, to suspend their campaigns.
“When I say Donald Trump’s going to win, it’s not that I’m wildly rooting for him, although I don’t dislike Donald Trump,” Gundlach said in an interview with Fox Business Network’s “Wall Street Week” set to air Friday at 8 p.m. New York time. “It’s just like, I think it’s going to happen.”
On the panel discussion, Gundlach said oil prices must get to $60 a barrel to avoid a wave of high-yield debt defaults, a price he doesn’t expect to see soon. He predicted more junk-bond defaults when borrowers are forced to roll over debt in a rising interest-rate environment by 2018 or the following two years.
Gundlach said he continues to be long on gold. Spot gold was trading at about $1,277 an ounce as of 6:48 p.m. Thursday in New York, up 20 percent this year. In January, Gundlach said he expected gold would climb to $1,400.
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