Forget Trump, Here's What's Driving Stocks Higher
Business + Economy

Forget Trump, Here's What's Driving Stocks Higher

Shannon Stapleton

It looks like investor hopes about President Donald Trump will go unfulfilled, but stocks will keep rising anyway, according to famed investment strategist Byron Wien.

"At the beginning of the year, I thought the Trump pro-growth program was propelling the market," Wien, vice chairman of the private wealth solutions group at Blackstone, said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." 

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"But now, we have a situation where it looks like he'll get very little of his pro-growth agenda through, but earnings are coming in better than expected, and that's driving the market higher."

In other words, political optimism gave way at the same time that positive news about earnings was moving to the forefront of investors' minds.

The improving earnings picture "is keeping the correction from happening," Wien added.

With more than three-quarters of S&P 500 companies beating earnings estimates, earnings per share are on pace to rise by 15.2 percent, according to RBC Capital Markets. And analysts collectively see the rest of the year showing substantial growth as well. Even better, revenue has beaten expectations, providing what some argue is a stronger backdrop for earnings going forward.

Related: How Political Fireworks in Washington Could Singe the Market Rally

"At these low interest rates, stocks are very attractive compared to bonds," Wien said. "If earnings keep increasing at 5 percent a year, then stocks are attractive on their own."

One of Wien's concerns, meanwhile, is that after moving from a positive driver to a neutral one, U.S. politics becomes a headwind.

"I'm worried that the Trump administration gets itself into trouble," he said. "Right now it's not doing any good, but it's not doing any bad either. So I'm just worried that there's a shift, and we lose confidence in Washington."

Wien continues to believe that the S&P 500 will rise to 2,500 this year, a prediction he made at the beginning of the year in his "Ten Surprises for 2017" missive.

This article originally appeared on CNBC. Read more CNBC:

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