To say that the "former bond king" Bill Gross - unlike his "royal successor" Jeffrey Gundlach, or the world's biggest hedge fund manager Ray Dalio - is not a fan of Donald Trump, or his proposed policies, is an understatement: his first condemnation of Trump came just days after the election, when Gross said that Trump's tenure "will be damaging", followed a month later by slamming the "Trump Rally", calling it misguided and urging investor to "move to cash."
Additionally, in his December investment outlook, Gross wrote that the Trump administration may boost stock markets in the short term but his policies will likely limit long-term economic growth by restraining trade and corporate profits.
Earlier today, when interviewed on Bloomberg radio, Gross escalated his critisim of Trump, accusing the President-elect’s targeting of corporations, to make them change their practices, as being reminiscent of policies undertaken by Italy's dictator Benito Mussolini.
"Some of these pre-term policies, where he’s cajoling companies to move production back into the United States, that’s fine, but it reminds me to some extent of policies in Italy long ago associated with Mussolini and government control of corporate interests," Gross said in an interview Friday on Bloomberg Radio. "I don’t want it to go too far."
In recent days, Trump singled out companies including makers of airplanes and automobiles, pressuring them on prices or to keep jobs in the U.S. It has generated results: just this week, Ford canceled a $1.6 billion factory in Mexico, saying it would add positions in Michigan instead. A new controversy erupted yesterday when Trump targeted Toyota's new Mexican plant, warning it would pay a substantial tax on cars sold into the US.
Gross also said that "there’s a lot of voodoo" in terms of the economics of Trump’s tax policies around cutting rates and repatriation of money by companies to generate revenue and investment.
For the time being the market disagrees with Gross, and instead has soared after having wholeheartedly accepted that anything Trump does will be beneficial if not for the economy, then certainly for risk assets. That may change, because as Jeff Gundlach has also warned, the honeymoon is ending. Yet while many asset managers have said the Trump rall will fizzle, nobody has been bold enough to say just when.