President Donald Trump's measured tone in his first speech to Congress lifted investor optimism. Fred Katayama reports.
President Donald Trump's measured tone in his first speech to Congress on Tuesday night lifted investor optimism. On Wednesday, the Dow breached the 21,000 mark for the first time ever, while the S&P, and the Nasdaq hit record intraday highs. In his speech, Trump asked for unity, softened his immigration stance, and set aside disputes with Democrats and the news media. Markets could have responded more favorably simply because they saw Trump looking more presidential, says David Birdsell, dean of Baruch's School of Public and International Affairs. (SOUNDBITE) DAVID BIRDSELL, DEAN OF THE AUSTIN W. MARXE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, BARUCH COLLEGE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is the first rhetorical pivot for this President since he was inaugurated on the 20th of January. So, that may well describe or explain the surge in business activity, its confidence, or at least somewhat more confidence that the President is going to be the sober, predicable stewart of policy that we've long expected American presidents to be." The markets rallied even though Trump didn't provide specifics on his infrastructure and public works program, tax cuts for the middle class, immigration reform, healthcare overhaul, and an education bill. Much of Trump's speech focused on solving problems at home in line with his "America first" rhetoric. Apart from criticizing Obama for increasing the national debt, Trump did not mention the federal budget deficit, which will severely limit any new spending programs.