The Nasdaq stock market’s chief executive said Wednesday Donald Trump’s election triumph revealed the business world’s failure to sell the benefits of trade and globalisation.
But Bob Greifeld also downplayed the impact on US democracy and on his own company from Trump’s stunning march to the White House.
“The founding fathers had the separation of powers. He’s being elected as president, not as a dictator,” the boss of the technology-heavy market said at the Web Summit, a gathering of business leaders and technology ventures in Lisbon.
“So we’ll continue to do what we do,” he said, before the opening bell was rung in Lisbon to signal the start of trading on the Nasdaq.
The market’s composite index was flat at the opening after a rollercoaster ride for Asian and European markets owing to fears of what Trump’s populist message portends for business.
Greifeld said the Nasdaq could comfortably handle outsized trading volumes expected Wednesday, and said a rally by US Treasury bonds showed a flight to safety that “will persist for a period of time”.
Shares in companies offering financial services, healthcare and insurance were all set to benefit in the short term from a Trump presidency, he said.
World markets also saw sharp volatility after Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union but had since calmed down, the Nasdaq CEO noted.
But more broadly, he said, the Brexit result and now Trump’s election should serve as a wake-up call to business leaders.
“Brexit was a start but as we go to our different offices around Europe you have a populist far-right movement which, if you believe Brexit or the US election, the polls are under-representing in how that’s going to play out,” he said.
“We’re dealing in a time which is fundamentally anti-trade, anti-globalisation, and we in the business community obviously have to do a better job comunicating the benefits of that because broad swathes of the population are not buying into the message.”