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President Trump to Dave Portnoy: The 401(k) investors who followed my advice are ‘doing phenomenally’

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After President Donald Trump took some serious lumps in his contentious interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace earlier this month, it was probably time for a friendlier chat.

Enter David Portnoy, the outspoken founder of Barstool Sports, who came to the White House on Friday armed with the kind of softballs that had the president saying “I like this interview” within about a minute of sitting down. Yes, it didn’t take long for the two to become quite chummy.

Eventually the wide-ranging conversation turned away from Dr. Anthony Fauci and nationwide protests to the stock market. When Portnoy, who made a social-media spectacle of his trading game in the absence of live sports, broached the subject, here’s what Trump had to say:


“You got in at the right time. A lot of people with the 401(k)s are doing phenomenally, but a lot of people sold stock and now they’re saying, ‘I missed it,’ and I said to people, ‘Don’t sell because the foundation is so strong’… But the people that really lost in terms of economic are the people that got out. The people that stayed in… they stayed with me. They’re doing great.”

It’s true that those investors who dumped the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-0.93%

at the lows back in March have missed out on a the market’s resilient 51% rebound. The S&P 500
SPX,
-0.61%

and Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.68%

have moved similarly higher since the coronavirus sent investors fleeing the market in a hurry.

As for Fauci, Trump’s sidelined task force member, Portnoy said that he’s not a fan because his “stocks tank” whenever the idea of more lockdowns is suggested.

Trump offered praise for Fauci, but also some hesitation. “He’d like it to see it closed up for a couple of years, but that’s OK because I’m president, I appreciate your opinion, now give me another opinion, someone please,” Trump said. “We’re open and we’re doing well. And I just had a press conference about opening the schools. You’ve got to open the schools.”

We’ll get a gauge of just how much economic damage the pandemic has caused later this week, when the Commerce Department on Thursday releases the second-quarter GDP report.

How ugly will it be? “We’re looking for the worst postwar economic contraction in 62 years,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Here’s the full interview (the stock market stuff starts at around the 18:45 mark):

Meanwhile, Portnoy continues to attract attention with his trading antics. Last month, he grabbed plenty of clicks when he ripped Berkshire Hathaway’s
BRK.B,
+0.65%

Warren Buffett for unloading airline stocks as the coronavirus epidemic took its initial toll.

“I’m just printing money,” Portnoy said. “Why take profits when every airline goes up 20% every day? Losers take profits. Winners push the chips to the middle. … I should be up a billion dollars.”

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