White House Economic Advisor Carl Icahn Bearish on Stock Market

Posted on: March 11, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: March 11, 2017, 07:38h.

Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor who sold the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City last week to Hard Rock International, is also an informal economic advisor to President Donald Trump.

Carl Icahn stock market Donald Trump
Carl Icahn has added much wealth to his portfolio in the stock market since his friend became president, but now the billionaire believes a retraction is in store. (Image: Peter Foley/Bloomberg)

The 45th commander-in-chief says his billionaire pal is “innately able to predict the future” as it relates to economies. If that’s true, investors might be smart to follow Icahn’s lead in betting against the surging Dow Jones and NASDAQ composite indexes.

Icahn, whose holdings include Trump Entertainment Resorts, is worth around $17 billion. But Icahn Enterprises is betting against the continued rally on Wall Street.

CNN Money reports that Icahn is shorting 1.3 shares for every one share he’s buying. Shorting stocks is the activity of committing to buying shares at a later date. Icahn wins if the company loses value between now and the purchase date.

“I am concerned at this point that the market has run ahead of itself,” Icahn told the financial news outlet.

The markets have been on a strong run since Trump won the presidency, but now his economic advisor is hedging his bets on a correction. But not all of Trump’s casino bros are pessimistic on the economy.

Steve Wynn, who is the newly tapped finance chair of the Republican National Committee, said recently, “It’s springtime in America and things are going to grow.”

Win Some, Lose Some

Icahn has been one of the most successful capitalists over the last several decades, but like anyone who’s heavily invested in the markets, not every bet has turned out to be a win.

His most recent substantial loss was owning Trump Entertainment Resorts. The former gaming arm of the now-president became a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises in February of 2016. The company’s only operating resort, the Trump Taj Mahal, cost Icahn upwards of $350 million. After failing to reach a new contract with a local casino workers union, he closed the property last October.

He still has the shuttered Trump Plaza, and that too will cost Icahn dearly. He vetoed a planned $20 million sale of the venue in 2013. Now the casino, which closed in 2014, is nearly unsellable due to a land-lease that costs its owner $1 million per year through 2078.

Fueling Controversy

A governmental watchdog agency called Public Citizen is calling on lawmakers to investigate Icahn’s specific role within the White House, and whether he’s violating lobbying laws.

The organization alleges that Icahn has urged the president to overhaul a biofuels program that dictates how gasoline is refined. But Public Citizen says should Trump change the US Renewable Fuel Standard, Icahn’s 82 percent stake in CVR Energy, a refiner, stands to make millions should regulations be reduced.

Under the current program, refineries are required to include renewable fuels into their gasoline and diesel products, a law that was implemented during President George W. Bush’s administration. Fuel companies say the stipulation costs them millions of dollars each year.

Icahn has called the Public Citizen effort a “witch hunt.”