OppenheimerFunds' Steinmetz: Presidential popularity not required for markets to do well

Arthur Steinmetz speak at Dealbook Conference
Source: Mike Cohen

Some Americans' dislike for President-elect Donald Trump does not necessarily mean bad things for the market, according to OppenheimerFunds Chairman and CEO Art Steinmetz. He said the S&P 500 has historically done well under an unfavorable commander in chief.

"Hating the government is a bad investment strategy. Indeed, presidential popularity isn't required for the markets to do good," Steinmetz said on Thursday. "The S&P 500 has done better when the president's popularity rating is below 50 percent than when the president's popularity rating has been above 50 percent."

Steinmetz spoke at the DealBook Conference in New York City, hosted by CNBC anchor and The New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin and the editors of the Times. The conference brings together leaders and visionaries to assess the challenges and opportunities in the business environment.

Following the presidential election, Trump's victory over rival Hillary Clinton sent shock waves through the global financial markets, sending Dow futures down more than 800 points. On Wednesday, however, U.S. stocks surged more than 1 percent as investors grappled with the implications of a Trump win.

Steinmetz said although at least half the country thinks the U.S. is going downhill after the results of the election, he believes the republic will survive. The CEO said he is confident because he's thinking long term.

"What would have happened yesterday had you come in and sold on the open," he said. "You would have been a chump, because the markets finished up."

Steinmetz, who was named CEO of OppenheimerFunds in 2014, said he was optimistic about the state of the country. As an investor, Steinmetz said "you have to" be optimistic.