August 21, 2017 / 10:44 PM / 4 months ago

Hedge fund manager Dalio cuts risk amid worries about Washington

BOSTON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Ray Dalio, who has been expressing concerns about President Donald Trump in recent months, said on Monday he was cutting some of his exposure during a time of growing political and economic divisions.

“I‘m watching how conflict is being handled as a guide, and I‘m not encouraged,” Dalio wrote in a LinkedIn post published on Monday. “I continue to closely watch how conflict is handled while tactically reducing our risk to it not being handled well.”

Dalio, who founded the $160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, was initially confident of Trump’s ability to stimulate growth through his plans for tax reform, cutting regulations and an infrastructure plan.

But for several months, he has cited his concerns with the Trump administration, including its immigration and trade policies. Earlier this month, he suggested that investors should put some of their assets in gold to guard against political and economic risk.

On Monday, Dalio said the country was now as economically and socially divided as it was in the 1930s when the world suffered through the Great Depression.

While Trump often says the economy is growing well, Dalio said a closer look showed deep financial divisions. “It’s clear that some are doing extraordinarily well and others are doing terribly, with gaps in wealth and income being the greatest since the 1930s,” Dalio wrote.

He said such divisions created an atmosphere where people were more inclined to fight for their own views rather than seek common ground.

    Dalio said he saw no important economic risks on the horizon but was “concerned about growing internal and external conflict leading to impaired government efficiency (e.g. inabilities to pass legislation and set policies) and other conflicts.”

    Stocks gained some ground on Monday, but the Trump-fed stock rally appears to be faltering as investors worry about geo-political risk and some weaker earnings reports.

    Last week, speculation that Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, might leave the administration helped push the S&P 500 .SPX to its biggest daily percentage drop in three months. The White House said Cohn was staying put.

    Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Peter Cooney

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