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Optimism Over No Tariffs Fueling Market Move

Donald Trump, I think, was the reason the markets ended up finishing in the black today, at least most of the major indexes.  In fact, the only index that was down on the day was the NASDAQ – the NASDAQ was the only major index that was down on the week, thanks to weakness in tech stock, in particular, the FANG stocks.  The comments that Trump made today basically gave hope to some people that potentially 25% across the board tariffs on all Chinese imports may not go into effect at the beginning of next year, which is the threat. If the Chinese ant Trump don’t come to an agreement, then those tariffs are going to hit.

Tariffs Are the Stick

Apparently the tariffs are the stick that is going to be brandished by Trump, and he is going to use it to hit the Chinese over the head. But the threat of this big stick is supposedly going to bring the Chinese to the table, and there will be a deal that is favorable to the United States.  Of course, if these tariffs actually go into effect, the people who are really going to be hit with the stick are going to be Americans.  It’s going to be American consumers who have to pay 25% more for everything they buy, and it’s going to be American retailers who, of course, are going to sell a lot less stuff, because, if they have to raise prices by 25%, sales are going to collapse.

Fed Hinting that “Data Dependent” May Signal Slowdown in Rates

We had a couple of Fed guys out today -Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida – was interviewed today on CNBC by Steve Liesman –  I happened to catch that interview, and was listening closely to what Clarida had to say.  To me, he almost admitted that when the Fed pretended to be “data dependent” early on, they really weren’t data dependent at all. They were just raising interest rates because they wanted to get them higher. They were afraid of getting caught with rates too close to zero in the beginning of the next recession, so they wanted to re-load that gun, so they wanted to get interest rates higher.  They kept saying they were data dependent, but I never really thought they were. Once they started to raise rates, they were just on auto pilot. But now, Clarida seems to open the door to the possibility that maybe, some of the rate hikes that we think are coming aren’t going to come, because he talked about how now, the Fed can be more data dependent than it was in the past.

Optimism Among Warning Signals

Where in the past, we talked about being data dependent, but we really weren’t, but now we actually can be because now we’re closer to neutral. And since we’re now closer to that number  we can take the data more seriously, meaning that if the data comes out weaker than we expect, well maybe we won’t raise rates as much as we think.  and I think Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan was also out today making similar comments that were initially taken as Dovish by the markets, because he was leaving the door open, apparently to the fact that the Fed may not deliver as many rate hikes as the markets believe. Both of these guys are extremely optimistic and upbeat about the U.S. economy. As if none of the bad news  that is happening around them matter. You’ve got the semi-conductors, you’ve got the retailers, you’ve got the autos, you’ve got the home builders.  All these sectors are blowing up one after another and they guys at the Fed are thinking “No Problem!”

Cramer Exceeding Very Low Bar Set By Fed

Also today, Jim Kramer, on CNBC, was out there critical of the Fed, basically saying that these guys don’t know what they are talking about and that he’s smarter than them, and they should pay attention to what he’s saying.  Kramer may in fact know more than the Fed, because you’ve got a really low bar there. Although, in many cases, you don’t really know what the Fed knows, because the Fed could be lying.  We know this.