Continued Stock Market Volatility
The U.S. stock market continues to be extremely volatile, and as I have said many times on this podcast, I think this volatility following a long-term record lack of volatility is a good sign that the uptrend has changed. So there’s a good chance that the bull market is now a bear market, although few people seem to realize that. We’re still relatively close to the highs. In fact, the NASDAQ shrugged off the morning weakness and managed to gain for the fourth day in a row.
Choosing the Best Seats on the Titanic
I’m actually hearing people commenting that tariffs or a trade war could benefit U.S. companies; give them an edge over the multinationals. All this is wishful thinking. Maybe they’re trying to argue that there are some seats on the Titanic that are better than others. Believe me, if the economy tanks, and the tariffs or a trade war exacerbate it, there will not be a place to hide in U.S. stocks.
Market Spooked by Cohn Resignation
The volatility started last night with the announcement of the resignation of President Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn. One of the reasons that his resignation spooked the market (Dow futures initially tumbled about 400 points) was that he is opposed to the tariffs. The fact that he is leaving would leave people to believe Cohn has lost that argument internally at the White House, so he is leaving a path to which he has objected. For people who were thinking that Cohn would rein in the President, and that his rhetoric will not lead to action, now believe that Trump will go forward with the tariffs. So that’s why the market sold off.
NASDAQ Finished Positive for the Fourth Day in a Row
By the time we opened up, the futures had moved off their lows and for most of the day the Dow traded between down a little over 100 and down 300. But we had a rally near the end of the day. The Dow closed down only about 82, and as I said earlier the NASDAQ finished positive for the fourth day.
Exemptions for Canada and Mexico Good News – For Canada and Mexico
Part of the news is that Trump is considering exempting Mexico and Canada from the tariffs. That’s supposedly good news; I guess it lessens the probability that those countries will retaliate, but of course, a large portion of the deficits that Trump is concerned about in steel and aluminum, that’s where the deficits originate. So the markets rallied on that news. Also the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso rallied on that.
Mexico and Canada Will Have More Trading Partners
If these rumors are true, and you never know; the President can change his mind from tweet to tweet, but if, in fact, the tariffs are enacted, exempting Canada and Mexico, that is great news for Mexico and Canada. They are going to benefit from these tariffs. The U.S. economy will not. Mexico and Canada will be able to sell more steel and aluminum to American consumers at even higher prices. So they will benefit, just as domestic steel companies with benefit. Canadian and Mexican steel exporters can shop the entire world, whereas American manufacturers will be limited to North American sources.