Michael Maiello's picture

    Abusing the Stock Market

    Today, His Fraudulency Tweeted that recent stock market volatility is all about investors worried that a Democratic-controlled House will "harass" him in its oversight role.  I don't know why the stock market has been more volatile lately.  I have some ideas, and they aren't very surprising. Here's a quickie list:

    • Investors don't like trade wars with China and Europe because they create all sorts of uncertainty, not just in terms of business performance over time but for regulatory decisions affecting things like big, cross border mergers.
    • U.S. rates are rising and investors are not sure the Fed is going to get the pace just right.
    • We got used to really low volatility.  This is mean reversion.
    • Our inscrutable Saudi Arabia policy creates a lot of questions for the oil industry and oil is important.
    • Biotechs are getting crushed because Trump keeps saying he's going to do something to control drug price increases, but hasn't really said what.
    • Tech is getting crushed because Apple iPhone sales may have peaked and a whole lot of companies live by eating from the iPhone trough.
    • Some people expect a slowdown or recession as early as the second half of next year and because a lot of money has been made in this bull market, bearish leaning investors are taking profits now.
    • Stocks go up and down.

    But there's something about Trump's explanation (fear of the Democrats!) that rhymes with something I heard years ago, back in 2008, while I was a guest on a CNBC program hosted by Larry Kudlow, who is Trump's top economic adviser. Back then, as President elect Obama prepared for his inauguration, Kudlow claimed that the market was tanking because everybody feared Obama was a socialist. That was his argument.  In the face of the entire Financial Crisis, Kudlow made the confident claim that investors were selling stocks to avoid the incoming socialist nightmare.

    Oddly, Kudlow never corrected himself when the market bottomed less than 6 weeks into Obama's first term. I mean, if you blame the selloff on him, don't you have to credit him with ending that same selloff? Of course, commentators from the right never gave Obama any credit for the long bull market that defined his presidency.  That, you see, happened in spite of him. Heck, they never even admitted the guy wasn't a socialist!

    Anyway, and for the very little it's worth, my guess is that Trump's take on recent stock market performance came right from Kudlow. Investors are dumping stocks in perfectly good companies because, Democrats.



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