High Stakes Poker

Clearly, a record-level stock market, a strong jobs number last Friday and a positive Q1 GDP read has the President feeling like he’s holding the chips, and the winning hand, in the current game of trade poker with China; as he just doubled-down in response to what he apparently views as his opponent’s bluff.

In a last-summer CNBC interview he referenced the then high level of the stock market and used the term “playing with the bank’s money” when quizzed on trade issues with China. Such market-induced bravado is a risk I’ve been discussing in my video commentaries as stocks have mounted their way back from the depths of last year’s steep correction; the bottom of which had the President sounding quite conciliatory on negotiations with China. Again, conciliatory he ain’t at the moment…

Bespoke, in their morning commentary, pointed out that 1% opening gaps of late have been, for the most part, aggressively bought by opportune traders:

“Notably, SPY has bounced back in a big way from the open to the close on 6 of the 8 prior gaps down of 1%+. And most of these occurrences were caused by some sort of trade issue as you can see in the “News” column. The average open to close change following these gaps down of 1%+ has been +1.49%, while the median open to close change is even stronger at +1.59%. One week from the 1%+ gap down, SPY has averaged a gain of 2.23%, while one month from the open the average is slightly less at +1.60%.”

For today (Dow down 280 as I type) to make it 7 out of 9, one of the players is going to have to essentially fold this hand; at this point (just this point, mind you) it looks like that’ll have to be China. We’ll see…


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