Latest Log Entries: Political Miscalculation

5/22/19 Wednesday

Monday saw the market lower on the U.S.’s blacklisting of Huawei, Tuesday saw the market bounce back, and some, on the U.S.’s temporary, and albeit very slight, about face on the blacklisting of Huawei. Wednesday saw the market lower on news that the U.S. is considering denying the sale of U.S. components to a number of Chinese tech companies. We’ll see what Thursday holds, futures are down notably as I type…

5/20/19 Monday

By all appearances Trump has “negotiated” himself into a corner. The recent ramp up in tariffs, the threat of more, the Huawei ban and the threatening tone expressed in his 6-month delay in imposing tariffs on European and Japanese automobiles has earned applause from protectionists (and/or strategically-astute political actors) on the left, and protectionists, hawks and populists on the right.

Ironically, what his campaign team clearly sees as politically expedient positioning, couldn’t be more the opposite in my view. While protectionism, and, of late, populism plays well on the podium, they play utter havoc in markets and, ultimately, in the economy. I.e., winning reelection amid a recession and bear market is near impossible.

The ultimate (I’m hopeful) good news (for the market and the economy) is that Trump himself is hugely stock market-centric. Clearly, during notable dips he gets rattled and scrambles to verbally stem the tide. The problem to this point has been that when things cool down his caustic rhetoric heats back up.

Therefore, the key questions remain, how much downside will it take to inspire a better approach to trade issues, and will general conditions hold up in the meantime?

Incidentally, to make the political landscape all the tougher for the Administration to navigate, China’s conciliatory tone has all but vanished over the past few days.


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