The ballad of Donald and Dow

December 7, 2018

President Trump has a self-defeating obsession with Wall Street. He crows about Wall Street when stock markets are booming, and goes radio silent or starts pointing fingers when the market tanks. He loves Wall Street. He’s obsessed with the stock market. He wants to take credit for its success. But he cannot deal with its failure.

During a market boom between July and October, the president tweeted about it at least 18 times, touting the “all-time highs” and congratulating “all of you that have made a fortune in the markets.” But he hasn’t tweeted about stocks in nearly a month now. I wonder why …

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted roughly 700 points on Tuesday, and went down again Thursday. (It was shut down Wednesday in honor of the late President George H.W. Bush.) It’s been on a roller-coaster ride trending down for several weeks now. Of course, the Dow is still way up since Trump’s election — from a closing of 18,333 on Election Day 2016 to 24,948 on Thursday. That’s an increase of 36.1 percent in a little more than two years.

But the market has a major case of the jitters now. Why?

In many ways, it’s the uncertainty sowed by President Trump. His trade war and capricious tweets are actively deflating the stock market.

You always hurt the one you love.

Last weekend, Trump sat down at the G20 summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Analysts hoped the meeting would cool off the growing trade war between the two countries. And as this week got underway, it appeared to have done just that: Trump announced a deal to hold off further tariffs for three months while the two sides kept talking. The stock markets calmed down.

Briefly, anyway.

Within another day

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