April 10, 2018.
If you thought you could rest on your laurels yesterday as the closing bell neared, you should have thought again! The message couldn’t have been clearer: “Keep your finger on the pulse of the market!” With the market soaring on the day, shaking off fears of trade war hostilities, a bombshell landed, shaking the market to the core. News broke that Trump’s personal lawyer’s office and hotel room had been raided, putting shivers down the market. With nothing to say that Trump won’t be impeached, or that he’ll lose his political clout, the market is getting fresh reminders that irrespective of how good the fundamentals are and how quickly the U.S. and the global economy is growing, Trump’s always got a monkey wrench to throw into the mix – and a keyboard and 280 character tweets that can send the market up or into tailspin. With the likes of this president never seen before, from his infectious optimism to his fiery vitriol, it’s getting harder and harder to anticipate where the market is heading from one minute to the next. With hairpin turns so pervasive, it seems that stop loss orders need to be employed more regularly, the market becoming more volatile not just intraday but also intra-hour.
Market Summary: At its high, the Dow was up 1.8%, the S&P 500 trading as high as 1.9%. The NASDQ traded up as much as 2.3% at the session high. With the riveting news, markets tanked, the Dow trading up only 0.2%, the S&P 500 closing up 0.3%, and the NASDAQ tacking on just 0.5%.
How rare exactly are such intraday changes? Weighing in on the matter, the Bespoke Investment Group analyzed sessions in which the S&P 500 was trading up at least 1.5% two hours prior to the closing bell. “For days the S&P 500 was up at least 1.5% at 2:00pm, that’s the worst last hour of trading since Sept 27, 2011. Only other time we’ve seen that kind of swing post-crisis was October 12, 2011, and the swing was much smaller.”
Trump also had what to say about the raid, as could be expected. He blamed the raid for the huge market drop, likewise calling the raid “a witch hunt,” “an attack on our country,” and a “disgraceful situation.” The records seized reportedly included those related to hush moneys paid to a stripper – and we could see more dirt that might impair Trump’s presidency. Trump, in his unsophisticated way, deplored the decision: “The stock market dropped a lot today, as soon as they heard the noise, you know, this nonsense that was going on,” adding, “It was up, it was way up. It dropped quite a bit at the end.”
Trump was also busy on Twitter yesterday, fire and brimstone as usual: “When a car is sent to the United States from China, there is a Tariff to be paid of 2 1/2%. When a car is sent to China from the United States, there is a Tariff to be paid of 25%. Does that sound like free or fair trade? No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!”
Things though, for today, are looking cheerier, futures for U.S. stock markets seeking across the board gains of 1%. If Trump’s been instilling fear, his Chinese counterpart has tried to mitigate the situation, casting himself as a more dovish force and a more consensual player. “In a world aspiring for peace and development, the Cold War and zero-sum mentality look even more out of place,” Xi told the Boao Forum.
Yesterday, the tech sector saw sweeping gains, Microsoft (MSFT) climbing 0.6%, Alphabet (GOOGL) up 0.8%. Apple (AAPL) tacked on 1%. General Motors (GM) received an upgrade from Morgan Stanley, trading up 0.4% on the day. Merck (MRK) was up 5.3%, making it one of the biggest winners on the blue chip Dow. The pharmaceutical giant announced that it had met its primary endpoint in a Phase 3 trial.
Today’s Economic Calendar: The March National Federation of Independent Businesses small-business optimism index is expected for 6 a.m. Eastern Time. A producer price reading for March is due out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Be primed for February wholesale inventories at 10 a.m. Eastern.
The Q1 earnings season really gets down to business on Thursday and Friday, with BlackRock, Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Note what Wells Fargo has to say – if anything – about the developing scandal surrounding its auto-insurance and mortgage lending business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) acting director, Mick Mulvaney is pushing for a $1 billion fine; Trump had tweeted in early December about exacting stiff punishment on the bank for “their bad acts;” he stated then, “I will cut Regs but make penalties severe when caught cheating!”
As for what to expect today, keep your eyes peeled on VeriFone Systems (PAY) which saw a late session rally after agreeing to a private equity acquisition on the part of a group led by Francisco Partners. The deal placed a 54% premium on Verifone’s Monday closing price of $15.
Tupperware (TUP) saw losses late Monday after cutting its Q1 earnings guidance.
Tuesday’s Hot Stocks: PAY, VTVT, TUP, WATT, BLK, WFC, JPM, NKE, ED, STX
Have a great trading day!