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The Art of Saying Nothing – 6/4/2018

Posted June 4, 2018

Imagine if President Trump would have adopted a period of reflection and silence after he signed the tax cut bill in December. This is what Rick Newman, columnist for Yahoo Finance, considers if Trump would just get out of the way of our strong economy: the stock market would be doing much better, we would be getting along with our allies instead of picking fights with most of them, CEOs would be more confident, and farmers would not be worried about their international markets. The fact is that Trump’s disruptive pronouncements on trade are the only cloud over the stock market.

The Consequences of Destructive Headlines

The June 1 editorial page of the Wall Street Journal slams Trump for his tariff folly and concludes that although he aspires to be Ronald Reagan, he aligns more closely with Herbert Hoover. Greg Valliere, Chief Global Strategist at Horizon Investments disagrees when Trump contends that the U.S. is now more respected under his presidency. For Valliere “The U.S. is distrusted, viewed as unreliable and erratic.”

Here is what gets hidden because of Trump’s self-generated negativity:

  • U.S. unemployment is down to 3.8%, the lowest level in 18 years.
  • Capital expenditures by U.S. companies are up 24% from a year ago.
  • S&P 500 earnings grew at 25% compared to last year.
  • U.S. banks just logged a record quarterly profit. Despite Trump’s incoherent, reckless and arbitrary pronouncements on trade, the stable and positive stock market performance in May is a testament to the strong fundamentals listed above, which continue to overcome the self-inflicted headwinds.

The Fed’s Goldilocks View of Inflation

The recently-released minutes from the Fed’s May meeting make it clear that the Fed is increasingly confident that inflation will stabilize near 2% and that inflationary forces are not too hot and not too cold. In this context, the bond market offered some positive stability to portfolios in our May client statements. Market fundamentals will reward those who are patient. We always welcome your calls.

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