Friday, December 21, 2018

News and thoughts, our President and the market...

This comment was to be titled "news and thoughts of the day", but then realized it would encompass more than one day.  There is no shortage of topics, but brevity is the goal.

---The equity market has collapsed.  The timing is awkward.  On Monday there will only be a half day of trading so there will be no news there, just enough time to slip in and buy or sell discreetly.  Then a three day week of trading followed by the New Year's Day event, again Monday trading followed by Tuesday off.  For anxious market participants, that means it's unlikely for there to be any hint of relief or clarity until January 2nd begins a New Year.  For nail biters, get out the Polysporin.

---Our incoherent President is on a rampage.  There is no way for anyone to know what comes next.  The departure of Mattis is a big deal, the last adult in the room some would say.  Withdrawing from Syria and on to Afghanistan without any discussion with allies or with members of Congress, even those in his own Party, is without precedent.  It is simply an exercise of power that he uses to spite others.  It detracts attention from his other issues such as the Mueller investigation and the discomfort that Congress feels with his approach to the budget.  The "wall" is a simple concept, for a simple man. 

---For those inclined to believe the mantra "don't look at what he says, but what he does", your faith may be tested.  As Commander in Chief, what Trump tweets at 5:30am is policy.  He can tell the military to move 5000 troops to the border for no reason, or to leave a country as quickly as possible. On domestic issues his impact is not so immediate, but his opinions can be corrosive.  His one vaunted "success" was the tax cut bill, but its boost to the economy was designed to raise stock market prices and then lead to the old trickle down.  So that's done and wealth disparity, which is the biggest domestic problem, has seemingly widened.  Wage increases lag.  More facts will come in the next few months on those issues.

---There are two primary accounts here in my name, one at Fidelity and one at Schwab.  The Fidelity account is run for growth, and today was down 2.2%.  The Schwab account is more conservative and declined 1.1%.  That is just one day.  Taking the time to calculate the loss for the week might be disheartening, so why do it.  Truth is, I have been waiting for the real Trump effect to take hold.  This may be it.


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