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Stocks Crash In Christmas Eve Bloodbath After Trump Insults Jerome Powell’s Golf Game On Twitter

A Christmas Eve massacre.

Somehow, Donald Trump managed to make things worse for investors on a day when it would have been nearly impossible for sentiment to deteriorate further.

And this is the “miracle” of Trump. He continually one-ups himself when it comes to abject absurdity. Just when you think it can’t possibly get any more outlandish and/or surreal, he takes it up another notch. For the Spinal Tap fans, “these” don’t just “go to 11” when it comes to Trumpian bombast – “these go to 12” or even “13”.

Trump surely knows that the proximate cause of Friday’s tumult in markets was the shutdown. Similarly, he is undoubtedly aware that rumors he may attempt to fire Jerome Powell are in part responsible for the selloff on Monday. Indeed, sources privately told CNBC that one of the reasons Steve Mnuchin reached out to bank CEOs on Sunday and convened a “plunge protection” meeting on Monday was to discuss that rumor.

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‘Prudent’: As Panic Spreads, Treasury Rushes To Explain Why Mnuchin Yelled ‘Fire’ In A Crowded Theatre

Given that, and given that stocks were in free fall again on Monday morning, the last thing Trump should be doing is tweeting about Jerome Powell. But not only did he tweet about his beleaguered Fed chair, he actually managed to craft a tweet that rolled up everything the market is concerned about into a golf metaphor. To wit, from the President:

The only problem our economy has is the Fed. They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch – he can’t putt!

Stocks, which were attempting a rebound, immediately started to plunge back to day lows. Here’s S&P futs, just so you can get a sense of this in the context of Monday morning’s mini-“flash” event:

ES

(Bloomberg)

And, more poignantly, here’s the Dow:

DJIA

(Bloomberg)

On Friday, we suggested – somewhat jokingly, but not entirely in jest – that a part of Trump might actually be doing this on purpose. We quoted Notes From Disgraceland on that point. To wit, from a piece they published back in June of 2017:

One can sense something almost vindictive in his pursuit of the symbolic self. Trump’s conduct is a suicide from the ambush. His presidency represents a rebellion of the hysterical person against his symbolic persona, an attempt of Donald Trump the citizen to take out Donald Trump the president.

So much of what’s playing out right now is entirely contrived. The shutdown is contrived, for instance. A stopgap funding bill had already passed the Senate. The White House was reportedly ready to move ahead with it as late as last Thursday morning. Then, suddenly, “steel slat barrier” was trending on Twitter and before anybody knew what was happening, Trump delivered a government shutdown for Christmas.

On Sunday evening, investors were just hoping to get through Monday’s shortened session unscathed, and out of the blue, Steve Mnuchin pops up on Twitter talking about emergency calls with bank executives necessitated by rumors that Trump is about to fire Jerome Powell.

Fast forward 12 hours and, literally just as stocks looked like they might be able to recover amid headlines that Mnuchin’s entirely unnecessary call with regulators ended with everyone telling Steve that everything is generally fine, Trump accused Powell of not being able to “putt”.

And you think I’m exaggerating. But I’m not. Look at the time stamp on the Bloomberg headlines from Mnuchin’s plunge protection meeting:

mnuchin

Now look at the time stamp on Trump’s tweet:

Trump

Again, you almost wonder if he’s intentionally sabotaging himself out of sheer spite for decorum. If so, it’s working. Have a look at this:

Dow

(Bloomberg)

And here’s the Monday market map for the S&P:

Map

(Bloomberg)

It was an absolute bloodbath for the fourth consecutive session.

SPX

(Bloomberg)

Meet the bear.

bear

(Bloomberg)

The VIX is now above 34 and the Nasdaq VIX is pushing towards 2018 highs.

VIXVXN

(Bloomberg)

This kind of erratic behavior is fine (although that depends on your definition of “fine”, I suppose) as long as he’s “private citizen Trump”. But when he’s “President Trump”, that kind of insanity manifests itself in real-world outcomes with far-reaching ramifications – and not just for markets.

At some point, you’d think Republicans would begrudgingly come to terms with the reality of this situation, which is that the rationale for removing Trump from the Oval Office need not be couched in terms of “collusion” or “obstruction”. There is now voluminous evidence to support the contention that Trump is simply not all there.

In any event, Trump wishes you (and your P/L) a Merry Christmas.


 

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15 comments on “Stocks Crash In Christmas Eve Bloodbath After Trump Insults Jerome Powell’s Golf Game On Twitter

  1. Scoopy, Scoopy on the Dow…Heisenberg. <20K by 2019?
    Have a good island holiday.

  2. If we don’t force him out of the oval office, we are the crazy ones! Those elected people, Repubs and Democrats, all work for us. If they don’t do the job, we have to remove them too. If we sit around and bitch about the destruction and do not force his removal, we are not protecting our democracy.

    • I understand the sentiment, but short of the 25th how do you propose that we force him out? The election is 2 years away. If the Dems are dumb enought to run Hillary or someone as tone deaf as her, we’ll have him for another 4 years.

      • STEP ONE — bombard every single one of the members of House and Senate with your demands — use every source. Emails to your state politicians, regardless of their position, for or against trump; make them aware we are waiting for them to unite and get his ass OUT — phone calls and leave messages expressing your opinions. You can get most of the addresses and phone numbers via Google or their local offices. Not just one time, do it often! Caution, do not threaten violence etc – just tell them to do their jobs per their sworn oath of office, etc. Write petitions and get signatures from your friends and neighbors and club members, everyone you know, the stockers and checkers at your local grocery stores, etc. Deliver them in person if possible or Fed Ex. Use the 25th in your messages – tell them to force him to undergo testing, etc. I bet John Cornyn’s and Cruz’s office know me by my first name by now!! Be active and aggressive and creative to deliver your messages! Simply bitching about this crap to your pals is not effective – tell it to the ones who make decisions and vote on your behalf and IF they do not comply, vote them out of office in 2020 – that will help enforce your message to those still in office.

        I highly doubt Hillary will be running — I am hoping Beto O’Rourke will be! Mention his name in your comments to your people. Tell the Democrats we have had enough of the same shit every year and it is over — they do what the citizens of America want them to do or they will be the next target.

        And do not forget that Hillary did win the popular vote and should have been elected if not for Russia. I would vote for her over most other Democrats that we see right now! And I damn sure will never vote for a Repub, never in my lifetime. I already have my Beto button! 😃

        I also have sent messages directly to the WH and yes full name, address, email, etc is required. No problem! Just remember to use caution – however I did tell him to fuck off in a couple of messages!
        https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

        • Don’t misunderstand,

          The only Constitutional way to oust Trump is to invoke the 25th Amendment or to Impeach him in the House and then convict him in the Senate currently hheld by R’s. So I’m assuming that you are recommending writing to our representatives to impeach him andthen convict. That would be useful to help them understand our dissatisfaction..

          Hillary may have won the popular vote but again from the Constitutional standpoint she lost the Electoral College vote, therefore according to our Constitution Trump won. The real question should be, “Is the Electoral College outdated”? The bigger issue is for “political professionals” why on earth did she not show up in Ohio, Mich, Wisc., etc? Had she run a smarter campaign she would be president. She didn’t, therefore we have Trump. Personally I don’t think he ever expected to win. The run was just a way to promote his brand and increas his value over time. When he won, I thought it would only be for a single term given what I just said about his brand.

          The scary part is that it looks like he’s gearing up for another run.

          • I am quite sure that Hillary did not plan the campaign – they hire people for that job! You cannot believe that ignorant trump planned his own campaign. And yes, the Electoral College is very outdated as are other parts of the Constitution. I have read several articles that trump did not expect to win – he was only interested in his brand and making money as a result of his run. Melania was very unhappy before, during and after that campaign – the best part of the story is that “Mother” Pence detests trump and was just flat out pissed when he won – I think I read her comment to her husband was “well, are you happy now” and she turned her back and walked away as he tried to embrace her after the win.

            I believe there is enough evidence to adequately prove trump is incompetent for the office, a very real threat to national security and could be removed if Congress works toward that goal. Throw in the huge dissatisfaction of the majority American population (even street protests,etc) demanding it.

            A perfect end would be to see him handcuffed and perp walked out the front door of the WH! Hallelujah and Amen!

  3. Harvey Darrow Cotton

    Forgive a possibly tinfoil theory, but I think Mnuchin is sabotaging Trump here. Mnuchin may be a gangster and a toadie, but he ran a large and lucrative financial firm. He knows the different uses of the word liquidity.

    I think he made either a routine inquiry about bank strength or an entirely unnecessary one, “leaked” it on Twitter, and allowed the stock market to blow up on Christmas Eve. Traders had half an eye on a mid-week off day. They didn’t want this. There would have been thin liquidity and few trades.

    Because Trump owned the rise of the stock market on the way up, and is physiologically incapable of self-awareness or reasonable course corrections, a slight push forces a disproportionate counter-response. Republicans do not care about the rule of law, or governance, or decorum, but their donors and their need to make ever more money. I think now that Pence is Constitutionally able to serve as President and still seek re-election twice, I think the small daggers are going to come out and Trump’s days are numbered.

    • If you want tinfoil hats, why stretch even that far?

      Imagine you had access to nothing more than a simple retail trading account, leveraged ETFs to long and short the market, and a megaphone the size of the world that could have rapid and measurable impacts on stock prices…

  4. I am sure H….can confirm this.. In Economics 101 if you used Samuelson as the text i distinctly remember that making the stock market GO UP was first on the list of three Fed mandates… Donald told me so !! Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

  5. Everything Trump does makes Putin smile.

  6. To be honest, given his track record and career choices, President Trump’s actions could be entirely rational and tactical. All we need to do to confirm that is access to his trading history.

    I mean, the average retail investor can take out leveraged positive and inverse positions on the market through dead-simple ETFs now, and plenty of people are trying to cash in on the political trade.

    Doesn’t take a heck of a lot of imagination…

  7. Lance Manly

    Rampell nailed it https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/wonder-how-the-trump-administration-would-handle-a-financial-crisis-well-now-we-know/2018/12/24/159ebec4-07bd-11e9-a3f0-71c95106d96a_story.html

    “If markets were worried about anything, it was Trump’s scheme to fire Powell, not bank liquidity — until Mnuchin suggested they should be worried about bank liquidity. The whole episode was like going to your doctor for a heart attack and being told not to worry because he knows how to treat brain cancer.”

  8. I appreciate your research and articles, but the linking of causality is happening too much lately. Markets rebound to certain levels and drop due to resistances and supports. Trump tweeting at roughly the same time is a mere coincidence. I don’t think linking these two events and suggesting that it’s actually Trump’s tweets that are causing the decline is pretty baffling, especially considering that he’s tweeted other nonsense about the fed that either caused no reaction or an opposite reaction. While I am certainly not saying that his tweets don’t impact the markets, I think it is very exaggerated in this scenario and I don’t think any insight is gained from articles like this.

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