President Donald Trump reportedly has been “glued” to the recent volatile stock-market movements, worried that his actions are fueling the plunge.
Trump has been asking his advisers if they think the tariffs he's levied against China are causing the market's unrest over the past two months, The Wall Street Journal said. Trump remains convinced that the volatility isn’t his own doing, but rather, the product of the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise the benchmark interest rate, the Journal said.
The president still sees the Dow Jones Industrial Average as a significant benchmark for his performance, WSJ.com said, citing sources close to Trump. The blue chip index is up about 23 percent since Trump's inauguration but turned negative for the year during another rough market session Friday.
While at the White House, he will often keep the TV tuned to business channels and watch the Dow’s minute-to-minute movements, people close to the White House told the Journal.
Asked about Trump’s attention to the stock market, one person close to the White House told the Journal: “He’s glued to it.”
Meanwhile, since his election, Trump has tweeted about the stock market more than 35 times. Yet since Nov. 12, his social media account has been mum on the wild vacillations in U.S. equities, Bloomberg reported.
Continued bluster on U.S.-China trade, a flattening yield curve and predictions for a 2019 earnings slowdown have helped send the S&P 500 Index down more than 3 percent since he last weighed in. It swung at least 1 percent one way or the other on eight days in that span, and is now negative for the year.
Meanwhiile, U.S. equity futures fell about 0.4 percent to six-week lows on Monday, as a global selloff continued on signs of cooling growth and worries that escalating tensions between the United States and China could scuttle their fragile trade truce, Reuters reported.
Washington has set a March 1 “hard deadline” to successfully wrap up talks with Beijing over their trade spat, failing which a higher tariff rate will kick in, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Sunday.
That comes when investors are fretting that the arrest of a top Huawei Technologies executive at the behest of the United States could inflame tensions with China, though both the White House and Chinese state media have said the arrest and trade talks are separate events.
After U.S. jobs data missed expectations on Friday, fresh evidence of the impact of the trade war on the world economy came in the form of Japan’s economy shrinking last quarter and more crucially, China posting far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports.
“The arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada, following a U.S. extradition request, has created serious concerns that the truce between the two Presidents may end before the 90 days agreed upon,” Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM said in a client note.
“This is occurring at a time when the global economy is experiencing a slowdown - and here comes the big threat.”
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