Tags: China | Trump Administration | small | cap | rout | haven | trade

Small-Cap Rout Shows They're No Haven From Trade Turmoil

Small-Cap Rout Shows They're No Haven From Trade Turmoil
(Ilka-erika-Szasz-fabian/Dreamstime)

Thursday, 23 May 2019 04:42 PM

Investors who moved into small-cap U.S. stocks this month thinking they’d be better positioned to withstand the latest trade war flare-up are feeling the sting today.

Stocks in the Russell 2000 Index were among the hardest hit in a broad equity rout as traders dug in for a protracted dispute between the U.S. and China. A tumble of as much as 1.9% had the gauge poised to close below its 50-day, 100-day and 200-day moving averages for the first time since the market recovered from last year’s sell-off.

Just last week, investors rushed into the iShares Russell 2000 ETF, pouring almost $800 million into the exchange-traded fund. The rationale was that smaller U.S. companies that get a lesser portion of their sales from overseas won’t be as hurt by tariffs. The small-cap index outperformed the S&P 500 in the first part of 2018 as the first round of tariffs went into effect. Then it fell harder as the market plunged in the latter half of the year.

“Investors seem to believe early 2018 was a playbook for trade turmoil,” said Gina Martin Adams, the chief equity strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence. “But I think small caps likely outperformed mostly on the earnings benefit of lower taxes, not on trade’s impediment to global sales and the dollar breakout. This means early 2018 is not a playbook for trade turmoil at all. If anything, late 2018 may be more relevant.”

President Donald Trump touched off the latest trade-related market tumult this month that killed what had been growing speculation that the U.S. and China were close to making a deal. Since then, both sides have ratcheted up rhetoric and appear to be as far apart as ever.

The Russell 2000 has fallen almost 7% since a pair of Trump tweets inflamed the conflict on May 5. The S&P 500 is down 4.5% during the same period.

© Copyright 2019 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
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Investors who moved into small-cap U.S. stocks this month thinking they'd be better positioned to withstand the latest trade war flare-up are feeling the sting today.
small, cap, rout, haven, trade, turmoil
313
2019-42-23
Thursday, 23 May 2019 04:42 PM
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