Thursday, February 22, 2018
Can Rally Last? Markets Hate Uncertainty, and New President Loves It

NEW YORK, NY Feb. 7 (DPI) – Amid daily noise from the Trump administration – tweets and proclamations with no genuine implications for economic policy, at least yet – US stock indices continue their positive trend, buoyed by the longer-term prospect of promised tax cuts and business deregulation.

But some of the wiser Wall Streeters remain wary of the new president and his proud unpredictability, at a time when the US economy is deeply vulnerable to downturn:  Growth now depends on artificially low interest rates, global trade tensions are rising, and structural deficits such as unfunded entitlements portend an economic train wreck.

The New York Times today quotes a well respected hedge fund manager, Seth Klarman, who warned that Trump’s saber-rattling on trade and on immigration pose a lot of risk to the U.S. economy, which remains the world’s most important:

“Exuberant investors have focused on the potential benefits of stimulative tax cuts, while mostly ignoring the risks from America-first protectionism and the erection of new trade barriers … President Trump may be able to temporarily hold off the sweep of automation and globalization by cajoling companies to keep jobs at home, but bolstering inefficient and un-competitive enterprises is likely to only temporarily stave off market forces … While they might be popular, the reason the U.S. long ago abandoned protectionist trade policies is because they not only don’t work, they actually leave society worse off.”

Many market observers offer scenarios for the next several quarters, most of them focusing on a “trigger event” – a sudden military move that closes markets or trade routes, or even a 9/11-level act of terrorism against the west. But more likely, the move to weakening economic conditions is likely to be slow, and will not get much attention from the media,  which is preoccupied now by the antics of the new administration.


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