WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 – 30 minutes remain to buy and sell stocks this Friday afternoon, and the market, after spending much of the day modestly in the green looks like it’s ready to tank, having already dropped over 100 Dow points just a bit before we started writing this report. The S&P 500 is not doing well either, down 5.42 currently. On the other hand, the tech-heavy NASDAQ has been moderately up all day. Go figure.
If you read frantic media reports, the market surges and countertrend market bloodbaths this week have all been attributed to the rocky fate of the Paul Ryan-championed House bill known as AHCA—the bill that will supposedly (if passed) lead to the process of repealing and replacing the rapidly failing Obamacare monstrosity.
As of this second (3:40 p.m. ET), no one really knows of the bill’s fate. It was supposed to have been subject to an up-or-down house vote at 3:30, though that vote hasn’t happened yet. But we just noted a report on CNBC claiming that
“[President] Trump personally told Washington Post reporter Robert Costa about the move during a phone call, Costa tweeted.
“‘We just pulled it,’ Trump reportedly said to Costa.”
CNBC reports that sister division NBC News claims the President had also asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to pull the bill.
As this writer knows so well from his own stint as Federal government contractor from the late ‘90s through the mid-‘00s, no government deadline is ever precise, and few appointments are ever started on time. Unlike the world of business, government, particularly the Federal kind, operates on a kind of mañana basis, and anything that can possibly be dragged out for virtue signaling, political gain or monetary reward will be dragged out.
More than likely, AHCA is DOA. For now. It could come back gussied up with various concessions and payoffs on Monday, but who knows or cares? Republicans know that
- No Democrat will be permitted to vote for anything that alters Obamacare in any way even though that bureaucratic mess is crashing to earth with no hope of survival. The Democrats are all about politics and political power and have not given a damn about America for at least the last 20 years. They will do nothing to help Republicans rescue a dire healthcare situation that the Democrat Party alone has caused.
- Super-conservative Republicans and a handful of limousine liberal Republicans, aka RINOS, at least as of now, are busy doing what the Stupid Party has always done best: Destroy their own party’s consensus in favor of virtue signaling their own conservative (or liberal) ideological purity, giving this more importance than actually demonstrating that their party can actually govern the country—controlling both Houses and the Presidency no less.
Heaven only knows where stocks will close today. The Dow is now down only 36+ points and the S&P 500 has turned slightly positive again even as we write this. The punditocracy is joyfully proclaiming this vote as a complete disaster for Trump, the Republican leadership and the Deplorables who voted for all of them, claiming the market is tanking as a result of their demonstrated failure to do anything.
That, of course, is incredibly dishonest. Yet it’s what we can expect from these Democrat operatives with by-lines.
As we’ve said before, the market is wobbly right now likely because, as fun as it was (and may be again), the Trump Rally went on too long and went too far, meaning it was time for a correction, which, if you look at the stats, started around March 1 and is continuing as the market moves mostly sideways. To attribute the negative Wall Street mood right now to the idiocy and caprice of official Washington is convenient, to be sure, but is also wrong.
Politics can be a long game. The Republicans have to do something about Obamacare and they will. But not today, it seems.
Meanwhile, the market will do what it wants to do. Inside-the-Beltway stupidity is a given and may influence headline risk to an extent. But investors are better off looking at stock fundamentals and chart patterns. Given today’s largely moronic political class, giving these clowns too much credit on market patterns is way off the mark no matter what all those self-proclaimed geniuses on TV will tell you.
So relax and have a great weekend already.