WASHINGTON. You read that headline right. But it’s not ours. It’s the latest Trump tweet celebrating another surprising record scored today by the broad-based S&P 500 average. Forget the media’s terror campaign against President Trump’s long overdue battle against unfair trade practices. Forget the smarmy spectacle Democrats have made of a Supreme Court nomination. U.S. markets decided to simply shrug these and other risks off in Thursday’s trading action on Wall Street.
S&P 500 HITS ALL-TIME HIGH Congratulations USA!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2018
We found ourselves pleasantly surprised today as well. That’s atypical, given our well-founded suspicion of normally rotten September trading patterns. While 2018’s September Song has yet to sing its concluding stanza, action like we witnessed today was certainly encouraging for the bulls. And it was certainly encouraging for our portfolios, which have looked a bit anemic over the last 60 days or so.
Fact checking that Trump tweet
As if to echo that triumphant Trump tweet, after the NYSE’s 4 p.m. closing bell, CNBC rolled out the final stats on this remarkable day.
“The Dow jumped 251.22 points to 26,656.98 as Boeing, Caterpillar and Apple all rose. The S&P 500 also rose 0.8 percent to an all-time high, its first since late August, as materials, consumer staples and tech outperformed. The broad index close Thursday’s session at 2,930.75.
“The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1 percent to 8,028.23 as Amazon also gained 1 percent as the company unveiled several Alexa-powered devices, including a microwave. The tech-heavy Nasdaq also close about 1.3 percent away from a record high. Apple, meanwhile, closed 0.8 percent higher.”
China trade war continues apace
Regarding that ongoing trade battle with China, the White House propaganda machine was at its feistiest. The latest “West Wing Reads” showed up in our email box even before the market opened. It noted that even the New York Times offered a sunny view of yet another controversial move by the President.
“In The New York Times, Clifford Krauss writes that President Donald J. Trump’s oil sanctions on Iran—part of the President’s withdrawal from the fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal—are effectively weakening the regime’s leverage as oil companies across the globe bail out of deals with Tehran.
“‘The president is doing the opposite of what the experts said, and it seems to be working out,’ said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy and Economic Research.”
Maybe the President could offer another epic Trump tweet on this issue, too.
More on the trade war from the punditocracy
But major trade issues with China still dominate the financial punditocracy. Even here, though, enough sunshine burst through to kick stocks into high gear. At least today, as the previously cited CNBC article duly notes.
“‘I think we’re moving away from fears of a global trade war to maybe just one with China,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management. Earlier, ‘it seemed like more countries would be caught in the administration’s cross hairs; now it appears to be just one.’
“…the levies imposed by both countries were seen as less than previously feared, helping lift sentiment on Wall Street. The Dow is up more than 1 percent over the past two days. The S&P 500, meanwhile, has risen more than 0.6 percent in that time period.
“‘I’m not at all surprised investors are taking the latest tariffs and the more muted response from China as a positive,’ said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. She noted that trade news have been both a positive and negative catalyst for stocks this year. Hence, a more muted escalation to the trade conflict is seen as a net positive. ‘But I don’t think the worries about trade are completely over, especially if the U.S. tariffs on China increase to 25 percent.’
ZeroHedge, meet Jamie Dimon, revisionist
The always entertaining ZeroHedge offered an opinion that was the same only different.
“The Dow finally broke above its January record highs and there were record highs all around for stocks as trade wars are now a buying opportunity (so the narrative goes – if stocks drop, then Trump will pull out of trade war, so buy stocks, durr!!)”
Now, back to CNBC.
“J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon also played down the conflict between the U.S. and China, calling it a skirmish and not a trade war.”
Gosh, and we thought Jamie was considering a run for President in 2020. Maybe not, though. His compensation package at J.P. Morgan (trading symbol: JPM) is light years better than what he’d get for putting up with Deep State crap in The Swamp. That’s a pretty sobering notion, indeed.
A happy Trump tweet means all’s right with the world. Usually.
You have to love a trading day like Thursday. Moods are sunny and all’s right with the world, at least for a day. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Probably some negative payback if September 2018 decides to get back in line with other nasty Septembers past. Maybe we should tweet about that. But we usually don’t opine on this platform. Hell, we’re probably already shadow banned.
Ah, but we’ll take a day like this one when we can get it. Our naturally sunny disposition – sorely tested in recent years by the sheer political viciousness of our long-time home city, Washington, D.C. – often transforms trading days and weeks into a slow, cold, hard slog. That’s particularly true if you are, as we are, not even remotely part of the Deep State, which always takes care of their own and ruins the rest of us.
In the meantime, Mr. Market did care for us today. So we’ll give thanks for now. And try not to dread what will happen on Friday. Because you never know. Until the next Trump tweet.
—Headline image: Cartoon by Branco. Reproduced with permission and by arrangement with Legal Insurrection.