In a few short hours we’ll be treated to the President-Elect’s much-anticipated first press conference. We're not sure there’s been a more eagerly awaited event of its kind in memory. As Bloomberg's Richard Breslow notes, global markets (ex-Mexico and Turkey) have ground to a halt. You can cut the anticipation with a knife.
Will the powerful trends we’ve seen for the last two months continue? Or reverse with a vengeance? All will be revealed. And investors will know exactly which the best trades to set up their year are.
Don’t get your hopes up. But who knows? It’s a must-listen in any case.
Investors will do their best to focus on comments and policy prescriptions specifically aimed at various sectors of the S&P 500. There will be a natural tendency to try to ignore as unpricable potential policies that affect massively important geopolitical and international economic issues. That might work in trading the S&P financials index this afternoon. But perhaps not so well for the Asia dollar index, where the countries comprising that measure are already being forced to speculate on what the acronym might be for a China-led economic and security pact.
The markets began motoring on election night after Mr. Trump made what was considered a sober and constructive acceptance speech. It will go down in history as the best example of the bar being set low. I suspect the bar remains low. But it remains to be seen if these new price levels will require more than “don’t be outrageous” to sustain themselves and continue on.
There will be a lot of hearing what you want to hear. And a lot of self-serving analysis. Do we need fiscal stimulus? What kind will actually do some good? Can we afford a bigger deficit and more debt? What sort of deregulation helps, what hurts? Do markets care if the climate takes a hit? Or will it conclude, ‘The climate is just fine, thank you, and my portfolio loves it?’
Powerful trends tend to confound those looking for a market-reversal for longer than it seems possible. And if there’s one trend that’s defied all expectations for a reversal, it is this election phenomenon. It is probably well worth hearing the press conference first before speculating on its outcome.
Additionally, BMO strategist Ian Lyngen notes that:
- Donald Trump focusing "primarily on fiscal stimulus and tax-cuts" at press conference scheduled for 11am will help equities, while Treasuries will likely "come under pressure."
- On the other hand, more attention on Trump’s proposed "non- economic policy changes" may undermine bid for stocks, support Treasury market.
Earlier, Lyngen wrote in note to clients BMO was going into the press conference assuming a focus on issues, with Trump outlining plan for administration’s first 100-days.
If Trump were to speak "more aggressively" on tariffs and/or China as currency manipulator, the "inflation narrative" will take over in Treasuries.
A "30 minute diatribe" on importance of building a wall, nuclear rearmament would send "far different" (risk-off) message than outlining tax cuts, infrastructure spending (risk-on, status quo).
Throughout 1Q, Lyngen sees Treasury market looking to incoming administration to "justify" the economic optimism, inflation jitters that pushed 10-year yields from 1.716% to 2.639% following the election.