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Trading Trump: Wall Street stresses over White House comments

December 06
10:36 2018

JPMorgan Chase & Co’s (JPM.N) trading desk was not buying what U.S. President Donald Trump was selling this week.

On Tuesday, major stock indexes plummeted more than 3 percent on renewed fears of a trade war with China — just days after Trump tweeted, following a steak dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, that “Relations with China have taken a BIG leap forward!”

“It doesn’t seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner,” JPMorgan wrote in a note to clients later that day, adding that Trump’s tweets “seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated.”

The mistrust from the bank’s trading desk highlights a broader dilemma for Wall Street investors: how seriously to take comments from the White House.

On one hand, traders have long known that President Trump’s bold pronouncements do not always hold, ultimately muting their effect on securities. On the other hand, market volatility has picked up in 2018, in part because of confusion over comments by Washington officials, making them harder to ignore.

“It’s a judgment call about which announcements should be taken seriously,” said Maria Vassalou, portfolio manager for Perella Weinberg Partners’ $685 million global macro strategy.

“This situation certainly creates unnecessary volatility and complications to the investment process.”

Continue Reading at Reuters

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