MMA Weekly Column: November 18, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

The Wall Street Journal first reported the roadblock in the trade talks, adding China is hesitant to commit to a specific amount of agricultural products in the context of a potential deal. China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion in U.S. farm goods as part of the so-called phase one trade deal, President Donald Trump claimed last month. Stocks rapidly pared gains following the news. – Yun Li, “US-China Trade Talks are Getting Held Up Because of Disagreements on a Number of Issues,” https://www.cnbc.com, November 13, 2019.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to record levels on Friday, reaching 28,000 for the first time ever, after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said China and the U.S. were getting close to reaching a trade deal. – Fred Imbert, “Dow Jumps More than 200 Points to 28,000, Posts 4-Week Winning Streak,” https://www.cnbc.com, November 15, 2019.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: November 11, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

Beijing’s statement Thursday that the U.S. and China have agreed to roll back tariffs as part of a “phase one” trade accord lifted financial markets, but questions remained over how much ground – if any – the Trump administration has agreed to give. – Josh Zumbrun, William Mauldin, and Chao Deng, “Chinese Say Deal is Set, but Hurdles Remain,” Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2019.

President Donald Trump said Friday he has not agreed to scrap tariffs on Chinese goods, dampening hopes about a coming resolution to a jarring trade conflict. “They’d like to have a rollback,” he told reporters. “China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback because they know I won’t do it.” Stocks fell to their session lows following Trump’s comments. – Jacob Pramuk, “Trump Says He Has Not Agreed to Roll Back Tariffs on China, After a Week of Trade Optimism.”

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: November 4, 2019

Due to travel today to New Orleans, there will be no Free Weekly Column. Instead, we are going to reprint a full chapter from the Forecast 2019 Book, a timely piece since I am now in the middle of writing the Forecast 2020 Book. This chapter was written in November 2018, about one year ago. See below for the chapter, where I have added in my current thoughts in red, which show how my forecasts have unfolded for the President. If you wish to view and download a PDF of the chapter, with additional highlights and graphics, please click HERE. This chapter will give you an idea of what to expect in next year’s book, coming out on December 16, 2019. It’s going to be quite a year for the United States and President Trump and Forecast 2020 will give you a glimpse of what to anticipate in the 2020 Presidential Election. The book will also cover financial markets, favorable and challenging times in 2020, and forecasts for the year for each sign. Enjoy this chapter from Forecast 2019 along with my commentary!

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: October 28, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

The U.S. Treasury on Friday said that the federal deficit for fiscal 2019 was $984 billion, a 26% increase
from 2018 but still short of the $1 trillion mark previously forecast by the administration. The gap between
revenues and spending was the widest it’s been in seven years as expenditures on defense, Medicare and
interest payments on the national debt ballooned the shortfall… Annual deficits have nearly doubled under
President Donald Trump’s tenure notwithstanding an unemployment rate at multidecade lows and better
earnings figures. Deficits usually shrink during times of economic growth as higher incomes and Wall
Street profits buoy Treasury coffers, while automatic spending on items like food stamps decline – Thomas
Franck, “Federal Deficit Increase 26% to $984 Billion for Fiscal 2019, Highest in 7 Years,” https://www.cnbc.com, October 25, 2019.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: October 21, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

Larry Kudlow, the chief economic adviser to President Trump, accused staff members of the Federal Reserve’s Board of being part of the “deep state.” – Megan Henney, “Larry Kudlow Accuses Feb Board of Being ‘Deep State,’” https://foxbusiness.com, October 17, 2019.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday blasted President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, calling the move “a grave strategic mistake” in an op-ed for Washington Post. “The recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place,” McConnell wrote in the op-ed. While his piece does not explicitly lay blame at Trump’s feet — or even mention his name — it warns that the Trump administration’s sudden foreign policy shift “will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances.”– Kevin Breuninger, “Mitch McConnell Blasts Trump’s Syria Withdrawal as a ‘Strategic Nightmare.’” https://www.cnbc.com, October 18, 2019.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: October 14, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

Stocks slid off their best levels of the session on Friday after the U.S. and China agreed to a “phase one deal” in the trade war, but still managed to post strong gains. The deal, which will take three to five weeks to write, includes China agreeing to raise its agricultural purchases to between $40 billion and $50 billion from $8 billion to $16 billion, in addition to making reforms on intellectual property and financial services. The U.S. will not be raising tariffs from 25 percent to 30 percent on Oct. 15. A decision has not yet been made on the tariff increase scheduled for Dec. 15. China’s trade team is calling the agreement a “pause” in the trade war, and not a deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up as much as 517 points in the moments following the announcement before finishing higher by 319 points, or 1.2 percent.– Jonathan Garber, “US and China Agree to ‘Phase One Deal’ in Trade War, Stocks Rally,” https://www.foxbusiness.com, October 11, 2019.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: October 7, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

The U.S. economy added 136,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected an increase of 145,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, a 50-year low, but wages grew at a slower-than-expected pace last month. “This sounds like a Goldilocks number to me,” Steve Grasso, director of institutional sales at Stuart Frankel, told CNBC. “It still gives the Fed some room for cover to cut rates. This is as close to a not-too-hot, not-too-cold greeting for the market.” – Fred Imbert, “Dow Jumps More Than 200 Points After Steady Jobs Report,” October 4, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com.

And on that news, plus supportive statements by Fed Chair Jerome Powell that the economy was still on sound footing, the U.S. stock market blasted off to the upside.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: September 30, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

A week that started out as Democrats’ big push to destroy Mr. Trump, could instead easily come to be known as the week that ended Mr. Biden’s run. – Kimberly Strassel, “Taking Out Joe Biden,” Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2019.

What we know of the call (for impeachment) underscores Mr. Trump’s greatest flaw as President, which is his political narcissism. Every decision boils down to how it affects him or his re-election prospects. Other Presidents have made similar calculations, but Mr. Trump lacks the basic filter to know when he is crossing a line that creates trouble for himself or the country. – Review and Outlook, “Trump’s Ukraine Call,” Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2019.

Impeachment.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: September 23, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

As mid-level discussions take place this week between China and the U.S. amid an ongoing trade war, new reports indicate that President Trump might be prepared to escalate the situation should an agreement not be reached in the near future. – Brittany de Lea, “Is Trump Preparing to Ramp Up U.S., China Trade War?” September 19, 2019, https://www.foxbusiness.com.

Chinese trade negotiators had a sudden change of plans Friday, canceling a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week. The cancellation put a damper on hopes that China would restart purchasing U.S. agricultural goods, which it had halted in April in retaliation against President Donald Trump’s tariffs. – Yun Li, “Chinese Trade Negotiators Cancel U.S. Farm Visit,” https://www.cnbc.com, September 20, 2019.

Continue reading…

MMA Weekly Column: September 16, 2019

REVIEW AND PREVIEW

The U.S. budget deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time in seven years, the Treasury Department said Thursday. The federal government’s budget deficit rose by $200 billion in August to $1.067 trillion. It’s up 19 percent, or $169 billion, from the October to August period of last year. The national debt now stands at $22.5 trillion, up 13 percent since Trump took office in January 2017.– Jonathan Garber, “U.S. Budget Deficit Tops $1 Trillion,” https://www..foxbusiness.com, September 12, 2019.

The ECB announced a new quantitative easing program Thursday which will see 20 billion euros ($21.9 billion) per month of net asset purchases for as long as the central bank deems necessary. It also cut the rate on its main deposit facility by 10 basis points to -0.5%, a new record low, and introduced tiering measures to mitigate damage to banks’ balance sheets. – Elliot Smith, “European Stocks Close Higher After Aggressive ECB Stimulus,” https://www.cnbc.com, September 12, 2019.

Continue reading…