It was a lovely day in Palm Beach, Florida, today, sunny and 74 degrees and going up to maybe 80 tomorrow, according to weather.com. Pretty solid day for the stock market, too. Just wondering, whether the one has something to do with the other?
President Trump is spending the week at Mar-a-Lago, his private country club that he's now calling the Southern White House. He had nothing on his schedule today except to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at 3 p.m. and then have dinner with him and Mrs. Abe at 7:30 this evening, also at the club. That was it.
Earlier in the day he tweeted twice that he was looking forward to the meeting. Also, the White House said today the President has asked for an extension to file his taxes for 2017.
Welcome Prime Minister Abe! pic.twitter.com/538EYyfWDq— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2018
So, nothing about trade wars, tariffs, currency devaluations, wars in Syria, or North Korea, or Iran from the occupier of the Oval Office. Perhaps partly as a result, the major U.S. equity indexes rose strongly for a second day, fueled by better than expected earnings by Netflix (NFLX) and helped along by stalwart U.S. corporations including UnitedHealth (UNH) , General Electric (GE) and Cisco (CSCO) .
UnitedHealth is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS.
The major averages have mainly turned positive for the year and the S&P 500
All the best-performing companies are benefiting from the profit environment President Trump has largely put in place, one in which taxes are low, regulation is lax, enforcement is sketchy and the labor movement is dead. It's worth repeating that current conditions are more favorable to corporate profit interests than at any time in the U.S. since the Roaring Twenties, or perhaps the Gilded Age.
That could form the basis for an argument the President should spend a lot more time at his Southern White House or on the golf course, since he's shown a tendency to rattle markets when he's actually on the job in Washington, D.C. When he's a resident in the White House, the nation's chief executive has a way of fomenting all kinds of negative things, such as the exodus of about half of his senior staff within the first 15 months of his presidency.
It's not a statistic that most U.S. CEOs would be proud of, but it's just another reason why this President isn't like any of the others.
That's why Trump's tweet this morning accusing Russia and China of "playing the Currency Devaluation game" seemed to make about as much impression as his threat to impose global steel and aluminum tariffs. He walked back that threat by making an exception for major trade partners including Mexico, Canada and South Korea (though not Japan, to Abe's discontentment).
What plans do traders and investors imagine Trump has to punish China and Russia for devaluing their currencies? He didn't say, but the dollar is down against a basket of foreign currencies by about 2.7% so far this year, and that's of course good for U.S. corporations by making their goods less expensive overseas.
So it's a little unclear.
What's perfectly clear right now, though, are the skies above Mar-a-Lago and the forecast for tomorrow. Asian, European and U.S. stock futures are all up. Have the President and the Prime Minister set their tee time?
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