It was another Friday with a falling Dow Jones Industrial Average
"It's very hard to go into a weekend without ringing the register," Cramer said.
That seems like a prudent bet this weekend, when President Trump is going to skip the White House Correspondents' Dinner and instead head to Michigan for a political rally on Saturday night. The White House hasn't published a full schedule for both days, but it looks like perhaps there won't be any golf. Cramer is right to worry - Trump has a way of rattling markets when he's not focused on a little white ball.
The Dow's fallen the last four trading Fridays in a row, not counting Good Friday when markets were closed, and some of the drops have been significant - 2.3% on April 6 and 1.8% on March 23. The markets were mostly flat on Friday, with the S&P 500
So that's better than usual for a Friday, but the question this whole year has been why the markets haven't made as much headway as they enjoyed during President Trump's first 11 months in office. It's the middle of earnings season, and for the most part big-name companies like Caterpillar (CAT) and Action Alerts PLUS holding Amazon (AMZN) have been posting results that have easily beaten expectations, without getting rewarded with a stock bump. For goodness' sake, there might be peace in Korea!
Recently there's been talk that equity investors are fretting about prospects that the economy is slowing, that interest rates and commodity prices are rising, or that the President's tariff-dependent trade policy could damage U.S. corporate interests.
The trade argument is reasonable, while the idea of investors dumping stocks to get a 3% yield on U.S. Treasuries seems like a bet without a great deal of upside, unless you're terrified. In a week that both the French President and the German Chancellor visited Washington in part to persuade the President to exempt their countries from steel tariffs set to kick in next month, The Wall Street Journal pointed out that in the meantime both European Union countries and Nafta member Mexico are looking for trade deals that exclude the U.S. If Trump winds up killing Nafta, the Journal said, it would be regarded as "one of the worst self-inflicted economic wounds in nearly a century."
The problem remains that the personnel running the U.S. government at its highest levels would be regarded as a disaster at any well-run publicly traded U.S. company, and would probably prompt board intervention. The latest fiasco, in which the President's nominee for the head of Veterans Affairs had to withdraw after it turned out that not only didn't he have any relevant management experience but also allegedly had a mess of personal problems, reflects badly on the President's judgment in choosing "only the best people."
Still, the beat goes on, to the degree that President Trump's budget director and head of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, confided to a group of bankers that when he was a congressman, he'd talk to lobbyists who had paid him, wouldn't talk to those who didn't, and allowed that he would speak to constituents without a fee. The inference was that pay-for-play is an accepted tactic in the Trump regime, and maybe that could be a slight psychological deterrent for investors.
Though corporations now seem well-positioned to extend their influence over the nation's wealth to an ever-greater degree, boosted by low taxes, lax regulation, scant enforcement and a moribund labor movement, something feels wrong. Even when inclined to take advantage of an immensely favorable economic environment, most businessmen with integrity don't want to win a game that's rigged.
To contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @johnpickering16.