''Watch what we do, not what we say,'' Attorney General John Mitchell advised the press at the start of the Nixon administration. Investors should heed those words when it comes to the fledgling administration of Donald Trump.
Stocks closed higher Friday, snapping a five-day losing streak as traders reacted positively to a new batch of strong corporate earnings and the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States.
Wall Street still embraces Trump's agenda of lower taxes, deregulation and laissez-faire economics. But now, it's time for him to deliver. In this overbought and shaky market, political disappointment will probably clobber the weakest equities.
In a surprisingly dark inaugural speech that seemed more like an angry stump stemwinder, Trump said "this American carnage stops" and vowed to protect the U.S. from "the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs."
Trump received a roar of approval from supporters in the crowd when he issued the clarion call to "buy American and hire American." And yet, many of those very same supporters were wearing Trump's trademark red "Make America Great Again" baseball caps that were made in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
In the week ahead, skittish investors will look for further signs of disconnect between Trump's rhetoric and the reality.
Specifically, what will Trump's "America First" slogan portend for U.S. multinationals? Financial and business leaders tend to abhor trade tariffs and restrictions. If Trump's aggressive stance toward China and Mexico results in the eruption of trade wars, the overvalued stock market could find the trigger it needs for a correction.
Despite Friday's modest gains, the major stock indexes ended the week lower. The post-election "Trump rally" fueled by exuberance over Trump's investor-friendly policies has faded amid worries that his protectionist inclinations could weigh on corporate profits.
That said, corporate profits this quarter have been encouraging. Notably, Procter & Gamble (PG) jumped 3.2% on Friday in the wake of robust operating results. The global consumer powerhouse reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.08, exceeding the consensus estimate of $1.06. Revenue reached $16.9 billion, beating the consensus estimate of $16.8 billion. Those numbers bode well for the overall consumer sector, as traders brace for a widely expected recession in 2017.
In another sign that the financial services sector enjoys momentum, Citigroup (C) on Wednesday posted a positive earnings surprise of 1.8% for fourth-quarter 2016, with EPS of $1.14 that beat the consensus estimate of $1.12.
Here are the key earnings reports to watch in the first week of Donald Trump's presidency:
Monday: Halliburton (HAL) , McDonald's (MCD) , Yahoo! (YHOO) . Tuesday: 3M (MMM) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) , Kimberly-Clark (KMB) , Lockheed Martin (LMT) , Alcoa (AA) . Wednesday: Abbott Laboratories (ABT) , Boeing (BA) , Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) , Novartis (NVS) . Thursday: Baker Hughes (BHI) , Bristol-Myers (BMY) , Comcast (CMCSA) , Dow Chemical (DOW) , Intel (INTC) , Starbucks (SBUX) . Friday: AbbVie (ABBV) , Chevron (CVX) , American Airlines (AAL) , General Dynamics (GD) , Colgate-Palmolive (CL) .
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Noteworthy on the economic report calendar in the week ahead: Tuesday: Existing Home Sales. Thursday: Jobless Claims and New Home Sales. Friday: Durable Goods Orders, U.S. Gross Domestic Product, and Consumer Sentiment.
America is in deep trouble. A stock market correction, economic recession and geopolitical strife all loom on the horizon in 2017. The coming crisis has the potential to make 2008-2009 look like child's play. To learn how to protect your wealth, click here now.