We haven’t had an opener like what we experienced on Monday in quite some time. In the late morning hours, President Trump sent the financial markets roiling when he openly voiced support for breaking up the big banks. As a result, banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) had a choppy session, eventually closing virtually at parity against the prior trading day.
The markets aren’t sure what to make of the Trump administrations latest waves. Also on Monday, the Commander-in-Chief stated that he would like to meet North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. According to a Bloomberg report, President Trump stated “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it.”
Such rhetoric has more at stake than just the economy — and that’s a fairly “yuge” deal in and of itself. Relations with North Korea are at an absolute low, not that it was ever bright to begin with. However, President Trump has a reputation of being a rather hotheaded leader. One wrong move could easily bring the world towards a politically-generated catastrophe.
Having said that, it’s helpful to separate the mainstream media drama and what will likely occur. Leftist organizations have a vested interest in stymieing the Trump administration whenever and wherever possible. Therefore, we should take mainstream media reports with a grain of salt.
In this case, the President never stated that he respected the dictator. He’s wisely trying to diffuse the situation, but just as wisely keeping all his options open. Members of the military industrial complex, such as Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN), see no problem with that.
As far as the economy is concerned, I would also question the media’s reporting on the White House. The POTUS wanting to break up the big banks is a typical “Trumpism.” It’s the standard, playful bombast that we have come to expect from this administration. Donald Trump, is after all, a media brand. He’s made a fine living entertaining folks, so why now are people complaining of the very attribute that made him popular?
Anyone with a modicum of common sense will realize that a big bank breakup is impossible to do without a long-term strategy and bipartisan support. Like tax reform, it’s not going to happen — certainly, it’s not going to happen exactly in the manner proposed.
What will happen, though, is unbalanced pressure on the broader economy. Sure, certain sectors like technology are at record-breaking levels, but major indices aren’t feeling much love. The problem, as I’ve stressed before, lies in the U.S. Treasury markets.
When Donald Trump was elected President, the key 10-year Treasury yield spiked dramatically; in fact, it was the biggest single-day spike of 2016. But that enthusiasm has failed to carry over into the new year. That suggests that the bullishness in certain sectors are based on inflationary elements, and not due to intrinsic fundamentals.
The concern among the political independents is that issues such as the economy, the markets, or the direction of Treasury yields do not become mere partisan talking points. At some juncture, we have to stop playing the robbing Peter to pay Paul routine. A robust economy is a balanced economy — there’s no shortcuts involved.