It may seem very far out right now, but the 2020 election is looking like it could be a very bad outcome for markets. Democrats are still leading in the polls, which is bad news because pretty much every candidate (perhaps with the exception of Biden) looks like they would be quite bearish for markets. Between higher taxes, more regulations, and government run healthcare, the outlook for markets from most of the leading candidates appears bleak.
FINSUM: When you take even a casual glance at how this election is shaping up, things look rough. You have the most leftist Democratic candidates in memory, and they are leading the polls. We think the polls are off and Trump still has better odds, but there is undoubtedly a very large risk.
After the “trade truce” at the G20 it was looking more like the US and China may get a trade deal done soon. However, news out recently says otherwise, as China has not boosted its purchases of US agricultural products. Such a move was a key tenet of the agreement Trump apparently struck with Xi at the G20, but Beijing has not followed through on the promise. Trump complained publicly about this yesterday, but China denies they ever made such an agreement.
FINSUM: This seems small and petty but it is precisely not the direction that one would like these talks to be headed in.
Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016 was preceded by a nice run-up in markets, and the same thing seems to be happening right now. The market’s continued rise appears to point to an underlying confidence in the economy, and the more it goes up, the more out-of-touch Democrats’ negative attacks on the US economy and society may seem to voters. “The markets are starting to embrace the idea that Trump wins reelection. Most of the people in the markets don’t like him personally, but they like his policies”, said a veteran fund manager at AGF investments.
FINSUM: We have to agree with the assessment that a continued rise in the economy and markets would not be favorable to Democrats’ chances.
In what comes as a potentially very good sign, the Treasury Department announced yesterday that a trade deal with China was close to becoming a reality. Steve Mnuchin, head of the Treasury, said that a deal with China was “90% of the way there”. On a slightly less positive note, he continued “The message we want to hear is that they want to come back to the table and continue because I think there is a good outcome for their economy and the U.S. economy to get balanced trade and to continue to build on this relationship”. Trump will meet Xi at the G20 gathering this weekend.
FINSUM: Mnuchin is not particularly given to exaggeration, so we take this 90% number as pretty meaningful. The downside is that the Chinese aren’t at the negotiating table right now.
It is getting to be the time of year when everyone is trying to predict next year’s election. A lot of polls show Trump is trailing, which has given Democrats hope and some comfort. However, a new chart published by Goldman Sachs offers a different view. The bank analyzed historical approval ratings against economic data heading into elections and found that when the economy is healthy, that factor outweighs approval rating. Goldman concluded that should the economy stay on decent footing, Trump has a clear path to victory.
FINSUM: This makes a lot of sense to us and we think it offers a more realistic picture than more minutely-focused opinion polls.
A US District Judge is allowing a lawsuit from Democrats against President Trump to proceed. The lawsuit is from Congressional Democrats and the green light they have received will allow them to begin collecting records from businesses owned by the president. The judge denied a request by the DOJ to pause the case in order for it to be reviewed by a higher court. “This case should have been dismissed. It presents important questions that warrant immediate appellate review and is another impractical attempt to disrupt and distract the president from his official duties”, said the DOJ. The department will now try a long-shot emergency plea to an appeals court in Washington.
FINSUM: This did not get covered much in the media, but it is an important development as this will bring the Democrats closer to getting all the records they want. The fight is escalating.