In any interesting twist, President Trump has announced that he may personally testify in his impeachment probe. Trump has indicated he is interested in the idea of being able to set the record straight himself. He says “Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”. Trump’s comments came at the urging of House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for him to testify. The president could testify via writing or in-person.
FINSUM: We doubt this will happen (Trump’s lawyers would probably be remiss in letting him testify in person), but it is an interesting turn. Imagine the media frenzy!
It has an air of inevitability now that it has happened. President Trump has requested the Supreme Court to block a subpoena that is seeking to obtain his tax returns. The effort is coming from New York, which previously scored a victory in New York courts. Trump’s argument, which he is seeking the Supreme Court to affirm, is that a sitting president is immune from all stages of prosecution. “If the president were prosecuted, the steward of all the people would be hijacked from his duties by an official of few (or none) of them … We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant review in this significant constitutional case and reverse the dangerous and damaging decision of the appeals court”, says an attorney for Trump.
FINSUM: Two angles occur here—either Trump does have something to hide, or he is an incredibly sharp political strategist. Consider the scenario of Trump battling to block the release, him ultimately losing, and then prosecutors finding nothing suspicious in his returns. Nothing would prove his witch hunt argument more strongly. It would be a brilliant strategy.
Trump went on the record yesterday telling investors that the US and China were close to finalizing a trade deal. Markets were unconvinced. Speaking at the Economic Club of New York yesterday, Trump said “We’re close to a significant phase-one trade deal with China … It could happen soon, but we will only accept a deal if it’s good for the U.S. and our workers and our companies”. Markets held ground after the comments, but ultimately fell back as Trump offered little evidence to back up the comments of a deal being “close”.
FINSUM: In our view of this situation, a deal is never close to being done, it is perpetually on the edge of falling apart and only truly done when it is signed.
There is a currently a great deal of anxiety over the election. It is not just political either—a Democrat or Republican win would create drastically different economic environments, which will lead to very different returns. One prominent hedge fund manager commented on the whole situation, saying “I think we all wish that we could kind of go back to thinking about investing without political risks”. Despite this longing, it is clear that we will not go back to that era anytime soon. Accordingly, check out these stocks, which should thrive no matter if Trump or a far-left Democrat wins the bid. Healthcare and tech look like big risks, but interestingly, large oil companies may be a good bet. If Warren wins and bans fracking, oil prices are likely to rise, helping large integrated oil companies. Another approach is to focus on stocks that will benefit from government plans that are already happening, such as those related to state infrastructure spending, legalized sports gambling, and shipping fuel standards.
FINSUM: We are still a year out from the election, but it is certainly worth thinking about how to position the portfolio, as polls leading up to the big day will move markets a lot.
Investors have been jolly lately about the progress made in the trade war. Ever since Trump’s announcement of a “phase 1” deal a few weeks ago, trade war concern has been diminishing, with markets rising accordingly. However, there was a reality check today as China made worrying comments, saying that they don’t think any long-term/substantial deal would be possible with Trump, and that they are even worried about him backing out of a simple short-term deal because of his “impulsive nature” (from Bloomberg).
FINSUM: Talk about throwing cold water on something. That said, none of these comments—positive or negative—mean too much. What ends up on paper matters more.