Displaying items by tag: autos
An absolute nightmare befell the auto sector yesterday. While the market has been increasingly concerned about the effect of Trump’s metal tariffs and the counter-tariffs from trading partners, yesterday’s meltdown was sparked by poor earnings. It started with GM and Fiat Chrysler, both of whom got walloped on weaker than expected earnings. Then Ford came in with an $11 bn restructuring plan that seemed to contradict the promised $25 bn of cuts it had previously announced. What was odd about the numbers is that they come when the economy is doing quite well. “To have a quarter like this is striking … Every time they turn over a rock, they find more problems”, says one auto market analyst.
FINSUM: Between looming tariffs and weak underlying sales, car companies seemed to be facing a definite reversal of fortunes after several years of good performance.
It looks like the EU is going to pullout all the stops to try to avoid a trade war with the US. EU commissioner head Juncker is going to meet in Washington this week with President Trump to offer some new avenues for discussion as a way to avoid a broad tariff package. Trump is threatening a $50 bn tariff package on the EU, which he says has taken advantage of the US in trade. Europe is particularly worried for their car exports to the US, which are very vulnerable to Trump’s potential tariffs.
FINSUM: We have a hard time imagining Juncker is going to say anything to dissuade Trump, but maybe the EU has something sweet to offer.
President Trump has been leading a tumultuous trade war with the US’ largest trading partners. So far his efforts have put tariffs on many different goods, but with metals being the single most notable materials. However, a new interview with the President suggests that the metal tariffs were just an opening act to a much bigger area: autos. In an interview with Fox News yesterday, Trump said “You know, the cars are the big one … We can talk steel, we talk everything. The big thing is cars”. Trump is reportedly planning a 20% tariff on all imported cars as part of a national security measure.
FINSUM: We believe this would be a major line in the sand to the US’ trading partners. Both our Nafta partners and the EU, and maybe Japan, would be furious about this, but it is a major source of leverage for the US.
Despite lots of hopes that a US-led trade war would never come to pass, it is now happening. The US has just imposed $50 bn worth of tariffs on China, which is an escalation of previous metal tariffs, and appears to be a major step towards starting a global trade war. With that in mind, how can one protect their portfolio? While almost all sectors are affected by a trade war, the worst ones will be industrials, autos, and meat producers. Auto companies are likely to be hit very hard by tariffs, so it is best to stay away.
FINSUM: The other thing the market does not seem to be taking into account is that tariffs seem likely to increase US inflation, as companies tend to pass along the increase cost of production onto consumers. That could be an additional downside risk, but one potentially offset by the chance of recession.