U.S. President Donald Trump disbanded two high-profile business advisory councils on Wednesday after corporate CEOs quit in protest at his remarks blaming violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, not only on white nationalists but also on the protesters who opposed them.
The move came after more corporate chief executives who had been members of the panels said they would no longer serve on them.
JOHN DOYLE, DIRECTOR OF MARKETS, TEMPUS CONSULTING, WASHINGTON:
“This calls into question the ability of the Trump administration to get anything done in terms of tax and infrastructure reforms. It’s another piece of evidence of the administration’s mounting problems.”
BRIAN BATTLE, DIRECTOR OF TRADING, PERFORMANCE TRUST CAPITAL PARTNERS, CHICAGO:
“Guys have been resigning from that council for a couple of days now. It doesn’t appear to me that’s the cause. Disbanding the CEO council won’t diminish the President’s ability to find out what the CEOs think.”
He said the move was all about anticipation of the Fed minutes:
“There’s tension. Janet Yellen says there’s inflation. It’s just that we can’t see it right now because transitory causes are keeping it down.”
“That has been her public commentary. What the minutes are going to reveal is if there’s consensus in the committee that’s true. We have to watch the minutes to see if there’s inflation and if they have to start heading it off.”
ANDREW FRANKEL, co-president of Stuart Frankel & Co in New York
“The market should definitely care about Trump and these industry defections, and yet every day I come to trade, the overall tape appears averse to what goes on in DC and all its negativity.”
STEVEN CHIAVARONE, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, FEDERATED INVESTORS, NEW YORK:
“Our view is that the market rally has been driven by earnings and nothing to do with Washington, which is why the market has been as patient as it has. The question becomes does any of this impact earnings. In of itself, no.
“You are still going to have a Congress that doesn’t want to walk into the 2018 midterms with nothing to show or else they will get slaughtered, so there is still a chance for fiscal reform. But whether we get to policy discussion is now a fair question.
“As an American you can have all kinds of feelings about what the president has and has not said, but as a market participant we aren’t pulling in the horns here. If you get to the point where we see Republican members of Congress actively talking about impeachment, then that changes. We’re not there yet but we could be.”
DAVID SCHIEGOLEIT, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF INVESTMENTS, U.S. BANK PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT, NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA:
“The market movement seemed to be dovetailing with things hitting the wire out of Washington. It looks like CEOs are resigning from these councils, and the White House is trying to do some damage control. That throws a little bit more doubt into the president’s abilities to push his policies through.”
WALTER TODD, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT GREENWOOD CAPITAL ASSOCIATES IN GREENWOOD, SOUTH CAROLINA:
“I don’t see any other news that would account for what we’re seeing.”
“There’s no denying that the policy risk has increased with the last 24 to 48 hours.”
“You have got tax reform, we need to pass the budget and debt ceiling increase in next 45 days or so. This was already a very difficult environment to get stuff done; this has made it more so.”
“It’s a distraction from pursuing meaningful legislation and things that could help the economy.”
MARY ANN HURLEY, VICE PRESIDENT IN FIXED INCOME TRADING, D.A. DAVIDSON, SEATTLE:
“I think it’s due to all of this turmoil going on in the White House. The manufacturing council has been disbanded, or everybody has quit, depending on whose version you want to believe.
“Mike Pence is coming back from an overseas trip early. The White House just seems to be in chaos and Trump is losing support right and left from Republicans and Democrats alike and his one core area, the business community, are all abandoning him, too, which certainly calls into question the ability to get anything accomplished whatsoever in this term unless he takes actions to right the ship. I think it’s (the rise in Treasury prices) a flight-to- quality bid.”
ART HOGAN, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WUNDERLICH SECURITIES, NEW YORK
“It is not corporate CEOs distancing themselves (from the President) what will have economic impact, it will be Congress distancing itself. We should tie this to the difficulty to get legislation passed.”
“I’m surprised the (stock) market is up at all, on a combination of terrible communication and an administration that is working us into a constitutional crisis at the very worst, and, at the very least, one that is going to be ineffective in legislating anything in the near term that would be beneficial to the economy.
“We’re not going to have stimulative. Pro-business legislation getting passed with a President who continues to distance himself from his party.”
BLAKE GWINN, U.S. RATES STRATEGIST, NATWEST MARKETS, STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT:
“He was election partly because he is a business-friendly president. This is the flip side. It’s a move away from that. The disbanding of these groups doesn’t mean all that much, but the market is looking at it as not a business-friendly move.”
KATHY LIEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BK ASSET MANAGEMENT, NEW YORK:
“Right now it seems like (the dollar’s slide) is coinciding with Trump’s announcement that he’s disbanding the council, another hit to administration, weighing on market sentiment and leading investors to sell more dollars because dollar has had a very difficult time extending gains ahead of the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee). The timing seems to indicate this is the primary driver.”
CHRIS ZACCARELLI, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CORNERSTONE FINANCIAL PARTNERS, IN HUNTERSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA:
“People are reacting to the news headlines out of Washington as it come across the tape.”
“It’s a little bit of a confidence story. These moves are tiny. I think its waxing and waning investor confidence with what’s happening in DC.”
STOCKS: S&P 500 Index <.SPX> dropped from near the day’s high before the news, initially shedding about 0.25 percent from its level beforehand. The index remains about 0.20 percent higher on the day.
FOREX: The dollar index <.DXY> drops about 0.25 percent, led by small gains in euro
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)