Wall Street traders are faced with a horrific dilemma as a supposedly business-friendly president keeps roiling the markets with off-the-cuff tweets making their analysis of market trends moot.
According to Bloomberg interviews with Wall Street execs, Donald Trump’s tweets about tariffs and various industries he has a beef with has made their job as difficult as it has ever been.
Noting a Trump tweet about new China tariffs the president posted last Sunday, Kingsview Asset Management portfolio manager Paul Nolte complained, “Have you ever seen the movie ‘Airplane’? It was just a bad week to stop sniffing glue. When that got announced, it was like, well, this is going to be a volatile week.”
As Bloomberg reports, “After rising for 54 of the first 85 days, the S&P 500 slid for four straight sessions before a reprieve on Friday. Swings in U.S. futures were 77% wider than the average this year. Yep — President Donald Trump was back to waging a trade war on Twitter, making lives interesting in the equity class.”
Other execs chimed in saying Trump has changed — not for the better — how they do business.
“If I were younger and looking at a short-term time horizon, I’d be pulling my hair out,” lamented Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer at Cresset Wealth Advisers. “But I hate to say, after decades of being in the business, Trump’s Twitter is part of my strategy. You look at income statements, balance sheets, and then you check his Twitter account.”
Bloomberg reports, “Most said they were too shocked by the torrent of headlines to do much — but it hasn’t made the decisions any easier. How will tariffs influence corporate earnings? The economy? Is Trump pursuing sound policy, or just campaigning?”
Ed Keon, a portfolio manager for QMA, also complained about working in the age of Trump.
“How do you teach a quantitative model to understand Trump’s tweets?” he said. “How do you assess human interaction that’s this complex? It’s helpful to have a quantitative spine, but there are some things that quants just don’t understand. And it’s very difficult to model.”
Nolte agreed, adding, “I try to focus more on that and less on the 2 a.m. tweets or the five tweets at 6 o’clock and all the rest of that crap. Thank god I’m not on Twitter. Holy cow, that’s work.”
You can read more here (subscription required).