The Devil’s Playground

Catch this news flash yesterday?  Trump, ironically at a White House meeting with the National Council for the American Worker:

You’re gonna see on China, today, right after close of business…we’ll be announcing something, uh, and it will be a lot of money coming into the coffers of the United States of America, a lot of money coming in, but you’ll be seeing what we’re doing uh right after close of business today, the markets closing.  Thank you.

Note the repeated emphasis on the market’s closing. Was there something about the announcement that required a delay?  To paraphrase…the after-hours markets are the devil’s playground.

The S&P 500 plunged 22 points from Friday’s highs, then recovered just in time for a well-engineered close: down only 16 points on the day.  More importantly, it closed at 2888.80 – just above yesterday’s 10-DMA at 2888.70 (2888.80 today.)

After the close, of course, the futures tanked – shedding 14 points before being saved by the usual suspects: VIX, WTI and USDJPY.  Trump’s announcement didn’t come right after the close.  In fact, it didn’t come until after 3 1/2 hours had passed.  Why?That’s how long it took to get the safety net properly positioned.  USDJPY, which had just backtested its IH&S neckline, spiked sharply moments after the announcement.

VIX, which had just backtested the broken white channel, suddenly reversed and headed lower.

The overnight action was impressive, with the usual timely plunges when ES faced important tests. How much more of a smackdown will resurrect stocks’ rally?Whether the rebound will hold or not is anyone’s guess.  China has already announced retaliation – which Trump insisted will lead to a $267 billion expansion of US tariffs.

Futures are under pressure again, and interest rates are threatening to break out on the obvious (to everyone except Trump, apparently) inflation threat that tariffs pose.  Might investors care that the trade wars could, as Jack Ma theorized, last for 20 years?


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