This is a Test

Yesterday, we got a taste of what happens to United Airlines passengers who are “disruptive and belligerent.”   In what is being described as one of the biggest PR fails in recent memory, United CEO Oscar Munoz defended the action taken to forcefully drag an Asian-American doctor from a flight that United had overbooked.

No doubt United would have found the volunteers it needed had it upped the compensation it was offering to $1,000, $1,500 or even $2,000.  Instead, it will pay millions to the passenger, and many more millions in lost revenues from prospective passengers who are too horrified to “fly the friendly skies.”

The stock is likely headed for at least 61.72, a 14% drop from yesterday’s highs — about $3 billion off its market cap.  And, that would be a positive outcome — if it’s able to hold both horizontal support and its SMA200.

While the event itself was shocking, it’s equally surprising that the CEO of a major airline could be so tone deaf as to email his employees that “I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.”

The most interesting CEO on the world stage, right now, is our own Donald Trump.  He faces much greater challenges than Munoz did: escalating military conflicts with both Syria and North Korea and, by proxy, Russia and China.

We’ve had a taste of Trump’s leadership skills with respect to the battles over health care, tax reform, and scores of executive orders relating to the environment, energy, etc.  He won some, and he lost some. None of those, however, involved the risk of nuclear war.

Is it any wonder that investors are a little nervous and stocks have, so far, not shaken off this particular geopolitical risk?

On Feb 10, SPX broke out of a large, year-old channel that was averaging 17% YoY returns.  It has backtested that channel top seven times in the past several weeks — including a serious plunge below it on Mar 27.

Today, it’s happening again.  Will it survive this test?  It might just depend on whether or not Trump survives his.



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