Economist Donald Luskin explains why China's open animal markets are breeding grounds for contagious diseases such as the coronavirus.
The Mount Sinai Hospital director of Infection Prevention and Control Waleed Javaid, M.D., discusses the coronavirus and why he is not worried about the outbreak. Then, TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the economic perspective.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the liberal media's decision to prioritize President Trump's impeachment trial over phase one of the U.S.-China trade deal and the USMCA.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses how those with lower incomes have witnessed higher income gains under the Trump administration.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin says the U.S. shouldn't worry about oil production or the economy after an airstrike struck and killed Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin believes the new contenders entering the 2020 Democratic presidential race are actually 'weakening' the party.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the impeachment inquiry and provides logistics on the China tariffs and the hype surrounding them.
Economist Donald Luskin weighs in on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her potential wealth tax.
As President Trump announces he will leave New York for Florida, TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses a ‘mass exodus’ from blue states, like California and New York.
Economist Donald Luskin explains why he believes the wealth tax proposals of Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are unconstitutional.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the strength of the U.S. economy, despite differing opinions.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin emphasizes how the individual is more important than the collective when discussing big businesses and China.
Another model, assembled by Trend Macrolytics, accurately predicts every presidential victor back to 1952 by focusing on the effects of the economy and incumbency on the electoral college, according to Donald Luskin, the firm’s chief investment officer. It projects Trump will win reelection next year with 354 electoral votes — a margin that seems staggering on its face. “To get something that high, you have to go back to Ronald Reagan, and that may not be possible in the red-blue world we live in now,” Luskin tells me.
The model stakes first-term incumbents with a heavy advantage. (That edge curdles into a disadvantage for candidates running to extend their party’s hold on the White House into a third or fourth term. See: George H.W. Bush in 1992 or Al Gore in 2000.) And then it factors in six economic indicators, including oil prices, personal income, inflation and tax burdens.
One seemingly important measure the model doesn’t include: The president’s approval rating. Luskin says it actually doesn’t carry much predictive power. And besides, Trump’s remains in the middle of the pack for presidents around the 1,000-day mark in their first term.
Of his own model’s projection, Luskin says “it is directionally correct, and I’m willing to put real money that Trump is going to be reelected, assuming all the model inputs are the same as they are today.” But he adds that “you and I and Mark Zandi should take a humility pill here. We still live in a world of imponderables, and these are very rough navigation tools.”
Wells Fargo Senior Economist Mark Vitner and TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discuss President Trump's progress on trade.
Trendmacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the record-low unemployment rate, the Federal Reserve and the 2020 election.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin joins FOX Business to discuss 2020 Democrats’ plans to pay for proposed for climate change
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin reacts to the August jobs report and the U.S.-China trade dispute.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin reacts to 2020 Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg’s comments about the economy under Barack Obama.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses how China is hurting from President Trump’s tariffs.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin and Fox News contributor Bill McGurn discusses the strength of the U.S. economy and the concerns over a global recession.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the ongoing U.S.-China tariff war and why he is critical of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin says the Democrats’ impeachment proceedings is to harass a president they disagree with and do not like.
An economic model developed by investor Donald Luskin suggests that Trump would receive 340 electoral votes, significantly more than the 270 needed to win the presidency.
But he cautioned that the new tariffs presented an “unlikely but credible nightmare scenario” in which China spiraled into a recession. That could then lead to a downturn in the United States and erode the president’s relative strength on the economy.
“It’s not that we can’t take China down,” Luskin said. “It’s that we can’t take China down without taking ourselves down.”
Economist Donald Luskin discusses how the Treasury Department declared China as a currency manipulator.
An excerpt from Donald Donald and Andrew Greta’s I am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It (Wiley). Note the last two paragraphs refer to his death. When the book was written, that event was still in the future.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin on the cost of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) Medicare-for-all plan.
Trend Macro Chief Investment Officer Donald Luskin on the economic factors that lead to young people having a sense of entitlement and the state of the markets.
On Monday’s broadcast of “Making Money with Charles Payne,” Trend Macrolytics’ chief investment officer Donald Luskin said working forever and not retiring “doesn’t worry me personally.” In fact, he described having to work until death “as a great blessing.”
Payne asked Luskin about the people who want to retire, but can’t afford to do so.
Luskin acknowledged it is “a problem,” but said questions had to be asked.
“Were you the profligate grasshopper instead of the ant who saved up? I mean, were you just messing around when you were a kid and you didn’t contribute enough to your 401k, or did the economy just fail to provide a job for you, it’s hard to know,” he added.
"Let's ask Trend Macrolytics CIO Donald Luskin," Payne continued, introducing the guest onto the show. "These kinds of polls are always around. Bank rate does some things, other folks. It is always alarming, 32 percent say they will retire before age 65, which might be unrealistic but 23 percent say never. Is that worrisome for you, Donald?"
"Doesn't worry me personally," Luskin responded. "I guess I'm one of those people who plans never to retire."
The 65-year-old Chief Investment Officer appear to then criticize the notion of retirement, before enthusiastically praising America for allowing its citizens to work until they die.
According to one Fox Business Network guest, being forced to work until the day you die should be seen as a “great blessing.”
Appearing on Making Money with Charles Payne on Monday, Trend Macrolytics chief investment officer Donald Luskin was asked by host Charles Payne to react to a recent poll that shows 23 percent of Americans believe they are never going to retire. The survey also found that another quarter of workers believe they won’t be able to retire until after they’re 65 years old.
“Is that worrisome for you, Donald?” Payne questioned the frequent Fox guest.
“Doesn’t worry me personally,” Luskin replied. “I guess I’m one of those people who plans never to retire.”
The way the consulting firm executive sees it, spending your twilight years enjoying leisure activities is boring.
In a chat with Fox Business Network, Luskin went on to blow off the very idea of retiring and heap praise on the notion of endlessly working.
“What do people do when they retire? You know, how do you spend a day?” he said. “I mean, is bowling that interesting? Is fishing that interesting?”
Luskin says he loves his job. “Why do I want to stop it? It’s not like it hurts.” He’s lucky in that way. Not everybody, of course, wants to work until the grave, yet a growing number of Americans feel they’re left with not choice.
About one-third of older adults feel unprepared, while 56% of younger adults say they don’t feel prepared for retirement, according to the poll.
“It is part of your destiny to be productive and to work,” Luskin said, acknowledging that this concept means different things to different people.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin on the potential impact of Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan to tax stock transactions in order to cancel out student loan debt.
Prior to Mr. Xi’s agreement this morning to meet with Mr. Trump next week, the always interesting Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics had predicted that Beijing would come back to the table because of a “game changer” in the negotiations. According to Mr. Luskin, a separate Trump negotiation recently put Mr. Xi on notice that China was not going to win a tariff battle with the United States. In a Friday video, Mr. Luskin observed:
"Mexico just agreed to expend its resources to stem the flow of migrants from Central America through Mexico into the United States. In essence, Trump just delivered on the biggest, craziest campaign promise in history. He just used tariffs to get Mexico to agree to pay for the wall."
Trendmacro CIO Doanld Luskin on whether President Trump is jeopardizing the tax cuts and the new NAFTA deal with the latest tariff threats on Mexico.
FOX Business’ Trish Regan, Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz and economist Donald Luskin discuss the crisis at the southern border.
It’s worth noting that the Fair model is hardly alone in its forecast. Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has looked at 12 models, and Mr. Trump wins in all of them. Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics has reached the same conclusion in his examination of the Electoral College.
The White House acknowledges talks have taken a big step backwards. What does that mean for the U.S. economy?
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin on the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China.
S&P Global portfolio manager Erin Gibbs and TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discuss how the U.S.-China trade war is affecting the markets.
Meanwhile Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics generally sees the art of the deal:
"Just because we are seeing such things now does not mean the deal is falling apart. To be sure, it might mean that. Mistakes can happen. But more likely it signals the highly turbulent edge of chaos – the existential interface between “yes” and “no” – that all negotiations have to pass through before they end.
"...And at the end of the day, we can’t rule out that Trump never wanted a trade deal to begin with, but began his trade war to break China’s economy before it overtakes the world – indeed to break China itself, the way Ronald Reagan broke the Soviet Union... But remember the fundamental truth here. Trump wants you to worry about just that kind of possibility. He wants you to think he’s crazy. He wants to you to fear him. Because if you aren’t afraid of him, Xi Jinping won’t be either. And if Xi isn’t afraid, he has absolutely no reason to give a millimeter on trade."
If stoking alarm among the advocates of open markets is part of the plan here, Mr. Trump’s mission is accomplished.
Let’s not go overboard. As Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics points out, beneath today’s headline GDP number, growth in consumer spending and business investment was not as strong as we’d like. But overall the economy continues to show a remarkable vitality that has been especially surprising to the Democratic economic establishment.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin on President Trump’s Federal Reserve picks and whether earnings will continue to propel the stock market higher.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin said that the trade talks between the world's two largest economies are vital to the global economy. "This is simply the biggest negotiation that's ever happened in the history of the world," he told FOX Business' Liz MacDonald on "The Evening Edit"Opens a New Window. on Thursday. "They have to figure out how to play well together or there will be a global depression." He also praised Trump for what he described as a unique negotiationing style. "What is so special about Trump as a negotiator is that he keeps you guessing," he said. "He tricks you into negotiating against yourself.”
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin on the Trump administration’s push to make a trade deal with China.
Trend Macrolytics CIO Donald Luskin says President Trump will win in 2020, as long as the U.S. economy remains strong.
“The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it,” Donald Luskin, the chief investment officer of TrendMacrolytics, a research firm that predicted Trump’s 2016 win, told Politico. “I just don’t see how the blue wall could resist all that.”
...Still, the economy is generally seen as the most important factor when it comes to how voters cast their ballot and Luskin says there would need to be a major decline in economic growth and uptick in unemployment for Trump to lose. Luskin’s current model – which tracks GDP growth, gas prices, inflation, disposable income, tax burden and payrolls – has Trump winning in a blowout with 294 electoral votes.
“The economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it,” said Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of TrendMacrolytics, a research firm whose model correctly predicted Trump’s 2016 win when most opinion polls did not. “I just don’t see how the blue wall could resist all that.”
Models maintained by economists and market strategists like Luskin tend to ignore election polls and personal characteristics of candidates. Instead, they begin with historical trends and then build in key economic data including growth rates, wages, unemployment, inflation and gas prices to predict voting behavior and election outcomes.
...Still, Luskin, Fair and other analysts who use economic data and voting history to make predictions also note that a sharp decline in growth and an increase in the unemployment rate by next fall could alter Trump’s fortunes.
“It would have to slow a lot to still be not pretty good,” Luskin said, adding that what really matters is the pace of change. Even if overall numbers remain fairly strong, a sharp move in the wrong direction could alter voting behavior.
Luskin’s current model — which looks at GDP growth, gas prices, inflation, disposable income, tax burden and payrolls — has Trump winning by a blowout margin of 294 electoral votes.
Economist Don Luskin discusses the U.S.-China trade negotiations and why President Trump is keeping tariffs on China in place.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin and Patriarch Organization CEO Eric Schiffer on whether investors should be cautious about buying Lyft and the problems surrounding the tech sector.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses how the U.S. is allowing citizens to sue certain Cuban businesses amid the crisis in Venezuela.
Raymond James chief investment strategist Jeff Saut and TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discuss how earnings will affect the U.S. market and whether investors should be concerned about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin and Belpointe chief strategist David Nelson on the state of the U.S. stock market and whether people should invest in China.
Trendmacro CEO Donald Luskin says President Trump’s optimistic approach towards a U.S-China trade resolution is helping the markets.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses how Russia is helping disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and whether the U.S. should block the country’s oil shipments.
TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin discusses the economic problems facing Venezuela and President Trump’s upcoming State of the Union address.
TrendMacro CEO Donald Luskin on the U.S. economic outlook and Trump administration trade negotiations with China.
Investors are turning their attention to this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. How will the markets react? TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin and Erin Gibbs of S&P Investment Advisory Services with more.
Investors remain on edge as earnings woes raise fears over global growth. Will the markets re-test December lows? Erin Gibbs of S&P Investment Advisory Services, TrendMacro CIO Donald Luskin and Efficient Advisors CIO Larry Shover weigh in.
TrendMacro CEO Donald Luskin on U.S. trade negotiations with China and the outlook for stocks.
Economist Donald Luskin says that the Democrats are the economy’s worst enemy.
FBN’s Trish Regan, TrendMacro chief investment officer Donald Luskin and former Reagan economic adviser Art Laffer discuss how former President Barack Obama tried to take credit for the booming U.S. economy.
TrendMacro CEO Donald Luskin on the outlook for the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes and the Fed's impact on the markets and U.S. economy.
All of this suggests that the communist who runs China has no interest in embracing freer trade with the United States. But Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics argues that to avoid an economic calamity and resulting social unrest, Mr. Xi will have to cut a deal with the U.S. In a note to clients this week, Mr. Luskin writes that the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, is only adding to the pressure on Mr. Xi:
"Indeed, the greatest effect of the Meng arrest, we think, has been to elicit an outpouring of global support for the move and condemnation of China, and a catalyzing of what is developing into a global boycott of Huawei and ZTE products. With the US’s global allies having been conspicuously silent on trade issues, it would seem that there is nevertheless a great willingness to stand up and be counted on security issues.
"Since the Buenos Aires summit – falsely called in the media a mere 'truce' – the US has continued to exert every form of pressure that was in place before (indeed, added pressure through the Meng arrest), while China has laid down its arms: it has resumed buying US agricultural products, dropped retaliatory tariffs on US autos, and announced it will re-engineer its provocative – and seemingly sacrosanct – Made In China 2025 doctrine.
"So make no mistake about it – we are getting to 'yes' with a very high probability."
Let’s hope Mr. Luskin is right on China. No word yet on whether he can persuade Times contributors to stop contemplating mass suicide.
TrendMacro chief investment officer Donald Luskin discusses how a federal judge ruled that ObamaCare is unconstitutional, and market volatility.
While nobody on Wall Street believes the road to a broad, final trade agreement between the two nations will be easy or free of risk, the thaw in relations has boosted investors' hopes for a deal. "Negotiations over those 90 days will no doubt be rocky, but this is the all-clear signal that nobody is going to walk off a cliff," noted Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at research firm TrendMacro.
The job market has been strong, and small business confidence remains high, but those tend to be lagging indicators. With the world economy showing strains, the chances of a significant U.S. growth slowdown can no longer be ruled out. We’d note that our contributor Donald Luskin, the financial adviser and long-time growth optimist, has put himself on recession watch.
Trend Macro chief investment officer Don Luskin on the possible causes to the market selloff.
Trend Macro Chief Investment Officer Donald Luskin discusses the recent market selloff and how the U.S. detained an alleged Chinese spy, who is facing charges of trying to steal trade secrets from companies including GE Aviation.
Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at Trend Macro, discusses the left wing media’s attacks against the current state of the economy, how Democrats have criticized President Trump’s tax policy and the U.S., Mexico trade deal.
Don Luskin, chief investment officer at Trend Macro, joined SiriusXM host Rebecca Mansour on Monday’s Breitbart News Tonight to discuss his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, “China Is Losing the Trade War with Trump.”
There is a reason Jason Furman didn’t cite any specifics to back up his claim that “financial markets reacted” to President Trump’s tweet about Friday’s jobs report “with unusual volatility for the early morning hours” (“The Economic Risks of Trump’s Premature Tweeting,” op-ed, June 4). The reason is that they didn’t. In the 69 minutes between the tweet and the actual release, futures contracts on the S&P 500 meandered randomly in a narrow range of about one-tenth of a percent of the index’s value. The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose less than two one-hundredths of 1%, moving in the same direction and at the same pace as it had been all night.
The more notable aspect of Mr. Furman’s commentary is that it may mark the first time that a former Obama administration official has admitted that one of President Trump’s tweets was truthful.
Donald L. Luskin
CIO, Trend Macrolytics LLC
...Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics wrote to clients about Mr. Trump’s plan for new tariffs—essentially taxes on steel and aluminum consumers: "Trump’s economic record has been excellent, and we draw assurance from that. But the very fact that this is his first big mistake requires markets to let him know he’s making it – which is one reason we think this has to prolong the present stock market correction. Considering that Trump has bragged so often about the rising stock market, presumably he would listen when it sends him a message."
Let’s hope so. Mr. Trump’s tweets this week suggesting it’s all just part of a NAFTA renegotiation may have some investors feeling less concerned, and perhaps that’s reflected in a more cheerful market as of this writing. This column thinks Mr. Trump is playing with fire. But on Friday Mr. Luskin suggested that the anti-growth tariff plan might be watered down a bit and expressed the hope that we are simply witnessing “the classic ‘big ask’ gambit in the art of the deal, designed to wring concessions out of counterparties. The negotiations will overlap with the ongoing NAFTA wrangling, as Canada and Mexico are the number one and number three exporters of steel to the US, respectively.”
Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro, offers a simpler reason why stocks eventually stop going down. “It halts once the algos and investors run out of stuff to sell,” he said, adding that a rebound gives investors “hope ... and that starts the healing.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial page has always been appropriately skeptical of the claims of former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke during the quantitative-easing era. So there’s no reason, today, to let his dubious rationales for QE be a basis for worry about stock prices now that these programs are finally being unwound.
In your Jan. 17 editorial “The Tax-Reform Stock Rally,” you say Ben Bernanke sold QE “as a tool to drive investors into riskier assets, including stocks.” But it isn’t true just because he said it. When the Fed buys bonds or mortgage-backed securities, it gives the seller, in payment, a cash deposit on the Fed’s balance sheet. In such a transaction, all that happens is that the duration-risk of long-term Treasurys and the prepayment risk of MBS is taken out of the market by the Fed, replaced with a riskless overnight deposit that earns the prevailing fed-funds rate. Whatever rationales Mr. Bernanke may have offered, the true boon of QE was simply to de-risk a market that was reeling from the worst financial panic in generations.
Nobody was driven into stocks, or into anything else. If for some reason an investor, who had sold his Treasury bonds to the Fed, decided to use the cash proceeds to buy stocks, then some other investor would have to sell those stocks. There is, of necessity, no change at all in the net ownership of stocks.
De-risking was important after the global financial crisis, so the Fed’s buying several trillion dollars of Treasurys and MBS may have actually made a difference, if only by calming things down a little bit. But the crisis has long been resolved, and markets don’t need to be de-risked any longer. In today’s more risk-tolerant environment, the Fed’s glacial runoff of its bond and MBS portfolio, through natural maturation, not outright sales, will drip a little risk back into the market one day at a time. Today’s market won’t even notice.
By unwinding its asset portfolio now, when the market can easily tolerate a little more risk, the Fed is not imperiling the economic expansion and the bull market in stocks, but prolonging them by returning to a more normal and predictable policy posture.
Donald L. Luskin
CIO, Trend Macrolytics LLC
...We’ve been hosting an op-ed debate on stock prices, and last week financial consultant Donald Luskin made his case for the running of the bulls as expected corporate earnings are adjusted upward due to tax reform. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein makes the case for caution nearby, arguing that equity prices are fated to fall as the Federal Reserve reverses its long period of asset purchases and low interest rates, and inflation makes a comeback. Both men could be right, depending on your investment time frame.
The bullish case is based on expectations of capitalized profits, which have risen smartly with the cut in corporate tax rates. The higher after-tax returns flow into higher asset values, all else being equal. The surprise is that stocks have kept rising this year, with the S&P 500 up some 4%. This suggests that many investors underestimated the possibility of pro-growth tax reform passing last year, and now they are catching up to the implications...
But the tax math will be tricky for many high-earners in states with the highest tax rates. The bill reduces the top federal tax rate to 37% from 39.6% and increases the threshold at which it kicks in to $600,000 from $470,000 for couples filing jointly. Our friend Don Luskin did the math and says that high earners in states with top rates exceeding 6.56% could see their tax bills increase.
Donald Luskin, chief investment officer for Trend Macrolytics, said that Republican Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama will be a big incentive for Republican leaders to “drive the negotiations to a conclusion.”
“It makes more urgent the need for the GOP to exploit its 2018 electoral map advantage in the Senate — tax cuts are the perfect trophy to bring the voters, now without the stench of Moore’s sexual misconduct scandals," he wrote in an analysis for investors Tuesday night.
The risk to financial markets is more about political unrest and instability in Saudi Arabia, rather than a dramatic drop to Prince Alwaleed's U.S. stock holdings, like Citigroup, which he has owned since 1991, and Apple.
"The risk for global markets is that the Saudi royal family destroys itself in a fratricidal game of thrones, opening the door to a new radical regime that would be hostile to U.S. interests or play games with oil supplies," said Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at the financial firm TrendMacro.
Don Luskin of Trend Macrolytics wrote to clients this morning about the aftermath of Charlottesville: "We think it’s a clinical case of mass hysteria – and one of the strangest we’ve ever seen. It’s not about the event itself. It’s about President Donald Trump’s reaction to the event, because he is the most famous and fascinating man who has ever lived, and what we’ve called the Trump Infamy Ecosystem profits from exploiting that strange fact. And it’s not even about whether Trump is a racist. It is self-evident that he is not, because there is no evidence that he is (just as it is self-evident that his campaign didn’t conspire with Russia to hack the election). His sin is that he has failed to express his outrage at the event in a particular way – or, more precisely, that he has expressed it in a way that doesn’t kowtow to the identity politics lobby."
Mr. Luskin points to a number of polls suggesting that the hysterical reaction to Mr. Trump is occurring within the media profession, not among the public at large. For example, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll finds that even a survey sample that gives Mr. Trump his standard lousy approval rating overwhelmingly agrees with the President that statues of Confederate leaders should not be torn down. Even a plurality of African-Americans agrees that the statues should remain in place as symbols of our history.
...Regardless, it is striking that after much of the media labored so hard this week to try to tie Mr. Trump to white supremacists, the public doesn’t seem to be buying it. In what was portrayed as perhaps his worst week in office, the RealClearPolitics average shows a slight improvement in his weak approval ratings. According to Mr. Luskin, this could be a buying opportunity for investors: "...we think Trump’s defiance of prevailing norms of identity politics has profound pro-growth implications. Whatever else it may bring along with it, its embrace by the electorate points to a generational 'turning' away from anti-business and risk aversion trends that have choked off growth in the Not So Great Expansion following the Great Recession. If this moment becomes a referendum on Trump, then it may also be referendum on that 'turning.' Our optimism that we are entering a new secular period of better growth and risk-tolerance has never come from Trump as a person, but rather from the cultural forces – the “animal spirits,” to use an almost pejorative term for them – that have welled up from the grass roots, choosing Trump as their best available representative."
"Don't let the milestones cause you to miss the simple underlying story: corporate earnings are at all-time highs. So stocks are at all-time highs," says Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro in Chicago. That's how it is supposed to work, he adds.
...Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics thinks Mr. Trump has every right to take credit for rising markets. In a note to clients this week he acknowledges the view of many investors that “all of the pro-growth hopes and dreams that flourished right after Trump’s surprise election have now been crushed by the swamp, and Trump’s own seeming self-destructiveness.”
Mr. Luskin has a different view and writes that booming U.S. stock markets probably represent a “rational recognition that, since Trump took office, many pro-growth hopes and dreams have already become reality.” Mr. Luskin continues, “We’re not trying to be either cheerleaders or partisans here. But it’s a reality that a great deal of pro-growth progress has been made.” He ticks off a list that includes pipeline approvals, the rollback of various Obama-era rules, and the hiring of deregulators to run the EPA, the FCC and other federal agencies.
As for disturbing news out of Washington, Mr. Luskin sees Mr. Trump at the center of “an ecosystem self-perpetuated by the lust for power by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and the lust for audience by the media both liberal and conservative. The apex predator in this ecosystem is Trump, who controls it all by following Roger Stone’s rule that ‘it is better to be infamous than not to be famous at all.’ That’s not a recipe for clarity.”
Mr. Luskin observes that neither Mr. Trump nor the journalists who hate him seem to have much interest in presenting a “false image of calm and control,” as might have prevailed in some earlier administrations. Mr. Luskin writes:
"What is happening here is that the swamp hasn’t gotten drained yet, but we are seeing it more clearly than ever before. You can tell yourself that things are actually worse now, but we think the truth is that you are just seeing for the first time distasteful realities that have been there all along."
What does it mean for investors? Mr. Luskin concludes:
"Despite seeming chaos in Washington, US stocks are on track for a 2017 total return of 20.9%, twice the historical average, and risk premia are lower. Technically, a correction is overdue. But risk-tolerant markets can handle the chaos of the Trump infamy ecosystem. It is informationally efficient to reveal distasteful processes that were there all along, but concealed."
As our friend Donald Luskin has pointed out, the Schumer Democrats have no standing to stop Republicans from eliminating the blue state tax benefit if they sit out the debate. The GOP only has an incentive to deal if Mr. Schumer delivers at least eight Democrats to provide the 60 votes to make tax reform permanent under Senate budget rules. What will it be, Chuck, play or have your constituents pay?
Today’s jobs report might seem perfect in the context of recent years. But Mr. Trump wants Reagan-style growth, not Obama- or Bush-style job creation. Donald Luskin of Trend Macrolytics writes in a note to clients today that while this morning’s report was better than expected, it’s actually a “middle of the pack jobs report.”
It’s disappointing that Martin Feldstein, once the champion of Reaganomics, would now need to defend the House GOP’s border-adjustment scheme by arguing that it is necessary for “cutting the corporate tax rate—and stimulating economic growth—without a major increase in the budget deficit.” Three decades ago Mr. Feldstein would have argued that cutting the U.S. corporate tax rate from the highest in the world would decrease the budget deficit precisely because it will stimulate growth.
I’m surprised by the naiveté of Mr. Luskin in assuming that Republicans welcome a (truly) more objective rule in setting interest rates. Consider that in December 2016 the newly appointed (January 2017) Vice Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade Roger Williams whined about only the second one quarter-point interest rate rise in a decade to a level which is still well below what most rules-based advocates would calculate. Does conservative dogma include perpetual, unwarranted interest-cost subsidization for all borrowers and debtors?
In the course of my hunt for Donalds, I happened to connect with Donald Luskin, a Chicago-based economic strategist who supported Trump in the election. His firm, TrendMacro, was by his estimation one of the earliest predictors of a Trump win. So does Luskin love all the attention he’s getting just because of his first name? “I can’t think of a single case where anyone’s ever raised it,” he said. Still, he’s worked it into a few jokes, sure. “Part of my work is to talk about political developments, so I’ll say something like, ‘I just want to make it perfectly clear that I am only a Donald, I’m not the Donald.’ ” And that’s really it. “Donald’s just not all that unusual. I think it’s less weird than if my name happened to be Barack.”
The S&P 500 — and not the Dow — is also the performance benchmark that money managers are compared against, adds Don Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro. “A pro is only interested in what benchmark he is trying to beat,” Luskin says.
Adds Luskin: “Retail investors who still think about the Dow do so out of nostalgic habit. But investors who make up the vast majority of trading nowadays look at more sophisticated indexes that are better constructed and more diversified.”
The Journal article also indicated that “retailers and oil refiners have lined up against the measure, warning it would drive up their tax bills and force them to raise prices.” It also reported that Koch Industries “last month said the border-adjustment measure could have ‘devastating’ long-term consequences for the economy and the American consumer.” In an opinion piece, Donald Luskin wrote that “the costs [of taxing imports] would be passed on to Americans in some form: either to consumers through higher prices or to stockholders through lower profits.”
“When there is a quantum shift in growth expectations, the arithmetic of P-E multiples fails to capture the value in stocks,” argues Don Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro. “Why look at this quarter’s earnings, or for that matter why just look one year ahead, to appraise what a company might earn? If America is really going to be great again, stock prices should look to above-trend earnings growth that could last for several years. That will make stocks appear expensive, but they’re really not.”
Whether the bullish hype turns out to be the right trade remains to be seen, as Trump has yet to get the keys to the White House or make one of his campaign promises come true.
"Whatever else the future holds, Trump has already made the U.S. stock market great again," Don Luskin, chief investment officer at investment firm TrendMacro, told USA TODAY.
...don’t rule out a bear market if Clinton loses, warns Don Luskin, chief investment officer at financial research firm TrendMacro. “If Trump wins … stocks will drop at least 20% just like that,” Luskin told USA TODAY. “Because markets hate to be surprised and hate it when the conventional wisdom is dead wrong. Just look at the reaction to Brexit.”
...Violence in the aftermath of the election, if it occurs, is viewed as a short-term hiccup... Adds Luskin: “Markets are not typically rattled by violence in the streets. Remember 1968 — riots, assassinations, shootings all over the world — stocks just went higher and higher, through it all.”
The market is similarly divided over recent comments by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that there could some benefit to running a "high-pressure economy," with 49 percent saying the Fed should run one and 43 percent saying it shouldn't. "It's hilarious that Yellen thinks, at this point, she has the power to wave a magic wand and 'run a high-pressure economy,'" wrote Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics.
...Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at TrendMacro, a financial research firm, zapped out a recent report to clients titled, Let’s Talk About Something Other than the Election.
Republicans see the growth in the 1980s and the late 1990s growth after capital gains rate cuts as proof that people are more willing to save, work and invest if they can keep more of what they earn.
“When the pie is as large as possible, then you have the least questions about the distribution of that pie,” said Donald Luskin, chief investment officer at Trend Macrolytics. “We’re not having a serious economically driven conversation about this. We’re just having a populist appeal.”
"Whatever happens with Deutsche Bank, this is not — I repeat, not — a Lehman moment," says Don Luskin, chief investment officer at investment firm TrendMacro. "We are not looking at globally interconnected fragility like we were in 2008. And if anything goes wrong at all, after the 2008 experience, the central banks of the world know precisely what to do to put the fire out."
"When push comes to shove, Merkel will bail out Deutsche Bank," says Luskin of TrendMacro.
"God bless Lael Brainard,'' wrote Donald Luskin, chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics, a reference to the Fed governor who recently offered a detailed speech of why the Fed shouldn't hike.
...the Trump haters say we must throw Mr. Trump over the bus in order to save the Senate and House majorities.This is a foolhardy strategy because one can’t win without the other. As economist Donald Luskin puts it in his historical analysis of presidential races and Senate gains: “It is clear from history that the House and the Senate always move in the same party direction as the White House, and with the same magnitude. That means the presidential candidate is like a boat that congressional candidates are riding on. It’s really stupid to torpedo that boat."