ASX Opinion: A Trant – noun – a rant about Trump
Trant – def: (A rant on Trump) – Trant – verb, noun – verb: Trant; 3rd person present: Trants; past tense: Tranted; past participle: Tranted; gerund or present participle: Tranting. Speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way about Trump. "She was still Tranting on about the US President" – synonyms – hold forth, go on and on, deliver a tirade, trant and trave, fulminate, sound off, spout, pontificate, trumpet, bluster, declaim; shout, yell, roar, bellow; informalmouth off; rarevociferate – "she was still tranting on about the stupid tweets. Noun: Trant; plural noun: Trants. A spell of ranting about Trump; a tirade. "his Trants against thoughtless but influential tweeting". Synonyms – tirade, harangue, diatribe, broadside, verbal onslaught; rarephilippic – "he went into a Trant about the President who was annoying him"
This week Trump called the trade war is a “little squabble” – really – last week he was hard-lining the Chinese for trying to re-negotiate the 150 page trade agreement and telling the world he would put 25% tariffs on everything..repeat 'everything'…from China. A week later, feeling responsible for a 617 poiint sell off on Wall St, he calls it a little squabble.
Trump needs to put his mobile phone down. I do hope Angelina Jolie does run for President as rumoured – at least then the US President’s tweets would turn to more worthy priorities – like humanitarian issues, refugees, displaced people and the victims of conflict and natural disaster – not the stock market.
Trump is far too highly tuned into the financial markets – if he really does see the S&P 500 as a barometer of his success it is disastrous because (1) as an entrepreneur, a showman, a man obsessed with personal gratification, he has a short term time horizon which by definition reacts and responds, doesn’t see the horizon and is subject to regular and rapid change and (2) we risk him inflating the market on no more foundation than hollow misdirection, with obvious longer-term consequences – you cannot inflate/manipulate a market for long – in the end the market will be weighed in the balance and be found wanting.
Investors want ‘steady’ not ‘punctuated’ financial markets. The collapse in the market last year and the subsequent recovery were unnecessary in hindsight, and in the short-term, the hard-line trade stance that saw the US market drop 617 points on Monday followed by the ‘squabble’ comment on Tuesday highlights the issue. Trump doesn’t want to be responsible for the market falling and stung by a 617 point fall in the Dow Jones which was the biggest one day fall this year, has, on the walk to his helicopter, expressed another momentary interpretation of the trade talk status designed to manipulate the financial markets back up, successfully in the short-term.
The consequence of Trump's personality overwhelming the gravitas of his office is that we don’t know where we are from one day to the next. Where is the line between ‘Fantasy and Reality’ on market issues like the trade deal? Maybe Twitter moving from 140 characters to 280 will reduce stock market volatility, more words, more thought? Let's hope so.
In a Trump infested Twittersphere the markets cannot be trusted. Financial markets need certainty, long-term certainty, they do not have it, we are on the point of disaster or euphoria at all times with little in between and the common denominator is the influence, interference, and short-term time horizon of the US President who seems so feared, and so willing to ‘sack’, that seemingly nobody in the US Establishment can persuade him, control him or advise him against doing anything that he wants to do.
If only the markets didn’t take his word seriously, but they do.
I thought we could mellow to Trump’s fleeting communications but after two and a half years of not knowing what's next investors would be rightly sick of it. At first it was exciting, it was the ‘new world’, and no one said he shouldn’t be communicating on a mobile phone on a whim for fear of being labelled as old world and old fashioned. Instead we accepted the idea that instant global direction from the US President’s mobile phone was going to become the new norm and acceptable.
But it’s not when it injects significant, unwelcome and unnecessary volatility into the financial markets in the short-term. Will all Presidents fire out market-moving communications forever? I think not.
You can try to find the humour in it, but there comes a time when an investor doesn’t find it funny. The ‘little squabble’ comment overnight has triggered a swathe of Trants in the US and here. As Kramer says, you can't buy anything until he puts his mobile phone down:
The only thing to benefit from the US President tweeting 600 point moves in the Dow Jones is the US President’s ego – because the financial markets don't benefit, they are damaged by uncertainty and volatility, it drives investors away, so god forbid this becomes the norm for every President from here on in.
On the trade issue (and there will be another issue after that) it would be better if the US (not the President) took these trade negotiations behind closed doors, negotiated them to conclusion and made an announcement. Leave Trump to Tweet about the golf or something – that’s what social media is for – financial markets don’t need a running commentary on Trump’s current thinking on unsettled issues when it is subject to change, lacks consultation, and comes from a man who tells his wife from Slovenia that she should tell everyone she is from Austria because it "sounds better". If it is in the nature of the President to say things because they 'sound good' rather than because they are true, it is dangerous, and when that information is also provided on impulse it is doubly dangerous because an impulse will be replaced by another impulse the next day. The financial markets should know better than react, but they still do.
And so it is that some investors, the sensible long term ones, would rejoice at a President with different priorities than the S&P 500. It is not the role of US President to manipulate the stock market, this is not normal.
Bring on Angelina Jolie – bring on anyone else. Bring on tweets about the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, about something worthy that doesn’t inject stock market volatility.
Summary – a message from one Marcus Today retiree Member email, which prompted this Trant and which possibly reflects what a lot of other investors think but dare not speak – “Donald…stop f@#$ing with us!”