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April 5, 2018 | Like Dandruff, Tariff Worries Come and Go

Rick Ackerman

Rick Ackerman is the editor of Rick’s Picks, an online service geared to traders of stocks, options, index futures and commodities. His detailed trading strategies have appeared since the early 1990s in Black Box Forecasts, a newsletter he founded that originally was geared to professional option traders. Barron’s once labeled him an “intrepid trader” in a headline that alluded to his key role in solving a notorious pill-tampering case. He received a $200,000 reward when a conviction resulted, and the story was retold on TV’s FBI: The Untold Story. His professional background includes 12 years as a market maker in the pits of the Pacific Coast Exchange, three as an investigator with renowned San Francisco private eye Hal Lipset, seven as a reporter and newspaper editor, three as a columnist for the Sunday San Francisco Examiner, and two decades as a contributor to publications ranging from Barron’s to The Antiquarian Bookman to Fleet Street Letter and Utne Reader.

The stock market seems particularly opportunistic of news at the moment, enjoying one of those occasional periods when bad news is good and good news is even better.  Yesterday the yo-yos who invent a stupid reason each day to explain the rise or fall of stocks attributed the moderate rally to our supposedly diminished fear of a trade war. I kid you not.  Just a few days ago, we were listing out some of the thousands of items we buy from the Chinese that will be affected by Trump tariffs. Lo, by Thursday morning, our concern about such things had melted away like lemon drops.  “The markets are now beginning to see through the bluster of negotiations and they’re dialing back some of their most significant fears of a full on trade war,” explained an analyst quoted at Bloomberg.com.

As sure as night follows day, however, I can guarantee you that this “dialing back” will be reversed at some point in the near future, and that stocks will be said to have fallen at that time due to our “renewed concerns” about tariffs. Rinse and repeat. I’m so glad that I’m not some talking head on Bloomberg or MSNBC who needs to embarrass himself each day providing a “reason” for the stock market’s behavior.  Nothing could be more obvious than that the stock market’s cyclical ups and downs create — meaning shape our perceptions of — the news rather than the other way around. ________ BULLETIN (10:37 p.m. EDT):  Even I could not have imagined how quickly the usual idiots would flip the switch on Wall Street’s latest brand of hysteria, Tariff  Anxiety.  Trump made some remarks this evening about jacking trade levies against China by a further $100 billion and — presto! — index futures have gotten bombed in night-session trading. The E-Mini S&Ps have been down as much as 42 points — equivalent to more than 300 Dow points.

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April 5th, 2018

Posted In: Rick's Picks

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