After largely ignoring the shenanigans in Washington for months, markets panicked overnight. The rolling series of scandals and the now real possibility of impeachment put in doubt all the potential benefits of the new administration’s policies. The USD melted down, investors fled shares and gold and bonds rallied as funds sought safe havens.
Three new issues arising from the White House in the last week have exasperated President Trump’s fellow Republicans. A majority of congress is required for impeachment – and public statements from high-ranking Republicans indicate there may now be some appetite to move against the White House. This puts in doubt the stimulus spending and tax cuts markets factored into the drive to share market all-time highs as well as the Fed’s tightening timetable. The USD has erased all of its post-election gains.
Futures markets are pointing to across the board losses at this morning’s opening. The after-market appointment of a highly respected former head of the FBI to establish an independent inquiry into links between the Trump campaign and Russian agents may see calmer trading in the Asia Pacific region. A weaker USD is supporting commodity prices and by extension mining and energy stocks.
Australia jobs data released this morning may also influence local investors. The highly volatile series may confound expectations of an increase of 5,000 positions and an unemployment rate of 5.9%. In particular a stronger than expected result may see share market sentiment shift to positive.