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The stock market is worried about China, not Michael Cohen

Posted at 1:19 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 15:19:46-05

The stock market doesn’t care about Michael Cohen’s testimony. But it does care about whatever is happening with President Donald Trump’s trade deal with China.

Greg Valliere, chief US policy strategist at AGF Investments, said Trump may try to claim that the US-China trade standoff is coming to an end — but in reality, “we’ve got weeks and weeks, if not months, to go before ironing this thing out,” he told CNN Business’s Julia Chatterley during the “Markets Now” live show.

Valliere said he is concerned because the threat of additional tariffs still looms and the US House of Representatives could block Trump’s new NAFTA deal.

Meanwhile, testimony from Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, will hardly register on Wall Street.

Cohen may have some “titillating” things to say on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but “I don’t think he’s really significantly increased the chances of impeachment or conviction,” Valliere said.

Valliere added that investors are also far more interested in what’s going on with the Federal Reserve. The Fed has pleased investors by signaling that it won’t be as aggressive with interest rate hikes this year.

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income, said she predicts the Fed could soon be looking at reducing interest rates if US economic growth runs into more roadblocks. And it may be time to prepare for a recession.

“I think there’s certainly evidence of weakness bubbling underneath the surface in the US economy at this point,” she said. “The economy may be coming to the end of a recovery.”

Piegza said she’s concerned about trade policy and slowing economic growth abroad, which could translate to weakening demand for US goods.

And there are other issues happening domestically, she said, including signs that consumer markets are losing momentum, business investments are slowing down, and the housing market is softening.

What could all that mean for the stock market? “We do see sizable momentum to the downside,” Piegza said.

“Markets Now” streams live from the New York Stock Exchange every Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. ET. Hosted by CNN’s business correspondents, the 15-minute program features incisive commentary from experts.

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