In what may have been a completely convenient excuse to unwind some positions in overheated markets, analysts blamed Monday's global meltdown on US President Donald Trump's hastily-enacted immigration ban.
While the ban covers only seven countries - the same ones covered under a similar program under President Obama (Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan) - reaction from both affected and unaffected countries has been vocal, but especially in the US, where protesters (many of them paid) set up camp at airports in major cities.
Aside from the obvious left-leaning, liberal crying and tooth-gnashing, market participants largely over-reacted to the condition, giving pause to any instant analysis. What Trump may have done with the ban is fire a first volley in what may eventually prove to be an escalating trade war with the focus more on currency manipulation and tariffs than immigration limits and its consequences.
Not only were US markets lower on the day, equity indices around the world were down. That's an unusual circumstance worth noting, because, in the normal conduct of business, somebody's loss often results in gain somewhere else. Apparently, this was not the case, leading to the belief that the off-hand selling was little more than relief form overextended stocks.
On the flip side, this one-off event could be the beginning of a disorderly decline in the value of major equities around the globe and a beginning to the dismantling of a monetary system and bull market both of which are creaking from old age.
The days and weeks ahead should offer better insight to the overall direction of markets. Perhaps Trump's "America First" pledge means that US stocks will feel the brunt of the correction before the rest of the world gets on board. Deflation has reared its ugly head once again.
At The Close 1.30.17:
Dow: 19,971.13, -122.65 (-0.61%)
NASDAQ: 5,613.71, -47.07 (-0.83%)
S&P 500: 2,280.90, -13.79 (-0.60%)
NYSE Composite: 11,205.24, -77.95 (-0.69%)