Recall how everything was up on Friday, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States?
Maybe it was a sugar high, market enthusiasm over the new faces in Washington, or just plain old vanilla speculation. Whatever it was, it certainly faded fast, as Monday, Trump's first full weekday as president saw markets getting closer and closer to a point of no return, at one point near midday having erased all of Friday's gains.
Fortunately for those of the bullish persuasion stocks held their own and finished with only minor losses. Oil was lower as well, though only marginally. In their places were some of the usual suspects from the other side of the trade; gold, silver, bonds, all rallied nicely. Gold continues to be the top asset performer for 2017, a welcome respite after three years of declines and a 2016 that saw it bounce nicely higher in the firt half of the year only to give back those gains in the second half, like a football team with a tiring defense.
As for the new president, he was busy. In the morning, President Trump met with business leaders and told them he'd like to roll back as much as 75% of existing regulations, most of them causing unnecessary reporting and tax burdens on businesses of all sizes.
Trump also signed three executive orders. One imposes a federal hiring freeze on all departments except the military, another pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the third re-imposed the so-called Mexico City Policy, outlawing funding of international organizations which promote abortion.
Previously, on Friday, when the President finally made his way to the Oval Office, he kept a campaign promise by signing an executive order that directs federal agencies to ease the “regulatory burdens” of ObamaCare. It orders agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement” of ObamaCare that imposes a “fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”
One would think that the order covered just about everything, making ObamaCare a ruined piece of legislation, soon to be formally repealed.
There was also movement on clearing the way for confirmation of any number of the President's cabinet choices and more speculation on whether the congress would approve a tax overhaul suggested by Trump during the campaign. The changes are still off in the distance, but congress should be getting on with it as soon as the foot-dragging over cabinet nominees ends.
Use the calculator below to see how Trump's tax plan would affect you:
At The Close 1.23.17:
Dow: 19,799.85, -27.40 (-0.14%)
NASDAQ: 5,552.94, -2.39 (-0.04%)
S&P 500: 2,265.20, -6.11 (-0.27%)
NYSE Composite: 11,170.63, -22.16 (-0.20%)