Trump’s Anti-Midas Touch Even Ruins Volatility

It was supposed to be good. But, instead, it’s bad.
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(Trump image courtesy Flickr user Gage Skidmore)

On or about Nov. 8, 2016, many a finance type could be heard saying something along the lines of: Sure, the president-elect has the mental and emotional capacity of a sugar-addled four-year-old, and sure, his election makes the prospect of nuclear annihilation a good deal more real than it has been since the fall of the Soviet Union. Sure, all of this stuff about walls and Mexican rapists and tearing up NAFTA and starting trade wars with China isn’t great, but he’s not really gonna do any of that stuff. It was just a ploy to rile up the yokels. Say what you will about the man, he’s gonna be good for business. He’s gonna bring back volatility, and thus save our asses. Therefore, the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful position in the universe is good.

Improbably, it took a while to bring back volatility, even if he’s done or is trying to do all of the things people said he wouldn’t. Here’s the rub, though: Like with presidents, there’s good volatility, but also, you know, bad.

Fourth-quarter trading revenue is expected to be roughly flat, collectively, with a year ago at Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Morgan Stanley…. Uncertainty and volatility can be a boon for Wall Street, as clients race to place big bets and firms collect significant fees—as was the case in early 2018. But market action in recent months has been marked instead by big funds and other traders scaling back activity in a bid to reduce risk, according to traders and analysts….

“There was a lot of volatility, but all to the downside,” said Brian Foran, a bank analyst at Autonomous. “That is bad volatility for the banks.”

Wall Street Struggles With the Bad Kind of Volatility [WSJ]