The Trade Wars Begin

While it sounds like an episode from Star Wars, this may not be fantasy. The trade talks between the US and China appear to be breaking down. At this point, both sides are talking new tariffs. And the speculation about just how quickly the world will come to an end has begun.

Putting political commentary aside, what does this mean for investors?

In a word: it’s bad.

Futures are getting hammered as markets appear poised to drop about 2% across the board. The 10-year treasury yield has also dropped as people seek safe-haven assets. Even the BigFoot database has dropped from over 82% long to around 75% long. So this is becoming more than just a squawking media cycle.

Support may be tough to find in this market. There’s been such a steady climb the last month that there are very few ‘stops’ on the way back down. The first noteworthy area the markets reversed is the intra-day low set back on March 27th at 2787.

Here are key support levels from there: 200-day moving average is at 2776. 100-day moving average is at 2749. And then there’s the March 8th low of 2722.

All of these levels imply a drop of over 3% for the week.

The only silver lining to this situation is that it could end. Should a deal be reached, markets would now view this as a VERY positive event that could push things to all-time highs in short order. Otherwise, the upward momentum is shot. We’re now looking at a sideways pattern where the markets have to find their footing, re-test a few times, and see if they can grind higher.

So yes, this news is damaging. Unless something happens today that gives the market a hard reversal — something that has this market finishing in the green today (which, frankly, is hard to rationalize given the current data) — there’s likely more damage to come.

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