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Dow Seesaws as Apple Offsets Trump Threat to Destroy Turkish Economy

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:06 PM
Francois Aure
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:06 PM

The Dow Jones dipped from its highs after President Donald Trump spooked the stock market with one of his most bombastic Twitter threats ever, warning that he could “totally destroy and obliterate” the economy of Turkey.

These losses were mitigated as Apple stock  exploded higher as demand for the iPhone 11 remains strong, alongside hopes remaining high for some progress in the trade war when talks restart this week.

Dow Ignores Trump Tweetstorm, Begs for Trade War Progress

Minutes before the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had lost 41.73 points or 0.16%, dropping the index to 26,531.99. The DJIA had traded as high as 26,655.84 earlier in the session.

dow jones industrial average chart
The Dow Jones chopped higher and lower as Trump threatened to destroy the Turkish economy and Apple rallied ahead of China trade talks. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Putting Trump’s Turkish comments in context, the president announced that the US would be withdrawing from Syria. This leaves their former allies, the Kurds, exposed in Northern Syria  to a Turkish government that believes they are terrorists.

Weakness in the Dow, S&P 500 (-0.22%), and Nasdaq (-0.1%) was seen across the board, while a bad day for the Turkish Lira  got worse, with the currency suffering a 2.35% loss.

European stock markets  ignored a breakdown in Brexit talks  to rally, even though the October 31st deadline is rapidly approaching.

China Dampens Stock Market Enthusiasm

Of course, there was far more than just Turkey-related angst weighing on the Dow. Investors also woke up to the news that China was planning to limit the scope of trade talks with the US significantly.

A good portion of the rally on Friday was predicated on hopes of progress on trade, and the weakness in the Australian dollar  today (-0.5%) indicated there was a good deal of trade war concern.

The continued belief that some deescalation in the form of a minor trade deal  could occur is helping support markets, even if a trade war truce is unlikely.

Larry Kudlow may have helped stocks by stating that the rumored proposal to delist Chinese companies from US stock exchanges that roiled the Dow was “not on the table .”

Jerome Powell Reassures Investors of Fed Independence

Speaking only briefly, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell took to the stand to stress the importance of an independent Federal Reserve . This is a hot topic given President Trump’s sustained attacks on Powell’s approach to monetary policy.

September’s FOMC minutes are expected later this week. with investors pricing in an overwhelming probability  of a third straight rate cut at the Fed’s upcoming policy at the end of October.

Economist Morten Lund at Nordea believes that the current economic conditions in the United States warrant two more cuts from the Fed. This strategy could maintain growth conditions, though there is no guarantee it will help the US avoid a recession, as he stated in a report :

“We believe the current cycle is comparable with the mid-90s when after a cumulative 300 bp of rate hikes, the Fed cut rates by 75 bp and managed to fend off a recession. This time, the Fed has hiked by a cumulative 225 bp plus delivered additional tightening via the normalization of the balance sheet. Acting pre-emptively with two more cuts in October and December could prevent a recession and extend the current expansion. We do, however, still expect the US economy to slow further from here, with the risk of a recession being non-negligible.”

Dow Stocks: Apple Puts Stock Market on Its Back

A quiet Dow 30  avoided steeper losses because a relatively strong rally in major DJIA component Apple (+0.3%) buttressed the market. Cisco, Disney, and the beleaguered UnitedHealth Group were also up more than 0.6% on the day.

There were plenty of stocks in the red; Exxon Mobil fell 1%, and Coca-Cola led the losers with a 1.3% decline.

Click here for a live Dow Jones Industrial Average chart.