Waiting for Trumpot

Tue, 2017/02/28 - 2:44pm | Your editor
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Today is Fasching (Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras). I celebrate it every years because it is the key to my existence. My parents met at a Faschingsball on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, despite both being Jewish and therefore not in need of a blow-out before the start of Lent. The reason was that when young German Jews arrived in a country where they were not banned from fun—as they had been in Nazi Germany—they partied.


India surprised not because growth slowed in the Dec. quarter—as expected given the withdrawal of high-denomination cash—but how little growth slowed, from 2015's 7.4% to 2016's 7%. Analysts had predicted that GDP would only rise 6.4%. What this shows is that people with spare cash are not the drivers of the Indian economy. The drivers are poor people who don't have 500 rupees to rub together. (The high valuation notes withdrawn were for 500 and 1000 rupees, approximately worth 7.5 cents and 15 cents respectively.) The New Delhi statistical office expect full fiscal year growth (to end March) will be 7.1%.


At 9 pm today Pres. Trump will have to stop tweeting and provide guidance on what policy measures are coming, when he delivers his State of the Union address to Congress. The stock market is teetering today (as it has been for days) because of fear that economic stimulus and infrastructure spending will be delayed—or that trade policy plans will turn out to be more protectionism than anticipated. Either will trigger a sell-off tomorrow. My personal suspicion is that the Dow drops of the last few days, which miraculously reversed at the 11th hour, were staged by the Administration. Yesterday's drop was reversed when hoopla over defense spending was delivered to kill the bears. So we have had 12 days of higher share prices (although not very much higher share prices.) The trouble is that another surprise win is harder to manipulate today as all eyes will be on what the President says and how he says it.

And Lent begins tomorrow.


India, one of my

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