Market Insider

Trump rally is on, even as Trump 'tweets from the hip'

Is the market becoming immune to Trump's tweets?

Traders will be watching for more tweets to rain down on U.S. companies from Trump Tower, but that does not appear to be something that will worry the Trump rally, for now.

President-elect Donald Trump called out Boeing Tuesday in a tweet for the high cost of the new Air Force One presidential jet, and the stock initially lost ground before ending the day a few cents higher at $152.24. Trump later said he wanted Boeing to make money, but not too much money.

"That's just Trump being Trump," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS. "He's thinking about the plane he has now that's nice and more comfortable, and he forgets some of the cost is anti-missile technology." But Cashin expects to see more from Trump, and it could take aim at individual companies. "He's going to be tweeting all over the place. He wants to look like he's going to hit the ground running."

In another development Tuesday, Trump appeared in the downstairs of Trump Tower with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, a Japanese billionaire and software investor. Trump announced that SoftBank will invest $50 billion in the U.S., and hopes to create 50,000 jobs.

Son had reportedly wanted to merge SoftBank's majority-owned Sprint with T-Mobile but was discouraged that regulators would reject the deal. Sprint shares rose 1.5 percent to $8.17 per share, and T-Mobile closed up 1.8 percent at $55.99, on renewed deal speculation.

Stocks Tuesday closed higher with the at 2,212, up 7, and the Dow rose 35 to close at a record 19,251. The Russell 2000 rose 1.1 percent to 1,352, a new record. Nasdaq was up 25 to 5,333. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell 1.7 percent to $50.93, as traders worried about the ability of OPEC and other producers to cut production, as agreed.

Cashin said the market is consolidating gains, and it was important that oil held above $50 per barrel and the stayed above the key 2,200 level.

Strategist Laszlo Birinyi, founder of Birinyi Associates, said he thinks the market is shrugging off the Boeing comment and others, including the weekend comment Trump made about wanting to tax the goods of companies that leave the country.

"Basically, his record is one of speaking, tweeting from the hip … and with a very high probability of reversing himself in the next 24 hours," said Birinyi.

He said it's unclear what Trump will do with trade and tariffs. "For now, it's noise and hopefully it stays that way. ... We'll see if he wants to use some of his political currency there. We'll just have to see what meets his litmus test of things to do," said Birinyi.

Birinyi said he is bullish on the market now. "We're looking at 2,250 [on the S&P 500] before the end of the year," he said, adding he will reassess when the market meets his goal.

"I still think the bull market is intact. If we get to the end of the year, which it looks like it will be the longest bull market in the last 50 years or so," he said. He said the end of the bull run could involve a steep gain. "They're all characterized by a surge at the end. The general view in the industry has always been the capitulation market bottoms. I think it's capitulation market tops. It's a capitulation of the bears at some point."

One concern is that oil has been volatile, and it could affect the market. But he said the upcoming Fed meeting should not affect the market, and he expects an interest rate hike to be taken in stride.

As for the Boeing comment and the other tweets, "I'm not listening to it much at this point. The market doesn't either. ... My whole approach is to invest from the bottom up, see what the market is telling me. That's been my mantra," he said.

Birinyi pointed at another time when a stock was telling a story. He said Boeing's Dreamliner battery problem in 2013 didn't crush the company's stock, which held at about $70. "Boeing batteries caught fire, the planes were grounded, the management was annoyed, the company was on the cover of business magazines. The stock didn't move. Basically, the stock was telling you this wasn't a material issue. Since then the stock has doubled," he said.

He said presidents haven't often criticized companies for making too much money. One extreme instance was when John Kennedy berated the steel industry for raising prices and he specifically looked at the industry's profits.

Birinyi said so far in the Trump rally, defense has done well, pushing up the whole industrial sector, and financials have done very well. Financials have accounted for 64 percent of the gain, as of yesterday, and Birinyi Associates said in a note the rally is not a "rising tide lifts all stocks" kind of rally. The note also pointed out that stock investors gained $563 billion since Election Day, but investors in Treasurys alone lost $781 billion.

"The one thing I'm surprised that no one has touched on is when the statement from the new administration is, 'We want banks to earn money again,'" he said. "No one's putting their hand up here and saying, is there a possible downside?" He said the concern is banks could return to some of the excesses that led to the financial crisis.

On Wednesday, there is JOLTs, job opening and turnover data at 10 a.m. ET, and consumer credit at 3 p.m. There are a number of earnings including Brown-Forman, Vera Bradley and John Wiley, before the bell. After the close, reports are expected from Lululemon Athletica, Costco, H&R Block, United Natural Foods and Casey's General.