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Big cracks are developing in the ‘Trump portfolio’

A portfolio of so-called Trump trades has given back nearly a third of its gains since the election. And if President Donald Trump doesn't begin implementing his proposed corporate tax cuts and financial industry deregulation, some trades dependent on his proposals could suffer further.

Such a hypothetical basket of trades, which is long financials and small caps (equally long the XLF, XLB and IWM) and short technology and gold (equally short the XLK and GLD), may have been a successful trade postelection, but has floundered recently.

Much of the political enthusiasm around Trump's policies of fewer taxes and regulation and more fiscal spending has "waned," and thus Trump trades have given up some gains since the election, said Boris Schlossberg, BK Asset Management's managing director of foreign exchange strategy.

"None of those policy initiatives have been enacted; it's been much more toward protectionism and toward anti-terrorism. And the market, I think, is losing patience, and that is why you're seeing the whole Trump portfolio basket trade move off," Schlossberg said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"Now, if he reasserts his economic policy and if he comes back to those ideas quickly, those trades are going to come right back. But if he again wallows in much more political issues as we go forward, I think you're going to see much more of a correction than you currently have seen," he added.

Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, wrote in a note Thursday that he's looking to sift through "earnings and data and Trumpisms" for the market's next move, and has a close eye on Trump's meeting Friday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House.

"If we hear more about job creation, fair trade and general rapprochement, we could see a rally in industrials and technology that helps drag the market higher," Block wrote.

The S&P 500 technology sector underperformed the overall market by about 4 percent in the month after the U.S. election in November, and tension between tech companies and Trump's administration has risen since then as Trump's travel ban has been introduced.

Technology does have an opportunity to thrive under the Trump administration if tax repatriation takes effect, said David Seaburg, head of sales and trading at Cowen and Co. He's also bullish, with "caution," on the financial sector.

"I think if you go back to the election and you look at some of the price action of a lot of the sectors that have done well, you're still seeing incredible gains in a lot of these sectors," Seaburg said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

The financial sector surged after the election on rising rates and, to some degree, investors' hopes for less regulation in the industry (Trump himself has called the Dodd-Frank Act a "disaster"). Seaburg said he would pause on more near-term financial trades, but is rather bullish on the long term, as he sees Trump's promised policies having a positive impact.

"I think it just takes small amounts of positive signs, if you will, for this sector to continue its move higher," Seaburg said, adding that he expects Trump to make a "productive" policy announcement that will ultimately send stocks higher.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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