Trading Nation

The market is now a ‘binary bet on Trump and nothing else,’ claims macro trader

Trading the Trump tax plan

Some strategists have argued that the market has gone higher in part because investors are hoping for a lot from the Trump administration – corporate tax cuts, infrastructure spending and leaning away from protectionist ideals that could derail international trade relations.

Boris Schlossberg, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, is one of those strategists who has in recent weeks noted that all trades have become political, for precisely these reasons. In a new interview, he said market bulls are now essentially making a "binary bet on Trump and nothing else."

Schlossberg doesn't think the market's gains since November are due entirely to Donald Trump's election, but any progress going forward is solely contingent upon the president's agenda panning out.

"If we don't get any delivery by summertime, I think you're going to see a massive disappointment and a move back because the underlying economy is nowhere near the level the market is; the underlying economy is just chugging along at a subpar pace and you really need that whole push from the administration to make the market go up," Schlossberg commented Wednesday on CNBC's "Power Lunch" shortly after members of the Trump administration announced a few details surrounding its intended tax reform package.

The plan outlined Wednesday, which Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said was intentionally vague, included a 15 percent tax rate for businesses and the reduction of the seven individual tax brackets to three, or 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent.

This plan will help the market if and only if it is passed by Congress, Schlossberg said. "If he doesn't get anything done, I think you're going to see a massive sell-off."

A significant amount of the market's run since the election has to do with Trump and his agenda, Eddy Elfenbein, editor of the Crossing Wall Street blog, commented Wednesday.

"We've gone from sort of the 'risk-on, risk-off' trade to 'Trump-on, Trump-off' trade," Elfenbein said, noting classic indicators of market fear – the price of gold and the level on the CBOE Volatility Index – falling as the White House outlined its tax plan and stocks rallied.

The market is remarkably calm, Elfenbein said Wednesday on "Power Lunch," and investors are pinning "so much on Trump's agenda and not only what he does support — because there are a lot of blank spaces — but that it will pass. We just don't know that. So the long case is really investing a lot in the Trump agenda right now."