Art Cashin: Investors aren't taking Trump's NAFTA threat 'fully to heart'

Key Points
  • Investors believe NAFTA negotiations will lengthen and become more difficult, UBS' Art Cashin says.
  • "Don't forget, [Trump's] not in the room negotiating," Cashin adds.
  • Cashin said the markets are also readjusting to the idea that things may not be going too well in Washington after Trump's swipes at senators.
Cashin: I think we will get a couple of surprises in Jackson Hole

Investors aren't taking President Donald Trump's threat to pull out of a trade agreement with Canada and Mexico "fully to heart," closely followed trader Art Cashin said Wednesday.

Speaking Tuesday evening at a rally in Arizona, the president said he doubts the United States can reach a deal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The three nations started formal negotiations to tweak the trade pact this month.

"Don't forget, he's not in the room negotiating. He will obviously have to put all of his stuff together when it comes out and OK it. For now, they see it as the possibility that negotiations will lengthen and become more difficult," UBS' director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange said on "Squawk on the Street."

"If they truly believed no more NAFTA, it would be far more significant," Cashin added.

Instead, stocks were lower Wednesday after Trump said he would be willing to let the government shut down without appropriations for a border wall.

"If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall," Trump said at the rally Tuesday.

Cashin said the markets are also readjusting to the idea that things may not be going too well in Washington. Despite a Politico report that the White House is making strides on tax reform, Trump has taken swipes at senators, Cashin said.

"Here's the president saying we're not getting along as well as everybody thought and the market's readjusting for that," Cashin said.

"As good as yesterday's rally looked, it was in many ways a retracement rally," he said. "The real winners yesterday were the casualties of the preceding two weeks."

Cashin also spoke about the monetary policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week. He said the market may be in for a few surprises but much of it hinges on Fed Chair Janet Yellen's remarks scheduled for Friday.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is also set to speak Friday.

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