Now that President Donald Trump's original chief economic advisor Gary Cohn has left the White House, markets are taking the president's rhetoric more seriously, according to billionaire investor Mark Cuban.
"The fact is when Gary Cohn was there, you didn't have to come out and say 'don't listen to the guy'," Cuban said in an on-stage discussion moderated by fellow "Shark Tank" panelist Kevin O'Leary on Thursday. "Now, somebody has to come out and say don't listen to the president."
Stocks have reacted negatively to President Donald Trump's double down on China tariffs this week. After China announced fresh tariffs on 106 U.S. products Wednesday, President Trump threatened more levies on Thursday, and said he asked the United States Trade Representative to consider $100 billion in additional tariffs against China. China's Commerce Ministry responded Friday, saying the country will not hesitate to react with a "major response to the new tariffs from the U.S." The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 400 points Friday.
Earlier in the week, Gary Cohn's replacement, Chief Economic Advisor Lary Kudlow, calmed the markets, insisting that the U.S. is not looking to provoke a major confrontation with China. The Dow industrials saw a 700-point jump Wednesday following his comments.
"What's happening now, when people think 'this time he's serious,' the market goes down," Cuban said. "When someone comes out and says 'don't take him seriously,' the market goes up."
Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president and free trade advocate, announced his departure in March after Trump announced he would impose stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Cuban, who is also the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has been a vocal critic of President Trump. The entrepreneur sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for roughly $5.7 billion in 1999, and according to Forbes, has a net worth of $3.3 billion.