logo

Trump's tariff threat to Mexico tanks stocks—four experts on what it means for the market

VIDEO3:0003:00
Stocks drop after Trump threatens tariffs on Mexico—four experts react

Markets ended May in the red thanks to Trump's Mexico move.

On Friday, the Trump administration threatened to place 5% tariffs on all imports from Mexico starting June 10, calling into question its already fraught trade negotiations with China, support from U.S. businesses on the trade front and the backing of its own negotiators. Peter Navarro, one of the president's trade advisors, told CNBC on Friday that the threat was related to the administration's concerns around border security.

Experts are split on what this means for the stock market, and what could come next in this uncertainty-laden landscape.

Here are four of their takes on the development:

Krishna Memani, chief investment officer at OppenheimerFunds, said the market still appears to be pricing in a resolution on trade:

"At the end of the day, this is not a good move. But at the same time, I think it is worthwhile remembering the economy has enough momentum to kind of live through it. So, we will shave off - we are clearly increasing the risks, and the risks are really on the capital investment front far more than consumption. … So, I think that is really the key. That is, we are not just jeopardizing the growth today, we are jeopardizing future growth. And that is playing with fire. So, I think the expectation the market still has - if I had told you three months ago that we will have a full-fledged trade war and the markets would be down 5, 6%, I don't think you would have believed that. And I think what that is telling you is the fact that markets are still expecting that we'll reach some sort of a resolution."

Chase Consumer Banking CEO Thasunda Duckett said those in her area of the market are staying focused on U.S. consumers:

"When you look at the overall numbers at a macro level, you see unemployment continues to be low — it's at 3.6% — you see consumer confidence did spike up last month, so the overall health of the consumer is strong. But whenever you have market volatility like we have today, that's where it's just important for our advisors and our bankers to talk to customers and keep them focused on their goals and objectives."

Former U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley didn't agree with tariffs being used to push a political issue:

"In the president's view, the Mexican government [is] not doing enough to stop people from coming to the border. Well, adding tariffs into an issue that is really a different issue than the economics that the deal with Mexico and Canada was negotiated over rather toughly over the last two years, I think, is just kind of throwing gas on a fire and hoping that something happens that's positive. But I don't see how it works well. First of all, it does, as we all know, hurt the consumers, hurt the suppliers, hurt the overall economy, and does it really get to the point where Mexico finds a way to stop people who want to come to the U.S.? I doubt it."

Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citi Private Bank, said this will likely cause more market volatility:

"Between Mexico and the United States, it's about a quarter of a trillion dollars of auto parts imports from Mexico to make about a half trillion dollars of final autos product inside the United States. Higher tariffs are going to have an impact on that, so it's going to hurt the bottom line for particular companies. And, in general, this issue now of bringing non-trade issues and trade issues together with tariffs is reducing confidence that we're going to be able to settle trade issues quickly and easily. … We think that this is a large issue for corporate profits generally, whether this is around the world, whether this is U.S.-Mexico, and that is going to be something that should weigh on markets. We've thought that this was a plus-or-minus-10% issue if there were no unintended consequences, but just the impact on large company profits from paying these tariffs, that is something that can disrupt markets."