In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big international event taking place this weekend in Osaka, Japan. I don’t know how you could have avoided hearing about the G20 summit because it is everywhere in the financial news. If you are a reader of Bull Market Rodeo, I am guessing that you also visit other financial oriented sites.
It isn’t so much the G20 summit that is garnering all of the headlines, but rather it is the meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi that is in the spotlight. President Trump certainly thinks the meeting is important. In a tweet about the Democratic presidential debate, the President stated, “Sorry, I’m on Air Force One, off to save the Free World!”
It might be a little overly dramatic to think the fate of the free world rests on the outcome of this meeting in Japan, but the media and investors seem to be putting a lot of hope on the outcome. I almost feel like Michael Buffer should be in Japan to deliver his trademark phrase, “Let’s get ready to rumble!” as the two leaders get together.
Seriously though, every financial website has a story prominently positioned on the first page of their site. When I opened up the sites I visit the most often on Thursday morning, G20 headlines were everywhere. Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal all had a G20 article as the lead story or at the very least a prominently placed position.
On Yahoo Finance, the lead story was a picture of President Trump and President Xi from a previous meeting. The headline cited the Wall Street Journal and stated the Xi was set to present Trump with terms that needed to be met in order for a deal to be reached.
Bloomberg had a picture from the Democratic Debate as the top story, but just below that picture were two different articles that dealt with the trade war and the upcoming meeting between the leaders.
Like Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal had the Democratic Debate and the G20 meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi as the top stories.
I first started tracking market sentiment approximately 20 years ago. The company I worked for when I first started in the investment publishing industry was known for tracking market sentiment. The owner of the company even had an intern print headlines about companies and scan magazine covers as a means of tracking media sentiment. The coverage the G20 meeting is getting is concerning, and it seems like the majority of investors think big things are going to come out of the meeting, the contrarian in me says the outcome is going to be disappointing.
Stocks seem to be climbing on the notion that a deal will be reached this weekend. Personally I don’t see that happening. There may be progress made, but if President Xi is bringing a list of terms that need to be met before a deal can be reached, I see the trade war dragging out far longer than most analysts and investors are anticipating.
There is also the Trump factor. I mentioned in an earlier article that the trade war has essentially backed the Fed in to a rate cut at the July meeting and if a deal were to be reached before that FOMC meeting it could put the expected cut in jeopardy. I don’t think President Trump wants that.
I am going in to this weekend a bit more cautiously than most, or at least I think I am. I don’t have great expectations for a deal being reached. I think the best we can hope for is steps in the right direction, but I’m not even sure positive steps will be enough to satisfy the expectations most investors seem to have. I would compare it to a company’s earnings report where the expectations are so high that no matter what happens there is a letdown afterwards.
Sometimes the hurdle simply gets moved so high that even the best hurdler in the world couldn’t clear it. Unfortunately I think that is where we are with the expectations for the G20 meeting between Trump and Xi.