Unlike pundits and politicians, who often have conflicting incentives (building their brand, speaking to their diehard base, promoting their books, getting on TV so they can impress their high school crush at the next class reunion), traders are motivated by one thing: making money. And they only profit if they can correctly anticipate future developments.
That's why, when the social media outrage over United Airlines forcefully removing a passenger from a flight erupted yesterday, the first thing I checked was the price chart of UAL stock. While social justice warriors on Facebook engaged in a game of one-upmanship virtue signaling, UAL traders were relatively nonplussed...and the stock closed higher by nearly 1% on the day.
By no means am I excusing the violent actions of the police involved, but at least from the market's perspective, there was little reason to fear a mass boycott or legal action having a material impact on the massive airline's earnings. Of course, the probability of such an event is constantly evolving (note that UAL is trading down by 3% pre-market so far today). They're far from perfect, but markets still provide the best aggregate prediction model that our species has invented to date.
This brings us to a topic we've been following closely since the U.S. election: the so-called "Trump Trade." Two weeks ago, we asked "Are we at a tipping point for the Trump Trade?" but based on research by Goldman Sachs, that tipping point may have come closer to two months ago.
The GS Research Team assembled proprietary stock indices based on companies expected to benefit from the two pillars of The Donald's fiscal policy: a "phenomenal" tax reform (read cuts) plan and a massive infrastructure spending bill. As the chart above shows, both of these indices have been trending lower since at least early February.
Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research