U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to reinvigorate the trade war between the U.S. and China as part of a response to Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, throwing more uncertainty into an already volatile market.
“To be safe, tech investors will want to focus on companies like Microsoft, Crowdstrike and Citrix.”
The virus is now Trump’s top priority, putting trade relations between the world’s two largest economies on the back burner after signing phase one of a trade deal earlier this year.
Two anonymous U.S. officials told Reuters that discussions about some kind of retaliation against China are in the early stages.
“There is a discussion as to how hard to hit China and how to calibrate it properly,” one of the sources told Reuters.
Trade War Throws More Uncertainty Into the Stock Market
But is restarting the trade war the best idea right now?
Financial markets were rocked last year as both countries launched tariff salvos back and forth, and that was while the economy was rolling along just fine.
Now the entire world is dealing with an economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the stock market has recovered a good chunk of its losses that started in mid-February, renewed trade tensions aren’t going to help that cause.
Hargett is the Editor of Great Stuff, a daily financial e-zine with a humorous edge, and an expert in trends on Wall Street. And he thinks restarting the tariff war now means “trouble and uncertainty” for the stock market ahead.
“Those are two things the market doesn’t need more of right now,” Hargett wrote via email. “As I’ve said in Great Stuff recently, the tech sector is one of the few bright spots in the pandemic market. Chipmakers, cloud software, cybersecurity — they’ve all seen a major lift from people working at home.
“Dropping tariffs on the group now undermines that growth and once again calls into question technology supply chains. Semiconductor stocks like AMD and Micron are going to be pinched if tariffs move forward like last time.”
Investors eyeing the tech sector should shift toward companies focused on work-from-home tech as people continue to shelter in place amid the coronavirus lockdown.
“To be safe, tech investors will want to focus on companies like Microsoft, Crowdstrike and Citrix. Software companies that benefit from the work-at-home environment and that are largely sheltered from potential tariff woes,” Hargett suggested.
Safe plays don’t have to be limited to the tech sector, either. Hargett has been sounding the alarm for a while now, and has some great advice for investors in this rocky market.
“Investors should be thinking about survival and preserving capital. Since early February, Great Stuff has recommended keeping most of your capital in safe havens such as gold, bonds and cash … especially if you are nearing or in retirement,” he wrote.
Opportunity is still out there, but Hargett advises investors to proceed with caution.
“There’s room to look for short-term opportunities — the recent bounce off the March lows proves that,” Hargett said. “However, I don’t believe we’ve seen the market bottom yet. The safest way to play this rocky market is to be patient, preserve your capital and do some careful bargain hunting.”
Bringing the U.S.-China trade war back into the spotlight right now could mean more pain for an already volatile stock market.
Editor’s note: Check out Great Stuff for Hargett’s daily take on the top trends hitting Wall Street.