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Fed chair Jerome Powell speaks during a conference at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
U.S. stocks fell after each of Jerome Powell's first 7 policy meetings as Fed chair, by far the longest streak on record, and have had a major reaction just about every time he speaks.
Why it matters: The U.S. trade war that could include China, Mexico, the EU, India and others has dominated the conversation in business circles over the past month, but Tuesday's price action showed nothing moves stocks like Powell and the Fed.
What he said: During opening remarks for a speech in Chicago, Powell began by addressing "recent developments involving trade negotiations."
What the market heard: "'Act as appropriate.' That phrase from Powell this morning has clearly opened the door to a cut in coming quarters," said BMO Capital Markets rate strategist Joe Hill. "As a result, the operative question has become whether the cut comes in June or September, and whether the move will be 25 [basis points] or 50."
Of note: Powell's comments follow remarks from St. Louis Fed president James Bullard on Monday that also insinuated the Fed was open to cutting rates. It continues a theme of Powell's Fed speaking with a unified voice, breaking with the past actions of policymakers.
The Fed's policy U-turn — cutting the outlook for future interest rate hikes in December after saying in November that they planned to raise rates 3 times in 2019 — was the catalyst for this year's direction in both the U.S. stock and Treasury markets.
Though President Trump insisted he plans to follow through on his threat to add escalating tariffs to all goods imported from Mexico, suspicion is beginning to grow among asset managers.
What it means: The timing, lack of clarity and lack of policy action or precedent has some wondering whether the president's actions are less about punishing Mexico and more an attempt to get the Fed to cut rates in order to stimulate the economy ahead of 2020.
What's happening: Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump was "deadly serious" about the tariffs, but acknowledged there was "no specific target" and no concrete benchmarks to judge whether Mexico was stopping the flow of migrants from Central America into the U.S. as Trump demanded.
Afsaneh M. Beschloss, founder and CEO of asset management firm RockCreek, said Tuesday at the Bloomberg Invest conference in New York that Wall Street is starting to wonder aloud about the president's intentions.
"Looking at what's going on with trade, one question some people are asking is why are there so many tweets and why so much attention to trade at this particular moment. Because we know the president is one of the smartest when it comes to politics."
"We're out of fiscal policy options, since it's unlikely Congress can come to an agreement, and we know that the Fed is independent. So is the causal effect here to push the news on trade to a point that it might impact interest rate decisions? Some people are starting to talk that way."
Uber is fast recovering from its disastrous first day as a public company last month, and it looks poised to continue rising as Wall Street banks eagerly slapped "Buy" ratings on the stock.
What's happening: The company's so-called quiet period ended Tuesday for the 29 firms that played a role in underwriting its initial public offering. Once allowed to evaluate the company they were unsurprisingly bullish.
Yes, but: Despite recommending everyone and their mother buy shares in the "transformational" (Bank of America) "leading global player" (RBC) and "categorical market leader" (Oppenheimer), analysts broadly estimated deeper losses than previously expected for the ride-hailing company this year.
Last year was a big one for entertainment. Television, radio and movies saw increased revenues and audiences came to the theater in a big way.
The Broadway League announced that 2018 ticket sales and gross revenue had both reached record highs, with nearly 15 million in attendance and close to $2 billion in grosses, an increase of 7.8%.
The big picture: Other entertainment avenues also saw a boost in their numbers.
Digital ad spending in the U.S. is expected to be greater than traditional ad spending this year for the first time, according to eMarketer's latest forecast.
What is the man in "The Scream" painting by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch screaming about?
Black may have been projecting a bit. Apollo's stock has risen 25% year-to-date but has trailed the S&P significantly since its market debut in 2011, even as Apollo's returns and those of private equity broadly have outperformed the stock market.
What to watch: Asked if he thinks the U.S. will have another downturn like 2008, Black said, "We might. It probably won't be until after the next election. But that's not that far off."