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The big picture: Until now, markets looked at President Trump, and at the tech sector, and saw good times. Now, markets are looking at Trump and tech and seeing risk.

Expand chart
Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals
  • With stock markets closed today for Good Friday, the firstquarter of 2018 is in the books, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 in the red for the quarter, and Facebook and Google down.
  • Be smart: Wall Streeters tell me that Trump’s impulsive crashing around on issues has started to affect market psychology. The economy's fundamentals, and corporate performance, are strong. But he is the x factor.   
  • A tweet by Neil Irwin of the N.Y. Times Upshot captures the Street zeitgeist: "It seems like markets are settling into a new groove in which modest news creates outsized swings in prices, whether for tech stocks or companies vulnerable to a trade war. The baseline assumption that 'it will all be OK' isn’t there anymore."
  • Even before this week's swing by Amazon, The Economist was warning: "'Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.' Those famous lines of Bette Davis in 'All About Eve' may turn out to be the motto for the markets in 2018."
  • And The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip sees a volatile new normal: "Since early February inflation, interest rates, Facebook problems, White House turnover and trade have all been blamed for investor anxiety. It may simply be that years of preternatural calm, induced by rock-bottom interest rates and symbolized by the market’s low 'fear gauge' (VIX), are over."

When the stock market was booming, Trump obsessed about it as a kind of applause meter for his policies. And Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has referred to the markets as an economic report card for the administration. Axios business editor Dan Primack writes:

  • If so, I guess we'd call Q1 a gentleman's C.
  • Big stock takeaway from the quarter is that volatility is back, after having been absent for almost all of 2017.
  • Why it matters: Trump tweets or actual White House policy decisions seem to have much more potential to carry (at least short-term) Wall Street consequences than they did last year, when almost everything was met with a shrug and a buy. 

The bottom line: There just isn't a factor on the horizon that experts see as likely to move the needle positively, as there was at this time last year with tax cuts. No one ever really bought into the viability of Trump's infrastructure plan.

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Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: Pope Francis spreads message of peace on first trip to Iraq

Pope Francis waving as he arrives near the ruins of the Syriac Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception (al-Tahira-l-Kubra), in the old city of Iraq's northern Mosul on March 7. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis was on Sunday visiting areas of northern Iraq once held by Islamic State militants.

Why it matters: This is the first-ever papal trip to Iraq. The purpose of Francis' four-day visit is largely intended to reassure the country's Christian minority, who were violently persecuted by ISIS, which controlled the region from 2014-2017.

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

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