President Donald Trump’s tariffs on China and the Federal Reserve’s plans to hike interest rates in lockstep are both “toxic” for the stock market, and combined, they are souring the prospects for 2019, CNBC’s Jim Cramer warned Monday.
“Higher rates and higher [tariffs] are setting us up for a very difficult end of the year — not to mention 2019 — unless something’s done to ameliorate these two different houses of pain,” the “Mad Money” host said.
Stocks endured yet another wild trading session Monday as the major averages rose sharply, then plunged on news that the president was considering placing tariffs on all Chinese imports if trade talks fail. The market has been especially volatile since the Fed’s late-September rate hike, in which the central bank indicated it would hike rates once more in December and three times in 2019.
Cramer attributed Monday’s decline to the tariff news, saying that the conflict is “no longer just about trade,” but about an all-out “cold war” between the Trump administration and the Chinese government.
“There is no lesser of two evils here,” Cramer said, calling both the president and the Fed dangerously “implacable” on policy. “The Fed’s insistence on tightening regardless of the data makes for a precipitous course that can’t be corrected. The president’s intransigence on tariffs make[s] it difficult to believe that we’ll get any help from worldwide growth.”
The most frightening thing for Cramer when it comes to individual investors is that “there’s no place to hide” in the stock market, with even high-quality secular stocks like Amazon and Alphabet now enduring declines.
“I want to be constructive here. I want to be less hard-line. But unless someone from the Fed takes notice of the rot underneath this economy and someone from the White House recognizes that our goal with China is to get them to play fair, not to humiliate them across every corner of the earth, then this market’s going to keep falling,” he said.
And with sellers managing to take hold in nearly every trading session, the “Mad Money” host was concerned that there would be no respite for the bulls unless either Trump or the Fed reverses course.
“Between the intransigence of the Fed and the intransigence of the president, things are not looking good for stocks,” he said. “The one silver lining? Both of these problems are man-made, which means they can be solved, but first our leaders need to be willing to change their minds. So far, neither seems likely to occur.”