I have a feeling that many readers didn’t like my conclusion last week, that the major markets and asset classes are a bit like watching paint dry. I concede that it was a lousy metaphor, but last week provided an excellent example that markets are still playing second fiddle to events elsewhere in the public sphere. The NATO summit in Brussels and Mr. Trump’s visit to the U.K. drew all the headlines*, once again forcing economists and strategists to take on the uncomfortable mantle as armchair political analysts. To the extent that Mr. Trump’s odd ways are the common denominator across most geopolitical risk these days, experience suggests that investors should ignore it. That said, I suspect the resurgence in the dollar has something to do with it. The U.S., and by extension Mr. Trump, wield extensive power in the global economy. The more that the White House throws its weight around—on the laughable premise that the U.S. is being short-changed as part of the post-WWII world order—the stronger the dollar gets. In other words, Mr. Trump can win the trade wars, and extract pounds of flesh from his allies, but if the dollar zooms higher, the end-result could be the opposite of what the president, and his base, set out to achieve in the first place.
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