a bang and a whimper

The death toll from the Trump-incited riot on Wednesday is now five: one rioter shot to death, three apparent rioters dead from heart attack/stroke, and one policeman dead from being bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by rioters. The Capitol police chief whose department ignored social media discussion of plans for a violent attack on the Congress has resigned. No explanation yet for why the administration initially refused police requests for National Guard reinforcements. Bizarre tweets by Republican legislators blaming the riot on antifa and BLM, which serve only to underscore the narrative of Two Americas. An occasion for fund-raising by Josh Hawley.

Yesterday Trump made a grudging public statement, which the Wall Street Journal called too little, too late. It was more revealing for how little was said. No acknowledgment that Biden had won the election–only admission that due to the Congressional action he was unsuccessful in disrupting, a new administration would take office in two weeks. To my mind Trump said the minimum necessary to avoid being removed from office by his cabinet, a number of whom have already resigned, apparently in order to avoid having to vote on whether to remove him.

What a mess. A huge black eye for America throughout the world.

Putting on our investor hats, however, the salient fact is that the coup attempt failed, thanks in large part to Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence.

The immediate market reaction in stock prices, as I read it: a shift in interest away from the Russell 2000, Industrials and Consumer discretionary toward health care–genomics firms in particular–and financials. It’s hard to know how long this will last, but the move seems to me to be a new hesitation to bet that Trump’s growth-inhibiting economic policies will disappear once he leaves office. I don’t get the logic–my guess is that Trump loses a lot of influence once he’s not The President–but that’s what yesterday’s prices are saying to me. Let’s see what today brings.

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