The stock market is the pulse of the world’s money. It certainly reflects what’s happening in the nervous system of the American economy, and it is minutely sensitive to the vagueries of a certain pair of tiny digits belonging to a tweeter with 64 million followers, namely Donald Trump. To document the rises and falls of the stock market, based upon the expression and indiscretion of those tiny hands, attached to an even tinier brain, the folks at JP Morgan Chase came up with the “Volfefe Index.” The word is coined from Trump’s still-cryptic “covfefe” tweet, which Sean Spicer tried to explain away as a “code” directed to “certain people” as you may recall — and the word “volatility.” That’s my best guess, although I haven’t read it anywhere yet, but it makes sense, so I present that definition here. MSNBC:
J.P. Morgan found that the index, named after Trump’s infamous and still mysterious “covfefe” tweet, explains a measurable fraction of the moves in implied rate volatility for 2-year and 5-year Treasurys.
“This makes rough sense as much of the president’s tweets have been focused on the Federal Reserve, and as trade tensions are broadly seen as, first and foremost, impactful on near-term economic performance and, likewise, the Fed’s reaction to such developments,” wrote the authors of the J.P. Morgan report.
Trump’s market-moving messages most often address trade and monetary policy, with key words including “China,” “billion” and “products.” These tweets are increasingly less likely to receive favorable responses, such as likes or retweets, from the president’s followers.
Incredibly, the time of day when Have Thumbs Will Tweet is at his screen, also is noted with precision.
Trump’s 3:00 am tweets are also more common than 3:00 pm tweets, which can be a nuisance for U.S. rates markets, since overnight market depth tends to be thin. Trump is presumably asleep from 5:00 am to 10:00 am, according to the report, since there’s a lull in tweeting activity during that time.
Days when Trump tweets a lot are also associated with negative stock market returns, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The Volvfefe Index came into being shortly after Trump’s conscious manipulation of the market last week by tweeting that he had been in touch with China over modification of the trade war, which is a story he made up expressly for the purpose of influencing the market — apparently unaware that lying to influence the market is against SEC guidelines.
Ronald Reagan was called the Great Communicator and Trump is the Great Tweeter. Only governance by Twitter could have inspired the Volfefe Index. What’s next, we ask with great trepidation? The Great Pumpkin?