Trump Is Gripped by Market Volatility—And His Role in It

As the stock market churned this week, President Trump anxiously called advisers both inside and outside the White House looking for validation that his talks with China were not driving the sell-off.

Trump has questioned why the markets weren’t reacting more positively to the news of his potential breakthrough with Beijing. In consulting with advisers, he remained convinced that the volatility wasn’t his own doing, but rather, the product of the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise the benchmark interest rate.

.. But investors—and many within his administration—saw it differently. Almost as soon as Mr. Trump declared himself “Tariff Man” on Twitter on Tuesday, indicating that he would be willing to slap additional tariffs on China if it doesn’t deliver on key promises, stock prices tumbled. Those concerns intensified Thursdayfollowing the arrest of a senior executive of networking-gear making Huawei Technologies Co., sending stocks plummeting for the greater part of the day.

Publicly, Mr. Trump has often dismissed market fluctuations as part of a natural correction, but several people close to the president say he places as much importance on the health of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for validation of his job performance as he does with his polling numbers.

..  He would get excited about triple-digit gains in a single day and question aides about how certain actions might influence the market, people familiar with the matter said. Asked about Mr. Trump’s attention to the stock market, one person close to the White House said:  “He’s glued to it.”

.. “It doesn’t seem like anything was actually agreed to at the dinner [at the G-20 in Buenos Aires] and White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels to reconcile Trump’s tweets (which seem if not completely fabricated then grossly exaggerated) with reality,”JP Morgan wrote
.. While he has been quick to claim credit for market rallies, Mr. Trump has repeatedly pointed elsewhere when stocks slide. His favorite target: Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, who Mr. Trump has slammed over his decision to raise the interest rate.
.. Mr. Trump also said that the October sell-off was reaction to potential election wins by the Democratic party
.. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington on Tuesday, acknowledged that “the (stock) market is now in a wait and see” moment with regard to China: “Is there going to be a real deal at the end of 90 days or not?”