Donald Trump Is Once Again the Day Trader in Chief

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Early this morning Donald Trump launched another one of his famously random tweets:

The F-35 program is pretty famously over budget. I don’t think anyone will argue with Trump about that. But Christopher Bouzy asks an interesting question. Here’s a chart showing Lockheed Martin’s stock price today:

Bouzy wonders if someone profited by knowing about Trump’s tweet a few minutes before it went out. This is a reasonable suspicion if you look at tweeting and trading times down to the minute, but if you look at them down to the second you get a different picture. Trump’s tweet went out at 8:26:13 and there were a flurry of small trades ten seconds later, followed by a second flurry three seconds after that. This caused Lockheed Martin’s price to drop considerably, but only because pre-market trading volume is pretty low and illiquid, so even a smallish trade can send prices down. Most likely, these flurries were day traders who happened to see Trump’s tweet and acted instantly, or perhaps some kind of bot that reacts to Trump tweets.1

But even if there was no hanky panky, our president-elect still seems to have had an effect: Lockheed Martin stock traded very heavily today and closed down by more than two percent. Coincidence? Or a response to Trump’s tweet?

This revives a question we asked last week after Trump tweeted about Softbank, sending Sprint and T-Mobile stock upward. Do we really want the president of the United States calling out individual corporations and affecting their stock prices? Do we really want to be left wondering if maybe someone had a little advance knowledge of Trump’s tweets? That doesn’t seem to have been the case today, but if you knew a day ahead, for example, your trade would get lost in the noise and no one would ever know.

I assume the answer to these questions is no, isn’t it?

1Ridiculous? Not at all. I’d be surprised if someone hasn’t done this.

SIX TRUTHS

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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