Germany finds Trump irritating; Dow drops 373 points; Laptop ban will be costly

Profitable Moment

What happened today?

I can keep this short: The Dow has its worst day since September, and the reason is clear: This latest crisis hitting the President Trump over whether he tried to influence the FBI director. For the first time since the president took office, the market is expressing a doubt about his presidency and ability to get his agenda through.

What we don’t know is if this fall is a hiccup, a blip, a crack or a fissures, that is about to spread and grow. 

We just don’t know. 

What’s new… what’s next

By Patrick Gillespie, Julia Horowitz and Paul R. La Monica of CNNMoney

1. Farewell Trump bump, hello Trump slump?

Investors are finally paying attention to the chaos in Washington. Stocks fell sharply due to growing concerns about Trump’s ability to get anything productive done in the wake of the explosive memo from former FBI Director James Comey. Some have even begun to speculate about impeachment. Gold prices spiked and the dollar plunged — a reflection of the Trump turmoil. But money managers who advise the wealthy say their clients aren’t panicking.

2. German foreign minister finds Trump ‘irritating’

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says it’s a “decisive period” for U.S.-European relations. He said he’s “optimistic” about working with President Trump, but admitted at the German-American Conference in Berlin on Tuesday that “many things are irritating.” As Germany’s top diplomat, Gabriel has emerged as someone willing to stand up to Trump on the world stage. He’s set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

3. Europe’s laptop ban could cost fliers $1 billion

There’s a lot on the line as the Trump administration considers expanding its laptop ban to include flights from Europe. New security measures could result in major logistical disruptions at airports, and airlines could face reduced demand for tickets. Passengers could see delayed flights and higher costs. How bad could it be? The International Air Transport Association has put a $1.1 billion pricetag on the policy change.

4. Russia is buying up US debt 

Russia increased its holdings of US Treasury bonds in March to nearly $100 billion. That’s far higher than when Russia’s holdings of US debt were a mere $66 billion. In short, the Putin administration is restocking its reserves with oil prices stabilized around $50 a barrel after they fell below $27 a barrel in early 2016. Falling oil prices forced Russian officials to sell their dollar reserves to shore up the ruble, which spiraled to an all-time low last year. 

5. Quick Takes:

UK creating jobs. But for how long? Check out CNNMoney’s Brexit jobs tracker

McDonald’s pulls controversial ad about boy whose father died

Former Fed chief Ben Bernanke says DC dysfunction is ‘a reasonable concern’

Ford makes it official. Automaker confirms that it will be cutting 1,400 jobs

Dieselgate isn’t over just yet. Volkswagen CEO under criminal investigation

Saudi Arabia’s finance minister says kingdom could live with $40 oil in 2020

Apple to finally start selling ‘made in India’ iPhones in India

Wall Street Journal editorial board tells Trump to stop the ‘pointless melodrama’

6. What’s next:

Earnings: America’s largest retailer Walmart will report its quarterly results on Thursday. The behemoth, with its everyday low prices, has made life difficult for competitors, many of whom are going out of business. Also reporting earnings early Thursday is Chinese online marketplace Alibaba.

ECB tea leaves: Draghi and other ECB officials speak at a few events Thursday. Draghi will be in Tel Aviv, Israel, while other ECB board members talk at a couple events in Germany. The next ECB meeting  on monetary policy is in early June. 

Latin America’s bright spot: Peru is the region’s fastest growing economy. It reports GDP Thursday. Estimates are for 3% growth. Chile reports GDP Thursday too, expected to be much worse, below 1%. In other LatAm news, Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, visits Trump Thursday too. 

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