President Trump and Vice President Pence are staying focused on the administration’s top priority: the U.S. economy. This, as new reports emerge that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador, despite stating that he did not have conversations with Moscow during his confirmation hearing. The White House is standing by Sessions.
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On Thursday the vice president, along with HHS Secretary Tom Price, met with local small business leaders and employees in Ohio, a critical swing state for the Republican Party in the 2016 election. The pair addressed small business concerns, including the process for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
"ObamaCare is weighing down our job creators and our country's future...We're going to replace ObamaCare with something that actually works," Pence said before the group of business owners.
Meanwhile, the president reacted to improving economic data and the rapid ascent of the U.S. stock market since the election, tweeting on Thursday morning:
Since November 8th, Election Day, the Stock Market has posted $3.2 trillion in GAINS and consumer confidence is at a 15 year high. Jobs!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2017
New Labor Department data out Thursday showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in 44 years last week, another encouraging sign of a healthy labor market and a positive pre-cursor for the monthly jobs report which will be released March 10.
The president’s comment comes on the heels of a record breaking day in the markets, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 21000 for the first time ever. The 1,000 point advance came just 24 days after the Dow hit 20000, matching a record for speed not seen since 1999.
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Since Trump was elected on November 8, his administration’s pro-business promises to cut taxes, invest in the nation’s infrastructure and reduce regulations have lifted stocks on the Dow about 2,700 points.
“The rally is impossible to fight at this point,” Jason Rotman of Lido Isle Advisors told FOX Business. “The market continues to reprice itself based on expected tax cuts and infrastructure spending.”
Tuesday night, during his first address to a joint session of Congress, the president renewed investors’ confidence by doubling down on the need for both corporate and individual tax cuts, re-proposing his $1 trillion dollar infrastructure stimulus plan and vowing to renew and revive the job market, particularly within the manufacturing sector.
The following day, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated the administration’s commitment to tax reform and healthcare: “I think that ObamaCare will get done first and I think tax, we’re working very closely with the House and the Senate and coming up with a combined plan, we will be coming out with that in the near future and our objective is to pass tax reform by the August recess,” Mnuchin said during an interview with FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto.
While Wall Street is celebrating, and investors are buying more financial and healthcare stocks, some strategists caution that there is little room for disappointment.
“The combination of improving investor sentiment, accelerating global growth and hopes for stimulus (i.e. the “Trump Put”) is driving the market to new highs,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist of Wunderlich Securities said. However, Hogan warns Trump could end his own rally if he puts off tax reform too long, and instead focuses solely on healthcare and immigration.
Stocks opened slightly lower on Thursday, taking a breather from the record rally as investors watch the first trades of social media company Snapchat (SNAP). Shares of Snapchat jumped more than 40% following the debut valuing the company around $35 billion.