Preview: Trump to hold first press conference since July. What it means for markets

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

President-elect Donald Trump will hold a news conference for the first time in 165 days

Donald Trump has a tortured relationship with the media. He seemingly reads everything written about him and holds grudges against journalists and yet he still seeks out the spotlight. He last held a press conference and took questions in July. He's held many media scrums and small interviews but Wednesday's event will be his first formal press conference.

The schedule time for Donald Trump's press conference is 11 am ET.

The topic of the press conference is ostensibly his business entanglements and what he plans to do about them but it's also a general news conference so he will be asked about everything and he's not likely to be shy with an opinion.

Here are some topics he will be asked about and how they could move markets:

Russian election interference

People close to him have accepted that Russian officials took documents and gave them to Wikileaks but he hasn't and probably won't. If he changes tune it could weigh on the ruble but what may be more important is how he handles this tricky bit of diplomacy. Will he turn over a Presidential leaf? Or will it me more of his signature brashness. Also note that at 1 pm ET, US spy chiefs will testify in the Senate.

Obamacare

Reports on Tuesday indicated Trump was in a hurry to repeal Obamacare. He's already said he will sign an executive order on Day 1 that will lead the way to changes. What we don't know is what he wants to replace it with. The least-disruptive changes might still include key provisions of Obamacare but remove mandatory requirements. That would allow Republicans to rebrand it. For markets, this could be a test of how far Trump wants to go. Does he want to win PR battles or is he looking for true reform?

Conflicts of interest

This is the topic of the press conference and it's a look into his character and ethics but I don't see it as anything that could have a short-term effect on markets.

Tax reform

Does he want tax reform and what will it look like. This is an issue that can't be distilled and drilled into via a press conference. The thinking is that he will say friendly things about big and small business but he may get into the weeds and, if so, anything is possible.

His attitude towards Republicans

Trump has vanquished Democrats and his party has effective control of all three branches of government. But Trump is an outsider and his next battles may be with Republicans. This is a key angle to watch and something that could truly undermine the idea that fiscal spending, lax regulation and corporate-friendly tax changes are coming.

Building a wall

Like Obamacare, this is a test on how serious he takes his own campaign rhetoric. Is he going to press Congress for the funds to build a physical border with Mexico? That's the plan right now and then getting Mexico to pay for it later. Or maybe he backtracks on this and shows that he will play nice with Republican brass who aren't interested in the issue that galvanized his early support.

Trade

This is the big one for Wednesday. If he turns the press conference into a rhetoric-driven, threatening lecture for companies and countries, then markets could have a re-think on Trumpism. The Mexican peso is already at a record low but he could also target China, Canada or anyone else who is competing with the United States. Look for swift foreign exchange moves if he singles out any country.

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