The news cycle appears to be churning ever faster. Whether as a reaction to events, an attempt to manage the narrative or obscure the message is a debate that will occur for some time with the real answer becoming apparent in the hindsight of history. Not to minimize the Charlottesville tragedy or the headline grabbing Bannon ouster, but these stories are playing out in several flavors depending on the source. As one who attempts to discern the impact of issues on my investments, two (possible) financial headlines crossed my desk amid the other events that intrigued me.
The first was the disbanding of two of the President’s much ballyhooed councils, Strategic and Policy Forum (jointly disbanded Aug 16) and American Manufacturing Council (Trump disbanded via Tweet Aug 16). This was followed by the announcement that his Advisory Council on Infrastructure (created by a July Executive Order) was ceasing to be formed.
Public Companies on the Councils
|American Mfg Council
||Strategic and Policy Frm.||Adv. Cncl. on Infr.
|Dow Chemical (DOW)||General Motors (GM)||Vornado Realty Trst (VNO)|
|Harris Corporation (HRS)||JP Morgan Chase (JPM)2|
|Nucor Corporation (NUE)||Blackrock (BLK)|
|Whirlpool Corp. (WHR)||Walt Disney Co. (DIS)2|
|Ford Motor Company (F)3||Walmart Stores (WMT)|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)||PepsiCo (PEP)|
|Merck & Co (MRK)1,2||Blackstone Group (BX)|
|United Technologies (UTX)||IBM (IBM)|
|Lockheed Martin (LMT)||IHS Markit (INFO)|
|General Electric Co. (GE)1,2|
|Dana Inc (DAN)|
|Arconic Inc (ARNC)3|
|Intel Corporation (INTC)1,2|
|Timken Co (TKR)|
|United States Steel Corp (X)|
|Campbell Soup Co. (CPB)2|
|Tesla Motors (TSLA) 1,2|
|Under Armour (UAA)1,2|
|Newell Brands Inc (NWL)|
|International Paper Co. (IP)|
|3M Co (MMM)2|
|Corning Inc. (GLW)|
|1) member Strategic and Policy Forum|
|2) Resigned, 3) Vacated|
Just a few of thoughts on this topic:
- Notice the UK company as a participant? I thought the strategy was less globalization …
- One has to wonder if the next step is boycott activity – spurred by either side. If so, my assumption is it would not succeed as a boycott requires media attention and there is precious little of this available.
- Although interesting, this information will not likely move the market in either direction.
The second item this week relates to Carl Icahn’s resignation as Special Advisor to President Trump. Carl is an interesting character who I chronicled a little bit in a prior post. Now the New Yorker has penned a whopper that – if true – takes his antics to an even higher level. The bottom line allegation is that he used his position in a failed attempt to modify EPA regulations to increase profits at one of companies, CVR Energy (CVI). Even in a failure, it is alleged that the resulting turmoil in RIN pricing allowed CVR to book a profit in shorting RINs. To understand RINs further, I refer you to Tristan R. Brown‘s Seeking Alpha article. Anyway, I don’t own CVI or Icahn’s vehicle, IEP. I do own VLO which could improve once the dust settles especially since they are not currently identified as being complicit. I also own CASY which sells excess RINs.
9 Nov 2017 Update – IEP’s 10-Q filed 3 November carried this blurb on page 59:
Item 5. Other Information.The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York recently contacted Icahn Enterprises L.P. seeking production of information pertaining to our and Mr. Icahn’s activities relating to the Renewable Fuels Standard and Mr. Icahn’s role as an advisor to the President. We are cooperating with the request and are providing information in response to the subpoena. The U.S. Attorney’s office has not made any claims or allegations against us or Mr. Icahn. We maintain a strong compliance program and, while no assurances can be made, we do not believe this inquiry will have a material impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.