Broker Check

Trade Tariffs

If you have been watching the financial news since last Thursday you are aware that President Trump initiated new trade tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the U.S. The surprise was the bluntness of the global tariffs that indicate a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% for aluminum. As we get going Monday morning we see President Trump tying the new tariffs to NAFTA talks currently going on with
Mexico and Canada. So, the big question becomes will there be exemptions and what will be the details of the eventual tariffs? I don’t think anyone wants bad trade deals that put U.S. workers at risk. But, I also don’t believe most consumers want trade wars on numerous products that will increase prices and negate much of the tax deal that was signed last December. Long and protracted trade wars are not good for anyone. Let’s see how this plays out this week.

Investors now have a new uncertainty to think about when deciding whether to buy or sell stocks. Added to interest rates, global tension, Italian elections, and Washington theatrics I don’t believe we needed this new hurdle to overcome at this time. Nevertheless, there are some bright spots in the markets that you won’t hear about by the financial news outlets. Yes, there are actually some groups of stocks that are posting great earnings and guidance that some investors are starting to figure out.

The internet security sector has been picking up renewed investor interest because of revamped strategies and robust demand for their products and platforms. The largest security firm Palo Alto Networks reported a strong quarter and deferred revenue bookings last week that highlighted the growth currently taking place. Digital transformation from companies of all size and geographic reach is requiring companies to focus on security for business conducted on premises as well as cloud networks. The ability for Palo Alto and others to protect and integrate all types of workloads is paramount in today’s business world. Companies are well aware they need this constant and consistent security for all types of cyberattacks. Palo Alto spent a lot of their recent presentation discussing the new revamped platform designed to enhance security for the largest cloud platforms from Google and Amazon.

Along with Palo Alto other important security companies are reporting improved profits and guidance for the coming year such as Fortinet, FireEye, CyberArk Software, and Proofpoint. If the trends continue favorably this sector could renew investor interest that hasn’t been present for a few years. Something I will certainly be watching carefully.

Have a great week,

Roger N. Steed

March 5, 2018

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