In a major development, a New York federal judge has ordered that President Donald Trump can’t force Mazars USA, his accountant, not to provide his tax and financial information to New York prosecutors. Trump has already appealed the decision. If the appeal is dismissed, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. will receive access to the documents. Vance Jr. is investigating Trump’s business records and links with hush money payments.
The investigations relate to alleged hush money paid to adult movie star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Trump’s former lawyer is behind bars for campaign finance violations and other charges.
Bad timing for Trump?
The court defeat comes at a significant time for President Trump. On September 25, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s questionable dealings under oath. Just yesterday, another whistleblower came forward about Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president, which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
During the call, President Trump asked for favors—especially related to an investigation into Joe Biden’s son. Ever since the impeachment inquiry began, Trump has intensified his attack on Biden and his son, Hunter.
Trump’s tax and impeachment worries may give China an advantage in the US-China trade talks that are scheduled to start on October 10. China seems to have narrowed the scope of the trade talks. On the other hand, President Trump is looking for a full trade deal or nothing. Last week, Trump also pushed China to investigate Biden and his son.
The president expected the trade war to bring factories and jobs back to the US. However, US companies have been shifting manufacturing elsewhere. Apple (AAPL) has started producing iPhones in India. Apple’s contractors, including Foxconn, currently manufacture most of Apple’s products in China. The tariffs on mobile phones and laptops will come into effect on December 15. Google is also reportedly shifting the production of its Pixel smartphones to Vietnam.
US semiconductor companies have been hit the worst by the trade war. Qualcomm (QCOM) and Broadcom (AVGO) stocks have lost 10.5% and 12.7%, respectively, since May when the trade war escalated. Qualcomm and Broadcom earn the majority of their revenues from China. Both companies have lowered their revenue guidances due to trade war worries. A softening Trump may help tech companies such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Broadcom.
At 11:28 AM ET today, the S&P 500 (SPY) and Dow Jones (DIA) were trading flat, while the Nasdaq (QQQ) was marginally up. Apple was up 0.82%, Qualcomm was down 0.59%, and Broadcom was down 1.2% as of the same time.