E Market Briefing For Friday, March 15

Concerns about 'trade talk delays' are the superficial excuse for delays in the market extending recent gains beyond the expected 'nudging' above S&P 2800; although I suspect there's quite a bit more in the background.

Late Thursday Xinhua, the Chinese News Service, reports a few things: 1) that final wording is being prepared for a U.S. / China Trade Deal (that's far more than the way President Trump described ongoing progress); 2) they talked about the 'signing into Law' a measure to protect foreign investment in China (which refers to Intellectual Property; though enforcement is key of course to what it will mean in practice); 3) they report 'fines' to several major financial bankers (including HSBC and UBS) for 'bringing to market' a series of failing IPO's (implying regulators believe some companies should not have been brought to market for varying reasons); and 4) all of this follows the restraints trying to limit exposure with high leverage margin buying.  

That's typical of upside blow-off phases, and likely why Chinese media is publicly warning 'against mad cows even in a bull market' or similar. (Amid all this Shanghai is actually up 30 points in early Friday trading.)  

  

Among those, let's look at the potential 'criminal' sharing of data, which sure focuses (perhaps appropriately on the surface) on Facebook; but appears to potentially involve others complicit in such scandals. Those one may think are a year old; but in reality it's the 'offshoots' that come to mind, which may impact all kind of other platforms, that either sold or somehow risked all or a lot of their users (or customers) data.  

That's a big unknown and investors may not be comfortable not just with the revelations that may directly (or indirectly) come-off this; but meaningfully be a catalyst that changes many aspects of online marketing that had prevailed for quite some years now. Besides that, the obvious issue is 'irresponsibility' in using or protecting customer or user data, as the case may be.  

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