Trump’s Executive Orders: What Do the Markets Think?

“President Trump signed on Friday an executive order that severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely.” (The Atlantic)

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Protesters are making their way to airports across the country this week, after press releases surfaced of President Trump’s recent executive order to severely restrict immigration and expand upon the vetting process for immigrants and visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The drastic measure serves as a a tool for providing the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, and the Director of the National Security Agency time to reassess current protocol for gathering information related to foreigners seeking to enter the country, with the hopes of ensuring that they do not pose a threat to national security.

The overall goal is to standardize a process in which all immigrants and visitors adhere to, removing the need for case-by-case basis measures at immigration. This process may include more in-person interviews, more thorough combing of international identity and document databases, and longer application forms.

This decision does not come without consequence however, as many American-based businesses utilize foreign employees on a growing basis. One sector in particular may begin to feel the pressure: technology. The US tech sector relies heavily on H-1B visas: work visas granted for highly-skilled foreign workers. Many of the industries top software engineers are foreign born, and the current cap on H-1B visas is already a barrier that the industry has been working to overcome.

The outcry has not been restricted to protesters and immigrants alone. Executives of major companies, including the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, have decided that they will not be silent on the issue. (Pictured below, CEO Sundar Pichai addresses employees)

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Google, Lyft, and many others have already taken action, contributing millions of dollars towards the legal battle that has already begun. Attorneys have swarmed airports, many working pro-bono, in defense of Americans and immigrants that are being detained for the time being.

Markets revealed their displeasure with the President’s executive order; with the DJIA falling 0.61%, the S&P off 0.60%, and the VIX (measure of market volatility) was up 12.29%. Looking forward this week, expect markets to remain volatile as judges and attorneys convene to determine the legality of Trump’s move, and rulings take place on a case-by-case basis. Specifically, I foresee turbulence in the tech sector as investors weary of the legal outcomes play it safe and move funds elsewhere.


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