CNBC-U.S. equities fell sharply on Wednesday as investors fretted over the latest news coming out of Washington. “This is clearly Washington-driven,” said Michael Shaoul, chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management. “It’s a lot like 1998-99, when the market had to deal with the [Monica] Lewinsky scandal.”
“If special prosecutors are hired or there is more talk about obstruction of justice being an impeachable offense, one can kiss the tax plan, health care plan, and fiscal stimulus plan goodbye for 2017,” Andy Brenner, head of international fixed income securities at National Alliance Securities, said in a note Monday. have rallied all year in part because of the hope for lower corporate taxes. Lately, the major indexes have pushed towards record levels, with the S&P and Nasdaq notching all-time highs earlier this week. The administration has said in the past that it uses the stock market as its economic report card, but the White House said Wednesday it had no comment on the sell-off. But equities would take a big hit if Trump were impeached, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric who has the president’s ear, told CNBC on Wednesday. “An impeachment proceeding would blow the market away,” Welch said on “Squawk Box.” The CBOE Volatility (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, jumped more than 20 percent Wednesday, lifting it to its highest level since April 21. The risk to the Trump agenda also presents a problem for the Federal Reserve, said Larry McDonald, author of The Bear Traps Report and head of global strategy at ACG Analytics. “Wall St’s calling for 2-3 more rate hikes this year, seven over the next two years – but Mr. DXY says no way Jose. The FOMC could very well be on Hold for the Rest of 2017,” McDonald said in a note. The dollar index (DXY), which measures the U.S. ‘s performance against six other currencies, fell 0.5 percent to 97.63, near its lowest level since November. The Fed has signaled it intends to raise rates twice more this year, after a quarter-point hike in March. The central bank’s policymaking committee is slated to meet next month. Market expectations for June rate hike are 69.2 percent, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.