Now, I don’t want any of you to get any crazy ideas. I’m sure this is all a coincidence.
President Trump’s shock announcement on Thursday that he planned to implement stiff tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum caused a panic, and stocks in steel took a hit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed out the day down by nearly 500 points.
So much for those with steel in their retirement portfolio. They couldn’t all be as smart as Carl Icahn, billionaire investor and Trump pal.
Icahn is a longtime friend of Donald Trump, and a week before Trump’s announcement, he took it upon himself to dump over $31 million in steel stocks.
It’s like he can tell the future, or something!
From the Washington Post:
A Feb. 22 SEC filing shows Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company, which is a leading global manufacturer of cranes for heavy construction based in Manitowoc, Wis., according to the company’s website. Since Trump’s announcement Thursday, Manitowoc’s stock has plummeted to about $26. Icahn — who has had majority interest in several companies including Motorola, Xerox, Family Dollar and Pep Boys — had sold his shares for about $32 to $34 each, according to the SEC disclosure, which was first reported by Think Progress.
That’s made all the more curious by the fact that regulatory filings show Icahn hasn’t touched those stocks since January 2015.
Wow. Talk about fortuitous timing!
C’mon, guys. I know what you’re thinking – INSIDER TRADING!
That would be when somebody gets a tip about something sure to have an effect on the stock market that isn’t public knowledge, yet and they act on it.
It’s also pretty much illegal (Just ask Martha Stewart), which is why we can be sure that this ain’t that.
For starters, Trump is the Evangelical idol this politicized American church has always longed for – bold and virtuous, in every respect, right?
Then there’s the fact that in Trump’s long and documented history, never has their been so much as a breath or utterance to anything crooked, underhanded, or otherwise illegal.
Trump and Icahn have been friends since the 1980s. Trump called him one of the “great businessmen of the world” and touted his ability to negotiate with China.
Icahn endorsed Trump for the presidency, so there was a bit of the old billionaires club gratuities passing back and forth.
Though Icahn no longer advises Trump in a formal role, the two reportedly still talk. Icahn resigned from his position as a “special adviser” to Trump on regulatory reform in August, claiming he didn’t want to step on the toes of Neomi Rao, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and because he wanted to avoid conflicts of interest over regulations that would affect an oil refinery company he owns, CVR Energy.
“Indeed, out of an abundance of caution, the only issues I ever discussed with you were broad matters of policy affecting the refining industry,” he said in his resignation letter to Trump. “I never sought any special benefit for any company with which I have been involved, and have only expressed views that I believed would benefit the refining industry as a whole.”
Also interesting is that Icahn resigned his role as adviser 10 days before a story broke in the New Yorker that suggested he was using his role and his access to top government officials to protect his investments.
You folks who get knee-jerk about these things should read that again. Here, I’ll retype it: Icahn resigned his role as adviser 10 days before a story broke in the New Yorker that suggested he was using his role and his access to top government officials to protect his investments.
The article goes on to say that the stock price in CVR nearly doubled in the months after the election. It wasn’t a far leap to consider that Icahn’s position with the White House helped nudge that along.
Icahn profited from that venture to the tune of about a half billion.
So was Icahn’s sudden desire to shuffle the steel stock in his portfolio after leaving it dormant for several years a clear indication of wrongdoing?
I’m not ready to say that, but neither should we be totally tuning this out.
The optics are, if we’re being honest, troubling.