Stocks tumble as economic worries grip investors—four experts react to the drop

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It wasn’t exactly a happy Friday.

The major averages ended trading deep in the red as mounting worries around slowing global growth and a potential recession gripped Wall Street. The S&P 500 saw its worst daily performance in two months.

Experts are split on what investors should do next, and a lot of the unknowns depend on the Trump administration’s policy moves over the next few months, they tell CNBC.

Here are some market-watchers’ reactions to Friday’s drop:

Hank Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust, said that all U.S. markets need to get back on track is a change in President Donald Trump’s rhetoric:

“If Trump wants to be a two-term president, he needs to come to a trade agreement with China and then start lowering tariffs across the board. That will re-accelerate this economy. It will cause CEO confidence to spike, resulting in a resumption of business investment, which has really been the missing ingredient in this 10-year expansion. We’ve had such little business investment until late ’17 and early ’18, but then the talk of tariffs and actual trade action kind of put a hold on that. So I don’t think it’s all that complicated. This near-bear market in the fourth quarter was a policy mistake of the Fed misspeaking, and Trump’s … trade rhetoric turning into trade action. You take those back — we’ve already taken back the Fed, now you take back the tariffs — and I think this economy’s in good shape and the bull market is in good shape.”

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors, had his eyes on Europe:

“I think a lot of it depends on how much of the weakness from overseas starts to wash up on our shores. I think the Fed is getting a sense of that, as [are] investors. We’re starting to see the dollar slip as a result of that, notwithstanding some of the move today. So the question is are we still insulated? But I will say that the announcement [that] the Fed [will be] standing pat for the rest of the year is unprecedented. That’s something that maybe [European Central Bank President] Mario Draghi would say, but not necessarily a Fed chairman.”

Citi’s chief U.S. equity strategist, Tobias Levkovich, also took the macroeconomic layout into account:

“I probably would prefer to be talking about better growth than Fed … dovishness, but that could change over the next few months as well. We’re still kind of suffering from some weak trends associated with trade-related issues that kind of boosted some activity last year, and we’re seeing some of the falling off of that. In addition, some of the uncertainty in Europe that’s been prevailing, partially because of Brexit but also some of the political considerations there. So those are reverberating back a little bit.”

Kathryn Rooney Vega, Bulltick Capital Markets’ chief investment strategist, saw the drop as more actionable:

“I think it’s time to take profits, really. China optimism is baked in in terms of the trade accord. It’s now increasingly consensus. This was our top recommendation coming into this year, … and consumer discretionary in China, in Chinese equities, is up 32 percent. And I think, yeah, it’s really time to look at realizing those profits and putting that money to work in Latin America, which really hasn’t seen as steep an appreciation as China. […] I would say that U.S. and Japan look better than Europe, and … I think Europe is facing some serious headwinds. The only thing … that I like is the prospect of British assets in the event that we have a hard Brexit, which is not out of the cards.”

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