Trade war is clouding outlook

J.P. Morgan Chase missed profit expectations for the first time in 15 quarters.

In the earnings call, CFO Marianne Lake addressed the uncertainty around trade battles: “For sure sentiment is not immune to external factors. I would say capex is sluggish on fears around global growth. Government shutdown and trade are not particularly helpful. Uncertainty is not good for anyone.”

FedEx saw the trade war negatively impacting its business. Company managers said during the earnings call that “continued tariff and trade concerns and uncertainty in Asia are impacting our business there. … We continue to work with our customers as they re-evaluate their supply chains.”

Some companies were more pessimistic about the trade negotiations, factoring the full 25 percent tariff rate into their earnings impact.

‎Scientific instrument manufacturer Mettler Toledo expects a gross negative impact of tariffs of approximately $25 million on an annual basis. The company said it assumes a 25 percent tariff will be implemented in March.

General Motors on Feb. 6 reported fourth-quarter earnings that crushed expectations. During the earnings call, the company’s CFO, Dhivya Suryadevara, said GM has “tariffs factored into our outlook for the year. That’s embedded in our $1 billion number. We expect to see headwinds year over year from commodities and tariffs to the tune of $1 billion.”