NBC Warns: Trump Tweets Could Wreck Your 401(k)!

On Friday, NBC’s Today devoted a full report to stoking fears that Donald Trump’s criticism of individual businesses could ruin people’s investments. MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle appeared on the morning show to warn viewers: “Imagine a tweet, a single tweet losing you money. 140 characters could cost you 140 bucks maybe 1,400, maybe more. That is how powerful the president's voice is, it can move markets.”

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She took aim at the President-elect: “And whether you know it or not, that offhanded tweet from Donald Trump blasting the CEO, hitting up this industry, it could send your 401(k) up or down – maybe it already has.” Moments later, Ruhle noted that “Trump’s intervention in business has some CEOs nervous.”

Citing Trump’s recent criticism of Boeing, Ruhle fretted: “...firing off this tweet, slamming Boeing over the cost of a new Air Force One model....Boeing’s stock dropped $2 a share, losing more than $1 billion of its total market value.”

NBC suddenly discovered the value of free-market capitalism, with Ruhle lecturing: “Still, the President-elect’s strategy could anger some members of his own party who have long argued to keep the government out of the free market.” The network’s chief business correspondent Ali Velshi chimed in: “It does not sit well with ideological conservatives, who think that presidents and governments shouldn't be picking winners and losers.”

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Where was this concern from the media when President Obama was bailing out the auto industry with taxpayer dollars or cutting deals with health insurance companies in order gain their support for ObamaCare?

Ruhle lamented: “Trump's comments may have the power to negatively impact your 401(k)....There are traders out there now actually building computer programs that wait for Trump tweets and then they make a trade within seconds....And when computer traders get involved, you better watch out for wild swings.”

The Today show segment came on the heels of Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd taking to NBCNews.com’s First Read blog to worry that Trump was playing a “dangerous game” of “picking winners and losers.”

Here is a full transcript of Ruhle’s December 9 report on Today:

7:41 AM ET

MATT LAUER: You know, it's no secret that President-elect Trump loves Twitter.

TAMRON HALL: Indeed, and he's used it a lot during the campaign and he’s kept it up since winning the election. NBC’s Stephanie Ruhle is here with a look at some of Mr. Trump's latest targets. Stephanie, good morning, good to see you.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Good morning. Imagine a tweet, a single tweet losing you money. 140 characters could cost you 140 bucks maybe 1,400, maybe more. That is how powerful the president's voice is, it can move markets. And whether you know it or not, that offhanded tweet from Donald Trump blasting the CEO, hitting up this industry, it could send your 401k up or down – maybe it already has.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Shaking Up Corporate America; Real Impact of Trump’s Twitter Targeting]  

With the election of Donald Trump, corporate America is now in uncharted territory. Using Twitter as a bully pulpit, the President-elect seems to be taking on major industries 140 characters at a time. Aiming his praise or criticism at specific companies with real-world consequences. From negotiating with Carrier and Ford to keep jobs in the U.S., to firing off this tweet, slamming Boeing over the cost of a new Air Force One model, claiming they're too expensive, bluntly exclaiming, “Cancel order!” Before the market opened Boeing’s stock dropped $2 a share, losing more than $1 billion of its total market value. On Today, Trump defended his criticism.

DONALD TRUMP: I think the planes are too expensive. I spoke to a very good man yesterday, the head of Boeing, terrific guy, and we’re going to work it out.

RUHLE: Though the stock did rebound, Trump’s intervention in business has some CEOs nervous.

TILMAN FERTITTA: Everybody’s got to understand, it is not status quo anymore.

RUHLE: Tilman Fertitta is the CEO of Landry's, one of the country's largest restaurant corporations. Unlike some executives, he thinks Trump's hands-on approach could shake things up.

FERTITTA: You have a business guy who is going to be President of the United States. We have never had anybody like this. He’s will not going to let corporate America rip off America anymore.

RUHLE: Still, the President-elect’s strategy could anger some members of his own party who have long argued to keep the government out of the free market.

ALI VELSHI: It does not sit well with ideological conservatives, who think that presidents and governments shouldn't be picking winners and losers. But for American workers who have been displaced, who have seen their jobs go overseas, this is refreshing.

RUHLE: But Trump's comments may have the power to negatively impact your 401(k). In an interview with Time magazine, the President-elect took on the pharmaceutical industry, saying, “I’m going to bring down drug prices.” While that sounds good to consumers, the comment spooked investors, sending biotech stocks into a nosedive. Despite comments like these, experts say we shouldn't panic.

VELSHI: You can't think about the effect that a tweet is going to have on your stock. The average investor can't chase tweets and it can't chase daily market performance. If you are a long-term investor, stay that way.

RUHLE: In business, Donald Trump has never been afraid to speak his mind. Now in his new role as president, his words will have an impact on all Americans, whether he intends them to or not.

There are traders out there now actually building computer programs that wait for Trump tweets and then they make a trade within seconds to beat everybody else to the punch. That is how quickly this is moving. And when computer traders get involved, you better watch out for wild swings. This, as all things Trump, is a new frontier and nobody knows how it’s going to play out, so you better buckle up.

HALL: It’s fascinating.

LAUER: And if people are waiting for Donald Trump to become more restrained with Twitter, he told us, this is him being restrained.

RUHLE: If you're a CEO, you don't want to wake up to a Trump tweet.

LAUER: Yeah. Alright, Stephanie.

HALL: Stephanie, thank you very much.

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