The following is an excerpt from Daniel Gross | May 16, 2017 | Slate.com |
The U.S. body politic—our political markets—is in a near-constant state of Trump-induced hysteria. The outrages and mind-scrambling moments come so fast and loudly these days that any political junkie not walking around in a perpetual state of agitation simply isn’t paying attention. And yet the U.S. body financial—our stock markets—seems to be in a state of mindful bliss.
The main stock market indices, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ Composite, have ground steadily upward so far in 2017, continuing to set new record highs. At the same time, the main measure of stock market angst has fallen to record lows. Here’s a 10-year chart of the VIX index, often referred to as the fear index, which is a proxy for investors’ concerns about stability in the markets.
What gives? After all, many people view the stock market as a kind of barometer of the president’s performance. As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC earlier this year, “This is a mark-to-market business”—meaning the stock market was keeping score. But that’s not true: While Trump’s approval numbers wallow deep in bear-market territory, stocks continue to levitate.
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