The stock market seems particularly opportunistic of news at the moment, enjoying one of those occasional periods when bad news is good and good news is even better. Yesterday the yo-yos who invent a stupid reason each day to explain the rise or fall of stocks attributed the moderate rally to our supposedly diminished fear of a trade war. I kid you not. Just a few days ago, we were listing out some of the thousands of items we buy from the Chinese that will be affected by Trump tariffs. Lo, by Thursday morning, our concern about such things had melted away like lemon drops. “The markets are now beginning to see through the bluster of negotiations and they’re dialing back some of their most significant fears of a full on trade war,” explained an analyst quoted at Bloomberg.com.
As surely as night follows day, however, I can guarantee you that this “dialing back” will be reversed at some point in the near future, and that stocks will be said to have fallen at that time due to our “renewed concerns” about tariffs. Rinse and repeat. I’m so glad that I’m not some talking head on Bloomberg or MSNBC who needs to embarrass himself each day providing a “reason” for the stock market’s behavior. Nothing could be more obvious than that the stock market’s cyclical ups and downs create — meaning, shape our perceptions of — the news rather than the other way around. ________ BULLETIN (10:37 p.m. EDT): Even I could not have imagined how quickly the usual idiots would flip the switch on Wall Street’s latest brand of hysteria, Tariff Anxiety. Trump made some remarks this evening about jacking trade levies on Chinese goods by a further $100 billion and — presto! — index futures got bombed in night-session trading. The E-Mini S&Ps have been down as much as 42 points — equivalent to more than 350 Dow points.