Super Cities №276—When Markets Stop Caring

Brendan Hart

Since 1997, the New York Stock Exchange has been open for business nearly 5,800 days. Over that time, trading has been halted only four times.

Three of the four have occurred in the past week.

The so-called circuit breakers are "designed to give investors the ability to understand what's happening in the market," New York Stock Exchange President Stacey Cunningham said. Investors cannot exit markets if they cannot sell out of them.

What makes this unprecedented volatility so noteworthy is it seems to ignore fundamentals of the investor faith. The sell-off is happening despite yesterday's announcement from the Fed that it would slash interest rates to 0%.

In a matter of seconds, the market dropped by 7% – trillions of dollars lost – even after the Fed offered investors the opportunity to borrow for free.

Extraordinary is an understatement.

Confidence, like reputation, takes a lifetime to build but seconds to lose. The markets have lost it. In saner times, this moment would call for calm, steady leadership. The kind we desperately need, but obviously do not have.

At this point, the pros no longer care what Donald Trump says – he's been priced out – or what the Fed does.

Buckle up or, if you prefer, despair in self-quarantine.

It can – and will – get worse.

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