Heather Long tweeted:
Investors sure aren't worried about much… they keep brushing off hurricanes, North Korea nukes, the Fed and DC politics https://t.co/j8qmInOzs6
— Heather Long (@byHeatherLong) September 20, 2017
The truth is that I’d brush off those things, too.
- North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles? It’s a really bad thing that they have them, but I love it when the only fat kid in North Korea wastes another missile shooting at an empty spot in the Pacific, and I love it when he wastes hard-to-produce weapons grade fissile material blowing up empty holes in the ground. Every missile expended, every weapon tested, is something removed from the North Korean arsenal. The North Koreans know this, and they are using these things to provoke a Western response, knowing that such a response will be yet another torrent of words. As Sampson bites his thumb, to insult the Montagues, so Kim Jong-un bites his thumb at Donald Trump, and the rest of the world, knowing that words will be spilled, but not blood.
- Hurricanes?We have had Harvey and Irma strike, causing billions of dollars in damages, but if we have seen a lull in major hurricanes having struck the United States in recent years, these two storms striking are still part of normal weather patterns./ Two major storms over the course of a couple weeks is out of the ordinary, but when looked at over time, we have suffered fewer rather than more such events.
- The Federal Reserve Board? Though today’s meeting ended without the FOMC raising short-term interest rates, they projected an increase in their December meeting. People who pay attention to the Fed expected this, and if the FOMC does increase short term rates in December, it will still be in line with their previously published expectations.
- Washington, DC, politics? They haven’t really changed much since the inauguration, and the two major changes which have occurred — the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the (probable) deal with the Democrats to write Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law — are things that the people who play the stock market largely support.
Other than the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, very little of substance has been different during the first nine months of the Trump Administration than it would have been had Hillary Clinton won the election. Oh, the things that make the headlines would be different, as the violence of Antifa wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t see CNN blathering on, day-in-and-day-out about Russia, but those are sideshows, meaning virtually nothing for the policies which affect everyday Americans.
We were told that the stock market would plummet if Mr Trump was elected, and Dow futures fell a whopping 750 points late on the evening of November 8th, as it became apparent that Mr Trump was going to win the election. Instead, stocks rose, dramatically: since the close of business on election day, when almost everybody expected Mrs Clinton to win, until this afternoon, the Dow has risen from 18,332.74 to 22,412.59, an increase of 4,079.85 points, or 22.25%. Clearly, the actual investors — as opposed to the professional economists, for whom I have repeatedly expressed disdain — saw the incoming Trump Administration as better for business
But, as times has passed, most of what we have seen is an Administration which has diverged little on policies from what Mrs Clinton would have put in place, at least as far as the things investors are concerned about.
Smart investors are able to tune out the extraneous noise, and much of what has made news has been just that, extraneous noise.