WASHINGTON, October 3, 2017 – Monday and Tuesday Wall Street trading action was both bullish and record setting, as U.S. stocks continued to set the bar higher for what was supposed to be a dying bull market. What made this positive trading action surreal was that it unfolded against the backdrop of a colossal and yet-unfolding mass murder of near-epic proportions.
We’re talking about the recent Las Vegas Massacre, of course, an apparently random slaughter fest that, thus far at least, took the lives of nearly 60 innocent citizens and foreign visitors. With some 500 also injured in this spectacularly violent incident, many seriously, the final death toll is likely to climb.
Stock market action has typically dipped right after murderous tragedies such as this one. Think 9/11 or JFK’s assassination in 1963, for example. But as for the Vegas affair, the market’s attitude seems thus far at least to be, “Ho-hum. Whuzzup?”
Why we find this more than a bit strange is that we don’t have an answer for this shooting rampage, which, at this point at least, could be the work of a random nutcase (a developing meme) or considerably worse – an ISIS-inspired or supported hit job.
What has yet to be mentioned anywhere by either law enforcement or the media is another obvious possibility: Might the Vegas massacre be another anti-Republican/anti Trump hit job like the one that nearly took the life of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise this past summer? After all, country and western music fans are viewed more or less correctly as majority conservative in their political beliefs.
There’s no (revealed) evidence to replace these darker possibilities thus far. But if evidence emerges that supports these or similar story lines, it might indeed have some impact on the market, making the cavalier bullishness of Monday and Tuesday seem somehow short-sighted and obscene. A nutcase has no implications for the market. But domestic and international terrorism does.
This market remains a strange one as we head into the final quarter of 2017. Even stranger is the fact that a market that has remained resolutely headline-driven, not particularly earnings-driven, has completely ignored the serious physical, fiscal and moral dilemmas we still face as a result of the Las Vegas mass murder event.
Perhaps in the end, this is just Mr. Market telling us the one thing we do need to understand: Trading and investing activity is all about and only about making money. What goes on in our personal daily lives has little relevance.