This market's signature move is the shrug: Stocks seem to shrug off any and all adverse-seeming news and march to new highs, while investors shrug in confusion over why nothing seems to disturb the rally.
Muted U.S. economic growth, terrorist attacks, waning prospects for bold
This might not be the paradox that many insist it is. For most of the past several years, a low-rate, slow-growth environment has been converted into decent profit growth by companies and into rising stock prices by the market - led by big, well-run growth businesses. This year has been more of the same – an upwardly tilted but selective stock market, with Big Tech, travel, housing and global industrial names surging while retail, banking and energy stocks struggle.
Others will hasten to add that cheap, liquid capital continues to power the capital markets, as central banks of the major developed countries continue to enlarge their balance sheets at a 16 percent annual rate, for now.
Yet the indexes and their valuations have stretched enough to the upside while measures of risk-aversion have ebbed to a point where it's worth asking what might, at last, be out there to bother this resilient, imperturbable bull market?