Monday, September 12, 2016

What the Fearful Markets Seem to Say About the U.S. Economy

My 9-5 job is working for a financial publishing company, so I follow the markets on a regular basis. And this morning, as I was taking a peak at the markets on Yahoo! Finance, I noticed something.

Now, at the time, the Dow was down 116 points. It’s since climbed to a negative $35, so it might still end the day positive. But it did drop almost 300 points on Friday on no news other than the Federal Reserve talking about hiking interest rates.

That’s the same news that’s affecting the U.S. markets today, which tells me something scary.

The U.S. economy isn’t anywhere as strong as we’re told to believe it is.

The stock market is supposed to go up and down based on two factors: individual business news and larger economic news. But for the last eight years, it seems that businesses have made their news on political plays, especially the supposedly non-partisan Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates at non-existent levels, as if we’ve been in a recession all this time.

This begs the question… Have we been in a recession all this time?

To be fair, one of my company’s editors made the reasonable point that the markets often overreact. Driven by fear and greed, they’re emotion-based and therefore can be wrong.

But it’s still interesting how quickly fear takes over every time the Federal Reserve so much as hints it might raise rates. Whether wrong or right, we’re clearly not dealing with a confident economy here.

It’s almost like we know we’re building around a house of cards.

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