It Seems Investors Can Tune Out Anything

 

On Thursday, the nation was transfixed by the searing spectacle of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s conflicting testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee over Dr. Ford’s allegations that he had sexually assaulted her while both were in high school. (On Friday, the Committee voted 11-10 to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, and the full Senate will vote on the nomination next week, after a possible FBI investigation.)

But while time stood still in the rest of the U.S.A., it was business as usual on Wall Street. The S&P 500 index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite index all posted modest gains on fairly light volume. The three indices were mixed on Friday, and remain close to their all-time highs.

Earlier in the week, stocks slipped a bit, but not much, from last week’s all-time Dow and S&P highs as talks broke down in the trade and tariff war between the U.S. and China, the world’s two leading economic powers.

On Wednesday the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the federal funds rate for the third time this year, to 2-2.5%, and signaled it would raise rates again in December. And oh, yes, the yield on the ten-year Treasury note hit 3.1%.

Months ago, any one of these developments would have caused a big sell-off. Not this time. What’s different?

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