Lucky Friday the 13th for Stocks

 

It’s Friday the 13th. If you’re suspicious (or excessively careful), you should avoid black cats, spiders, cracks in the sidewalk, or lakes where a camper named Jason drowned years ago.

But one thing you shouldn’t avoid—at least for now—is stocks, because at least over the last couple of weeks they’ve mounted a stealthy but solid rally.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up more than 100 points since the end of June, and it’s now only 2.5% below its all-time high set January 26th. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has picked up nearly 900 points over the past 12 trading days, and is 6% off its all-time high.

This has happened despite a heating up of the trade war which Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said is not a trade war, but only “trade disputes” with China. (More on him later.) Meanwhile, yields on ten-year Treasuries have settled comfortably below 3% (they yielded 2.84% around midday Friday) and the U.S. dollar index has climbed from below 89 in February to almost 95 Friday.

So, what’s behind it?

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