The Markets


Curse of Chucky, Scream 2, Final Destination 5, Freddy vs. Jason… You know Halloween is nearly upon us when you can’t surf channels without finding a multitude of horror flick sequels. 

Propagating alarming situations seems to be all the rage in Washington, too. Last week, a last-minute deal raised America’s debt ceiling, saving the US from a debt default and ending the government shutdown – until next January. In the meantime, hoping to avoid a sequel just three months down the road, the members of Congress agreed to put their heads together and produce a 10-year budget plan by mid-December. 

Like the hero or heroine of many a terror-filled fantasy, stock markets generally have proved resilient despite facing formidable challenges. Just last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index hit a new all-time high. According to Barron’s: 

“Since the rally began, in March 2009, there has been the flash crash, the Greek default drama, the U.S. debt-ceiling debacle, the Standard & Poor’s credit-rating downgrade of the U.S., the sequester, and the great taper scare. Each of these, we were told, could have ushered in a new bear market. Instead, the S&P 500 squirmed out of the traps and headed higher. And, for its latest trick, the market had to avoid the double whammy of a government shutdown and a potential default.” 

The short-term resolution of budget and debt-ceiling issues doesn’t mean markets have escaped the (choose one:) axe-wielding maniac, flesh-eating demon, Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man quite yet. Looking ahead, they’ll have to confront the menace of potentially contentious budget negotiations, the possible end of quantitative easing, and the phantasm of resolute .