- What the current social unrest means for markets is additional risk coming onto the table and we will likely see hits to the market and the economy going forward.
- Relatively flat numbers in today’s markets suggest that the upheaval has no significance on a one-day level, but in the long-term it may be a signpost of the economy.
- Investors should be cautioned that despite the market’s strength, there has been very weak volume and a narrowed focus to a very limited time frame.
The roiling civil unrest in the U.S. has affected businesses, but it may not impact financial markets until the fall, Ed Harrison told Real Vision during today’s Daily Briefing.
Harrison said that on a one-day level the current events have had no significance, but in the long-term it may be a signpost for the economy going forward. He is looking at the market impact of similar events for insight into the current moment, including the Great Depression on the economic front, the 1918 influenza pandemic on the virus front, and the riots of 1968 and 1992 on the social front.
One parallel he is paying particular attention to is what the country saw in 1968. Harrison said the social unrest was a marker of the top of the market in terms of the economy; the year ended up but it was the beginning of a devastating secular bear market. Harrison questioned whether this is also what is happening today.
All of it adds up to additional risk coming onto the table due to the uncertainty of our current situation, and Harrison said that uncertainty is causing the market to narrow its focus to a very limited time frame. If the data beats consensus it is positive; if it doesn’t, negative, and for this period of uncertainty that has to be good enough. However, he cautioned that there will be a reckoning later, most likely in the fall.
Harrison said that the psychological impact on consumers extends beyond COVID-19 at this point. He expects consumption to continue to be suppressed due to the riots, and combined with things like Apple store closures and Amazon delivery delays, and the elevated risk of a second wave of the virus following the protests, he’s apprehensive about the risks.
We won’t know until fall what the big reaction will be – that’s when we’ll get the big hits, he said.
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