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April 13th is in the books and with it investors are capping a holiday shortened trading week. The broad S&P 500 skidded about 1% since last Friday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed about 200 points. The action was more intense in the bond market, where treasuries posted the sharpest rally since the start of 2016, as yields fell for the fifth week in a row.
Meanwhile, the VIX, often called Wall Street's fear gauge, climbed the most since before the election of Donald Trump. A separate measure by Credit Suisse that tracks how much upside investors are willing to give up the hedge against downside risks neared its highest level on record. All these indicators are pointing to growing anxiety across trading desks about rising geopolitical and economic risk.
In the last two weeks alone, the US has launched missile strikes in Syria, stepped up rhetoric against North Korea, and used its strongest conventional weapon in Afghanistan. This all comes less than two weeks before the first round of the French election that is expected to be closely watched by market participants and a pickup in quarterly earnings reports from US companies. And that's the New York Minute.