by Rick Ackerman
Those who write about such things have attributed virtually every stock-market rally since March 23 to ‘vaccine hopes’. They have overworked and over-hyped this phrase with no sense of irony or awareness; for it is not so much ‘hope’ that has powered stocks to insane levels, but stimulus steroids pumped into a beast that was rabid to begin with. This is the kind of ‘hopeful’ that T-Rex must have felt when it cornered a chubby dinosaur half its size, or that a drug addict might feel after springing the lock on a cartel closet filled with white powder. ‘Hopeful’ is far too modest and gentle an adjective to explain the mass psychosis that has gripped Wall Street over the last ten months.
When Bad News Is Bad News
Now that a vaccine has finally arrived, however, it is fair to ask what will keep speculators’ hopes inflated to infinity. Under the very best imaginable circumstances, it will probably be at least two years before we can look back on the pandemic and marvel at how we finally beat it. We’ll know this has happened when salad bars re-open, subway cars are packed with commuters, and nursing homes welcome visitors with open arms. Does anyone on Wall Street actually believe this is how things are about to play out?