President Donald Trump’s broad comments about potential policies used to work investors into a frenzy, spurring large market fluctuations that created and erased billions of dollars of value.
Now they’re met with a yawn.
That dynamic was at work in US stocks on Monday as Trump’s statement that he’s “looking into” breaking up the big Wall Street banks barely made a dent in regular trading.
Several measures showed traders immediately reacting to the news in a moderate way, only to revert to normal within an hour.
The KBW Bank Index, which tracks all of the biggest US lenders, dropped as much as 0.8% in the minutes following Trump’s comments before erasing the entire decline over the 45 minutes that followed. The gauge finished flat on the day.
The benchmark S&P 500 pared gains by 0.2% immediately after the statement, only to reverse within 30 minutes. The index wound up 0.2% higher on the day, just 3.2% from a record high.
The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, which serves as a barometer for investor fear, spiked right after the news. It too wiped out its move within a half hour, finishing 3% lower and never leaving negative territory. So much for nervousness.
Still, research firm Compass Point isn’t yet ready to sound the all-clear for banks. If progress on bank regulation is actually made, the firm sees large lenders being particularly susceptible to new announcements.
“The odds of Glass-Steagall 2.0 being enacted in this Congress remain low, but the headline risk for money center banks will surely persist as the populist power of the issue is simply too great,” the firm wrote in a Monday note.