The economy is doing ok. The Fed isn’t going to end the party soon. Europe is recovering. China is doing fine. The emerging market carnage is contained for now.
So what’s the one thing left to worry about? From Dan Greenhaus (@danBTIG), at BTIG:
The answer to that question is of course the debt ceiling. To be sure, when we discussed the debt ceiling back in 2011, many investors said they can’t control such an outcome so they have to plow ahead, letting the chips fall where they may. Those chips did fall..down nearly 20%. The same sort of rationale is being applied today, at least in our conversations. We agree; the typical investor should take no heed of these matters. However when the question is “what can stop this train,” the answer these days is usually “dopes in Washington.”
That being said, although “Washington” is the obvious answer of what to worry about, it’s not clear that anyone actually is worrying. The market is showing zero signs of stress at this point about any of this, even though the reports from DC are all about growing odds of some kind of error.
In Ben White’s Morning Money, he quotes analysts at Citi to explain the ennui:
CITI NOT TOO WORRED ABOUT DC DISASTER — Per Citigroup’s Tina Fordham and Matt Dabrowski: “In our view the likelihood of a government shutdown or a technical default, while not negligible, remains low due to the political risks for respective parties as 2014 midterm elections loom … We remain cognisant of the significant tail risks that come from a failure to find agreement. For the next three weeks, the key signpost to watch for is a change in rhetoric: public statements from Boehner or Obama committing to a shutdown or a debt default, which would represent a change from their current positions… Such a commitment from Boehner or Obama would raise the risk temperature significantly, since it would signal that a shutdown is imminent.”
This is characteristically simple analysis of DC from Wall street (nobody is coing to “commit” to a debt default or anything like that). It seems basically that having been through this in 2011 and early 2013, everyone is convinced that there’s just nothing to get exercised about.
Hope that’s right.