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Remember volatility? Well, it's back. Take a look, for instance, at the last three months of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Expand chart
Data: Factset; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Between Aug. 17 and Oct. 9, the average daily range — the difference between the intraday high and the intraday low — was 177 points. Between Oct. 10 and Nov. 16, the average daily range was 455 points, 2.5 times greater.

Why you’ll hear about this again: 400- or 500-point days on the Dow are normal, these days, and they almost always happen for no particular reason.

Other asset classes are seeing a similar failure, on the part of markets, to come to a stable consensus on what they're worth. We've already talked about oil, so let's take a look instead at cryptocurrencies.

  • In just the past week, bitcoin is down 13%, ethereum is down 18% and bitcoin cash (don't ask) is down 30%.

Volatility tends to mean big drops more than it does big rallies. Chipmaker Nvidia has lost almost half its value since the beginning of October, Apple has lost almost $200 billion in capitalization over the same time, J.C. Penney looks like it might drop below a dollar per share, and California wildfires have poleaxed the stock of PG&E.

Be smart: Insofar as you can, it's worth tuning out this noise. The markets have been weirdly, puzzlingly quiet for a couple of years now. In a world where unknowns abound, it makes sense that valuations would be very hard to pin down.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Health

Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorization for COVID vaccine

Photo illustration by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna announced that it plans to file with the FDA Monday for an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine, which the company said has an efficacy rate of 94.1%.

Why it matters: Moderna will become the second company to file for a vaccine EUA after Pfizer did the same earlier this month, potentially paving the way for the U.S. to have two COVID-19 vaccines in distribution by the end of the year. The company said its vaccine has a 100% efficacy rate against severe COVID cases.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

Young people's next big COVID test

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Young, healthy people will be at the back of the line for coronavirus vaccines, and they'll have to maintain their sense of urgency as they wait their turn — otherwise, vaccinations won't be as effective in bringing the pandemic to a close.

The big picture: "It’s great young people are anticipating the vaccine," said Jewel Mullen, associate dean for health equity at the University of Texas. But the prospect of that enthusiasm waning is "a cause for concern," she said.