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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

It's one of the biggest and fastest stock market rallies in living memory. In the 12 trading sessions since its low point on March 23, the S&P 500 has rallied by 25%, with its component companies increasing in value by more than $4.4 trillion.

The state of play: The tech-heavy Nasdaq index is now higher than it was a mere 6 months ago: If you bought it at the beginning of October, you'd be sitting on a profit right now.

The intrigue: Any move of this magnitude naturally elicits the question "why?" I spoke to NYU professor (and my ex-boss) Nouriel Roubini to answer that question and came away with 6 main reasons for the rebound:

  1. Technical. At the market peak, a lot of investors had leveraged long positions. They faced huge margin calls as the market fell, which forced them to dump even their safest assets at discounted fire-sale prices. When the forced sales ended, fears of a major financial crisis receded, and prices bounced back up.
  2. Epidemiological. The rate of hospitalizations and deaths is no longer growing exponentially, and in many parts of Europe and in the U.S. seems to have plateaued or even started falling. New York's status in particular, while terrible, is not as bad as forecasted.
  3. Fiscal. Trillions of dollars of government money are flooding global economies, and investors expect some significant part of that money to find its way into the markets, or at least help to support corporate revenues.
  4. Monetary. The Fed is pumping unprecedented amounts of liquidity into the bond markets, depressing yields and causing a search for higher returns in the stock market.
  5. Tactical. Stock market indices are capitalization-weighted, with the biggest companies having the greatest weight. Those firms are also generally the companies with the strongest balance sheets — the ones best placed to weather this storm. If the crisis wipes out their competitors, very large companies could be some of the biggest winners from the crisis.
  6. Fundamental. Some investors are betting on a V-shaped recovery, with corporate earnings quickly rebounding to their pre-crisis levels.

Why it matters: The rise in stock prices does not mean that we've even reached the end of the beginning of the crisis. But if the market does shed these gains and start hitting new lows, there's a good chance it will do so slowly, rather than dramatically.

Go deeper

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.