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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

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes. A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.