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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This week is expected to be the busiest for U.S. IPOs since February, with Warner Music leading a group of four companies that could raise over $3 billion.

Why it matters: This shouldn't be happening, under any traditional rubric for how markets work.

What's happening: American passions over race and policing are inflamed, with many neighborhoods literally in flames.

  • Over 104,000 Americans are dead from the ongoing pandemic, with infection rates rising in several large states.
  • Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed.
  • And, just for good measure, China is threatening to renege on part of the phase one trade deal.

Yet, stocks opened flat, prompting Axios Markets editor Dion Rabouin to declare: "Not even God himself could sink this market rally."

  • And, again, there's no indication that bankers are reconsidering the week's IPO slate, which in addition to Warner Music includes Legend Biotech, Pliant Therapeutics, and ZoomInfo.
  • Economists often warn not to conflate stock market moves with real-time economic realities, but this decoupling feels extreme.

If you know what's coming next, or even have a strong sense of it, you're lying to yourself.

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2020 - World

Trade is now the relative bright spot in U.S.-China relations

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Trade is the last major area where the U.S. is still relying on traditional diplomacy to work through problems with China.

Why it matters: U.S.-China relations are at their lowest point in decades, as both sides have taken an increasingly harder line over Hong Kong, Xinjiang, the South China Sea and other issues. The desire to keep the trade deal alive seems to be keeping the relationship from unraveling entirely.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.