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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.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
12 mins ago - Economy & Business

IPOs keep rolling despite stock market volatility

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Stock market volatility is supposed to be kryptonite for IPOs, causing issuers to hide out in their private market caves.

Yes, but: This is 2020, when nothing matters.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
51 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.