Sep 2, 2017

When the stock market stops soaring

AP/Peter Morgan

"Lights Out for Stocks: The bull's long gallop might be nearing an end," per Barron's cover story by Ben Levisohn:

What to watch for: "Neither longevity nor high stock prices, nor political turmoil usually are enough to send stocks into a protracted slide. The culprit in nearly every case is recession. The mystery is what will cause the next one."

Two possible triggers:

  1. "The S&P 500 is trading at 17.7 times 12-month forward estimated earnings, near the highest price/earnings ratio since the dot-com boom. ... [B]ear markets almost never begin when stocks are cheap.
  2. "At the same time, the Federal Reserve is normalizing interest rates. That, on its own, won't precipitate a bear market, but it could be a catalyst for one if the central bank hikes too much, too fast."

The takeaway: "Markets tumble all the time, but have a way of coming back, as long as the economy continues to grow."

Go deeper

Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

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Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.