The markets story should convey that stock movements are complex. The Street’s lede on the Tuesday before Bernanke’s Jackson Hole appearance back in August cited multiple reasons behind the stock surge.
Stocks staged a mighty rally Tuesday, even shrugging off the uncertainty presented by a rare East Coast earthquake, as all three major U.S. equity indices gained at least 3%.
Early buying was attributed to positive global economic data, which overshadowed another weak read on the U.S. housing market, as well as growing investor optimism about a high-profile speech due from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at the end of the week. The gains accelerated ahead of the close after the S&P 500 broke past 1150, a key technical threshold.
We’re not doing heavy-duty investigative work in the markets report, but we’re still obliged to give our readers the best snapshot of reality that we can. The challenge is how to balance this obligation with the pressures of writing under deadline. When the market decides to surprise us just minutes before the closing bell, we still have to handover our copy within reasonable time. The question is, what’s it going to say.?
The easy way out is to pin credit or blame movements on one or two events of the day. But getting closer to the truth, as with most stories, requires giving readers more context and multiple angles, and through that, an implicit acknowledgment of a narrative’s complexity.