Yesterday, Time magazine proclaimed “hold my avocado” to be the catchphrase millennials needed, a welcome input that millennials everywhere stopped texting each other long enough to say, with the sort of eye contact and resolution rare among their generation, “Thanks!” While some might’ve found this to be a glib overstatement on the magazine’s part, turning a sardonic tweet about generational rift, late capitalism, and the looming threat of nuclear war into a gabby “viral” article, real millennials knew that, like, whatever, retweet.
Today, the Wall Street Journal told Time to hold their avocado, as it were, with this barnbuster of a headline:
Yes, with the same chatty sense of joie de vivre, they’ve recast The Sound Of Music’s chirpy “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” to cleverly rib our current unsolvable pickle, in which an unstable, insecure man with dictatorial tendencies and access to a nuclear arsenal has gotten into a shouting match with Kim Jong Un, who is, well, you get the idea. But let’s get to the radiated meat of the matter here, which is that they’re finally asking the important question: How will the markets react? When, oh when, will someone think of the ticker?
This same tone pervades the article itself, which begins:
Here’s a question that’s probably not on the CFA exam: What happens to financial markets if two nuclear-armed nations go to war?
After a week of escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, some financial analysts are now taking a stab at it.
Thank fucking god that even as we tiptoe dangerously close to what would invariably be the stupidest possible reason for untold millions of people to die—that is, Donald Trump got mad—the people for whom Trump’s election seemed like an unsavory necessity are still carefully corralling their assets, eyeing the bottom line, either unaware of the shall we say human costs of “two nuclear-armed nations going to war” or euphemizing it, such that they don’t have to think about it. The cognitive dissonance oozes out of almost every graf:
Strategists at Nordea Markets estimate that in the unlikely event of “a potentially uncontained military conflict” in which global superpowers like China and Russia get involved, the European Central Bank would have to implement “highly dovish forward guidance” and the yield curve would likely flatten due to weaker risk appetite.
Good to know.
Some of the normal rules of markets–when trouble is stirring, buy yen–don’t really apply, given Japan’s proximity to North Korea’s missiles. Nonetheless, the Japanese yen has appreciated 1.4% against the dollar this week.
“There is no safe-haven in Japan in case of a conflict with North Korea,” say Commerzbank analysts. “Only in the minds of the global FX traders.”
Because Japan might be destroyed.
Still, Nordea analysts suggest that German bunds, the perennial refuge of panicked investors, would be good to own during a nuclear conflict too, with aggressive buying pushing the spread between German two and 10-year bunds to 0.5 percentage point, from above one percentage point now.
In addition to German bunds, the A.V. Club also recommends as “good to own during a nuclear conflict”: clean drinking water, bandages and other first aid measures, and a gun with enough bullets to kill yourself and your loved ones in case the howls of the cannibals becomes too much to bear.
Things went well for the article on Twitter:
Anyway, buy some German bunds or whatever. Your grandchildren, who will be lords of some sunken ashy hellscape in the event that this article is even remotely applicable, will thank you. Rich dad, poor dad, etc.