Wall Street interrupted

It's back to business as usual on Wall Street. The sum of all fears - well, nearly all - many investors braced for didn't quite add up.

US equities, the yield on 10-year US Treasuries and the US dollar, they all fell down last week as investors feared an escalation of tensions with North Korea - after its testing of a hydrogen bomb - and closer to home, the likely repair bill from Hurricane Irma at the same time that they're still counting the costs of Hurricane Harvey on Texas and Louisiana.

But today is another day and Wall Street's back singing its anthem: "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you are never gonna keep me down."

The S&P 500 index jumped by 1.1% to a fresh record high of 2,488.1 points (more than making up for the 0.6% decline it recorded at the close of trading last week); the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.2% overnight (from -0.9% last week) and regained its hold above the 22,000-point mark; Bloomberg's US dollar spot index increased by 0.6% (down 1.6% last week) and after shedding 10 basis points last week to 2.06%, the  yield on 10-year US Treasuries has risen to 2.13%.

All these, because nuclear war didn't break out. The expected serious escalation of tensions between the United States and North Korea didn't materialise. It still is as it was... hreats ("gift packages to the US") and counter-threats (sanctions) which, on every occasion presented nice buying opportunities.

Too, the damage bill from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma's turning out to be not as much as expected. CNN Money reports overnight that. "the total economic damage, which includes uninsured losses, could be between US$70 billion and US$90 billion.

This is much lower than Bloomberg's earlier estimate of US$200 billion or the Guardian's US$300 billion for Hurricane Irma alone.

After all is said and done, it's back to economy watching again. Certainly, the hurricanes will skew US growth stats to the downside in the very near-term - as a result of the disruptions to production and consumption - and inflation on the upside but the subsequent rebuilding and reconstruction would generate the opposite bump up in activity and easing in prices.

Read more: Wall StreetBloombergHurricane IrmaNorth KoreaCNN MoneyDow Jones Industrial AverageGuardianHurricane Harvey
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