The Stock Market Is Bouncing Back. Thank You Chuck Norris.

Photograph by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Shares are rebounding on signs of fresh stimulus and the possibility of oil talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Or maybe gloom is just running scared from a roundhouse kick.

Stocks are poised to open sharply higher on Tuesday, with S&P 500 futures up 4.7%. Treasury bond prices are falling, pushing yields higher—a bullish turn. The 10-year Treasury yields 0.71% and the 30-year, 1.22%. Texas crude is up 9% to $34 a barrel.

If you listen to Wall Street, we can credit the promise of fresh stimulus for the market’s rise. The White House says it wants a payroll tax cut, targeted assistance for hard-hit industries, and relief for hourly workers affected by the coronavirus. This last item, in particular, seems to have bipartisan support. There are also reports that the Kremlin doesn’t rule out resuming negotiations with Saudi Arabia over oil production. That could halt a new price war that roiled energy markets on Monday.

Then again, perhaps the bears are running scared because actor Chuck Norris turns 80 today. He is trending on Twitter, where trading tales of his toughness is common. When Norris enters a room, he doesn’t turn the lights on, he turns the darkness off, goes one example. Giraffes came about when he uppercut a horse. A Twitter account for the Frankfurt Police Department reports that its patrols spotted the coronavirus panic-buying; it had heard Norris was in town. In a market as volatile as this one, Chuck Norris is as good a reason as any.

Was Monday capitulation? The NAAIM Exposure Index, tracked by the National Association of Active Investment Managers and showing funds allocated to stocks, fell by the largest amount since 2008 and the global financial crisis. Then again, the S&P 500 has not come down to exceptionally cheap levels. At Monday’s close, it was priced at 16.6 times this year’s estimated earnings, assuming minimal earnings growth from last year.

Stocks are a good deal at that level, so long as interest rates remain low, and the economy doesn’t fall into recession. But if stocks stop plunging, it will go a long way toward keeping the economy out of recession–circular logic that adds to the uncertainty.

Chuck Norris’s circular logic, by the way, is called a roundhouse kick. He once got into a fight with interest rates and flattened the yield curve. Gold views him as a haven. His asset allocation is 60% stocks, 40% fists.

Write to Jack Hough at

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