John Yang: The past three trading days have been a roller-coaster ride for global markets. At this morning's opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 500 points, and then ended the trading day up more than 500 points, a 1,000-point swing. To help us understand this, we are joined by Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent for The New York Times' Upshot. Neil, thanks for being here. This morning, you wrote that the key to keep in mind is to keep the long view in mind. So, having said that, what do we take from the last three days?
Neil Irwin: Well, I think the era of extreme low volatility may be over, at least for a while. I think it might come back, but for now this period we had, all of 2017, not a single day of the stock market losing more than 2 percent. That's very unusual. And we have now had two of those days out of the last three trading sessions. This is clearly a more volatile environment. This is clearly a time when stocks are going crazy. That said, we're still only at about mid-December levels. We're down only a little bit for the year. We haven't even hit the correction level of losing 10 percent in stock value. So, this isn't a crisis. This isn't something to worry about too much. At the same time, it's certainly is a little teeth-chattering when you watch the daily stock market ticker.
John Yang: And, in a way, it was a return of volatility. We hadn't seen this sort of volatility in quite a while. Why do you think it came back this way?
Neil Irwin: There seems to be some self-fulfilling cycles happening. There are a lot of investors betting against volatility. There is also some news behind this. There was a jobs report Friday that suggested wage growth is a little stronger than it appeared. That suggests maybe there are inflationary pressures in economy. Maybe the Federal Reserve will have to raise interest rates a little faster than they have been. Now, I would add, those are basically good news for American workers. If you see bigger paychecks, that might be bad for corporate earnings, but it's not bad if you're earning a paycheck. So there are some fundamentals and also a kind of reversal of these long-building effects that were depressing volatility in the market.
John Yang: Not only volatile, but sort of the velocity of the motion, the movement, the downward movement yesterday in particular, does that suggest that there was some program trading going — that was pushing that, driving that?
Neil Irwin: It does. You have institutions that have billions of dollars in assets that are making these huge decisions, huge trades based on what the computers want to do. No humans even touch them. That can create these vicious cycles, these self-reinforcing cycles. One clue that that might be part of what's going on, if you look at some of the other markets that have less of that type of activity, the bond market, the commodities markets, those haven't moved nearly as much. They haven't been nearly as volatile. This seems to be mainly confined to the stock market so far. That is a hint that something weird is going on, that this isn't just about fundamentals and about people reassessing their view of the economy.
John Yang: Much was made yesterday that the gains of 2018 had been wiped out, but if you, again, take the long view, as you counsel in your column this morning, talk about the larger trends that we're seeing in the stock market.
Neil Irwin: Yes, fundamentally, we have had a — this is a recovery that dates back to 2009. We haven't had a bout of instability like this since early 2016, so two years. You know, this has been an unusually calm time. You know, part of the tradeoff of stocks, they have longer — higher long-term returns than other assets, but the price is some volatility. So, this is kind of the price you pay for longer-term returns. And now we're kind of experiencing it all at one time, instead of in a more kind of gradual rate.
John Yang: And what we saw yesterday or the last three days really had nothing to this with sort of the fundamentals of the economy.
Neil Irwin: Well, the thing is, if you look at the economic data, there's no sign of problems. The weekly jobless claims, the employment report, anything you want to look at, industrial production, those numbers are all very solid. All the things you would look to as a leading indicator that we might have a recession or even just a downturn, those aren't showing up in the data so far. Unless the stock market knows something that isn't showing up, things look pretty good in the economy right now.
John Yang: And the market had been sort of soaring at a high altitude. There had been a lot of talk and a lot of people saying that the stock market was overvalued compared to the price/earnings ratios that we were seeing. But this wasn't a correction.
Neil Irwin: Yes, technically, a correction is a 10 percent drop. Even after Monday's close, only down 8.5 percent by the S&P 500, and then of course rebounded today. So we're even closer to the high. This is not yet technically a correction. It still could get there. We might have a few more days of volatility. Who knows. But the reality is, in this — in the grand scheme of things, this is not the biggest correction. And, again, we're only back to mid-December levels. So, as long as you're a long-term investor, you're doing fine. It's only if you plowed money in, in early, mid-January that you might have endured some losses.
John Yang: How do you explain what happened today, sort of that big — the market fell out of bed and then finished up 500…
Neil Irwin: It gets back to these technical factors and algorithmic trading. There's a lot of money sloshing around very rapidly, often without human hands touching it. And that creates these unpredictable swings. Will that be — will we go back to the old normal of low volatility? I don't know about that, but all signs are we might have some — another few sticky days before it's all over.
John Yang: A few more sticky days perhaps. Neil Irwin of The New York Times' Upshot, thanks for being with us.
Neil Irwin: Thank you, John.
1.keep in mind 记住
Keep in mind you're going to be fighting lots of men who hit plenty hard.
2.wipe out 消灭
A company of enemy force was caught in our cross fire and was wiped out right away.
3.instead of 而不是
The farmers will be paid for their grain in cash, instead of IOUs.
4.showing up 显示
There have been four hundred escapes this year, showing up the lack of security.
5.fell out of 跌下来/废弃
The wind blew stronger and he fell out of the window.
尼尔·欧文：嗯，我认为（股市）超低波动的时代可能已经结束，至少有很长一段时间会是如此 。我认为超低波动可能还会回归 。但目前就2017年全年来讲，股市没有一天下跌超过2%的 。这种情况还是很少见的 。但在过去三个交易日内，有两天下跌都超过了2% 。这明显是一个更加动荡的环境 。显然，最近股市有点疯狂 。也就是说，我们仍然保持在十二月中旬左右的水平 。今年，我们只下降了一点点 。我们甚至都没有触及到股价下跌10%的调整水平 。所以，这并不是什么危机 。这不是太值得担心的事 。同时，当你看每日股票行情时，肯定还是有点牙齿打颤 。
约翰·杨：从某种角度上讲，这是股市波动性的回归 。我们已有相当长的一段时间，没有看到这种（剧烈）波动了 。你觉得为什么它会以这种方式重现？
尼尔·欧文：似乎有一些自动实现的周期正在发生 。很多投资者就赌这种波动不会出现 。这背后还涌动着一些新闻 。星期五有一份就业报告显示，工资增长比看起来要更加强劲一点 。这表明经济中可能存在通胀压力 。也许美联储将不得不提高利率，而且比以前更快 。现在，我要补充的是，这些对美国工人来说基本上算是好消息 。如果你发现薪水涨了，这可能不利于公司的盈利，但如果你赚了钱也不错 。因此，有一些基本面，也有一些长期的影响效果发生了逆转，它们正在抑制着市场的波动 。
尼尔·欧文：的确 。有很多拥有数十亿美元资产的机构都会根据计算机的运算，来做出这些重大的交易决定 。人不去碰 。这就可能产生恶性循环，而且这些循环会自我愈演愈烈 。要想看清到底在发生什么，这里可能有一条线索，如果你看看其他一些市场，在那里这类交易活动较少，比如债券市场，商品市场，那些市场几乎没有那么剧烈的波动 。几乎没有那么反复无常 。目前看来，这种剧烈波动主要局限于股票市场 。这暗示着，有一些奇怪的事情正在发生，这不仅关系到基本面，还关系到人们对经济境况的重新评估 。
尼尔·欧文：是的，从根本上说，我们有一个——这是一个自2009年以来的状态恢复 。自2016年初以来，像这样的（剧烈）波动就没再出现过，所以两年了 。你知道，这是一个异常平静的时期 。你知道，这部分是因为股票交易赢得是长线收益，而且收益要比其他资产高，但价格有些波动 。所以，这是你为长线回报所付出的代价 。而现在我们恰是体验到了这点，这些波动一股脑全来了，速度很快 。
尼尔·欧文：嗯，问题是，如果你看一下经济数据，根本看不出问题存在的迹象 。每周失业救济申请，就业报告，任何你想看的，工业生产，那些数字都非常稳健 。所有这些，你认为会是我们陷入衰退甚至只是经济下行的主要指标，目前都没有出现 。除非股市未卜先知，否则现在的经济形势看起来一切尚好 。
约翰·杨：市场一直在飙升，达到了较高水平 。有很多人说，与我们所看到的市盈率相比，股票市场被高估了 。但这不是一个调整 。
尼尔·欧文：是的，严格来讲，看到10%的下跌，才会做出调整 。即使在星期一收盘后，标普500指数也只下跌了8.5%，当然今天也反弹了 。所以我们更接近这个高值 。但这还不是严格意义上的调整 。它还能到那 。我们可能还会经历几天的波动 。谁知道 。但现实是，在这一宏伟计划中，这并不是最大的调整 。再说一次，我们只是回到十二月中旬的水平 。所以，只要你是长线投资者，你就做得很好 。只有在一月中上旬投资，你才可能遭受一些损失 。
尼尔·欧文：还是回到这些技术因素和程序交易中 。有很多钱在快速交易，人手往往都接触不到 。这就造成了这些不可预测的波动 。我们会回到低波动率的老常态吗？我不知道，但是所有的迹象都表明，我们可能还会再经历几天较大波动 。
约翰·杨：也许还要再经历几天艰难时日 。纽约时报Upshot记者尼尔·欧文，谢谢你的参与 。