Numbers, Again

“What did you learn in math class today, honey?” Picking our daughter up from her second day of an after-school program, we hoped to hear progress in our mission for her to reach coding stardom and launch the next Uber.

Our four-year old made a long face, “Numbers, again,” she replied sadly.

We sympathize. Hard to avoid them, especially if you’re an observer of the capital markets where we’ve been inundated with numbers like 16,964 (what the Dow closed at last Friday), $1.1 billion (how much cash departed loan mutual funds last week), and 0.15% (the record low ECB refinancing rate).

Even negative numbers (the ECB deposit rate is now -0.1%) have made headlines.

What’s particularly confounding is that these numbers don’t necessarily add up. New additions to the US labor force (217,000, if you must know) push employment back up to pre-credit crisis levels. But then the Fed wrings its hands that market confidence and low volatility simply sets us up for a steeper fall when bubbles burst.