If you’re wondering why U.S. stocks keep going up—the Nasdaq rose another 1% on Wednesday—one likely influence is China’s stock market. The Shanghai Composite Index has jumped 15% since the end of June, taking it to its highest level since early 2018. Numerous commentators are warning the rally makes no sense, given profit growth.
U.S. market watchers are used to a disconnect between equity valuations and fundamental conditions. The Nasdaq is well above the highs it reached before the pandemic lockdowns hit, crushing the economy, although the broader market is still a bit below its pre-pandemic level. But United Airlines’ warning on Wednesday that it might furlough nearly half its employees later this year is a reminder that economic distress caused by the pandemic is far from over.