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Don't Fear The Fear Index

157 market
NPR

The stock market has been going up and down like a yo-yo for the last few months. And this isn't your typical volatility: 2018 was one of the most volatile years on record for the stock market. But Georgetown economist James Angel says that while the volatility we're experiencing right now might feel scary, it's a lot less worrisome than kind of smooth rise in the market that we saw in 2017. Because that lulled a lot of people: they forgot that the stock market is a speculative arena, and they started to think of corporate shares as a failsafe. And that's never a good thing.

Angel argues that volatility is healthy. It reminds people that the stock market is unpredictable. It keeps people on their toes a little, so they don't get too comfortable.

He says yes, there is a lot to be worried about right now, like the government shutdown, North Korea, the Middle East, trade wars and terrorists. Volatility though? Not so much.

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Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money podcast, along with Stacey Vanek Smith. He joined NPR in November 2017.
Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.