In 1981 The New Yorker published a cartoon in which a man sat bemused as a news reader tried to explain what was behind the volatility in the markets. It went something like this: “News of lower interest rates sent the stock market up, but then the expectation that these rates would be inflationary sent the market down, until the realisation that lower rates might stimulate the sluggish economy pushed the market back up, before it ultimately went down on fears that an overheated economy would lead to a reimposition of higher interest rates.”

The New Yorker cartoon was not unique, but part of a long tradition of amusing commentaries on the market that seem to have become more difficult to find. It’s certainly not the markets’ fault. They’ve continued to provide unabated displays of strange behaviour that would be difficult to explain. But in today’s relentless efforts to do so one vital ingredient seems to have gone missing — a little humour...

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