The day stocks stood still

(MoneyWatch) The broad U.S. stock market, as measured by the Wilshire 5000, closed down 0.01 percent Tuesday. A similar index, the Dow Jones Total Market Index, closed up 0.01 percent. The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX), which follows yet another total U.S. market index, remained unchanged for the day.

The upshot? If you had invested $1,000.00, you would have exactly $1,000.00 the following day. What are the odds?

Low. Out of curiosity, I didn't find a single story online noting the sensational event. According to my research, U.S. stocks having no movement in a single day turns out to be quite a rare occurrence. Certainly more anomalous than stocks surging or plunging 5 percent or more in a single day. 

I suspect the reason this didn't make the headlines is that, when it comes to the markets, being rare isn't enough to warrant news coverage. For that, a story must play to readers' emotions. A surge in stock prices elicits greed, while a plunge triggers panic. 

But in reality, yesterday's flat market tells us as much about the future of the stock market as the plunges or the surges do, which is a whole lot of nothing.

So the day stocks stood still won't make financial headlines. But if we were logical, rational beings, it would have.

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