While the direction of the stock market is most often determined by economic issues there is little doubt that international political events can also be a big determinant of stock valuations. Therefore, I don't find recent international events to be very comforting for investors. For instance, North Korea is ruled by a real nut job who is now threatening nuclear war. In Iran, the recent election was obviously rigged putting to rest any idea that democracy is on the way in that country. Indeed, the ruling elite in Iran are deranged religious fanatics who have already threatened to wipe Israel off the map. While these are the two most notable recent hot spots, perhaps an even greater threat comes from terrorist groups that may get a nuke. I do think that it's just a matter of time before the nuclear genie pops out of the bottle. Can you imagine the reaction of the market to nuclear explosions? So while we worry about every economic stat a much larger problem is brewing.