CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

The ‘Joe Rogan rally’ hits pause ahead of U.S. jobless data

May 21, 2020, 8:57 AM UTC

This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the markets. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

Good morning, Bull Sheeters. On Monday, we saw the “vaccine rally.” Yesterday, was what you might call the “Joe Rogan rally.” Both faded pretty fast. Sure enough, equities are broadly lower as we await the latest round of U.S. jobs data.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The Asian indices are down, but only slightly, with Japan’s Nikkei off 0.2%.
  • Expect more fireworks in Beijing today after the U.S. Senate approved a bill to delist from U.S. exchanges certain Chinese companies.
  • Hong Kong investors can’t get enough of CanSino Biologics Inc., a Chinese vaccine maker working on a COVID-19 treatment. Its shares are up 380% this year.


  • European bourses tumbled sharply at the open, wiping out much of yesterday’s big gains. Germany’s Dax was off 1.2% in early trade.
  • The Bank of England isn’t ruling out negative rates to boost investment in its sinking economy. Barclays, for one, thinks that would be an exceptionally bad idea.
  • More trouble in the aviation sector: Britain’s Rolls-Royce, the maker of jet engines, will lay off 9,000 and consider closing sites as it retrenches amid the biggest drop-off in air travel in anyone’s memory.


  • The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are all in the red, as I type.
  • Shares in Spotify closed up 8.6% yesterday (and it’s trading higher pre-market) after it announced it had clinched an exclusive deal to stream the super-popular “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast, helping to lift the Nasdaq by 2% on Wednesday.
  • Expedia shares were up more than 4% in pre-market trading. That’s despite the travel-booking firm reporting an earnings miss yesterday, and at least one analyst wondering: how long can they can operate at “near zero revenue“?
  • We get another update on the brutal U.S. labor market before the bell today. MarketWatch economists predict that 2.35 million unemployment claims were filed in the past week.


  • Gold is down.
  • The dollar is up.
  • Crude is climbing. Brent, the global benchmark, is trading above $36 per barrel.

Stagflation, protectionism, higher taxes

All 50 U.S. states have now eased stay-at-home measures, which coincidentally came on the same day the world topped 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases. Be that as it may, investors are focussing increasingly on what comes next. The good news: businesses are reopening. The bad news: economies and companies will encounter a new wave of challenges, and a vastly different marketplace.

Again this morning I’m pulling data from the latest BofA Global Fund Manager Survey. A note: the survey involves 223 panelists with $651 billion assets under management. It was conducted the second week of May.

Here is what panelists expect. If you’re a fan of free trade, just-in-time supply chains, low taxes and very little red tape, it’s not a pretty picture.

“In a post COVID-19 world,” the survey’s authors write, “FMS [fund manager survey] investors say the biggest structural shifts will be supply chain reshoring (68%), protectionism (44%), higher taxation (42%), and MMT (24%).”

What else makes their list (though lower down)? They see stagflation and a renewed push to introduce green energy and sustainable infrastructure, which is one of the few growth areas of the energy market.

Towards the bottom of the chart, you get a shout-out for the introduction to universal basic income—which has adherents from Pope Francis to the bond king, Bill Gross. UBI is a getting a serious second look in countries around the world since the start of the economic crisis.

All together, investors are anticipating a whole new world, post COVID-19, one full of new marketplace- and policy disruptions. As I noted yesterday, investors are factoring in a longer U-shaped rebound, and are not discounting a volatile W-shaped one.

Normal will look very different.


Have a nice day everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow.

Bernhard Warner

Looking for more detail on coronavirus? Fortune’s Outbreak newsletter will keep you up to date on the latest news surrounding the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on business and commerce globally. Sign up here.

And, you can write to or reply to this email with suggestions and feedback.

Today's reads

They go low. Europe's already in negative territory with its interest rates. The BOE is thinking about it. What about the Fed? Goldman Sachs says don't rule it out. Negative interest rates would be good news for those holding a lot of debt, but bad news for savers, pensioners and banks.

Write off your rent? A lot of work-from-home warriors are wondering if there's a tax break to be found in their new work arrangements. Namely, can they deduct mortgage or rent payments from their tax returns? Fortune's Lee Clifford lays out your options.

(Some of these stories require a subscription to access. There is a discount offer for our loyal readers if you use this link to sign up. Thank you for supporting our journalism.)

Market candy


All week here in "Market candy" we're featuring cool facts from the Fortune 500, which went live on the site on Monday. 

It's been a rough year for financials, but don't write off the sector. The number of financial services companies to make the 2020 list was 91, (up from 86). Together, they earned $378 billion in profits last year.