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Global markets view America’s violent protests and declare: Nothing to see here

June 1, 2020, 8:57 AM UTC

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Good morning, Bull Sheeters. Protests and violence on the streets in America are hitting U.S. futures. Asia and Europe are far calmer, and climbing.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update

Asia

  • The Asian indices are all in the green in afternoon trade, led by Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, up 3.4%.
  • Investors can thank President Trump for the relief rally. His China-Hong Kong address on Friday was long on tough talk, but short on detail, appeasing the global markets.
  • Even still, Hong Kongers are flooding into the offices of migration experts inquiring: Should we stay, or should we go?

Europe

  • European bourses jumped out of the gates again this morning. The blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 was up nearly 1% one hour into the trading session.
  • European countries continue to ease lockdown measures, and that’s giving equities a lift. It’s not exactly a 100% open-for-business message, however. For example, tourism-dependent Greece drew up a list of 29 nations that can begin flying into the country as of June 15. Neither the Turks nor Americans made the cut.
  • With commercial air travel a shambles, Airbus this week will convene a meeting of top officials to determine production priorities, including what to do about its top-selling A320-series narrow-body jet.

U.S.

  • The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are down as I type. They’ve been swinging from gains to losses all morning as street protests over the death of George Floyd rattle investors’ nerves.
  • Shops, businesses and restaurants across the country closed as demonstrations flared into violence in cities around the country. The list of big brands and retailers to announce closures or limited operations include Nike, Adidas, Walmart, Target and Amazon.
  • What’s on the calendar this week? We have ISM manufacturing data (today), Alphabet’s AGM (Wednesday), and the May jobs report (Friday).

Elsewhere

  • Gold is up.
  • The dollar is down.
  • Crude is flat. West Texas Intermediate just came off its best month on record. It climbed more than 80% in May.

“Buy in May, stay and play”

It’s June 1. We’ve turned the page on another month. Congratulations on getting this far. Last month at this time we were marveling at the April bull run. It was the best month for U.S. stocks in 33 years.

But there was a bit of unease too as the rally occurred even as the global economy was suffering one of its worst months on record. And that brought to mind the old Wall Street adage: “sell in May, go away.”

And, so, the thinking went: if, in May, we could merely cling to April’s gains, we’d have plenty to celebrate come the summer months when coronavirus infection and death tolls improve, and when major economies reopen and begin to grow again.

So how did we do in this most recent make-or-break month?

If you had followed your broker’s advice to cash out and sit on the sidelines in May, you’d be kicking yourself. It was another banner month for equities…but not everywhere, as today’s chart shows.

The big winner was… [drum roll]… Japanese equities. A series of huge stimulus plans by the Abe government helped give the Nikkei a big boost. The silver medal goes to small-caps; the Russell 2000 soared more than 10% in May. The Nasdaq gets the bronze, gaining a respectable 6.8%.

The big loser was Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, which crashed at the end of the month following Beijing’s decision to tighten its national security laws, a move that has thrown another wrinkle in U.S.-China diplomacy. But even that swoon was a muted one. Today’s gains on the Hang Seng have cut that negative-6.8 handle in half.

As I said last month, the “stay away” advice was based on nearly 70 years worth of stock market data showing equities tend to under-perform in the May-October period.

But, as we’ve seen in recent few months, you might be wise to just throw out the history books. Past performance offers little guidance for the ups and downs of the markets during this pandemic.

With that in mind, Bull Sheet would like to take a stab at a bit of market poetry. How about this?

“It’s way too soon to call the market for June.”

What do you think?

***

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

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
Bernhard.Warner@Fortune.com

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Today's reads

The Fab 5. You know these stocks by heart. Everybody now: Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google’s Alphabet and Facebook. They’re far outperforming the S&P 500, and so are becoming a bigger portion of index funds that track the benchmark index. Fortune’s Shawn Tully explains why piling into these big-name stocks, either directly or indirectly, is likely to end in tears.

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(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

Quote

"I’m hearing from lots of people who are saying, ‘gee, we never considered ourselves as RV-ers, but we’re considering getting one.'"

That’s Jefferies analyst Bret Jordan. He spoke to Fortune’s Anne Sraders about the recent rally in RV stocks. People are itching to get out of the house and see the world. They don’t necessarily want to get on an airplane. Cruise ships are still mostly off-limits. That leaves recreational vehicles. RV stocks like Camping World Holdings, Winnebago Industries, and Thor Industries have soared over 100%—Camping World is up over 400%—from market-wide lows in mid March, Sraders reports.