Move over Nasdaq. This exchange has been killing it over the past month
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Good morning. Since late March, a reliable pattern has formed in the markets: the morning after a down day, investors reliably jump right back in and buy on the dips. That dynamic is being tested today as Europe and the U.S. futures are in the red for a second straight day.
There is one exception to this: mainland China. The Shanghai Composite is on a run that would make Nasdaq bulls green with envy.
Let’s check in on today’s action.
- The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trade. Shanghai continues its impressive three-week run, up 1.7% today. It’s now climbed more than 17% since mid-June.
- There are rumblings that the Trump Administration is looking to undermine Hong Kong’s longstanding U.S. dollar peg as a way to punish China for its new restrictive national security law. Economists think such a move would be “self-defeating.” HSBC shares sank in Hong Kong on the news.
- President Trump has confirmed he’s thinking of banning the extremely popular TikTok video app as a way to punish China for [checks notes] its handling of coronavirus. Cue angry teens marching on Washington.
- The European bourses fell at the open, extending yesterday’s losses. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was down 0.7% in early trading.
- Europe has managed the coronavirus health crisis as well as anyone, but the economic damage will linger. The European Commission yesterday cut its full-year GDP forecast for the second time in two months.
- In that same report from yesterday, the commission cited failed trade talks between the EU and U.K. as a major growth risk. A few hours later, Britain’s Boris Johnson told Angela Merkel the U.K. is ready to move on without a deal.
- The major averages closed in the red on Tuesday. It was a broad-based drop that saw the big tech rally fade and travel and retail stocks tank on reopening worries.
- Novavax bucked the trend, closing up a whopping 32% yesterday. What’s Novavax, and why did the U.S. government award it a $1.6 billion contract? More to the point, can it save Americans from the coronavirus?
- I get the occasional email from Bull Sheet readers asking me why I’m singling out the U.S. coronavirus numbers when the markets seem to be so unperturbed. (And judging by the volume of chatter on Bloomberg and CNBC about this very same topic, they’re getting the same questions from viewers). Here’s one reason: The rate of positive tests in the U.S. is a meaningful metric, public health officials say, for determining whether it’s safe to reopen stores, business and public places. The latest surge in America’s South and West means it’s no longer safe to reopen in much of the country. And, perhaps worse, the overall infection number are trending in the wrong direction.
- Gold is down, but the shiny yellow stuff did surpass $1,800 an ounce yesterday, its highest level since 2011.
- The dollar is flat.
- Crude is falling again. Brent edged below $43/barrel.
In times of major crises, economists and social scientists often notice jarring disruptions in a country’s internal migration patterns. War, famine and disease uproot populations, and that has a huge impact on the communities they leave, and on the communities they move to.
Coronavirus is forcing one of these great internal migration shocks in the United States in 2020. According to Pew Research Center, millions of Americans—roughly one in five U.S. adults—have been forced to move in recent months as the pandemic forced the closure of businesses and schools across the country.
Young adults and minorities have been disproportionately impacted, as today’s chart shows.
The abrupt closure of university dormitories in March was a huge disruption for a lot of American families. It forced a lot of young, educated Americans to abandon their studies, internships or work-experience opportunities to move back home or to wherever they could find a place to ride out the downturn.
Job losses, and the resulting hit on personal finances, also forced Americans to scatter.
The great COVID migration of 2020 has the potential to create a crisis within a crisis. And it will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.
Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow.
A note from my Fortune colleagues on a timely new initiative:
Many companies are speaking out against racial injustices right now. But how do they fare in their own workplaces? Black employees in the corporate world, we want to hear from you: Please submit your anonymous thoughts and anecdotes here. https://bit.ly/WorkingWhileBlack
As always, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this email with suggestions and feedback.
Questionable ties. Deutsche Bank is in hot water again. New York's financial services regulator fined the German lender $150 million for, among other things, its questionable links to the late convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein.
"Functionally flawed." The group boycotting Facebook's ad platform met with Mark Zuckerberg yesterday to iron out their differences. It didn't go very well.
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The "lipstick index"
Economists and market observers love coining catchy phrases to explain complex consumer phenomena. One that's been repeated over the years is the "lipstick index," credited to cosmetics heir Leonard Lauder following the September 11 attacks. His take: lipstick sales routinely withstand any major geopolitical or economic crisis. His observation has been challenged multiple times over the years, but has barely been smudged—that is, until the coronavirus pandemic hit. Fortune's Katherine Dunn explains why it may no longer apply.