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Good morning, Bull Sheeters. What’s this? Green on the screens? Investors are buying European shares and bidding up U.S. futures this morning. Yes, Nasdaq futures too. That’s despite a blow of bad news on a pivotal COVID vaccine trial.
Let’s check in on the action.
- The major Asia indexes are all in the red in afternoon trading, with the Shanghai Composite leading the way, down nearly 1.9%.
- China’s IPO market remains as hot as ever. Nongfu Springs was trading up nearly 3% on Wednesday. Earlier this week, the bottled water brand spiked nearly 85%, briefly making its founder China’s richest man.
- The #BoycottMulan call is growing louder, putting Disney in a tough spot after rolling out the Mulan reboot last weekend on its streaming platform.
- The European bourses were flat at the open, before gaining. The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.6% an hour into trading.
- AstraZeneca shares were down 0.8% in early trading on Wednesday (it sank more than 6% in the premarket). That’s after the drugmaker disclosed it’s had to halt its COVID vaccine trials when one participant fell ill.
- Following the apparent poisoning of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, the calls have grown louder for Germany to pull out of the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. Seemingly nothing would please the Trump Administration more.
- U.S. futures have been gaining ground all morning, even tech futures. That’s after the Nasdaq closed in correction territory on Tuesday.
- The Nasdaq’s three-day plunge from an all-time-high to correction is, yes, a new record.
- Tesla, which lost a record 21% yesterday, epitomizes so much of the volatility in tech stocks. Its market cap loss over the past 24 hours exceeds the combined value of Ford and General Motors. And, this marks the second bear market for Tesla shares this year. Oh, it’s also up 294% YTD.
- Gold is down, trading steady below $1,940/ounce.
- The dollar is flat.
- Crude is rebounding, with Brent trading above $40/barrel.
What happened to the value investor?
Value stocks are having a bad pandemic. But you know what? Those troubles predate COVID. They’ve been slumping since the housing bubble last decade, and just haven’t recovered.
“The last ten years have seen the worst returns ever for US value stocks versus growth, even worse than during the dotcom bubble,” BofA Securities analysts wrote in a recent investment note. “In the last 3 years value has given up all of its gains since the year 2000.”
A quick refresher on what constitutes a value stock: they’re stocks that trade at a low price relative to fundamentals such as dividends, earnings and sales.
I know. An investment strategy that relies on metrics like P/E sounds so antiquated, kinda like your buddy’s car that features a CDs-only sound system.
Value stocks do well in times of strong economic growth, actual inflation, solid interest rates, and, in turn, appealing Treasury yields. (Remember those things?)
Banks and utilities come to mind. For starters, they reliably pay dividends and have solid top-line prospects.
Growth stocks, meanwhile, tend to do well when there’s a big shock, such as a pandemic. They trade on the belief they’ll outperform the rest of the market. It’s partly a bet the stock will do well. And partly a bet that the economic conditions are so lousy that value stocks don’t stand a chance. If you’re long on growth stocks you’re probably pessimistic about the prospects of the overall economy.
“The most powerful explanation for the death of value is the global economic slump,” BofA writes. “The value factor is intimately tied to economic growth & inflation, and as both of those have become more scarce, so too have returns on any assets linked to them.”
The problem with this particular rally in growth stocks is that it comes at the expense of just about everything else. When investors don’t see any decent returns in anything but growth, the herd mentality takes hold. Popular trades become crowded trades, inflating asset bubbles.
And bubbles pop.
Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow.
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That's the price to earnings ratio of the biggest Nasdaq listings, or the Big Ten, as Fortune's Shawn Tully calls them. That's not just incredibly expensive, it's one of the primary reasons why we're witnessing this meltdown in tech stocks right now.