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While Trump’s Twitter feed goes quiet overnight, U.S. futures rebound

October 7, 2020, 10:01 AM UTC

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Good morning. With a single, abrupt tweet from President Trump late yesterday afternoon, an impressive market rally came to a crashing end. A speedy stimulus package, always remote (to this writer anyhow), looks all but dead now. And, well, this is how the markets felt about that news:

U.S. futures are up modestly this morning as I type, looking to claw back some of yesterday’s losses. They’re reacting to a later Trump tweet that maybe, just maybe, there could possibly be a sliver of hope for some kind of stimulus measure for the American economy.

Warning: Dexamethasone + remdesivir + Regeneron + tweet storms may produce side effects for your portfolio.

Let’s see what else is happening.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly lower in afternoon trading, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng continues its rally, up 1%.
  • The global box office is floundering, but not in China. The country’s big Oct.1 holiday weekend saw movie ticket sales soar to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Elsewhere, the data doesn’t look so promising. The IMF warned that the rebound for the global economy will be more protracted than first thought, pushing beyond 2021.


  • The European bourses are down with London and Frankfurt a few ticks lower an hour into the trading session.
  • German industrial output unexpectedly fell in August, hurt by a slump in auto manufacturing, and that’s weighing on stocks.
  • Who exactly is speaking for Britain as it battles soaring COVID numbers? PM Boris Johnson or Rishi Sunak, his finance chief? The two are increasingly on a different page about how best to handle the outbreak. Adding intrigue: only one, Sunak, is growing more popular by the day.


  • U.S. futures point to a positive open. That’s after the Dow closed down nearly 376 points in volatile Tuesday trade following Trump’s tweet to end stimulus talks. Just hours earlier, Fed chair Jerome Powell had warned that fiscal spending was needed to avert jeopardizing the economic recovery.
  • The response outside Washington to Trump’s abrupt call-off-the-talks tweet was just as swift. The flight attendants union was apoplectic and American Airlines called the move disheartening, plunging the fate of tens of thousands of furloughed workers in the aviation sector into further turmoil.
  • In a harshly worded report evoking images of the trust-busting days of the early 20th Century, House lawmakers essentially called for the breakup of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, saying the tech giants are abusing their dominant position and snuffing out competition.


  • Gold is down, trading below $1,900/ounce.
  • The dollar is off again today.
  • Crude is down too, with Brent edging 1% lower.


Worst 3Q in history

Mutual fund managers are getting hit on all sides. The rise of DIY retail trading, ETFs and other passive investment funds are clobbering their livelihood. And this latest report card won’t help.

According to BofA, managers of active funds had a 3Q to forget, and that’s despite big gains overall in the markets.

“While US stocks posted the best 3Q in 10 years, only 27% of large cap active managers beat their benchmarks, representing the lowest 3Q hit rate in our data history since 1991,” the BofA investor note read.

Here’s what that 30-year miss looks like:

The culprit, BofA found, was AAPL. Yep, Apple. In short, if the manager of your growth fund was underweight Apple—apparently there are such growth funds out there—then you ought to get him on the phone.

“We calculate Growth managers’ underweight in AAPL (0.46x benchmark) detracted 1.5ppt of performance vs. the benchmark in 3Q, during which AAPL drove over 20% of the benchmark’s return,” the report says. That’s a long way of saying a growth fund that didn’t include the fastest-growing big cap was, naturally, doomed to underperform.

Now here’s the good news: “40% of funds are still ahead YTD,” BofA notes, and they’re above the historical annual average for the year.

What’s more, September was actually a good month for most active managers, setting them up for a promising Q4.


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

Bernhard Warner

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Today's reads

The R-word. "To a non-economist," writes Fortune's Geoff Colvin, "a recession isn’t about direction of change; it’s about how bad things are, and they’re still bad." Economists and central bankers, however, have a different altogether definition of "recession." Where we can all agree is this—we were in a deep hole. And some of us have begun to climb out. The exception would be this group:

Billionaire bulge. Don't worry about the billionaires. They're doing okay. No hole for most of them. That's the calculation, anyhow, from UBS, which reports that the number of billionaires rose this year, as has their collective wealth to top $10.2 trillion.

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Market candy

Quote of the day

The deal activity has totally dried up.

That's Chris Roeder, a real estate broker in San Francisco, who tells the Wall Street Journal that office rents in the city have fallen 4% since March, and that occupancy levels are below the national average, a sign that tech too is not immune from the ravages of COVID.