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The vaccine rally is on pause, even slowing Bitcoin’s march

November 19, 2020, 10:04 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. With COVID deaths and second wave fears front and center again, the markets are slipping into a familiar pattern: oil and equities are falling, while the dollar climbs. Even Bitcoin is slipping in choppy trade.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading with the Shanghai Composite the best of the bunch, up 0.5%.
  • The diplomatic tensions between China and Australia continue to deteriorate with PM Scott Morrison saying in a TV interview that Australia’s “values, democracy and sovereignty ‘are not up for trade.'” This comes after China delivered to Australian media a list of grievances against the Morrison government.
  • Activist short-seller Carson Block has a new Chinese company in his sights: livestreaming giant Joyy Inc. In a report published on Wednesday, Block’s firm, Muddy Waters, called Joyy a “fraud tech company,” sending its shares tumbling 26% in New York trading. Spoiler: I have a feature on Block and his fellow activist shorts coming out in the upcoming issue of Fortune, available to read online or in the mag the first week of December.


  • The European bourses were in the red at the open with the Europe Stoxx 600 down 0.8% at the open.
  • Britain is close to a trade deal with Canada, sources tell Bloomberg, that would avert new tariffs come Jan. 1. It’s a potential huge win for Ottawa as the U.K. is the country’s third biggest trade partner.
  • Are the markets tiring of vaccine news? AstraZeneca shares were up a modest 0.8% at the open after its drugmaker partners at the University of Oxford reported that elderly patients are producing a strong immune response in trials of its COVID-19 vaccine.


  • U.S. futures point to a weak open. The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq all collapsed in the final hour of trading on Wednesday after New York City ordered the immediate shut-down of public school buildings to stop the COVID spread.
  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon came down hard on lawmakers yesterday, accusing them of “childish behavior” for failing to reach an accord on a new coronavirus stimulus package. He would like to see some kind of agreement in place to help out struggling Americans early in the new year, if not sooner.
  • For the first time since 2013, the euro supplanted the dollar as the planet’s top payments currency last month. The greenback is down 11% since March.
  • It’s Thursday. That means it’s jobless claims day. In Italy, that means it’s gnocchi day.


  • Gold is down, trading below $1,860/ounce.
  • The dollar is up, advancing while equities fall.
  • Crude is lower with Brent trading around $44/barrel.
  • Bitcoin has fallen 3% in the last 24 hours, and is now trading below $18,000. Despite the tumble, crypto bulls still expect to see $20K Bitcoin by year-end. Here’s why.



The vaccine rally

Is it already on life support?

Vaccine upside is already priced in, BofA equities analysts say.

The merits of investing for the future

Unlike in past crises, firms have skimped dramatically on R&D and CapEx since the COVID pandemic hit, Goldman Sachs says.

Here’s why that’s a bad idea—the firms that have invested heavily in innovation have outperformed this year. (Source: Goldman).

Tesla bears: not having a good pandemic



It’s reader mail time.

S.C., hailing from the sunny East Coast of Florida, sent me the following limerick yesterday. It’s so good, I have to share it. Here goes:

When your stock picker shouts out “Impavid!” 

Believing Stocks are cheap,

“So lets have it.”

Surmising the cromulent

For personal emolument,

At expanding portfolios, they’re avid!

Bravissima, S.C.!

Note: Are the bull markets inspiring your creative side? If you’ve got market-themed haikus, limericks, knock-knock jokes, song lyrics, one-act plays, whatever—send them my way!


Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow. In the meantime, stay impavid!… And remember: there’s more room below.

Bernhard Warner

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

Today's read

Robinhood to the IPO rescue? The popular trading platform is eyeing a potential IPO in Q1 2021, according to Bloomberg, and it's already begun courting investment banks. Not that Robinhood is short of cash. The company recently raised $460 million in a series G funding round, pushing its valuation to $11.7 billion.

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Market candy


The S&P 500 is up a mere half-percent since Joe Biden was declared winner of the presidential election. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, for one, thinks the change at the top will be good for the markets. “The marketplace is encouraged by having a leader now that is more inclusive, a leader that could probably bring a little more global harmony,” Fink told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum event this morning in Hong Kong. With more than $7.8 trillion assets under management, BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager.