A morose Monday can’t mess up the markets’ magnificent November

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Good evening, Bull Sheeters. This is Fortune finance reporter Rey Mashayekhi filling in this week for Bernhard, who’s taking a well-deserved break. While he’s out, I’ll be recapping the day’s finance- and market-related news with a special PM edition of the newsletter.

Positive developments on the COVID-19 vaccine front couldn’t prevent global markets from pulling back on Monday, bringing a tepid end to what was a historically good November. Here’s what to know as we head into the final month of this most remarkable year.

The New York Stock Exchange is seen decorated for Christmas on Monday.
Tayfun Cokun—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Markets update


  • Neither Moderna’s request to clear its COVID-19 vaccine, nor news that Pfizer is already shipping out its treatment, gave the markets a boost Monday. The Dow lost more than 270 points (-0.9%), while the S&P 500 dipped nearly half a percent (-0.46%) and the Nasdaq closed down a shade (-0.06%). Still, it was a historic November for U.S. markets, with the Dow’s 12% gain representing its best month since January 1987. The Nasdaq also ended the month up nearly 12%, while the S&P gained around 11% in November.
  • President-elect Joe Biden has officially unveiled the economic team that will be advising him in the White House. As expected, former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will likely become the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary. Biden also tapped a diverse and experienced group—most of whom served in the Obama administration—to round out his economic braintrust.
  • S&P Global has agreed to acquire IHS Markit in a $44 billion deal that would combine two of Wall Street’s largest financial data providers. In other deal news, General Motors has passed on an equity stake in electric truck manufacturer Nikola, a development that sent Nikola shares down 27% Monday. And DoorDash’s IPO could value the food delivery startup at up to $32 billion.
  • On the regulatory front, the Federal Reserve has urged banks to stop using LIBOR by the end of next year. The Fed is also extending through March four emergency lending facilities that it launched to deal with the pandemic’s economic impact.
  • HSBC is considering exiting its retail banking business in the U.S., the Financial Times reported over the weekend.


  • The European bourses all posted losses on Monday, with London’s FTSE (-1.6%) and the CAC 40 in Paris (-1.4%) seeing the biggest slips and Frankfurt’s DAX (-0.3%) falling more slightly. The pan-European STOXX 600 was down nearly -1% on the day, but still climbed 14% in November—its best month on record.
  • The European Union is reportedly angling for an alliance with the Biden administration that would look to confront the “strategic challenge” posed by China.
  • The International Monetary Fund has warned that Europe could feel the “scarring” economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic well into next year, and suggested that additional stimulus measures may be needed to support the region.
  • The spying scandal plaguing Swiss financial giant Credit Suisse has thickened, as additional instances of employees being surveilled by private investigators have come to light.


  • The major Asian indexes all fell on Monday, forecasting declines to come across the rest of the world. Tokyo’s Nikkei slipped -0.8%, while Hong Hong’s Hang Seng dropped more than -2% and South Korea’s KOSPI fell -1.6%. On mainland China, the major indexes in Shanghai (-0.5%) and Shenzhen (-0.2%) saw slight losses.
  • The CEO of the Tokyo Stock Exchange has stepped down, taking the fall for an unprecedented system failure that halted trading for a full day on Oct. 1.
  • Trade tensions between Australia and China continue to escalate, with the Aussies prepared to take action through the World Trade Organization over barley import tariffs imposed by China.
  • It appears increasingly unlikely that Jack Ma’s Ant Group will go public via its highly anticipated IPO before the end of next year, according to Bloomberg.
  • JPMorgan Chase plans to double down, literally, on its wealth management business in Singapore by doubling the number of private bankers serving wealthy Chinese clientele from the southeast Asian city-state.



That’s all for now; please be sure to check out today’s reads below. Have a pleasant evening and see you tomorrow.

Rey Mashayekhi

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

Today's reads

A burden lifted. There’s been much talk that President-elect Biden could pursue measures that would alleviate the astonishing $1.7 trillion student debt burden assumed by Americans today. Fortune’s Aric Jenkins examines some of the proposals currently being floated—and what impact they could have on a U.S. economy still struggling with the effects of the pandemic.

Guessing game. With current Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Jay Clayton set to depart at the end of the year, there will soon be a new sheriff in charge of one of the most important regulatory posts in Washington, D.C. Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts considers the candidates who could succeed Clayton, and the varying approaches they would bring to the SEC.

Are you experienced? As Wall Street basks in its bullish mood, Fortune’s Anne Sraders spoke with Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s Katie Koch about the stocks that will lead the post-COVID recovery in 2021. For Koch, it all comes down to millennials, who are the “world’s most powerful consumer” and will fuel a bounce-back for “experience-based companies” that got hammered in 2020 thanks to lockdown measures.

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

$9.7 trillion

That’s the amount of debt issued by companies and governments in 2020 as of Nov. 26, according to Refinitiv—a record amount fueled by the unprecedented stimulus measures pursued by central banks this year. According to the Institute of International Finance, global debt will hit $277 trillion by year-end, representing 365% of the world’s gross domestic product.

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