CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

Stocks plateau as an S&P 500 stall-out nears historic territory

June 9, 2021, 9:14 PM UTC

This is the web version of Bull Sheet, a no-nonsense daily newsletter on what’s happening in the markets. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Good afternoon, Bull Sheeters. Finance reporter Anne Sraders again, filling in for Bernhard this week with a special evening edition of the newsletter.

It was another tantalizing day for investors as the S&P 500 flirted with, but closed shy of, a new all-time high once again this week (more on that later). But at least the index had a better day than some “meme stocks” like Clover Health and Wendy’s, both of which skyrocketed on Tuesday but closed deep in the red today.

Tomorrow we get another look at inflation data in the U.S., and the European Central Bank meets on Thursday, too. But for now, let’s check in on the rest of today’s market action.

Markets update

Asia

  • Asia was mixed, with the Hang Seng moderately lower, the Nikkei down nearly 0.4%, and the Shanghai Composite up 0.3%.
  • China‘s producer price index, or PPI, shot up 9% in May from the previous year, the fastest increase since 2008, as commodity prices popped.
  • Food delivery giant DoorDash is putting down roots in Japan in its first Asia venture, the company said Wednesday. DoorDash’s stock closed up roughly 0.2%.

Europe

  • The European bourses were mixed, with the pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 up slightly, roughly 0.1% higher, and France’s CAC 40 up 0.2%. London’s FTSE and the DAX in Germany were both lower.
  • The big European Central Bank meeting is set for Thursday, and my colleague Christiaan Hetzner lays out what you should be watching for: “If there is just one takeaway investors should zero in on during Thursday’s European Central Bank monetary policy meeting, it should be any change made to its 2023 inflation forecast.” Be sure to dig into Christiaan’s preview piece for more insights.

U.S.

  • U.S. stocks were down across the board, with the S&P 500 down nearly 0.2%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq down 0.1%, and the Dow, the worst of the bunch, off 0.4%.
  • The U.S. Senate passed a $250 billion (and bipartisan) bill on Tuesday evening that would provide funding to support priorities like scientific research and chip and robotics manufacturing, in an attempt to bolster the U.S.’s competitive position relative to China in the battle for tech dominance.
  • All eyes are going to be on the CPI data tomorrow, as investors eagerly look for clues as to how rising inflation may impact their portfolios. As a reminder, consensus is that prices rose 0.4% in May.
  • GameStop, what could be considered the original Reddit stock, reported its fiscal Q1 earnings after the close on Wednesday, posting $1.3 billion in revenues and a 45-centper-share loss. The company also appointed former Amazon exec Matt Furlong as its new CEO. So far this year, the stock is up an astonishing 1,500%.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield dipped below 1.5% even as the Street awaits inflation data on Thursday.

Elsewhere

  • Gold slumped a bit, but is still trading above $1,890/ounce.
  • The dollar is up.
  • Crude is down only slightly, with Brent trading around $72/barrel.
  • In crypto world, Bitcoin pared its losses from yesterday, up over 8% at around $36,500 as of 5:15 p.m. ET. Ethereum and Dogecoin were also higher.

***

The stock market has been boring lately 

If you’ve felt like the stock market is a bit of a snooze fest lately, you aren’t imagining things. (You also probably aren’t a Reddit trader—in that case you’ve been having the ride of your life.)

The S&P 500 has been hovering within points of a new all-time high for several days now, trading in a very tight range just shy of its May 7 high of 4,232.6. With bellwether indexes hitting all-time highs on the regular these days, a bit of a stall-out feels somewhat outside the norm.  

But not only has the latest rut been noticeable—it’s almost historic. According to an LPL Financial note out today, the S&P 500’s dance around new highs is “unlike nearly any time in history. In fact, it has now gone nine days in a row,” (actually, 10, including Wednesday’s close), “closing within 1% of an all-time high without breaking through,” analysts wrote in an early Wednesday note. 

LPL’s chief market strategist, Ryan Detrick, puts it neatly in the report: “There’s an old saying about not shorting a dull market. Well, lately it has been about as dull as it gets,” he notes. “The catch is other times that saw long streaks without a new high, yet very close to one, actually didn’t perform as well as one might expect.” Take a gander at LPL’s chart below.

But what makes this latest S&P 500 trading pattern especially interesting is just how tight this range is. In fact, as LPL points out, the only time the S&P 500 has ever traded in such a tight range for even three days straight without hitting a new all-time high was in September of 1964. That is, until this week, when the S&P 500 closed within 0.15% of an all-time high for three consecutive sessions without topping that record mark, as of Tuesday. 

But the LPL analysts note that, back in 1964, “stocks were flat three months later then and up only 2.6% six months later, so although this is only a sample size of one, a sharp move higher in the near term appears less likely.”

Still, they argue the “odds do favor another new high will eventually take place, which means this bull market continues.”

For now, it’s likely the Thursday inflation CPI data will provide a catalyst for some market moves—either to the upside or downside. 

That’s all for now.

***

Read on for more news below.

Anne Sraders
@AnneSraders
Anne.Sraders@Fortune.com

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

Today's read

Bitcoin at $20,000? Some strategists are forecasting that bearish number as a downside target for the stalwart cryptocurrency, following its recent weak performance. Most recently Bitcoin has managed to keep its head above the $30,000 mark, even rebounding on Wednesday, but Wall Street firms like Oanda Corp. and Evercore ISI warn that if Bitcoin breaks below that line, the selloff might not stop for another $10,000. Ouch. Read more on Bloomberg

Extended stay. I don't know about you, but I couldn't be more excited to get back on the road (or plane) and resume traveling. But what's new about the post-pandemic travel space? Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says he's seeing people taking even longer trips, declaring that vacationers are "now living in Airbnb." That's something the travel exec expects to be a lasting effect of the remote-work environment. Read more from Chesky's appearance at Fortune's Global Forum virtual conference this week.

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

-23.6%

That's the hit newly-minted Reddit stock Clover Health took on Wednesday after soaring nearly 86% just the day prior, as traders hyped up the new "meme stock."  

Our mission to make business better is fueled by readers like you. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.