CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

The tech-led stocks rally continues as crypto, too, pulls higher

July 23, 2021, 10:26 AM 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.

Happy Friday, Bull Sheeters.

Stocks and futures are gaining this morning as investors look to extend an impressive mini rally. The risk-on mood is poised to carry the major exchanges into positive territory for the week, helped by strong corporate results, particularly in tech.

I dig deeper into the resurgent tech trade below.

The crypto board is colored green, too, nudging Bitcoin higher.

Let’s see what’s moving markets. We begin in Asia.

Markets update

Asia

  • Asia is mixed. Japan’s Nikkei is faring better than the others, up 0.6% in afternoon trading ahead of the Summer Games opening ceremony.
  • The opening ceremony for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad begins at 6:55 a.m. ET today. Thanks to COVID, fewer than 1,000 will be allowed into the stadium. Here’s a handy little guide how to watch/stream the event.
  • Chinese tech shares are again dragging down the indexes in Hong Kong and Shanghai as investors fret about further regulatory crackdowns. Call it the Didi effect.

Europe

  • The European bourses were higher out of the gates on Friday with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.5%. Autos, telecoms and banks lead the way higher.
  • Shares in Daimler were up 1.2% at the start after the carmaker unveiled an ambitious electrical push for its core Mercedes-Benz unit. The upshot: it’s earmarking €40 billion to “shift entirely to clean, zero emission vehicles by 2030, if possible,” Fortune‘s Christiaan Hetzner reports.
  • In Italy and France it’s official: no vaccine, no service. “A green pass“—which declares you’ve either gotten the jab, or have recently tested negative for COVID —”will be required to dine indoors or to enter crowded venues such as theaters, stadiums, cinemas, gyms or museums,” Bloomberg reports, as cases here jump again. (In other news: I’m looking for a babysitter to watch the kids while my wife and I dine out every night.)

U.S.

  • U.S. futures have been climbing all morning, looking to extend the rally across all three major exchanges to four straight. The Nasdaq finished at a new all-time high.
  • Shares in Intel were down 2.6% in pre-market trading this morning after the chips giant gave mixed guidance for Q3 as operating costs climb.
  • Social heavyweights Twitter and Snap look set to pop at the opening bell after reporting huge beats yesterday after the bell.

Elsewhere

  • Gold is down, trading below $1,800.
  • The dollar is up a touch.
  • Crude is down with Brent trading below $74/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is holding steady around $32,500. Crypto bulls’ hopes for a “B Word” bounce aren’t materializing. Fortune‘s Rey Mashayekhi explains why.

***

By the numbers

2,075

The Nasdaq closed yesterday at yet another record high, and looks likely to add to those gains today as strong results came in overnight from the likes of Twitter and Snap. The tech-heavy index is up an impressive 16.5%—or 2,075 points—since the March 8 close, a surge that has put it ahead of the bluechip Dow so far, YTD. In January, we started to see investors move out of the high-growth tech trade, but they never abandoned it. BofA Securities’ much-watched “most crowded” trade measure has consistently shown “long tech” as one of the top three trades month in and month out throughout 2021 for fund managers. And, the tech-love is heating up in the past month. Value stocks have underperformed the S&P 500 over the past 30 days while tech has outperformed the benchmark by a factor of nearly 2X during that period. What’s going on? One explanation could very well be…

313 basis points

…bond yields. Growth stocks—i.e, tech stocks—have been moving in the opposite direction of long-term bond yields throughout much of the year. The most-watched measure for that is the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. In the same period of March 8 to now, the 10-year yield has fallen nearly 20%, or 313 basis points. (It sits at just 1.286% this morning, down from 1.6% in the second week of March.) Again, bond yields fell 20% while tech stocks jumped 16%. This movement goes against traditional markets wisdom, many Wall Street observers have pointed out. Higher yields typically signal investors are bullish on growth—as they bail on safe-haven Treasuries in favor of riskier assets—and that typically bodes well for growth stocks. This year, that’s not so axiomatic. Morgan Stanley’s Lisa Shalett says this yields-down-tech-up paradox has something to do with “bountiful liquidity.” Whatever the case, these movements in yields are something to consider as you ponder adding to your tech-heavy portfolio.

***

Postscript

Every Italian family, it seems, has a fornitore. A supplier. A pusher. The fornitore might keep the family rolling in fresh game, or homemade pastries, or, in our case, olive oil, throughout the year. I have no idea if these valued transactions are counted in the annual Italian GDP numbers, but I’d guess it would be a pretty significant figure if you could somehow add it all up.

Perhaps we’re above the median for Italy families, as we have two fornitori to keep our cupboards stocked with 5-liter canisters of fresh olive oil. We go through them like water, so I can measure the ebb and flow of our olive oil supply by whether or not I can fully open the door to get to said cache.

My wife hails from Umbria, and so we get about half of our annual supply of olive oil from the foothills of the Apennines. The other half comes from the hilltop village of Montevago, in central Sicily, where I’ve been stationed the past few days. (Montevago is another story, for another day.)

Yesterday, our local pusher, Melchiorre—yes, like one of the 3 magi—invited our clan to lunch. Juggling a number of work things, I planned to pay him a quick visit, say thank you, and be off, back to my laptop.

Melchiorre would have none of that. He greeted with me a hearty welcome, and introduced me to Ignazio, his cousin. The two widowers were holding court at one side of an extended table. Ignazio gave me a fist-bump hello and immediately quizzed me: “How old do you think I am?”

I silently calculated this guy is pushing his late 70s, but I’m going to play it safe, I figured. I’ll lowball it.

“Seventy five?,” I ventured.

“Novantadue!,” he howled, laughing. Others got a good chuckle out of that response, too.

Not me… 92? I was incredulous.

Melchiorre is 85, and he too looks as if he’s got the fountain of youth thing figured out.

“What’s the secret?,” I asked them both. “Is there something in the water? Is it the climate here? What is it?”

Melchiorre motioned for me to sit near him. “Have some wine,” he ordered. “I made it.”

The meal was being served just then, a typical rural Italian feast of pasta in brodo, and local vegetables, and some beast that got butchered down the road—what Italians call, “Kilometer zero.” A local bounty, nothing special. But it was fresh stuff, and you could see Melchiorre grin with satisfaction that his hard work in the garden behind the house and in their fields (he tells me he has more than 300 olive trees, and countless Grillo and Merlot grape vines) was now feeding three generations at this long table in a shady corner of his home.

A simple Sicilian lunch
Original photo: Bernhard Warner

Melchiorre never did answer directly that question of mine about the secret to longevity, or happiness, or whatever it is we’re desperately chasing. But he did give me a big education into how to harvest the olives, and press them afterward to get real quality olive oil.

On that note… I’m off again for another week. No, I won’t be apprenticing in Melchiorre’s fields. I have a book on the history of Sicily I want to finish reading.

I have a feeling it holds some answers to what I’m looking for.

***

Dear reader: The über-smart bull Rey Mashayekhi will take the keys to Bull Sheet over the next six market sessions. As such it will likely arrive in your in-box at a different hour… I will be back in your in-box on August 3rd. In the meantime, have a nice weekend!

***

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
Bernhard.Warner@Fortune.com

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

Today's reads

The I-word. Yes, everything's expensive, but that doesn't mean every CEO and CFO want to acknowledge the existence of inflation. Fortune's Jessica Mathews has a great piece on how companies are dealing with rising prices—who's passing it on to consumers, who's eating the higher costs, and who's ignoring the obvious.

Profile of a crypto trader (as a young man). What would James Joyce think of Bitcoin? No, that's not what this blurb is getting at. Fortune's Sophie Mellor digs into the data and finds some surprising demographic metrics behind crypto investors. 

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

Cup of Joe

A deep frost has hit Brazilian coffee crop, and that's sending new shocks through the market. One estimate is that it could kill off close to 10% of the yield. The last few times this happened, Bloomberg reports, retail prices for this blessed bean soared... I'm writing this little item from a shady table outside a bar in a hilltop Sicilian village. The old-timers, who live forever around here, I notice, are fortifying their shot of espresso with the local hooch, which is either the secret to longevity, or a way to beat coffee inflation. 

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