Buckle up, investors. Stocks, crypto, commodities tumble on taper fears

August 19, 2021, 9:34 AM UTC

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Good morning.

Bulls, you might want to head to the beach today for a nice distraction. It’s a rough one out there. From Tokyo to London, stocks are in a tailspin. U.S. futures don’t look much better.

Gold, crude and crypto? Yep, they too are slumping.

Yesterday, we got the news investors were dreading. A majority of Fed officials now feel it’s time to cut back on the bond-buying spree they initiated last March, the same one that’s been the equivalent of rocket fuel for equities over the past 16 months.

Yesterday’s sell-off was a broad-based one, with 450 members of the S&P 500 closing lower on the day. Judging by the U.S. futures, we’re looking at another similar drop at the open.

Let’s see what else is moving the markets.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are again under pressure with the Hang Seng down 2.1% in afternoon trading with tech stocks leading the way lower.
  • Alibaba shares hit a record low in Hong Kong at one point on Thursday as Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the tech giants widens. The shares are off 5.2% in late trading, and are down nearly 30% so far in 2021.
  • Toyota shares bombed lower by nearly 4% on a report the carmaker will need to slash production as the chips shortage worsens.


  • The European bourses were under the cosh at the open, too, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 2% in mid-morning trading. Utilities, up a mere 0.07%, was the lone sector in the green at the start.
  • Shares in Mastercard were down 1.2% in pre-market trading as a mammoth class action lawsuit against the credit card provider moves to a new phase. The plaintiffs seek 14 billion pounds ($19 billion) in damages, Bloomberg reports.


  • The U.S. futures picture ain’t a pretty one. That’s after all three major indexes fell sharply on Wednesday on fresh tapering concerns.
  • Shares in Robinhood are down 12.2% in pre-market trading after the investing app told investors it expects trading revenues to decline in the current quarter. That wiped out the euphoria over its big top-line beat.
  • Nvidia’s share are going in the opposite direction, up 2.3% in pre-market after the chips maker reported a big beat on profits.
  • Unemployment claims come out before the bell today and the consensus is for 364,000 new claims in the past week, a new post-pandemic low.


  • Safe-haven gold is down, trading around $1,780/ounce.
  • The dollar is rallying as stocks sink. No surprise there.
  • The rout in oil continues. Crude is down with Brent around $66/barrel, a three-month low.
  • Bitcoin has fallen below $45,000, wiping out of all the gains from the previous seven days.



You say INNOVation. I say innoVATION. Let’s call the whole thing off


All about the Doge

Just to put that into perspective, a little over one in every four bucks in sales Robinhood booked last quarter came from a single type of trade: Dogecoin. And how are investors reacting to the revelation that $HOOD has become a veritable Dogecoin exchange? It’s down more than 12 percent in pre-market trading. Woof!


The new biggest short: Chinese tech stocks

A doubly-bad correction

The chart above is the Hang Seng Tech Index, which is down more than 40% since its February high. Woof, woof!



Have a nice day, everyone. I’ll see you here tomorrow… Until then, there’s more news below.

Bernhard Warner

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

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