Global shares sink, meme-stocks tank, crypto flatlines as investors take cover

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Good morning.

From Hong Kong to London (and beyond), it’s shaping up to be a risk-off day. Asian and European shares, as well as U.S. futures, are sliding again this morning as taper talk, lousy Delta data, and a costly battle over who gets to hold the video game controller weigh on investors.

Meme stocks are taking it on the chin too, after GameStop offered up disappointing results in a 10-minute call with analysts yesterday.

Crypto, however, is stable today.

Let’s spin the globe and see what’s moving the markets.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are awash in red with the Hang Seng down 2.3% in afternoon trading.
  • Here’s a great idea for a video game: Chinese regulators vs. Chinese tech stocks. The basic plot: the regulators hand down new rules (they fly out like missiles). Each direct-hit shrinks the market cap of the once-high-flying tech stock. It’s a shoot-em-up, but there are no bullets; the damage is wrought via regulatory proclamations and strongly worded editorials in Chinese state-run media. Okay, the idea needs work. For the real bloodshed, take a look at the latest regulatory blow to Tencent, Netease and other Chinese gaming companies.


  • The European bourses were solidly lower at the open with the Stoxx Europe 600 off 0.5% a half-hour into the session. Wednesday’s sell-off was the worst in three weeks.
  • The ECB policy decision will come down at 1:45 p.m. Frankfurt time (7:45 a.m. ET) today with euro-style taper talk in the air. What does euro-style taper talk sound like? In Europe, we usually discuss tapering over an aperitif at a sidewalk cafe after a five-hour work day. It’s a brief, breezy chat in which we get confused over whether to attach the feminine “la” or masculine “il” definite article to the word—Is it “la tapering or il tapering?,” we wonder. Oh, never mind. We then dash off to a Marina Abramović performance that may or may not involve an unloaded pistol.
  • In all seriousness, this ECB meeting could have plenty of drama: eurozone inflation is at a 10-year high and growth forecasts remain largely intact for the bloc as the latest Delta data, while not great, isn’t nearly as bad as what we’re seeing in parts of the U.S… Okay, it’s not Marina Abramović-level drama.


  • The U.S. futures are under pressure again. The Dow and S&P 500 are on a three-day losing streak. BofA’s bearish take that stocks will pretty much go nowhere over the next 16 months added to investors’ jitters yesterday.
  • Shares in Game Stop are down nearly 9% in pre-market trading this morning after the meme-stock king delivered a top-line beat and bottom-line miss. Making matters worse, new CEO Matt Furlong, in keeping with recent company tradition, declined to take questions from analysts and informed investors there’d be no guidance to share.
  • Jobless claims data comes out before the bell with economists forecasting that 335,000 Americans filed for unemployment in the past seven days, a slight improvement on last week’s reading. A reminder: last week’s number was solidly in line with expectations, and that sent shares higher.


  • Gold is having a rough week. It trades this morning around $1,790/ounce.
  • The dollar is down.
  • Oil is mixed with Brent trading above $72/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is steady after Tuesday’s flash crash, that sent it below its 200-day moving average. This morning, it’s trading around $46,000.



GME on!

Still seeing some “buy on the dip” calls from the GameStop devotees on WallStreetBets this morning… and plenty of calls to short GME, too.


You say, “la taper”. I say “il taper.” Let’s call the whole thing…

Will ECB Chief Christine Lagarde spook the markets later today?


El presidente a la gente: HODL on!



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 or reply to this email with suggestions and feedback.

Today's reads

Fortune's 40 Under 40 is outFortune

COVID deaths are up 34%. See the states where ICU beds are in short supplyFortune

GameStop Is Only for FansWall Street Journal

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Market candy

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This may not end now. But when it ends, it could end badly... Investor sentiment and valuations are extended—a lot of optimism is already priced in—and our Long-Term Valuation Model indicates negative returns for the S&P 500 over the next decade (–0.8% annualized returns) for the first time since the Tech Bubble.

That's Savita Subramanian, Bank of America’s chief quantitative and equity strategist, who stunned the markets yesterday when she slapped a 4,250 year-end price target on the S&P 500, and a 4,600 year-end 2022 price. Yes, that would imply the benchmark is ripe for a pull-back. Fortune's Anne Sraders puts it all into perspective.

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