CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

Taper tranquility—crypto, global stocks, and U.S. futures climb even as Fed tightening looms

September 23, 2021, 9:23 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.

Good morning, Bull Sheeters.

Tantrum, schm-antrum. We now have a bit more clarity on the start-date for Fed tapering, and the markets are cool with that. From Shanghai to London, Taiwan to Amsterdam, stocks are gaining today. And U.S. futures are higher, too. That’s after Jerome Powell & Co. signaled the central bank’s asset-purchase program could be scaled back by year-end, and that rate hikes are coming (though probably not until 2023).

How did Powell drop this bombshell on antsy investors? As any hostage negotiator—or parent—will recognize, he used carefully chosen words designed to head off confrontation. “The purpose of that language is to put notice out that that could come as soon as the next meeting,” is what he said in a press conference.

I’m going to try this Fed-speak with my kids when they won’t put down the iPhone.

Kids: [playing Minecraft]

Me: It’s time to taper your screen time.

Kids: [ignoring me]

Me: The purpose of that language is to put notice out that your mother is coming. And if she sees…

Kids: [at attention, iPhone no longer in their grasp] What do you need, dad?

Me: Clean your room. And then research for me a list of 10 stocks that will go up when interest rates rise.

Kids: But

Me: Otherwise, you’ll see real tapering.

See, central-banking is easy.

Let’s see what else is moving the markets.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly higher with the Hang Seng up nearly 1.2% in afternoon trading.
  • Investors cheered China’s move to again inject more liquidity—a fresh $17 billion—into the financial markets.
  • The stock to watch—China Evergrande—is up nearly 18% on a Reuters report that the company plans to protect investors, though the comments were incredibly murky.


  • For a third straight day, the European bourses were jumping out of the gates. The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.8% at the open with banks, energy and autos stocks high on the leader board.
  • The European benchmark has now outperformed the S&P 500 over the past five sessions. At the same time, the euro has weakened versus the dollar.
  • Auto stocks were jumping despite a gloomy report projecting that the global chip crisis could cost the world’s carmakers $210 billion in revenues this year.


  • The U.S. futures are gaining again. The S&P 500 gained nearly 1% as energy and bank stocks soared.
  • Taper tranquility, we can call it. For now. The major averages jumped on the news of tapering and a dot-plot that shows rate hikes beginning in 2023.
  • Shares in Facebook fell 4% (it’s up 0.5% in pre-market trading) after the social media giant warned investors it’s feeling the pain in its ad business following Apple’s move to a tough new data collection regime.


  • Gold is falling, trading around $1,770/ounce.
  • The dollar is down, after spiking yesterday afternoon on the Fed news.
  • Crude is flat with Brent trading above $75/barrel.
  • Bitcoin is gaining, trading above $44,000.



Too fast, too furious?


Ancient history


A reminder: we will always have memes…

… and crypto



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

What investors should worry about more than a government shutdownFortune

Germany’s answer to AirBnB hopes to spark a SPAC boom in EuropeFortune

How women think about crypto in 5 chartsFortune

Western Investors Bargain Hunt in China Bond RoutWall Street Journal

Bull Sheet readers, we have a special offer: 50% off your subscription to Fortune. Just click here, and use the promo code: BULLSHEET . . . Thank you for supporting our journalism.

Market candy

Quote of the day

Stock prices would be cut almost in one-third at the worst of the selloff, wiping out $15 trillion in household wealth... Treasury yields, mortgage rates, and other consumer and corporate borrowing rates spike, at least until the debt limit is resolved and Treasury payments resume.

That's Mark Zandi and Bernard Yaros of Moody's Analytics on the economic and market implications of a U.S. default should Congress fail to reach a deal on raising the debt limit. There's still time to avert the worst, but the clock is ticking, The Washington Post reports.

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