After hitting all-time highs, stocks and crypto pull back in choppy trading

October 21, 2021, 9:14 AM UTC

Good morning, Bull Sheeters.

The Dow and Bitcoin sit at new all-time highs today. And the S&P 500, on a six-day winning streak, is a mere nine points (and change) from that lofty mark.

Alas, that run could be in jeopardy as U.S. futures trade lower this morning. Europe and Asia aren’t doing much better.

There’s also a bit of profit-taking in crypto. Bitcoin topped $67,000 yesterday at one point, and that’s when the selling began. But let’s stand back and marvel at this rally. As my colleague Declan Harty notes, $BTC is up 50% in the past month.

Let’s see what else is going up (and down).

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly lower with the Nikkei down nearly 1.9% in late-afternoon trading.
  • Evergrande shares resumed trading this morning and promptly fell nearly 13% as news broke the embattled property developer pulled out of talks to sell its property management arm
  • Don’t count on OPEC+ to restore calm in the energy markets. That was the message yesterday from Saudi Arabia, saying the oil-producing cartel is more or less powerless to stop this epic run in crude prices.


  • The European bourses were a blur of red at the start, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.2% two hours into the session. The staples sector was the outlier, on the plus side.
  • Speaking of staples…Unilever this morning reported a top-line miss. The company sees peak inflation arriving at some point in first-half of 2022. Shares were up 0.9% in early trading.
  • The U.K.’s worsening COVID situation is all over the front pages of British newspapers today. On cue, London’s FTSE was off a half-percent in the opening minutes. I’ve been seeing data trickle in on the COVID impact—and even the Long Covid effect—on the labor markets. So, this bears watching.
  • Clarification: as an eagle-eye reader pointed out on a post from yesterday… I should have made clearer that Dutch tech giant ASML makes the machines that make high-end semiconductors. If you’re familiar with the selling-shovels-during-a-gold-rush metaphor, ASML would be the shovel factory.


  • The U.S. futures point to a weak open. That’s after a good day from the blue-chip Dow, and an even better day from small-fry Russell 2000 stocks. The laggard yesterday was tech stocks.
  • Shares in Tesla are off 1.6% in pre-market following a sales miss. Not to worry: the stock is up roughly 12% in the past month.
  • Speaking of misses, IBM reported disappointing revenues, as its much-watched cloud business fell short of expectations. Shares were off as much as 5% in pre-market trading.


  • Gold is flat, trading just below $1,780/ounce.
  • The dollar is up a touch.
  • Crude is off slightly, but that’s after Brent topped $86/barrel on Wednesday.
  • Bitcoin trades above $65,000.



Crypto punditry, explained

Judging by my inbox, financial PRs are making good coin off this epic crypto rally (and related punditry racket).


If you’re long $TSLA + $BTC, have a cigar!

Are these trend lines mere coincidence? Something bigger? If only there were a pundit out there…


Ooh, you don’t see this every day: a crypto bounty

Here’s a little refresher on who exactly Hindenburg is, and why they scour the markets looking for dodgy dealings and potential fraudsters—to then short.


🎵 Happy ever after in the market place 🎵

I have nothing more to add to the above Tweet… well, except: if you have a few minutes, check out Paul McCartney’s little essay in the latest issue of The New Yorker: Writing Eleanor Rigby. So good.




To Wall Street, this is earnings season. For yours truly (and my dog, Scilla) this period is white truffle season.

At the suggestion of another Lagotto owner here in Rome, I’ve been bringing Scilla every Thursday evening (at 5:30 p.m. sharp) to a local dog-training facility. The name of the place? Obladì Obladog.

Yep, as in:

And if you want some fun (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)/
Take Obladì Obladog

With memories of last year’s truffle-hunt debacle still fresh, I figured we need to work on a bunch of olfactory exercises to get her in game-shape, all in preparation for that moment we can head off into the woods in search of this prized subterranean fungi. The girl’s gotta earn her keep, I tell myself.

It’s a good thing I’ve invested in the lessons, I also tell myself.

The other day, I checked in with my pushers, Renzo and Simona in Amandola, to get the latest scoop on the truffle trade.

Cari,” they grumbled. Crazy expensive. The culprit isn’t one of those supply chain breakdown problems. It’s scarcity. Truffle inflation this year is purely a climate issue. It barely rained in late spring/early summer, and so the forests around Amandola and up and down the Apennine are bereft of the tartufo bianco.

How much are they fetching?, I inquired. The truffle middle-men, the ones who later sell the goods on to the Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo, London and Vegas, are asking €4,500 per kg. They’ll even pay a grand for a plumb-sized 50-grammer, I was told.

That’s as pricey as anyone can remember. Of course, in this year of crazy inflation, we get stratospheric truffle prices, too.

That means you’ve gotta raise your game, Scilla. There’s white gold to be sniffed out.


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.

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Market candy

$1 trillion

That's the size of the great investor exodus from Chinese equitiesFortune's Jessica Mathews calculates (with help from UBS), in the past 12 months, coinciding with Beijing's big clampdown on Big Tech. There are plenty of reasons to view the trillion-dollar pull-out as overblown. Translation: it could be a new opportunity for the intrepid investor.

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