Stocks, crude and Ether jump following a brutal November sell-off
Good morning, Bull Sheeters.
There’s some good news to start your day: it’s a risk-on Wednesday. From Tokyo to London, there is a lot of dip-buying going on. Global stocks are bouncing back, and U.S. futures are gaining, too. In fact, the majority of risk assets—that includes crude and travel stocks—are rising.
The stocks rebound is happening as investors reverse flows out of bonds.
As we do on the first trading day of each month, I’ll be taking us through the big winners and losers in the latest installment of the Bull Sheet leaderboard. Spoiler: November was pretty much a dud—an Omicron-sized dud.
But first, let’s see what’s moving the markets this morning.
- There’s a bounce-back in Asia. The Hang Seng, a November laggard, closed up 0.8%.
- After a brutal month, oil prices are rebounding this morning as we head into a two-day OPEC+ summit. Traders are hanging on a decision by the cartel on whether they’ll add to or reduce the global supply of crude amid lockdown and travel-restriction concerns.
- Even before Omicron, the global tourism industry was hurting. Now the United Nations World Tourism Organization predicts global travelers will spend roughly $1.9 trillion this year. That’s better than last year ($1.6 trillion), but way below pre-pandemic level of $3.5 trillion.
- The European bourses were gaining at the open, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 1.1% two hours into the trading session. Travel stocks were up despite rumblings Washington is mulling a new batch of travel restrictions—even for U.S. citizens flying home.
- Shares in Inditex were rebounding, higher by 2.2%, at the open after the fast-fashion behemoth announced yesterday its long-time chairman and boss Pablo Isla would step down just as the apparel retailer faces some tough challenges in the form of inflation, supply-chain snarls and uncertainty in China.
- Facebook shares closed down 4% yesterday, one of the worst performers on the Nasdaq. In a first, British antitrust regulators ordered the soon-to-be-renamed social media giant to sell off Giphy, a GIFs and video clips vault it acquired last year for $400 million.
- U.S. futures point to a positive open. That’s after all three major averages sunk on Tuesday, with all 11 sectors of the S&P 500 finishing in the red.
- Stocks sank mid-afternoon after a more hawkish Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee that we should retire one T-word—”transitory,” as in transitory inflation—and get ready for another T-word (tapering) to tackle said inflation.
- The rally in bonds has been impressive. Since the emergence of Omicron, investors have been ditching risk-assets for save-haven government bonds. According to Tradeweb, the yield on the 30-year Treasury sank to its lowest level since January. Similarly, the 10-year Treasury yield fell 22 basis points in less than a week.
- Gold is up, but choppy, trading around $1,780/ounce.
- The dollar is flat.
- Crude is up nearly 4% with Brent trading around $72/barrel.
- Bitcoin is flat, trading around $57,000.
Winners and losers: November edition
Just before Halloween, I got a highly anticipated note. It came from LPL Financial, a Wall Street firm with great historical markets data. Their analysis is always worth perusing. The headline read something to the effect: Here comes one of the best months of the year.
There’s something about November that gets the bulls excited, the historical data shows. Since 1950, wrote LPL’s Ryan Detrick, and over the past 10 years, November ranks as the No. 1 month of the year for stocks.
Fast-forward to today, the first trading day of a new month, and how did November perform? Answer: Not as advertised.
As we do each month, here’s the latest Bull Sheet winners and losers list. And it’s mostly the latter—the losers—that will dominate our analysis.
For the year, Bitcoin remains atop the Bull Sheet total returns list. As of yesterday’s close it was up roughly 97% YTD (dark blue line), but that’s after falling 7.5% (light blue line) last month. Incidentally, as Bitcoin slips, Ethereum’s Ether continues to show remarkable durability. Ether climbed nearly 10% last month, and is delivering superior YTD returns to Bitcoin.
Continuing with our breakdown… Brent crude, No. 2 in our ranking, tumbled by more than 20% last month—technically, that’s bear-market territory.
Of course, Omicron has been kryptonite for the markets. At this point last week it appeared we were headed for another month of gains. Now, all bets are off.
As Deutsch Bank equity analysts write in investor note this morning, “starting with Omicron, markets saw a major reaction on 26th November after the news broke, with some of the biggest daily moves of the year so far taking place. Equities slumped across the world, bond yields fell back and there were sharp swings in other asset classes too. It still remains to be seen to what extent the vaccines are less effective, and also whether it’s more transmissible, or more likely to cause hospitalisation or death. But for the time being, markets have reacted very negatively as governments have moved to tighten up restrictions once again.”
Speaking of reacting negatively… As you can see from the chart above, the Nasdaq was the only major exchange to finish out November in positive territory, eking out a 0.2% gain. Stocks in Hong Kong and Tokyo, meanwhile, had yet another brutal month, pushing them further into the red for the year.
Stocks did poorly last month despite impressive corporate earnings, and a continued commitment by corporates to buy back stocks. The latter will continue in the near-term. But a number of Wall Street firms, including BofA Securities and Goldman Sachs, have been warning that we may have just seen the last of the peak-earnings period. We also know tapering and very likely rates-tightening will become reality in the weeks and months ahead.
And, we still have no idea what toll Omicron will have on the global economy.
All that points to quite a bit more uncertainty for the month ahead.
What a difference a month makes.
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Quote of the day
If you think about the largest companies in the world by market cap 20 years ago and compare that to today, there’s only one company that’s still on that list, which is Microsoft. Those other nine companies since then have lost a cumulative $235 billion of market cap. And so this speaks to the importance of finding the next generation of companies.
That's Katie Koch, co-head of fundamental equity at Goldman Sachs. She was part of the All-Star lineup to participate in Fortune's annual Investor's Guide panel of stock market pros. That quintet shared its best stock-picking advice for 2022.