CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet

Stocks and crypto falter, looking set to close out the week on a losing streak

December 17, 2021, 10:38 AM UTC

Good. Morning. Bull. Sheeters.

From Tokyo to London, the markets on this fine Friday morning are more down than up. And the U.S. futures don’t look much better. What’s going on?

It’s a bit of a paradox, actually. Central bankers across Europe and in the U.S. have now declared they’re feeling a bit better about the economic outlook, and the labor market. What’s so unsettling about that? Powell, Lagarde, Bailey, & Co. are essentially telling us it’s time to take the training-wheels off. In other words: you’re going to have to ride this one out alone, or will soon have to.

Speaking of riding it out alone… We’ve arrived at the very last Bull Sheet newsletter. But not to worry: I have something to cheer you up (I hope) below.

But first, let’s see what else is moving markets as we close out the trading week.

Markets update

Asia & Africa

  • The major Asian exchanges finished the week on a rough note, with the Nikkei falling 1.8% at the close.
  • There’s some promising Omicron news out of South Africa this morning. The hospitalization rates in the country actually fell—and fell significantly—in the past week when compared with the same period during the previous non-Omicron wave.
  • Oil has been bouncing back over the past two weeks, and now Goldman Sachs is renewing its call for $100 crude—in 2023.

Europe

  • At the open, the European bourses were flashing red. The Stoxx Europe 600 traded down 0.7% two hours into the trading session. 
  • Auto stocks were the big laggard out of the gates thanks to a rough new batch of data: November new-car registrations in Europe hit an all-time low.
  • For a second straight day, the United Kingdom saw a record number of new COVID cases, which is causing tensions with neighbors. France yesterday imposed strict border controls on travelers coming into the country from Omicron-stricken Britain.

U.S.

  • U.S. futures are under pressure. That’s after Thursday’s sell-off, which was led by tech stocks.
  • The S&P 500 fell nearly 0.9% yesterday, but eight of the 11 sectors finished in the green. The best of the bunch was financials, a sector that is fairly well positioned in a world of rising rates.
  • Shares in Johnson & Johnson were down nearly 2% in pre-market trading after a CDC panel recommended Americans choose the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines over J&J’s on blood-clot safety concerns with the latter. Those blood clots, it’s important to point out, are exceedingly rare.

Elsewhere

  • Hawkish central bank policy is good news for gold bugs. The shiny yellow stuff trades around $1,810.
  • The dollar is flat, but it’s had a rough few days.
  • Crude is off a touch. Brent trades below $75/barrel.
  • And we close out the bullet-points section with this…Bitcoin trades around $47,000, below its 200-day moving average.

***

By the numbers

481

This is the 481st, and final, Bull Sheet. Thank you for joining me. It’s been a wild ride. Today’s “By The Numbers” will, suitably, be Bull-Sheet-themed.

273 million

At the bottom of the inaugural Bull Sheet, I included a little item about a “pneumonia-like coronavirus.”  It was, I reported then, “moving quickly through Asia, sinking the markets there.” My concern: it would be another SARS, the respiratory contagion that killed nearly 800 people in 2003. Of course, I was wrong. It would become far worse. The word “COVID” has been in every single newsletter since then. As of this morning, the global confirmed case number has topped 273 million, accounting for 5.34 million deaths.

62%

Let’s move to a brighter topic… Had you plunked a grand on a simple Nasdaq-tracker ETF on that first morning, way back in January 2020, you’d be looking at a tidy sum of $1,620 (before dividends). The tech-heavy index is up 62% in that period. The Dow is up 22.3% in that period, and the S&P 500 an impressive 40.2%. We are closing out on a high note.

15

This is embarrassing. In nearly two years of writing this newsletter, I’ve mentioned Scilla 15 times. What kind of markets reporter talks about his dog that much? Okay, one last photo of the mop-headed sidekick.

Turns out, this is the busy season for Roman dog-groomers. I had no idea. I can’t find a single toeletta, as they’re called here, to take her. “A Lagotto?” they all ask when I get one on the phone. “Sorry, we’re all booked.” Click.

1

Una. One.. As far as I can tell, just one Bull Sheet subscriber took me up on my ribollita recipe, the one I shared in this spot last January. Bravissima, Beth! From what I gather, it’s a real hit…. People, you don’t know what you’re missing.

0

The number of truffles the family truffle dog has unearthed during the Bull Sheet era. Maybe, with more free time in the mornings…never mind.

What’s next

Bull Sheet may be coming to an end, but you can still follow my reporting and Fortune‘s coverage on the markets using the My Favorites feature. My Favorites allows subscribers to follow their favorite topics, and Fortune journalists, and receive personalized emails that are curated with the stories that matter most to them. Look for me under “Authors,” and other markets contributors such as Declan Harty and Anne Sraders.

***

Postscript

We’re going to try something different today with this, the final Postscript: A sing-along.

I want to hear from all the Bull Sheeters out there. Everyone. Martin in Houston. Maria in Seattle. My nephew Marty in Philly. Gianluca in La Spezia. Sandy in Florida. Grace in Arkansas. Sandra in the Lowlands. (Where’s that? If you see signs for “Badlands,” you’ve gone too far)… All of you.

Here’s how it works: Click this link, and the music will start.

Vera Lynn starts us off. Vera, take it away!

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long
They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

The Bull Sheet chorus:

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
‘Til the blue skies
Drive the dark clouds far away

So will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won’t be long

They’ll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singin’ this song

BIG FINISH NOW!

We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day
.

Take a bow, Bull Sheeters!

***

Have a lovely weekend, a happy holiday, and a prosperous 2022 and beyond.

***

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
Bernhard.Warner@Fortune.com

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

Today's reads

SEC moves to tighten insider trading rules—as C-suite execs sell shares in record numbersFortune

Can a community of basketball fanatics run an NBA team as a DAO?Fortune

Child tax credit payments may not return until March—if at all, Goldman Sachs warnsFortune

Market candy

One last dose of Bull Sheeter creativity 

Sandy, a Bull Sheet reader who keeps me on my toes, cranked up the limerick machine one last time. Take it away, Sandy:

Bernhard’s views on financials are grounded.
His take on the markets well-founded.
Whether Stocks, Bonds or Cash,
Or to Crypto we dash,
The Bull’s death rumors — unfounded.
 
We respect his clear views economic.
Even oil, with a price price astronomic.
“To succeed be impavid!”
High return? you can have it!
Your investments must be metronomic.
 
When, after sage advice he shouts “Basta!”
Bernhard easily pivots to pasta.
Perhaps fresh spaghetti,
Or homemade cappelletti ,
Food good for the soul, whatever the costa!
 
Bravo! 

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.