Should You Be Buying What Robinhood Is Selling? | Sidnaz Blog


In rare cases, such pitches have paid off big time. More often, you’d have done yourself a favor by taking roughly half your money and lighting it on fire instead.

Just as Robinhood isn’t the first brokerage to offer commission-free trading, it isn’t the first to seek to “democratize” investing or to sell a piece of itself to its own customers.

On June 23, 1971, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. became the first New York Stock Exchange firm catering to individual investors to offer its shares to the public.

Thirsty for fresh capital in a struggling stock market, Merrill flogged its shares to its own customers, tapping the firm’s “awesome recognition among that vast segment of the population,” reported The Wall Street Journal the next day. “Primarily small investors, the type long championed by Merrill Lynch, quickly purchased the entire amount.”

Nearly 400 insiders at the firm unloaded a total of 2 million shares in the offering. From its initial $28 per share, the stock shot to about $42—a 50% pop—then closed around $39. That valued Merrill at 30.5 times its prior-year earnings, much higher than the overall stock market’s price/earnings ratio of 18.7.

Less than three weeks later, Merrill announced that its net earnings had fallen nearly 50% from the prior quarter.

For the rest of 1971, Merrill’s stock lost 9.4%; the S&P 500 gained 4%, counting dividends.

In 1972, when the S&P 500 rose nearly 19%, Merrill sank 7.7%. And in 1973-74, when the S&P 500 lost 37%, Merrill’s stock slumped by 61%. In its first three full years, Merrill’s stock lost three-quarters of its value; the S&P 500 fell only 5%.

Here in 2021, Robinhood’s offering is one of several trading and investing IPOs:

Coinbase Global Inc.,

the cryptocurrency exchange, went public in April, and

Acorns Grow Inc.,

which helps users invest in tiny increments, said in May that it expects to go public later in the year. Since its Apr. 14 debut, Coinbase is down about 27%. Robinhood fell 8% on its first day of trading Thursday.

One of Wall Street’s oldest and frankest sayings is “When the ducks quack, feed ‘em”—meaning that whenever investors are eager to buy something, brokers will sell it like mad.

Back in 1971, that was the brokers’ own shares. Roughly half a dozen major firms sold stock to the public soon after Merrill, including Bache & Co. and Dean Witter & Co. By 1974, according to data from the Center for Research in Security Prices LLC, several of them had dealt losses at least as devastating as Merrill’s.

In 1987, Jane and Joe Investor got invited to join in on the fun of Charles Schwab Corp.’s IPO, when roughly three million of the offering’s eight million shares were reserved for employees and customers of the firm.

Unlike Merrill, which was rescued from the brink of failure in 2008 when

Bank of America Corp.

bought the firm, Schwab went on to generate spectacular long-term performance. Over the full sweep of time since its 1987 IPO, Schwab is up more than 26,500%, or 17.9% annualized. The S&P 500 gained less than 3,500%, or an average of 11.3% annually.

However, Schwab went public in late September 1987. Only 18 trading days later, on Oct. 19, the U.S. stock market took its biggest one-day fall in history, plunging more than 20%.

Schwab’s stock got brutalized. In their first year, Schwab’s shares fell 59.1%. After three years, the market as a whole had gained 0.6% annually; Schwab’s stock lost an annualized average of 6.9%, according to CRSP.

How many of the original buyers in 1987 stuck around long enough to reap the giant rewards that came much later? That’s impossible to know, but the likeliest answer has to be: very few.

Every once in a while, outside investors in a brokerage IPO do well.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

began trading on May 4, 1999. If you’d bought Goldman stock in the IPO and held it ever since, you’d have earned 9.1% a year, versus 7.6% in the S&P 500, according to FactSet.

Yet Goldman was a giant then, as it is now; it was late to the IPO party because it had held on to its partnership structure for so many years. Most brokerage IPOs, like Robinhood’s, occur when the firms are younger and smaller.

That makes them typical. Companies selling shares to the public for the first time tend to be small, with minimal profits; they also require additional invested capital to sustain their rapid growth.

That’s what Savina Rizova, global head of research at Dimensional Fund Advisors, an asset manager in Austin, Texas, calls “a toxic combination of characteristics that points to low expected returns.”

On average, IPOs have severely underperformed seasoned stocks in the long run. And, history suggests, brokerages doing IPOs are better at timing the market for themselves than for you.

Write to Jason Zweig at [email protected]

More from The Intelligent Investor

The brokerage app Robinhood has transformed retail trading. WSJ explains its rise amid a series of legal investigations and regulatory challenges. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds/WSJ

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Pinterest Shares Fall as U.S. Monthly Average Users Decline | Sidnaz Blog


Pinterest reported Thursday second-quarter net income of $69.4 million, compared with a loss of $100.7 million a year earlier.



Photo:

Gabby Jones/Bloomberg News

Shares of

Pinterest Inc.


PINS -6.01%

fell more than 14% in after-hours trading, as the online sharing platform said its monthly average users in the U.S. contracted during the quarter, a trend that accelerated this month.

The company reported 91 million monthly average users in the U.S. in the quarter, down 5% from a year earlier. Pinterest said that “engagement headwinds” continued this month, with monthly average users down 7% as of July 27. Globally, monthly average users increased 9% in the quarter.

“Our second quarter results reflect both the strength of our business and the recent shift in consumer behavior we’ve seen as people spend less time at home,” Chief Executive

Ben Silbermann

said in prepared remarks.

Pinterest saw its user growth soar during the pandemic, as shut-in consumers turned to the website for masks and other products. The company has said the pandemic may have pulled forward some user growth.

The company also reported Thursday second-quarter net income of $69.4 million, compared with a loss of $100.7 million a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings were 25 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting adjusted earnings 13 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $613.2 million, compared with $272.5 million a year earlier. Analysts expected $562 million in revenue.

Pinterest shares closed Thursday at $72.04 apiece, down 6%. So far this year, the stock is up 9.32%.

Write to Robert Barba at [email protected]

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Western Wildfires Are Hitting the Lumber Market | Sidnaz Blog


Lumber prices finally cooled off. Now come the fires.

Forest fires raging in the West are threatening an important swath of the U.S.’s wood supply, pinching output that has been under pressure since the Covid-19 pandemic touched off homebuying and remodeling booms and sent lumber prices soaring.

Canfor Corp.


CFPZF 3.33%

, one of North America’s largest lumber producers, said that starting Monday it would cut back output at its mills in British Columbia because of hundreds of blazes that have broken out in the Canadian province and challenged its ability to shuttle wood to and from its facilities. The company expects to reduce output at its 10 operating mills there by a total of about 115 million board feet during the quarter.

That is only a sliver of North America’s overall supply. Yet analysts said they expected further curtailments because of fires that are scorching logging forests on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border. In addition, lumber prices have fallen below the cost of sawing boards in the continent’s most expensive place to process timber.

“The wildfires burning in western Canada are significantly impacting the supply chain and our ability to transport product to market,” said

Stephen Mackie,

executive vice president of Canfor’s North American operations.

Traders responded Wednesday by bidding up lumber futures for delivery through January by the daily maximum allowed by exchange rules. September futures rose 7.75% to close at $584 per thousand board feet, a rare up day in the midst of a 66% decline since early May.

Lumber is one of several commodities markets being roiled by extreme weather this summer. The same heat and drought that set the stage for an unusually early and intense fire season in the West have dried up hydroelectric power output and increased air-conditioning demand in the region, which has helped push natural-gas prices to their highest summer levels in seven years.

The lumber market was just getting back into balance when wildfires broke out in British Columbia.



Photo:

JR Adams/Reuters

A lack of rainfall in South American farming regions has left the Paraná River too shallow for fully loaded boats to pass from Argentina’s interior to Atlantic shipping lanes, contributing to high prices for soybeans and corn. Flooding in Germany last week forced the closure of a plant owned by

Aurubis AG

, a major metal producer and recycler, as copper prices hover around all-time highs.

Aurubis said that one of its two facilities in Stolberg, western Germany, was evacuated without injury to employees. The damage is extensive and production isn’t expected to resume until the fourth quarter at the earliest.

“Delivery to customers and acceptance of incoming deliveries are impossible right now,” the firm said.

The lumber market was just getting back into balance when the fires broke out. North America’s sawmills sent workers home at the start of the lockdown and were unprepared for the building boom that ensued. They have struggled to saw logs fast enough to meet demand from home builders, do-it-yourselfers and restaurants that raced to install outdoor seating areas.

Lumber prices topped out in May at more than four times what is typical for two-by-fours, which helped reduce demand, particularly from the more price-sensitive DIY market that buys wood from retailers such as

Lowe’s

Cos. and

Home Depot Inc.

Wood is now piling up at mills.

Mark Wilde, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, said he expects more mills to announce reduced hours and shifts in the coming weeks

“Pricing windfalls like that of the last 12 months are once in a generation,” he said. “It would be crazy to simply return all that cash to the market by overproducing during a weak market.”

The wood-pricing service Random Lengths said in its midweek report that some Western mills have recently unloaded two-by-fours of spruce, pine and fir for below $400 per thousand board feet. Forest-product executives said that mills operating in British Columbia, where the provincial government metes out log supply, usually need more like $700 to be profitable these days.

Wildfires spawned by extreme heat have devastated parts of British Columbia.



Photo:

Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press/Associated Press

Such a high break-even price, along with the threat of fires, outbreaks of wood-boring beetles and distance to the Sunbelt’s mushrooming housing markets, has relegated what was once the continent’s top lumber-producing region to the status of swing producer. That means that the region’s mills—much like U.S. shale producers in the oil market—are likely to be the first to curtail production when lumber prices fall and are then counted on to increase output when supplies are stretched and prices rebound.

Canfor and its rivals have responded by shifting their focus to the U.S. South, where a glut of pine trees has pushed log prices to their lowest levels in decades despite strong demand for finished lumber. They have been quick to invest profits from the recent price surge into the South, which has overtaken Canada as the continent’s top lumber-producing region.

Share Your Thoughts

What impact has the availability and price of lumber had on your home-construction or renovation project? Join the conversation below.

Write to Ryan Dezember at [email protected]

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Twitter, Texas Instruments, Intel, Las Vegas Sands: What to Watch | Sidnaz Blog


Futures are rising, pointing to an extention of the rally on Wall Street for a third day. Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Thursday’s open.

A Texas Instruments office in San Diego, Calif., April 24, 2018.



Photo:

mike blake/Reuters

  • Railway operator

    CSX


    CSX 1.25%

    jumped 2% premarket after it said profit more than doubled in the second quarter.

  • Las Vegas Sands


    LVS 3.43%

    said losses narrowed in the second quarter as revenue recovered from last year’s more restrictive measures to limit the spread of Covid-19, but market players are still taking their bets off the table. Its shares were down 2.5%.

  • Airbnb


    ABNB 2.32%

    shares are up 1.7% premarket. CEO

    Brian Chesky

    told Barrons that he sees the “travel rebound of the century,” even as Covid-19 cases jump.

  • Equifax


    EFX -0.60%

    raised its projections for the year as it sees broad-based revenue growth across all its segments. Market watchers greeted the news with a yawn: Shares were flat premarket.

  • Appliance maker

    Whirlpool


    WHR 1.91%

    lifted its guidance but said it will spend $1 billion more on raw materials this year as inflation hits corporate balance sheets. Its shares slipped 0.4%.

  • Intel,


    INTC 1.79%

    Twitter


    TWTR 2.36%

    and

    Snap


    SNAP 1.70%

    are set to report earnings after markets close. In Intel’s case, an earnings drop could be in the cards amid a global chip shortage.

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Stock Futures Rise Ahead of Earnings, Jobless Data | Sidnaz Blog


U.S. stock futures ticked higher ahead of a flurry of earnings reports and jobless figures that are expected to reach a fresh pandemic low.

S&P 500 futures gained 0.2% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures strengthened 0.2%. Changes in futures don’t necessarily predict moves after the opening bell.

European stocks climbed Thursday for a three-day winning streak. The Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.5% in morning trade. Energy and utilities sectors led gains while consumer staples and healthcare sectors lost ground.

Unilever

slipped 3.4% as it posted its fourth consecutive session of declines.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1%. Other stock indexes in Europe also mostly climbed as France’s CAC 40 gained 0.5%, the U.K.’s FTSE 250 added 0.6% and Germany’s DAX rose 0.7%.

The Swiss franc and the British pound were up 0.1% and 0.3% respectively against the U.S. dollar and the euro was flat against the U.S. dollar, with 1 euro buying $1.18.

In commodities, international benchmark Brent crude fell 0.1% to $72.16 a barrel. Gold was flat, at $1,802.60 a troy ounce.

German 10-year bund yields were down to minus 0.399% and 10-year U.K. government debt known as gilts yields were down to 0.592%. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury fell to 1.270% from 1.279%. Yields move in the opposite direction from prices.

Indexes in Asia gained as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.6% and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite rose 0.3%.

Traders gathered for the IPO of VTEX at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.



Photo:

brendan mcdermid/Reuters

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Stock Futures Extend Recovery From Selloff | Sidnaz Blog


U.S. stock futures ticked higher after a dramatic start to the week that saw a selloff on fears around the Delta variant of Covid-19 largely reverse itself as investors rushed back into equities.

Futures on the S&P 500 strengthened 0.3% and futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.4%. The contracts don’t necessarily predict market moves after the markets open.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 1.1% in morning trade with the energy and utilities sectors leading gains.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 1.2%. Other regional indexes in Europe mostly climbed as France’s CAC 40 gained 1.1% and the U.K.’s FTSE 250 added 0.6%, whereas Germany’s DAX added 0.5%.

The Swiss franc, the euro and the British pound fell 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.2% respectively against the U.S. dollar.

In commodities, Brent crude declined 0.4% to $69.08 a barrel. Gold remained flat, at $1,811.60 a troy ounce.

The yield on German 10-year bunds slipped to minus 0.415% and the 10-year U.K. government debt known as gilts yield was down to 0.551%. 10-year U.S. Treasury yields edged up to 1.211% from 1.208%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Indexes in Asia were mixed as Japan’s Nikkei 225 index climbed 0.6% and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite gained 0.7%, whereas Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was lower 0.6%.

Traders worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

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Space Race, Nasdaq, IBM, Nvidia: What to Watch When the Stock | Sidnaz Blog


To the moon! Well, not quite, but into space at least today for

Jeff Bezos,

the billionaire baron of ecommerce. Also not going to the moon is

Amazon


AMZN -0.67%

stock, though it is 0.4% up premarket on Tuesday morning.

  • One reason for Mr. Bezos’s rocket ride is the more earthly goal of winning government contracts for the kind of less thrilling scientific projects the provide reliable revenue. His Blue Origin company is playing catch-up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
  • Mr. Musk’s electric vehicle maker

    Tesla,


    TSLA 0.31%

    is getting a bit of a boost Tuesday morning ahead of the open, rising 1% premarket. It is also gaining more attention on the message boards among day traders, according to Topstonks.com. The company reports earnings next Monday and tends to see its stock rise in the days ahead as investors start hoping for exciting announcements.

  • In the wider markets, U.S. stock futures are trending higher ahead of the open following Monday’s broad selloff. S&P 500 futures are up 0.5%, while Dow futures are up 0.6%. Nasdaq-100 futures are up 0.4%
  • Nasdaq the company, not the index, is itself rising premarket, up 1%, after The Wall Street Journal’s exclusive that it will spin out its Private Market for shares in start-ups that trade among some investors before an initial public offering. The business will go into a standalone joint venture company and get investment from three Wall Street banks and SVB Financial Group, a tech specialist bank.
  • Nvidia


    NVDA 15.18%

    is up 0.8% on large volumes following a 15% rise Monday. The shares are up nearly 80% over the past year, putting the chip maker into the top 10 list of U.S. public companies. It also executed its four-for-one stock split overnight, which has given some investors more ways to trade the stock-performance.

  • International Business Machines


    IBM -0.71%

    is up 3.4% ahead of the open on Tuesday after turning in decent second-quarter numbers Monday after the close. The computing group’s efforts to refocus on cloud-based computing and spin off its old-fashioned IT services business is winning fans among investors. At the same time, it has benefitted from companies beginning to invest again as the economy reopens.

IBM reported earnings on Monday..



Photo:

sergio perez/Reuters

Chart of the Day
  • Stocks, commodities and other financial markets took a stumble Monday on growing concerns about the strength of the post-Covid-19 global recovery.

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U.S. Stock Futures Tick Higher | Sidnaz Blog


U.S. stock futures ticked up, suggesting Wall Street could stage a partial recovery after worries about the Delta variant of the coronavirus dragged major indexes lower.

S&P 500 futures gained 0.6% and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures strengthened 0.8%. Changes in equity futures don’t necessarily predict market moves after the opening bell.

European stocks climbed Tuesday after a four-session losing streak. The Stoxx Europe 600 added 1% in morning trade, led by gains in energy and utilities sectors.

BP jumped 2.1% snapping a losing streak of more than a week and SSE rose 2%.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100, which is dominated by large international businesses, climbed 1.1%. Other stock indexes in Europe also mostly climbed as France’s CAC 40 gained 1.2%, the U.K.’s FTSE 250 rose 0.7% and Germany’s DAX added 1%.

The euro and the British pound dropped 0.2% against the U.S. dollar whereas the Swiss franc was flat against the U.S. dollar, with 1 franc buying $1.09.

In commodities, international benchmark Brent crude was up 1.2% to $69.43 a barrel. Gold also gained 0.4% to $1,816.60 a troy ounce.

The German 10-year bund yield declined to minus 0.396% and the yield on 10-year U.K. government debt known as gilts was down to 0.553%. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 1.214% from 1.181%. Yields move in the opposite direction from prices.

Indexes in Asia mostly fell as Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.2%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was down 1%, and China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite shed 0.1% after falling by as much as 0.8% during the session.

A trader worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

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How Jitters About the Global Economy Are Rippling Through Markets | Sidnaz Blog


Stocks, bond yields and oil prices declined Monday in the most acute sign yet that investors are second-guessing the strength of the global economic recovery that sent markets soaring this year.

Markets rallied in the first half of 2021, thanks to investors’ bets that economies would bounce back, as countries rolled out Covid-19 vaccinations and lifted restrictions on businesses. Reports on everything from retail sales and housing prices to employment have shown swaths of the U.S. economy healing, helping send the S&P 500 to 39 record closes this year and almost double from its March 2020 trough.

Monday’s pullback put a dent in that narrative. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 725.81 points, or 2.1%, to 33962.04, logging its steepest decline since October. Meanwhile, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which falls as bond prices rise, sank to its lowest level since February. And U.S. crude oil prices slid 7.5%—marking their worst session since September.

Behind the rout, investors say, is a growing list of concerns about the recovery. The Delta coronavirus variant has spread rapidly, reigniting the debate in several countries about whether governments should resume lockdowns and curb activity. Meanwhile, inflation has accelerated faster than many anticipated, and strained U.S.-China relations have put pressure on trillions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

Many money managers believe the global economy will be able to keep growing. They just don’t know how quickly—and whether the gains will be enough to keep increasingly pricey-looking markets rising after a banner first half.

“The market is saying the economy is going to slow down fairly significantly in the next weeks or months,” said Zhiwei Ren, a portfolio manager at Penn Mutual Asset Management.

Peak Growth?

Investors say much of what drove markets’ reversals on Monday is concern that the best of the economic recovery may be in the rearview mirror.

The 2020 recession in the U.S. lasted just two months—the shortest on record, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The economy powered higher in the year that followed.

Gross domestic product grew at a 6.4% seasonally adjusted annual rate in January through March, leaving the U.S. within 1% of its peak reached in late 2019.

Economists surveyed by the Journal estimate that the economy expanded at a 9.1% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the April-to-June period, the second-fastest pace since 1983. Corporate earnings are also poised to soar. Analysts are projecting profits for S&P 500 companies to rise almost 70% in the second quarter from a year earlier, a growth rate that would be the highest in more than a decade.

Now, some investors are asking: Is this as good as it gets?

Economists believe the pace of U.S. growth this year likely peaked in the spring and will moderate to 6.9% for 2021 as a whole before cooling to 3.2% next year and 2.3% in 2023. These dwindling expectations have stoked big moves among stocks and sectors within the S&P 500 as well as across the bond market.

“That’s what the market has been doing…starting to digest peak growth rates and realizing these growth rates are unsustainable,” said

John Porter,

chief investment officer of equities at Mellon Investments Corp.

Elsewhere around the world, growth also looks poised to slow—potentially pointing to further challenges for investors. The S&P 500 has continued to outperform the Stoxx Europe 600 and Shanghai Composite for the year. However, some investors wonder if the gap between U.S. and overseas indexes will narrow, if the recovery in the U.S. begins to stall more.

Oil Prices Tumble

One area of the markets where fear about growth quickly reared its head: the oil market.

For months, investors had piled into bullish bets on oil, assuming that demand would boom and the economy would stage a robust recovery. Many of those wagers have been unwound in recent sessions. Monday’s declines were driven by fears about the Delta variant halting travel and crimping demand for fuel.

Shares of energy producers, which tend to be sensitive to changes in the economic outlook, also pulled back. The S&P 500’s energy sector is now down 13% this month, the worst-performing group within the index.

Investors say much of what drove markets’ reversals on Monday is concern that the best of the economic recovery may be in the rearview mirror.



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

Sentiment Stalls

For months, people around the U.S. opened their wallets and spent on everything from cars to travel. Investors grew more optimistic about the economy, as Americans got vaccinated, businesses reopened and many people found themselves flush with cash, helped in part by stimulus checks. One survey by Gallup showed that the percentage of Americans who considered themselves to be “thriving” in life reached 59.2% in June, the highest in more than 13 years.

Recently, signs have emerged that this optimism is starting to fade. Fresh data last week showed that consumers stepped up spending in June. However, new figures also showed that consumer sentiment in the U.S. declined in early July, missing expectations from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has stagnated, and some investors are now concerned about a labor shortage snarling the economy.

One of the biggest factors weighing on sentiment? Inflation. Consumer complaints about rising prices on homes, vehicles and household durables reached a record, particularly hitting lower and middle-income households. The Labor Department said its consumer-price index rose 5.4% in June from a year ago, the fastest 12-month pace since August 2008.

Because consumer spending drives much of U.S. economic growth, investors tend to heed signs that households are beginning to become more wary about major purchases. Inflation can also eat into corporate profits, making stocks look less attractive.

According to a recent Charles Schwab survey, 15% of all U.S. stock market investors said they first began investing in 2020. Picking a stock, however, may not be as easy as it sounds. WSJ’s Aaron Back explains the factors at work when stock-picking. Photo illustration: Rafael Garcia

“Last week we had high inflation readings. Now we have concerns that the rise in Covid cases is dimming the economic outlook. High inflation and lower economic growth is not a good combination,” said

Dave Donabedian,

chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth Management, U.S., in emailed comments.

The Bond Market’s Warning

Even before Monday, bets that economic growth will cool rippled across the bond market. Investors have been gobbling up government bonds for weeks.

One effect of the slide in bond yields? The real yield on the 10-year Treasury note has been negative, and on Monday it slipped to 1.05%, the lowest since February. Real yields are what investors get on U.S. government bonds after adjusting for inflation. When those bond yields are negative, as they have been lately, investors are effectively locking in losses when parking their money in government bonds.

“People are worried about inflation but also a growth scare,” said

Giorgio Caputo,

a portfolio manager at J O Hambro Capital Management. “You’ve never had a modern economy that’s reopened after a pandemic.”

These fears have driven investors into government bonds and helped push those real yields lower and lower, he said.

While a souring outlook for growth is generally negative for stocks as a whole, one area of the market has actually benefited from negative real yields. Lower yields weigh on the discount rate in formulas used to estimate what stock prices should be, making future corporate earnings more valuable. The recent drop in yields has boosted shares of technology companies and other fast-growing firms and helped drive a mammoth shift in the stock market in recent weeks. Tech behemoths like

Apple Inc.,

Amazon.com Inc.

and

Microsoft Corp.

have risen to fresh highs, even as many other parts of the market have floundered.

And on Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite outperformed its peers. Many investors returned to the bets that had flourished when people around the country were stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peloton Interactive Inc.

shares jumped 7.1%, while

Slack Technologies Inc.

added 1%.

Wayfair Inc.

shares advanced 3.3%.

In contrast, shares of cyclical companies that benefit from a speedier economic recovery—like banks, energy companies and airlines—were among the worst-performers in the stock market.

“It seems like the market overextrapolated the good times…and now we’re seeing a little bit of the air being let out,” said

Jason Pride,

chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede.

Covid-19 Weighs on Investors

More WSJ coverage of markets, selected by the editors

Write to Gunjan Banerji at [email protected] and Akane Otani at [email protected]

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Oil Prices Slide on Fears Delta Variant Will Crunch Demand | Sidnaz Blog


U.S. crude futures are more than 10% below last week’s multiyear peak, a drop that marks correction territory.



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Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg News

Oil prices slid Monday morning, heading for their biggest one-day drop in four months as investors worried that the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus will halt travel and dent demand for fuel.

U.S. crude futures were recently down 6.4% at $66.98 a barrel, on track for their worst day since mid-March. Prices are now more than 10% below last week’s multiyear peak, a drop that marks correction territory. They are still up sharply for the year.

Traders in recent days have unwound some wagers that oil demand will continue to climb as more consumers get vaccinated and resume normal travel patterns. Hopes for a demand surge have buoyed oil throughout the year, but rapidly climbing coronavirus cases in some parts of the world are forcing investors to pare back their expectations for the economy. Some traders also remain wary of more travel shutdowns, which would have an outsize impact on oil prices.

“If we stagnate or retrace some of the demand increase we’ve seen thus far, the market will move from being undersupplied to oversupplied into the back half of the year,” said Rebecca Babin, a senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth, U.S.

Brent crude, the global gauge of oil prices, was recently down 5.7% at $69.41 a barrel.

Oil’s tumble came as stocks also fell on concerns about the economy. Investors on Monday sought shelter in ultrasafe government bonds, pushing down the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note to around 1.2%. Yields fall as bond prices climb.

Energy traders also were weighing the news that large global suppliers are set to gradually raise output in the months ahead. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia agreed to ease production curtailments in response to a recent demand recovery, though the Delta variant’s course could change the group’s plans.

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