Nervous calm

Published on 23-06-2020 14:15:00

Stocks are up but teeth are gritted. It’s calm, yet nervous.

As fears of a second wave continue to rise, investors are spending billions on bear-run defences. And they’re on a hair trigger. Yesterday, a White House trade adviser appeared to backtrack on comments implying that the China trade war was back on. So perhaps it’s no surprise that some hedge fund managers nursing $1bn losses are not taking calls.

Not that the EU is paying attention to White House whisperings as relations with China dip to a new low. Meanwhile, countries are wasting resources defending against a takeover threat, which doesn’t seem to be materialising. And Japan gives the UK six weeks to pull off a trade deal.

Yet markets have put on their best straight face. Gold’s price rise is paused. Oil is steady. Even though it seems the bull run might not all be down to retail investors – the markets might be feeding on themselves.

Meanwhile, the daily list of winners and losers continues unabated. Google’s ad revenue could fall for the first time. But Apple chips are very much on the menu as we notice it’s bigger than all the major oil and gas companies combined.

Boris’s good news for hotels and leisure comes too late for Intu as Britain’s best-known shopping centres chain preps for administration and Poundland owner Pepco takes a hit. But at least convenience stores are having a good crisis, even if businesses can’t get through to their bank to change accounts.

But economic clouds are gathering every bit as menacingly as the dust clouds over the Caribbean. In echoes of the precursors to the global financial crisis, 8% of all US mortgages are overdue or in foreclosure. And Europe might face an oil crisis in a decade. Meanwhile, we discover that we’re spewing out even more toxic waste during COVID and people in search of hygiene are showering too much.

So maybe it’s best to focus elsewhere. Did you know that 25% of Generation Z expect to be gender fluid? And discover why the ‘anthropause’ might be a good thing.

Until tomorrow,

The Stream Team

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