Happy Thursday, Bull Sheeters. It’s jobs day in America. Global stocks are climbing on hopes of a vaccine breakthrough, and on a trickle of decent manufacturing and sales data, a further sign of a rebounding economy. Investors are again shrugging off America’s dismal handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s see where investors are putting their money.
- The major indexes are all in the green, with Shanghai leading the way, up 2.1%.
- After an arrests- and protests-marred holiday yesterday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng resumed trading with a big boost from mainland investors.
- There are further tensions between Washington and Beijing this morning after the U.S. House unanimously passed new sanctions on any banks that do business with the Chinese architects of the highly controversial national security law.
- It’s a risk-off day as the European bourses jumped out of the gates. The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.8% at the open.
- According to Angela Merkel, EU member countries remain “far apart” in whether to green-light the €750 billion coronavirus recovery plan. The big summit date is July 17.
- German MPs yesterday grilled the head of the country’s financial regulator, BaFin, over its handling of the Wirecard collapse. An epic shareholder revolt is brewing after the payments-processing firm filed for insolvency and faces a major financial fraud investigation.
- The S&P 500 and Nasdaq started 2H on a positive note yesterday. Pfizer closed up 3.2% on Wednesday after the company reported positive trial results for a potential COVID-19 vaccine, news that lifted the wider markets.
- Apple fell on news it was closing stores in its coronavirus-stricken markets. The U.S. reported a new record of cases yesterday, nearly 50,000.
- The last jobs report, in early June, was a humbling one for a lot of doom-mongering economists. What’s the forecast today? The expectation is that roughly 3.1 million jobs were added in the past month.
- Gold is down.
- The dollar is flat.
- Crude is up, in line with equities; Brent is trading 0.7% higher.
By the Numbers
$171.6 billion. That’s Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ net worth this morning. The company, the prototypical stay-at-home stock, is on a tear, up 48.8% in the past year. Bezos clearly has had a good pandemic. His net worth, according to Bloomberg, has soared $56.7 billion this year alone, padding his post-divorce bank balance, but also making him a poster child for inequality in the U.S. Amazon has promised to give its front-line workers one-time $500 bonuses for valiantly working through the pandemic. But as Robert Reich recently pointed out, that’s downright stingy compared to the profit-sharing schemes that were fairly common in Corporate America in the 1950s and ’60s.
$205 billion. That’s Tesla‘s market cap, as of yesterday’s markets close, making it the world’s most valuable automaker, surpassing Toyota. Tesla bulls have long ago ignored the fact that Toyota sells roughly 30 times more cars, and its top-line sales is 10X higher than that of Elon Musk’s e-powered creation.
56%. Let’s finish up with the American consumer. S&P Global shared with me its latest survey data showing consumer confidence is on very shaky ground. According to S&P Global, a majority of consumers — 56% — said that they were planning to spend less over the next 90 days than during the same period last year; just 14% plan to spend more. The consumer is the engine of the U.S. economy. That reluctance to spend could put a damper on economic growth in Q3, a bad sign for the Trump Administration.
I’m not impressed with your barbecue. Gas, charcoal, pellets. Yawn. (Now, if you’ve invested in a smoker, let’s talk.)
I’ve been trying to convince one of my brothers, an engineer, to build in his spacious back yard in PA a forno della pizza—a pizza oven. Everybody has a barbecue, I chide him. If you really want to impress your friends and neighbors, then build a pizza oven.
We have one here in Amandola. They’re fairly common in the Italian countryside. Powered by good old fashioned wood, they make the most fabulous pizzas. Once the pizzas are all cooked, the old-timers like to re-arrange the coals to roast something meaty in the ovens, too. When I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ve done the same.
Ours is handsome little creation, built of cinderblocks, cement and terra-cotta roof tiles. When it’s in use, it always attracts a real crowd. Eccolo. Behold.
Last week, we had a house full of 10-year-old girls—my daughters’ school friends. We did pizza night under the stars. The girls prepared the dough, lavished it with toppings (some combo of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salt, olive oil, sausages, oregano) and slid their creations into the glowing oven.
I’ve been to a lot of BBQ bashes over the years. Pizza-cooking derbies are way more fun. The unrestrained delight from the various cooks in attendance is unmatched. That moment when the pizzaiolo slides her pallet out of the oven to reveal a perfectly crispy pizza always generates cheers, as well as the inevitable I-can-top-that jeers. Pizza-making is competitive business. Even for 10-year-olds.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good barbecue. But it’s no pizza party.
Have a nice weekend, everyone. I’ll see you here on Monday.
If you were to assemble the people who could help you truly understand health care and how it’s affected businesses today, who would you pick? Here’s a few on Fortune’s list:
- The CEOs and presidents of healthcare giants Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novartis, Aetna
- co-discoverer of CRISPR-Cas9 Dr. Jennifer Doudna
- Dean of Stanford Medicine Dr. Lloyd Minor
- chief medical officers from IBM, Verily, Google Health
- healthcare venture capitalists like Sue Siegel
- Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington
- CEO of REFORM Alliance Van Jones
- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
Hear from them and more at FORTUNE Brainstorm Health, our virtual health-care conference on July 7-8. As a newsletter subscriber, you’re invited to use this code—BSH20HALF!—and get half off.