Tech Heavy: Gold and BTC are back, but can the Nasdaq make it a Noel to remember?
It was quite the November on Wall Street.
The S&P 500 was up 8.9%, its best month since July 2022, and the fourth-best November in – wait for it – 73 years.
Even the small-cap Russell 2000, the sub-mariner of the US indices, returned to surface last month, also paddling circa +9% higher.
Things came to something of a climax last week with the three big stock market indexes closing higher for a fifth straight week.
The Nasdaq was up +0.4%.
The Dow +2.4%, and the S&P rising +0.7%.
Now, after some more of these exciting gains on Friday, US punters hit pause overnight to take some cash and maybe see if the monetary policy goalposts are where they left them on Friday.
The fun-fearing Fed Chair J. Powell perhaps wisely put his flame retarding skills to the test again – doing his damndest to snuff out the evident expectations-bordering-on-exurberance of interest rate cuts in the first half of 2024.
All three US majors closed lower on Monday. The Dow Jones lost 41 points. The S&P 500 gave away -0.5%, and the tech heavy Nasdaq shed -0.8%.
The US 10-year Treasury notes made up some lost ground overnight, in concert with falling equities. The yield rose to 4.3% lurching off the three-month lows of last week.
The rally in the States has been almost asset agnostic, with the scent of a Santa rally permeating well beyond Wall Street in the run-up to Christmas – although, let’s not kid ourselves that the come-one, come-all mood comes down to the welcome mat laid out by the Magnificent Seven.
The water treading Stateside comes as traders now turn to key labour market data – the jolly JOLTS report is due tonight in New York, ADP figures drop on Wednesday, and non-farm payrolls, Friday.
On the corporate front, Microsoft dropped 1.4%, Nvidia shed 2.6%, Amazon fell 1.5% and Google parent Alphabet ended 1.9% lower.
Also Meta Platforms slid 1.5%, extending losses for a fourth day after hitting a four-week low of $314.84 during the session.
Billionaire boss Mark Zuckerberg has timed his run fairly Meta. He’s been snapped selling Meta stock for the first time in two years after the social media giant rebounded following a tumultuous 2022. The Meta co-founder’s trust as well as entities for his charitable and political giving unloaded about 682,000 shares worth almost $185 million.
Meanwhile, Spotify shares surged +7.4% after the music streaming company announced it would lay off 17% of its workforce.
Spotify will hit delete on about a fifth of its entire staff after telling workers economic slowdown was forcing it to slash the bottom line as the music streaming giant fumbles about for ways to turn cracking subscriber growth into real profits.
On Monday, CEO Daniel Ek sent a company-wide email that Spotify’s global workforce will soon be about 1,500 people or circa 17% lighter. Spotify employs more than 9,000 people worldwide.
“To be blunt, many smart, talented and hard-working people will be departing us,” Ek said.
While the US equity market pulls closer to new highs, investors are pumping gold while it’s so shiny… and then there’s what’s been happening in that oddball legacy investment – crypto.
Suddenly gold and Bitcoin are the new black. Both assets crashed through important milestones over the last 48 hours spot gold hit a record high above US$2,100 per ounce, and Bitcoin briefly topped US$42,000 to hit its highest level since April 2022.
Stocks tied to cryptocurrencies have surged in recent weeks as Bitcoin’s price has rallied.
Shares of Coinbase were jumping again on Monday morning after rising more than 50% over the past month.
Coinbase , Marathon Digital and Riot Platforms all cashed in, climbing over circa 5.5%-6% as BTC hit new 20-month high.
Firstly, well done with the acceleration, but it does look like Tesla might have made its famous door-handle issues even worse with the Cybertruck.
Feat of Strength 3: Cyberbeast (0-60 in 2.6s) pic.twitter.com/q0cK9zb21D
— Tesla (@Tesla) November 30, 2023
The much-hyped, futuristic truck doesn’t have any traditional door handles, which led to CEO Elon Musk intervening to help some new owners get inside their vehicles during Tesla’s Cybertruck delivery event last week.
Musk first teased that the Cybertruck didn’t have door handles over two years ago. It’s all part of Tesla’s sleek design for the truck, which at one point was even more streamlined. (Musk’s early vision for the vehicle didn’t include side-view mirrors, either, but Tesla had to add them because of vehicle regulations.)
Instead of a traditional door handle, the Cybertruck has a small button along the edge of its window, on the vehicle’s B-pillar, which allows the door to pop open about 2 inches. It can then be grabbed and pulled fully open.
Elon Musk picked a fight with Paris Hilton on Sunday – days after the celebrity influencer’s company pulled an ad campaign from X amid an uproar over antisemitic content on the app.
Hilton’s 11:11 Media followed several major companies, including IBM and Apple, pulling ad campaigns from X after Musk endorsed a post that pushed an antisemitic trope. The billionaire has since apologised.
While the now-canceled deal between X and 11:11 Media was promoted as a wide-ranging partnership, Musk focused his mockery on Hilton’s recently-launched line of pink cookware, which is being sold at Walmart.
“The ad campaign wasn’t super convincing tbh,” Musk wrote. “I don’t think Paris cooks a lot.”
X is racing to attract smaller and medium-sized businesses to prop up its flailing advertising business, following Musk’s profanity-strewn attack on the big brands that are boycotting his social media platform.
The billionaire has accused advertisers such as Disney, IBM and Apple, which halted spending on X following that endorsement of an antisemitic post, of “blackmail”. He told the boycotting groups to “go f..k” themselves.
Following those remarks on Wednesday, X is doubling down on investments to facilitate ad spending by smaller players, seeking to offset the steep revenue losses from the departure of larger advertisers that Musk said were “going to kill the company”.
“Small and medium businesses are a very significant engine that we have definitely underplayed for a long time,” the company told the Financial Times. “Now we will go even further with it.”
X has apprently been fast-tracking these plans asking US marketing start-up JumpCrew to outsource ad sales to target SMEs.
These, and long-gestating plans to get more subscription dollars and data-licensing services are being accelerated.
The headline exodus of big name advertisers makes what’s left of X look fiscally fraught.
The New York Times reported last week that X was at risk of losing up to $75m this quarter from the advertising walkout, citing leaked internal documents.