Fastly saga may be warning investors to pick futures winning stocks wisely, says strategist


It’s a marathon.


NTB Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Fading coronavirus stimulus hopes and rising cases across the U.S. and Europe have investors punching the “sell” button on stocks this morning, with the technology sector set to bear the brunt when Wall Street opens.

In an ugly spotlight for Thursday, shares of Fastly
FSLY,
-4.38%
are down 30% in premarket trading. The cloud-platform company cut its revenue forecast and yanked its full-year guidance after its biggest customer, TikTok parent- Bytedance, failed to use its product as much as expected due to U.S.-China tensions.

Fastly has gained more than 500% this year as investors have piled into those so-called growth stocks that have either thrived or haven’t been unduly hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. It is just another sign that this market has no middle ground, says JonesTrading’s chief market strategist Michael O’Rourke.

In our call of the day

“The interesting aspect of the current environment is that the market appears to be picking winners for the next generation based on the atypical events of 2020,” O’Rourke says, in a note to clients. Sure, people need more computers, laptops and other gadgets to set up the home office, but that is “essentially a one-time purchase,” he adds.

“There is no doubt that certain applications, products and services benefited from a historic pace of widespread adoption due to the pandemic,” says O’Rourke, zeroing in on Fastly. “But when those companies are trading 30 to 70 times forward sales, there is extreme optimism priced in.”

He turns to what the company itself had to say: “The current global environment has in some ways fueled our business, but has also created areas of uncertainty.”

“So much for ordaining generational winners in an anomalous year,” says O’Rourke.

And individual investors may be one step behind already here. According to the Financial Times

Meanwhile, O’Rourke notes, “much maligned” banks that have reported this week are generating $20 billion a quarter in net income. That is as they continue building reserves for credit losses expected to emerge next year due to the pandemic.

Read: This investment house says Tesla, Amazon and Nvidia aren’t overpriced

The markets

Stock futures
YM00,
-0.96%

ES00,
-1.00%
are deep in the red, with Nasdaq-100 futures
NQ00,
-1.34%
down 1.8%. Beating a hasty retreat as well were European equities
SXXP,
-2.20%
oil
CL.1,
-2.24%
and Asian markets.

The buzz

Data on tap include weekly jobless claims, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve index, the Empire State Index, and import prices.

Results are ahead from pharmacy chain Walgreens
WBA,
-0.74%
and banking giant Morgan Stanley
MS,
+0.41%.

Wells Fargo WFC has fired more than 100 employees over alleged pandemic-relief fraud.

An army of teenage fans helped the company that manages South Korean boy-band sensation BTS surge in a trading debt.

On the second day of confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett says climate change is a controversial subject that is still up for public debate.

Twitter
TWTR,
-2.17%
explained why it blocked sharing of a New York Post article on Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

Private briefings from two senior White House aides to a conservative institution early in 2020 over the seriousness of COVID-19 reportedly led some investors to short the stock market, and even stock up on toilet paper.

COVID-19 cases are rising in northern Italy

The chart

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