Happy Thursday. A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
As Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, recently told clients, 2019 is “the year where everything worked — stocks, bonds, gold, even bitcoin.”
By the numbers: As of Tuesday, the MSCI All-World Index, which tracks global stocks, had gained 24% year to date. The S&P 500 had jumped more than 28.5%. US seven- to 10-year Treasuries had returned roughly 8%, while US top quality corporate bonds returned 17%.
Some assets, such as US tech stocks, have clearly outperformed. But on the whole, everything has been up.
Note this trend: A spectacular year for capital markets still “failed to draw much fresh money,” Colas points out.
The latest data from the Investment Company Institute puts total flows into mutual and exchange-traded funds at $198 billion year-to-date. But $200 billion was withdrawn during the fourth quarter market panic last year.
“Put another way, it has taken all of 2019 to see investors replace … the capital they withdrew in Q4 2018,” Colas said. “The most hated bull market of all time continues…”
Remember: JPMorgan estimates that net flows into bond funds from retail investors hit $850 billion in 2019, while $360 billion left equity funds. That’s the highest level of outflows since the 2008 financial crisis.
Stocks had a blockbuster year. But investors were still, by and large, afraid to get in on the action — limiting how widely the benefits were felt.
Holiday spending jumps 3.4% as buyers move online
American shoppers spent more over the holiday season. And more of the buying frenzy happened online.
Reuters and the Wall Street Journal both have stories on a new report from Mastercard SpendingPulse that shows a sharp increase in online shopping.
- 3.4% - U.S. retail sales growth for Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared to 2018
- 18.8% - The increase in online sales
- 1.2% - The increase for in-store sales
- 14.6% - Digital’s share of total sales
The big takeaway, per the WSJ:
“The shift online reflects a reshaping of the retail industry, with department stores struggling to attract shoppers, while others, including Amazon and Target, use their digital platforms to grab market share.”
What you bought on Amazon: According to the e-commerce giant, the most read and sold book this holiday season was The Guardians by John Grisham. Among the best-selling items for the home were the Instant Pot Duo 80 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker and the iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum.
Travis Kalanick leaves Uber’s board
Travis Kalanick is finally letting go of the company he helped build, CNN Business’ Seth Fiegerman reports.
There were signs: When Uber went public in May, Kalanick was not part of the group of insiders who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. He has also been selling his Uber shares following the end of a stock lockup period for corporate insiders.
What now: Kalanick is running a startup called CloudKitchens that promises “smart kitchens for delivery-only restaurants.” Shares of Uber, meanwhile, are hovering near $30, down more than 30% from their $45 IPO price as investors fret over the company’s big losses.
Markets remain closed in London, Frankfurt and Milan. In the United States, it’s a full trading day.