Markets appear to be taking Bernie Sanders’s predictable New Hampshire victory in stride, perhaps comforted by another strong showing from Pete Buttigieg and a surprise surge by Amy Klobuchar, who continues to prove you can bridge likability deficits with “scrappy” resilience.
Sanders came away with 25.7% of the vote, Buttigieg with 24.4% and Klobuchar 19.8%. Buttigieg hangs on to the delegate lead. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is sputtering, to say the least. In a change of messaging, she’s now calling for party unity. Warren lavished praise on Klobuchar: “I want to congratulate my friend and colleague… for showing just how wrong the pundits can be when they count a woman out”.
As for Joe Biden, he fled the state for South Carolina before the votes were even counted. “When you hear all these pundits and experts, cable TV talkers, talking about the race, tell them: it ain’t over, man”, he told supporters. But it’s not just “cable TV talkers”. It’s the betting markets too, Joe.
Lloyd Blankfein decided to weigh in on his always snarky Twitter handle, where he spends “retirement” arguing with politicians.
“If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US”, Lloyd sneered, at eight minutes to midnight, adding this: “Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military. If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around”.
One wonders what Blankfein means by “our” economy. Because Lloyd’s economy doesn’t look anything like the economy as it’s perceived by the vast majority of Americans. Further, I would note that these kinds of antagonistic tweets from billionaires only serve to amplify Bernie’s message, a dynamic Blankfein surely understands, but cannot restrain himself from perpetuating.
Meanwhile, the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases fell for the third day in four, helping to buoy risk sentiment at the margins, even as the death toll rose. Xi pledged to hit China’s economic targets.
In other pandemic news, hundreds of people were evacuated from a DBS office in Singapore, and the Lancet medical journal says the release of the genome sequence for coronavirus was delayed by some 17 days after it was first collected in China on December 26, a failure that only adds to concerns about Beijing’s early crisis management efforts.
US equities are up nearly 4% on the year despite the health crisis. S&P futures are nearly 5% higher off the virus scare lows.
“The New Hampshire Democrat Primary result, which saw a narrow win for Bernie Sanders, seems to have been greeted with glee by Republicans”, SocGen’s Kit Juckes wrote Wednesday, adding that “there’s a growing view (in financial markets) that there’s light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel as the growth in new cases in Hubei slowed for a second day [which] helped risk sentiment improve again”.