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May 8, 2021, 11:59 a.m. EDT

Cryptos and stocks like NIO and Tilray are crucially linked. Here’s what you need to watch, says strategist.

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By Jack Denton

The technology-heavy Nasdaq inched higher on Thursday, reversing some of its slide from this week as it remains near 3% lower since Monday.

But investors are continuing to pour money into Big Tech stocks as individual investor favorites keep suffering. And cryptocurrency prices may be a key reason, according to strategist Ben Onatibia’s team at investment research group Vanda, in our call of the day

Individual investors remain the major buyers of Big Tech stocks as prices move lower. Of the $870 million spent on single stocks on May 4, roughly 28% went to S&P tech companies like Facebook /zigman2/quotes/205064656/composite FB -1.68% , Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.95% , Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.39% , Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.53% , Netflix /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +0.10% , and Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT -0.38% , according to the team at Vanda, with major tech funds recording massive retail inflows as well. 

Not only does this point to individual investors buying the dip, but it suggests that institutional investors are partly responsible for the selloff, as they cut their exposure to tech in favor of commodities and financials.

But “tech supremacy has also crowded out investments from other speculative stocks,” Onatibia said, with individual investors showing much more hesitation about buying the dip in the likes of cannabis or clean energy stocks. The team at Vanda believes this environment is likely to persist, especially given the poor performance of widely held stocks like Apple and Advanced Micro Devices /zigman2/quotes/208144392/composite AMD -0.45% .

One of the key preconditions the team at Vanda said is necessary to “bring the mojo of fallen retail angels back” is a correction in cryptocurrency prices. According to Onatibia, prices of stocks like Tilray /zigman2/quotes/209129655/composite TLRY +0.83% , Skillz /zigman2/quotes/216943028/composite SKLZ +1.92% , Virgin Galactic /zigman2/quotes/208333884/composite SPCE +1.43% , Plug Power /zigman2/quotes/205453512/composite PLUG +1.54% , and NIO /zigman2/quotes/204905836/composite NIO -0.29% have been inversely correlated with cryptocurrencies in 2021, and this is indicative of a rotation among individual investors. That is a crucial relationship.

“Investors in [environmental, social, and governance-focused stocks], electric vehicles, and a host of other highflying sectors will need to pay full attention to developments in the crypto world,” Onatibia said. “A significant correction is all they may need to get some of their lost appeal back.”

When the price of bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD +0.67% sank following the initial public offering of crypto exchange Coinbase /zigman2/quotes/225893452/composite COIN -1.79% , “all retail favorite stocks enjoyed a decent recovery,” Onatibia said. “But as the price of ethereum /zigman2/quotes/108573964/realtime ETHUSD +1.29% and other altcoins skyrocketed this week, retail favorite stocks have given up most of their recent gains.”

More compelling evidence from Vanda that individual investors are behind the crypto rally — at the cost of highflying favorites — is that popular trading platform Robinhood crashed following “unprecedented trading activity” in crypto assets this week.

The markets

U.S. stocks were broadly higher /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.54% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.24% , with the Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.77% ticking up after investors cheered a better-than-expected jobs report.

European equities are broadly lower /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.23% /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.20% /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.12% . However, stocks in London /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.17% remained in the green after the Bank of England decided to reduce the rate of government bond purchases while insisting it wasn’t changing monetary policy. Asian stocks /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -1.31% /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.08% /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.15% finished mostly in the green.

The chart

Lumber futures /zigman2/quotes/210109673/delayed LB00 -4.16% traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have quadrupled in price since February 2020 to hit a record high of $1,610 per thousand board feet, as shown in our chart of the day, courtesy of Wolf Richter from the Wolf Street financial blog

“A sign of scary-crazy inflation amid suddenly blistering demand from builders, insufficient supply to meet that sudden surge in demand, growing lead times, and irrational behavior by buyers betting on being able to pass on that irrationality via higher prices to their customers,” Richter wrote.

Random reads

Talk about stratospheric asset prices: A bottle of French wine that spent more than a year in space will be auctioned off with a price tag of $1 million.

The owner of a Massachusetts pizza parlor fraudulently obtained $660,000 in COVID-19 relief funds and used some of the money to set up an alpaca farm , federal prosecutors allege.

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