US FINANCIAL MARKET
S&P, Dow Industrials Climb as Election Looms – Wall Street Journal, 11/2/20
- Major U.S. stock indexes jumped Monday ahead of an election that will shape the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading President Trump by 10 percentage points among voters nationally in the final days of the election campaign, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
- Investors have been hoping for a definitive result in the presidential race, helping avoid a contested outcome, and clear control of the Senate and House by the same major party.
- That would lead to more clarity on additional stimulus packages and new legislation on health care and taxes.
- New data showed U.S. factory activity expanded at a fast clip in October.
- The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its purchasing-managers index came in at 59.3 last month, beating expectations from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who predicted it to be 56.0.
- Overseas, new lockdown measures introduced in the U.K., France, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Belgium to contain the pandemic have been less restrictive than some investors expected, and for a shorter duration.
- Schools by and large remain open, and governments have expressed hope the new restrictions will be lifted within weeks.
Coronavirus Live Updates: New U.S. Cases Tick Up Slightly – Wall Street Journal, 11/2/20
- The U.S. reported more than 81,400 new coronavirus cases, a slight increase from the previous day, but down from the record high reached last week.
- Michigan reported more than 4,000 new cases for Sunday, its third-highest reading since the pandemic began, after hitting a record last week, according to Johns Hopkins data.
- Ohio also reported its third-highest daily total after reaching record levels at the end of October. Other states that have seen elevated numbers recently reported lower daily figures for Sunday, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
- Hospitalizations continued to rise. Nationwide, there were 47,502 people in hospitals due to Covid-19 on Sunday, an increase from the previous day, and the highest total since Aug. 12, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
- The nation’s death toll approached 231,000, with 447 fatalities reported for Sunday. That compares with 862 deaths on Saturday and 481 a week earlier, according to Johns Hopkins.
Europe’s COVID curbs prompt pushback as Brexit ‘godfather’ slams PM Johnson – Reuters, 11/2/20
- A wave of COVID curbs has stirred resistance across Europe, with the right-wing British politician who helped force a referendum on Brexit harnessing popular anger at a new lockdown by recasting his Brexit Party under a new banner.
- The United Kingdom, which has the highest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
- France, Germany, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries have announced new curbs on movement and gatherings as infections surge and hospitals and intensive care units fill up.
- Protests flared against new COVID restrictions across Italy last week, with violence reported in Milan and Turin.
Clorox lifts forecast after best sales jump in over 20 years – Reuters, 11/2/20
- Clorox reported its strongest quarterly sales growth in more than two decades on Monday and raised its full-year revenue forecast as coronavirus-driven hygiene needs escalated demand for everything from disinfectants to water filters.
- Net sales rose 27%, the biggest quarterly jump since 1998, to $1.92 billion and handily beat expectations of $1.76 billion.
- For the first quarter ended Sept. 30, sales grew in eight of Clorox’s 10 business units, with the health and wellness and household care divisions reporting more than 20% growth.
- Net income more than doubled to $415 million, or $3.22 per share, also ahead of estimates.
- Clorox said it now expects its full-year sales to rise in the range of 5% to 9% and earnings per share to grow between 5% and 8%, both forecasts above its prior expectations.
Estee Lauder tops estimates on China demand, online boost – Reuters, 11/2/20
- Estee Lauder beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly results on Monday, benefiting from strong Chinese demand and a surge in online orders for its skincare products, sending its shares about 4% higher in premarket trading.
- Total net sales fell 9% to $3.56 billion, but were ahead of expectations of $3.46 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
- Sales in the company’s Asia-Pacific market increased 9% to $1.15 billion in the first quarter.
- Excluding one-time items, the company reported a profit of $1.44 per share for the three months ended Sept. 30, easily beating estimates of 90 cents.
- The company forecast net sales to decline between 3% and 5% in the second quarter, the midpoint of which was smaller than analysts’ estimates of a near 5% decline, Refinitiv data showed.
- New York-based Estee also said it expects adjusted profit per share in the current quarter to be between $1.45 and $1.60, below expectations of $1.73 per share, as it invests in its online business and Asia-Pacific units.
- The company increased its quarterly dividend by 10% for its Class A and Class B common stock to 53 cents per share.
Marathon Petroleum reports better-than-feared third quarter loss on demand recovery – Reuters, 11/2/20
- U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Monday as fuel sales picked up after coronavirus restrictions eased.
- The company’s crude capacity utilization in the third-quarter was 84%, excluding idled facilities, up from 71% in the second quarter, but still below last year’s 98%.
- Net loss attributable to the company stood at $1.02 billion, or $1.57 per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to a profit $1.1 billion, or $1.66 per share, a year earlier.
- The loss includes $525 million in impairment and other charges.
- The company forecast fourth-quarter refinery throughput of 2.48 million barrels per day (bpd), lower than 2.54 million bpd reported in the third quarter.
Mall operator CBL files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – Reuters, 11/2/20
- Shopping mall operator CBL & Associates Properties voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sunday, becoming the latest mall operator seeking to restructure its operations as the COVID-19 crisis caused prolonged closures.
- CBL’s filing follows that of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust earlier on Sunday, which filed a chapter 11 petition to execute a prepackaged financial restructuring plan.
- CBL had announced in August that it had entered into a restructuring support agreement with a group of bondholders to allow it to strengthen its balance sheet and organization.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
U.S. manufacturing near two-year high in October – ISM – Reuters, 11/2/20
- U.S. manufacturing activity accelerated in October, with new orders jumping to their highest level in nearly 17 years amid a shift in spending toward goods like motor vehicles as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
- The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Monday its index of national factory activity increased to a reading of 59.3 last month.
- The ISM’s forward-looking new orders sub-index surged to a reading of 67.9 last month, the highest reading since January 2004, from 60.2 in September.
- The ISM’s manufacturing employment gauge rose to a reading of 53.2 from 49.6 in September.
Construction spending rises less than expected in September – Reuters, 11/2/20
- U.S. construction spending increased less than expected in September as gains in investment in private-sector projects were partially offset by a decline in public outlays.
- The Commerce Department said on Monday that construction spending rose 0.3% in September.
- Construction spending increased 1.5% on a year-on-year basis.
- Data for August was revised down to show construction outlays advancing 0.8% instead of surging 1.4% as previously reported.
President Trump Trails Joe Biden by 10 Points Nationally in Final Days of Election – Wall Street Journal, 11/2/20
- President Trump trails by 10 percentage points among voters nationally in the final days of his re-election campaign, facing substantial public anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic but with broad approval of his management of the economy, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.
- However, the survey finds the race tightening when the landscape is narrowed to a set of 12 battleground states.
- Mr. Biden holds a 6-point lead across those states, 51% to 45%, compared with a 10-point lead last month.
- Some 41% of voters named the economy as the most important issue, while 38% cited coronavirus—a 3-point gap that narrowed from 8 points last month.
- And in a sign of substantial concern about the virus, 55% said the worst of the pandemic was yet to come.
- One of Mr. Trump’s strongest advantages is that 55% of voters approve of his handling of the economy, 14 points more than who disapprove.
- One of his top challenges is that 57% disapprove of his management of the pandemic, 17 points more than who approve.
- Mr. Trump’s hopes for an Electoral College majority turn in large measure on the fact that he is viewed more favorably in battleground states than among voters nationally.
- In the 12 state battlegrounds, for example, Mr. Trump leads by 21 points among white men, compared with a 12-point lead among that group nationally.
- Among seniors, Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden by 11 points in battleground states, compared with the 23-point deficit nationally.
Control of U.S. Senate Centers Around a Handful of GOP-Held Seats – Wall Street Journal, 11/2/20
- Republicans and Democrats enter Election Day in a fight for control of the Senate, with key races tightening during a final push to turn out voters at the close of the chamber’s most expensive contests in history.
- Republicans are fighting to hang on to their majority, which now is a narrow 53-47 advantage.
- A total of 14 seats are now considered competitive, as record small-dollar donations have enabled Democrats to expand the map of close races from just 11 during the summer.
- Of the total, strategists have zeroed in on a handful of GOP-held seats in Maine, Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia as most likely to determine control of the Senate.
- Republicans concede that Sen. Cory Gardner will likely lose his seat in Colorado and are worried about Sen. Martha McSally’s seat in Arizona.
- Democrats expect to lose the Alabama seat held by Sen. Doug Jones.
U.S. judge weighs bid to void 127,000 votes cast at drive-through sites in Texas – Reuters, 11/2/20
- A federal judge in Texas will consider on Monday whether Houston officials should throw out about 127,000 votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Democratic-leaning area.
- U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen is set to hear an emergency bid at 10:30 a.m. local time (16:30 GMT) by a Republican state legislator and others who accuse Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Harris County, home to the city of Houston and about 4.7 million people, is the third most populous county in the United States.
- It currently has 10 drive-through polling sites, which are available to all voters.
EUROPE & WORLD
Factories Bounce Back as Consumers Snap Up Goods – Wall Street Journal, 11/2/20
- Factories in Asia and Europe bounced back strongly in October, with some patches of fresh hiring, as manufacturers ramped up production of goods in hot demand from consumers despite rising coronavirus infections.
- Eurozone factories also reported an acceleration in their recovery, led by Germany.
- Data firm IHS Markit said its manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the eurozone rose to 54.8 in October from 53.7 in September, reaching a 27-month high.
- In Asia, factories in Thailand and South Korea reported an increase in activity for the first month this year, which in the latter was aided by a first rise in export orders since January.
- In many countries, factories cut jobs in a sign that they are far from confident the recovery will continue into 2021. But there was also some fresh hiring after months of job cuts, with factories in China, Vietnam, Turkey, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic reporting a rise in employment.
Ryanair boss looks beyond summer loss to post-pandemic growth – Reuters, 11/2/20
- Ryanair recorded its first loss for the key summer period in 30 years as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which threatens to cut passenger numbers to half pre-pandemic levels next year.
- Ryanair posted a 197 million euros ($230 million) loss in the six months to the end of September after COVID-19 restrictions cut traffic by 80% and Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said a deeper loss was likely in the second half.
- That was down from a profit of 1.15 billion euros in the first half last year and represented Ryanair’s first loss in its key summer quarter since 1990.
- It was, however, less than the 244 million euro loss forecast in a company poll of analysts, while cash balances increased to 4.5 billion euros from 3.9 billion euros in the previous quarter.
- Plans to fly 40% of last year’s traffic levels in the winter might be pared back further, O’Leary said.
- But Ryanair is likely to outperform broader European traffic, which he said could fall as low as 25% of last year’s levels, and plans to fly 50% to 80% of its pre-pandemic capacity next summer, depending on how the crisis develops, he said.
- Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose on its first and only flight. (1947)
- Harry S. Truman defeated Thomas E. Dewey to the surprise of pollsters and newspapers, in the greatest presidential upset in history. (1948)
- Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford, becoming the first U.S. president from the deep South since the Civil War. (1976)