US FINANCIAL MARKET
Stocks Extend Gains Amid Election-Day Vote – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- U.S. stocks rose as millions of Americans head to the polls, setting markets up for a second consecutive day of strong gains.
- Equities have generally done well under President Donald Trump—the S&P 500 has surged 55% since the 2016 election.
- But the market lately is being buoyed partly by bets that former Vice President Joe Biden will win the White House, and Democrats will take control of Congress.
- That outcome would make it more likely lawmakers will approve a generous stimulus package to spur economic activity under the new administration.
- The forecasts of a Democratic victory could also set up markets for a big move should the election yield an unexpected result.
- Markets are also focused on whether one party wins both the White House and control of Congress, an outcome that could determine the size and speed of a fresh pandemic relief package.
- The Senate race is being scrutinized, as it is expected to be a close call and could present a major barrier to passing legislation if it is controlled by a different party than the White House.
- Among corporate issues, shares of Alibaba Group Holding slumped 7.4% after the Shanghai Stock Exchange postponed technology startup Ant Group’s blockbuster initial public offering. Alibaba owns a 33% stake in Ant.
As U.S. COVID-19 cases break records, weekly deaths rise 3% – Reuters, 11/3/20
- The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States hit another record high last week, rising 18% to more than 575,000, while deaths inched up 3%, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.
- Thirty-four out of 50 states have seen new cases increase for at least two weeks in a row, down from 36 the prior week.
- They include Florida, Ohio and Michigan — all hotly contested states for Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election.
- New cases rose 60% in Pennsylvania, another crucial state.
- Texas reported the most new cases last week with over 45,600, followed by Illinois, which has half as many people, with over 44,500 new cases.
- South Dakota led the nation with the highest positive test rate at 50%, followed by Iowa at 44% and Wyoming at 43%. A total of 17 states had a positive test rate of over 10%.
Rising COVID-19 cases push Spain’s regions to call for tighter restrictions – Reuters, 11/3/20
- The northern Spanish region of Castilla and Leon ordered a shutdown of bars and restaurants on Tuesday and demanded tougher measures from the national government to defeat one of Europe’s worst outbreaks of the coronavirus.
- Announcing the restrictions, which come into force on Nov. 6, regional leader Alfonso Fernandez Manueco described the situation as one of “maximum risk,” adding that his administration favoured stricter measures but was stymied by Spain’s current legal framework.
- Castilla and Leon’s announcement came a day after the northwestern Asturias region shut down bars and requested authorization for a home confinement but was rebuffed by the health ministry.
- Under a six-month state of emergency declared last week, regional authorities have powers to declare curfews and shut down businesses, but they cannot impose home confinement without central government authorization.
France ponders new Paris curfew as lockdown rebels frustrate government – Reuters, 11/3/20
- France could reimpose a night curfew on Paris and possibly the surrounding region amid government frustration that too many people are ignoring lockdown rules as COVID-19 infections soar.
- A final decision on a curfew had not been taken, the office of Prime Minister Jean Castex said. It will be discussed at a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and senior cabinet ministers on Wednesday, a government source said.
- In Paris, one person was becoming infected every 30 seconds, while a Parisian is admitted to hospital with the disease every 15 minutes, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran.
- Health authorities reported 52,518 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
PayPal tops estimates amid surge in online shopping but outlook disappoints – Reuters, 11/2/20
- PayPal Holdings beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Monday, boosted by a surge in digital payments as COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide drove more businesses online, but it forecast current-quarter profit below expectations.
- Revenue rose about 25% to $5.46 billion, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $5.43 billion.
- The San Jose, California-based company processed a total of $247 billion (£191 billion) in payments in the third quarter, up 36% from the year-earlier period, and added 15.2 million net new active customers.
- Venmo, the company’s service which allows individuals in the United States to send each other money through an app, processed $44 billion in payments in the third quarter, up 61%.
- Net income jumped to $1.02 billion, or 86 cents per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $462 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.
- For the fourth quarter, PayPal expects adjusted profit to grow in a range of 17% to 18%, below analysts’ estimated growth of about 24%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Fox Books Quarterly Gains from Fox News, Political Advertising – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- Fox said its profit and revenue rose for the latest quarter, booking gains in cable network programming and political advertising ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
- Overall revenue for the fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 1.9% to $2.72 billion.
- Analysts polled by FactSet were targeting $2.58 billion.
- Operating expenses fell to $1.17 billion from $1.47 billion.
- Cable network programming revenue rose 3.1% to $1.33 billion, the company said Tuesday.
- Revenue from affiliate fees rose 10% to $1.53 billion.
- But advertising revenue declined 6.9% due to a pandemic-related pullback in live sporting events and as advertisers reduced their spending.
- The company posted a profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.83 a share, compared with $499 million, or 80 cents a share, in the comparable period last year.
- Fox said it recognized gains related to cash payment received from Walt Disney for the reimbursement of Fox’s prepayment of tax liabilities from Disney’s divestiture of certain assets.
Spirit posts third straight quarterly loss as virus hits aero parts demand – Reuters, 11/3/20
- Aero parts maker Spirit AeroSystems reported a loss for a third straight quarter on Tuesday as top customers Boeing and Airbus cut jet production.
- Total revenue slumped 58% to $806 million.
- Spirit’s total deliveries of shipsets, or complete sets of parts, sank 53% to 206 units in the third quarter ended Oct. 1.
- It posted a loss of $156 million, or $1.50 per share, in the third quarter ended Oct. 1, compared with a profit of $131 million, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier.
Mondelez’s Sales in Emerging Markets Bounce Back – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- Mondelez International said sales of its snacks and candy are improving in emerging markets after months of lockdowns and economic turmoil stemming from Covid-19.
- Mondelez’s global revenue rose 4.9% in the third quarter to $6.67 billion, topping analysts’ expectations.
- Comparable sales rose 5.3% in emerging markets and 3.8% in developed countries.
- In North America, that metric, which excludes the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations, rose 6.3%.
- The company reported net income for the quarter of $1.12 billion, a 22% jump from a year earlier.
Apple to hold Nov 10 event, analysts expect new Mac computers – Reuters, 11/2/20
- Apple on Monday announced a special event for Nov. 10 but gave no further details aside from a tag line of “one more thing.”
- The company in June said it would introduce new Mac computers using its own processor chips, dubbed Apple Silicon, before the end of the year.
- Analysts expect the new Macs to debut at the November event. The Apple Silicon Macs will mark the start of a transition away Intel, Apple’s supplier for laptop and desktop processors since 2006.
- In addition to the new Macs, analysts believe that Apple is working on a new pair of over-ear AirPods headphones and tracking tags similar to those made by Tile Inc to bolster Apple’s growing accessories business.
California voters to decide fate of gig economy workers – Reuters, 11/3/20
- Trend-setting California votes on the future of the gig economy on Tuesday, deciding whether to back a ballot proposal by Uber and its allies that would cement app-based food delivery and ride-hail drivers’ status as independent contractors, not employees.
- Uber, Lyft, Doordash, Instacart and Postmates, some of whom threaten to shut down in California if they lose, have poured $202 million into what has become the most expensive ballot campaign in state history.
- Companies describe the contest as a matter of ensuring flexibility for a new generation of workers who want to choose when and how they work. Opponents see an effort to exploit workers and avoid employee-related costs that could amount to more than $392 million each for Uber Technologies, Lyft, a Reuters calculation showed.
- Californians are split on the issue. An Oct. 26 poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies of over 6,600 state residents found that 46% of voters would vote in favor of the ballot measure and 42% against it, with the remainder still undecided.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
Tense Campaign Between Trump and Biden Reaches Election-Day Climax – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- Tens of millions of Americans began heading to the polls Tuesday to decide whether President Trump or Democrat Joe Biden should occupy the White House for the next four years, as well as to determine control of Congress and 11 gubernatorial offices.
- The race for the White House in recent days has centered on Pennsylvania and two Midwestern battlegrounds won by the president in 2016.
- Mr. Trump on Monday focused his attention on white working-class voters with stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, three states that he flipped four years ago that helped propel him to the White House.
- Mr. Trump won each in 2016 by 1 percentage point or less, with a winning margin of fewer than 80,000 votes across all three states.
- The first polls close at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in Indiana and Kentucky, and more each hour until 1 a.m., when the final voting stations close in Alaska.
- The nation braced itself for the election results, with businesses in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other major cities preparing for potential violence by fortifying windows and doors with plywood or other coverings.
Senate Majority Tied to Presidential Preferences in Critical States, Voters Say – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- With almost 100 million ballots already cast, Senate Republicans and Democrats enter Election Day with scant opportunities to sway a public that has long drifted from differentiating their presidential vote from their votes in down-ballot races.
- Mr. Trump is behind in the polls in Maine, creating a potential drag for Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who has declined to say whether she will support him.
- While a negative in Maine, the president could provide some help in North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is battling Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham, a 47-year-old former state senator and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- In Michigan, Democrats are playing defense as Republican John James, a businessman and veteran, is hoping to unseat Sen. Gary Peters. Washington’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is influencing some voters. Mr. Peters has led in public polling, but Republicans say the race has tightened.
- If the races in Maine, Iowa and Arizona aren’t decisive, attention would next turn to Georgia, where two Senate seats are in play.
- If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in Georgia, as strategists and pollsters say is likely, the two contests would go to runoffs, with the outcome not determined until January.
Democrats Expected to Keep House Control, Though Tight Races Abound – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- House Democrats hoped to expand their majority Tuesday by winning districts that President Trump carried handily in 2016, while Republicans fought to hold on to seats in the suburbs.
- Democrats now control 232 seats in the House, with 197 held by Republicans and one by a Libertarian.
- The Cook Political Report puts Democrats’ likely net gain at 10 to 15 seats, with a potential for more.
- Control of the House is expected to stay in Democratic hands, according to nonpartisan campaign watchers, but strategists from both parties expected that the final margin wouldn’t be known for days or weeks, with heavy mail-in voting expected to complicate the counts.
- It could take a week to know the outcome of tight races in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Virginia, Utah and Pennsylvania, and even longer for close contests in New York, New Jersey, California and Alaska.
- In 2018, late wins in California expanded the initially narrow Democratic House majority.
Treasury Dials Back Estimates for U.S. Borrowing as Stimulus Talks Stall – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- The Treasury Department on Monday dialed back its estimates for government borrowing through the end of the year as negotiations over another large fiscal stimulus bill remain stalled.
- The Treasury estimated the government would borrow $617 billion from October through December, down from its $1.216 trillion estimate in early August.
- Senior Treasury officials said they continue to assume that Congress eventually will pass another economic-relief package with about $1 trillion in new spending—the same assumption they made in August—but that much of that borrowing would likely be pushed back to early 2021.
- Officials estimated net marketable borrowing from January through March would total $1.127 trillion. Meanwhile, borrowing from July through September was much less than expected—$454 billion, compared with $947 billion projected in August.
- All told, the government expects to issue about $1.1 trillion less in new debt during the second half of the year than anticipated in August.
EUROPE & WORLD
Bayer Posts Third-Quarter Loss on Agriculture Woes – Wall Street Journal, 11/3/20
- Bayer on Tuesday posted a loss in the third quarter as the coronavirus pandemic compounded problems the German chemical and drug giant has been facing since its acquisition of agriculture giant Monsanto just over two years ago.
- Sales fell 14% to €8.51 billion, dragged down mostly by the crops-science unit. Crop-science sales hurt notably in North America, due to a high level of product returns from farmers, such as on corn, due to lower than anticipated plantage acreages this year.
- Bayer swung to a net loss of 2.74 billion euros, equivalent to about $3.2 billion, in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a net profit of €1.04 billion.
- The company said it had to make noncash impairment charges of €9.3 billion on various assets in its agriculture unit, including goodwill.
- Bayer also said it would need an extra $750 million on top of a settlement worth up to $10.9 billion it announced over the summer to resolve a legal battle with U.S. plaintiffs alleging the Roundup weedkillers inherited from Monsanto cause cancer.
Lenovo profit beats expectations, helped by remote working trend – Reuters, 11/3/20
- China’s Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and said it is continuing to benefit from “new normal” remote working after COVID-19.
- Revenue increased 7% to $14.5 billion.
- Lenovo reported a 53% jump in net profit for the quarter ended September to $310 million, beating average analyst estimate of $224 million, according to Refinitiv data.
- Lenovo strengthened its lead in PCs with 25.7% of the market, ahead of HP Inc and Dell Technologies which had 21.6% and 15.2% share, respectively.
- Chairman Yang Yuanqing predicted a further 5% to 10% industry-wide increase of total addressable market for PCs next year.
Saudi Aramco third-quarter profit slumps 44.6% as pandemic chokes demand – Reuters, 11/3/20
- Saudi Arabian state oil giant Aramco on Tuesday reported a 44.6% drop in third-quarter net profit as the coronavirus crisis continued to choke demand and weigh on crude prices.
- Weaker refining and chemicals margins also hit Aramco’s net profit, which fell to 44.21 billion riyals ($11.79 billion) for the three months ended Sept. 30, in line with an analyst estimate of 44.6 billion riyals provided by Refinitiv but down from 79.84 billion riyals in the same period of last year.
- Aramco said it would distribute a dividend of $18.75 billion for the quarter, in line with its plan to pay a base dividend of $75 billion for 2020.
- Aramco had free cash flow of $12.4 billion in the third quarter, compared with $6.1 billion in the second quarter.
Hugo Boss dresses down as pandemic spurs casual trend – Reuters, 11/3/20
- German fashion house Hugo Boss said on Tuesday it was focused on driving a recovery of its business online and in China and tapping into the trend for more casual fashion that has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.
- After slumping to a loss in the second quarter, Hugo Boss swung back to a third-quarter operating profit of 15 million euros ($17.52 million).
- That was slightly ahead of average analyst forecasts, even though revenue fell by a currency-adjusted 24% to 533 million euros, missing a consensus for 553 million.
- Online sales jumped 66% in the third quarter, as Hugo Boss launched ecommerce in 24 more markets, with another 12 countries to be added in 2021.
- Third-quarter sales in mainland China rose 27% from a year earlier. China currently accounts for about 7% of group sales, less than many rivals.
Fiat Chrysler faces up to $840 million in potential new U.S. regulatory costs – Reuters, 11/3/20
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) disclosed it could face costs of up to 722 million euros ($840 million) to resolve a Justice Department investigation into excess diesel emissions and as a result of higher fuel economy penalties.
- The Italian-American company said the impact of a U.S. appeals court ruling in August overturning the Trump administration’s July 2019 rule that suspended a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulation more than doubling penalties for automakers failing to meet fuel efficiency requirements could be significant.
- FCA in a securities filing said the amounts “accrued could be up to 500 million euros ($581 million) depending on, among other things, our ability to implement future product actions or other actions to modify the utilization of credits.”
- Panama proclaimed its independence from Colombia. 1903
- The Soviet Union sent the first animal, a dog named Laika, into space aboard the Sputnik II. Laika died in orbit. 1957