1. European Stocks Drop; U.S. Futures Recovers

Global stocks retreated as worries about a delay to U.S. economic stimulus, the impact of surging virus cases across Europe and the possibility of American election interference weighed on market sentiment. U.S. futures recovered losses and Treasuries steadied as investors also considered earnings data. Tesla climbed in pre-market trading after beating analysts’ estimates. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.5% to the lowest level since Oct. 2. 

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5%. 

The dollar was little changed, while gold declined.

2. AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial Brazil volunteer dies, trial to continue

Brazilian health authority Anvisa said on Wednesday that a volunteer in a clinical trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University had died but added that the trial would continue. Oxford confirmed the plan to keep testing, saying in a statement that after careful assessment “there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial.” Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported that the volunteer had been given a placebo and not the trial vaccine, citing unnamed sources.

3. Tesla posts its most profitable quarter ever as it blows past analyst estimates

Tesla on Wednesday posted its fifth consecutive profitable quarter, putting the electric automaker on track to turn its first-ever annual profit this year. The company said it earned an adjusted $0.76 per share for the three months that ended September 31 on $8.77 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts expected $0.55 of earnings per share on $8.26 billion in revenue. The company’s stock price rose about 3% in late trading following the release. Shares have soared nearly 400% higher this year as investors clamor for a piece of Tesla’s growth. Tesla is on track to deliver 500,000 cars this year, with factories in Shanghai and Berlin expected to begin production next year.

4. New Virus Records Across Europe; Spike in South Africa

Poland joined Germany and Hungary in reporting another record highs in coronavirus infections, while Spain and France became the first countries in Western Europe to pass 1 million cases. South Africa is concerned over a sharp resurgence after the country eased movement curbs at the beginning of the month. Hospitalizations in the U.S. have reached a two-month high, led by the Midwest. New York state’s new cases exceeded 2,000 for the first time since May. AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson may resume U.S. trials as soon as this week for vaccines that are backed by the government’s Operation Warp Speed program. The companies previously halted testing for the shots because participants fell ill.

5. COVID & technology could disrupt 85 million jobs by 2025: WEF

The coronavirus pandemic has deepened inequalities across labour markets and accelerated the urgency with which the public and private sectors must act to ensure millions of people remain employable in a changing jobs market, the World Economic Forum (WEF) stressed yesterday. Within the next five years, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs around the world, WEF’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 found. Remote work is here to stay and going forward, workers should expect to change careers and hone skills multiple times throughout their careers to adapt to new labour trends.WEF’s report found that the pace of technological adoption is expected to remain accelerated during the next five years with the continued adoption of cloud computing, big data and e-commerce. The pandemic-induced economic crisis has only accelerated the process and continued to clobber entire sectors on a far worse level than the 2008 global financial crisis.

6. More than half of small European firms fear closure: McKinsey

The finding comes as warnings multiply of an impending wave of business insolvencies and as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others urge the region’s governments to boost state support to help companies weather the coronavirus pandemic. The McKinsey survey of more than 2,200 companies in five countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain – found that 55 percent expected to shut down by September next year if their revenues remained at current levels. In Europe, they employ more than 90 million people, but their small size makes them vulnerable to cash flow crisis. In Spain, for example, 83 percent of the 85,000 businesses that have collapsed since February employ fewer than five workers.

7. US approves USD 1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan amid tensions with China

In a move that will irk China, the United States on Tuesday approved the potential sale of three weapon systems to Taiwan, including missiles and artillery, that could have a total value of USD 1.8 billion. The move comes at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan are heightened. The relations between China and the US have also deteriorated in recent times due to various reasons including Indo-Pacific and coronavirus pandemic.China has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with invasion and has adopted an aggressive policy to intimidate the self-governing island.For decades, the Chinese government has claimed authority over Taiwan. Though Taiwan is not recognised by the UN, its government maintains a relationship with the US and does not accept the Chinese authority.

8. India to Restore Visas Despite Virus in Bid to Open Economy

India is reopening its borders to international visitors in a bid to revive economic growth even as the South Asian nation faces the world’s second-worst coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using a dip in new Covid-19 infections to prise open the economy from its strict lockdown, welcoming foreigners on business trips, but not tourists. While regular scheduled commercial flights remain off limits for the time being, overseas travelers can use other options, including flights under a government repatriation program, so-called air-bubble agreements, and private charters. Ships will also be permitted. All travelers must “strictly adhere” to the guidelines on quarantine and other rules.

9. Bitcoin soars to new 2020 high on PayPal shift to crypto

Bitcoin, the largest digital coin, soars after PayPal announced that it would allow customers to use cryptocurrencies.PayPal customers can use select cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin on the platform. This is considered the “biggest news of the year” in crypto. The news sparked an exuberant response from crypto fans who pointed to a string of recent announcements that suggest wider acceptance by old-school financial mainstays. Fidelity Investments announced in August that it’s launching its first Bitcoin fund, adding its establishment name and star power to the often-maligned asset class.

10. China to issue export control list at appropriate time: Commerce Ministry

China will issue a control list under its new export control law at the appropriate time, Gao Feng, commerce ministry spokesman, told reporters on Thursday. On Saturday, China passed a law restricting exports of controlled items, allowing the Chinese government to act against countries that abuse export controls in a way that harms China’s interests.

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