1. U.S. Futures Drop on Jobless Data, Waning Stimulus Hope
U.S. stock futures slumped after jobless claims posted an unexpected increase amid waning prospects for more stimulus before the November election. Treasuries and the dollar rose. Risk assets also fell as Europe’s biggest cities clamped down to curb the virus, with central bank officials seeing strong reasons to avoid rushing into expanding government aid. Some sectors have done well, like a housing market that’s booming thanks to record-low mortgage. At the same time, the data show the recovery is already slowing. September saw the smallest gain in employment since a jobs rebound began in May.
2. European Stocks Slump With Virus Sparking New Restrictions
Stocks slumped around the world as Europe’s biggest cities clamped down to curb the coronavirus amid waning prospects for more economic stimulus. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 2.4%. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 1.1%. The euro decreased 0.3% to the dollar .West Texas Intermediate crude oil declined 3.5%.
3. Hong Kong Stocks Slide Most in 3 Weeks With Tech Firms Leading
Hong Kong stocks fell the most in more than three weeks, with tech shares leading losses. The benchmark Hang Seng Index dropped 2.1% at the close. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. slid 4.3%, the most since July, after reports of the U.S. is seeking to blacklist its affiliate Ant Group. Tencent Holdings and Xiaomi Corp. fell at least 3.4%, among the worst performances. The tech industry has been a focus of tensions between China and the U.S., with Trump seeking to curtail the influence of Chinese apps such as Tencent’s WeChat super app.
4. Hong Kong-Singapore Travel Bubble to Reopen Financial Hub Links
Singapore and Hong Kong will open their borders to one another for the first time in almost seven months, exempting people in both cities from compulsory quarantine in an agreement that will reinstate links between Asia’s two premier financial hubs. Compulsory quarantine will be replaced by coronavirus testing. Hong Kong-listed Cathay Pacific Airways jumped as much as 7.8%, the most in more than seven weeks. Shares of Singapore Airlines rose 0.6%. Both carriers have been hit particularly hard by travel curbs and the drop in demand from the coronavirus pandemic because they don’t have a domestic market to fall back on.
5. London Households Banned from Mixing as Virus Rules Tightened
Londoners will be banned from mixing with other households indoors from this weekend as tighter coronavirus restrictions are imposed in an attempt to curb a rise in cases in the U.K. capital. The change in the rules, which will come into force at 00:01 a.m. on Saturday, was announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in Parliament on Thursday.
6. Value Stocks Could Shine After U.S. Election, No Matter Who Wins
Next month’s U.S. election could bring in a shift from growth stocks into value, regardless of the outcome. Every presidential vote in at least the last 40 years has sparked a potential rotation from one part of the market to another no matter who is elected. This year, the contest could put value stocks in the limelight after growth shares have surged amid low interest rates and plunging bond yields.
7. Indonesia Now Has the Worst Virus Outbreak in Southeast Asia
Indonesia overtook the Philippines in its number of coronavirus cases, becoming the country with the largest outbreak in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia’s largest economy has been marking fresh records in the daily increase of virus cases every few weeks, while the Philippines have seen its numbers slowly ease. It was only in August that the Philippines overtook Indonesia to have the region’s worst outbreak as it brought back a second lockdown on its capital. Indonesia’s struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus infections is set to tip the economy into its first annual contraction since the Asian financial crisis.
8. Fate of formal and business fashion hangs by a thread
Most people in “white-collar” jobs are working from home, with a newfound love of sweatpants, a trend that some experts expect to outlive the pandemic. This seismic shift in behaviour is having profound repercussions across the supply chain for suits and formal wear. In Australia, the world’s biggest producer of merino wool, prices have been in freefall, hitting decade lows. In northern Italy, the wool mills that buy from the farmers and weave the fabric for high-end suits have seen their own orders from retailers nosedive. In the United States and Europe, several retail chains specialising in business attire such as Men’s Wearhouse, Brooks Brothers and TM Lewin have closed stores or filed for bankruptcy over the past few months.
9. Increased Chinese scrutiny triggers investment risk for ‘Beast’ Ant IPO
As Ant Group was working in August towards its giant IPO, at least two smaller Chinese banks with existing ties to the fintech firm decided to stop sourcing new consumer loans from it. Their moves came after regulators scrutinised banks that used Ant’s technology platform excessively for underwriting consumer loans at a time when concerns about loan defaults and lenders’ asset quality grew in a pandemic-hit economy.For its lending business, Ant originates loan demand from retail consumers and small businesses and passes that on to about 100 banks for underwriting and providing loans, earning fees from the bank and keeping itself free of risk.
10. World Health Organization: European cases rocket, strong limits needed
The exponential surge of coronavirus cases across Europe has warranted the restrictive measures being taken in numerous countries, making them “absolutely necessary,”. WHO warned that even more drastic steps could be taken if the pandemic does not recede. It called for countries to be “uncompromising” in their attempts to control the virus and said most of the COVID-19 spread is happening in homes, indoor spaces and communities not complying with protection measures, hence it is up to the citizens to accept them while they are still relatively easy to follow. The evolving epidemic in Europe raises great concern, but strict steps will be necessary to avoid the same very painful damaging actions seen in the first peak.