1. Europe Stocks Climb on Earnings; US Futures Edge Up

European stocks advanced on the back of positive earnings and solid euro-zone economic data, putting them on track for the first increase this week. U.S. futures edged higher. Barclays jumped on an earnings beat, lifting banking shares. Car makers rose after Daimler raised its profit forecast and Renault topped revenue estimates, the latest signs the global auto industry is emerging from its worst slump in decades. The euro strengthened as regional manufacturing data exceeded estimates. In pre-market trading, U.S. chip giant Intel slumped after a surprise drop in data-center sales. Gilead Sciences jumped after its antiviral therapy remdesivir became the first drug formally cleared by FDA to treat Covid-19.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.6%.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq 100 Index climbed 0.1%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.2%.

2. US election debate does little to sway stock market investors

Global stocks barely budged on Friday as investors remained wary with less than two weeks to go before the United States presidential election and the final debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Thursday night presented no surprises for election watchers but slightly reinforced investor caution heading into the November 3 polls. US S&P 500 stock index futures had dipped slightly after the debate but were mostly flat by midday trade in Asia. 

3. US Readies for an Eye-Popping GDP Numbers

The Covid-19 pandemic caused the deepest U.S. recession since at least World War II. GDP shrank at an annual rate of 31.4% in the second quarter. Covid-19 is infecting more than 50,000 Americans a day, the most since early August. Somehow, though, the economy has roared back. On Oct. 29, the government is likely to report that GDP rose an annualized 30% in the third quarter—also a postwar record.Two things explain the economy’s rebound. States ended the general shutdowns that squelched growth in the second quarter. And Congress and the Federal Reserve came to the rescue with unprecedented fiscal and monetary relief.

4. China sends Warning by Remembering Its Only War With U.S.

China is going all out in remembrance of its participation against the U.S. in the Korean War, sending a message to the U.S. that it’s not intimidated by American military might. President Xi Jinping took part in a ceremony Friday in Beijing marking the 70th anniversary since its army took up fighting in a conflict China’s government describes as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.” The war “shatters the legend that the U.S. Army is not defeatable,” Xi said in an address at the Great Hall of the People attended by party dignitaries, military representatives and veterans. “The Korean War shows that the Chinese people should not be provoked. If you make trouble, be prepared to bear the consequences.”

5. Goldman Sachs to pay billions in new 1MDB scandal penalties

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. admitted its role in the biggest foreign bribery case in U.S. enforcement history, reaching multiple international settlements to end probes into its fundraising for the scandal-plagued Malaysian fund known as 1MDB. Goldman officials helped spread $1.6 billion in illegal payments across Malaysia and the Middle East as part of a scheme that diverted money raised for development projects into an international spending spree on mansions and lavish parties, the bank said. Goldman agreed to pay $2.9 billion in penalties to settle criminal charges in the scandal.

6. Gilead’s remdesivir first to win US approval to treat COVID-19

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug Veklury – better known as remdesivir – for the treatment of COVID-19. Veklury is the brand name for remdesivir, which was previously authorised by the FDA for emergency use to treat patients who have been hospitalised with COVID-19. Gilead becomes the first and only company to receive approval for a COVID-19 treatment in the US. Remdesivir, which was developed by Gilead as a treatment for Ebola, works to stop the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Gilead said in its press release that Veklury “shortened time to recovery by five days” in patients hospitalised with the virus.

7. US home sales and jobless claims underscore rising inequality

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday that sales of previously owned homes grew for a fourth consecutive month in September, with completed transactions rising to an annual 6.54 million units – the highest level in 14 years. The report signals that the US housing market remains red hot – even in a month when housing sales traditionally start to slow down.

The rock bottom mortgage rates and people who can afford it upgrading to bigger and better digs are keeping the housing market hot. At the close of September, the U.S. economy had only recovered a little over half of the 22 million jobs lost during March and April. Many layoffs have turned into permanent job losses and as last week’s data demonstrate, showing rising inequality.

8. Philippines Lets Foreigners In, Eases Travel Rules for Citizens

The Philippines will welcome back foreign nationals starting Nov. 1 and allow Filipino travelers to leave without Covid-19 antigen tests as the Southeast Asian nation continues to reopen. Religious gatherings in areas under a looser form of quarantine will be allowed up to 30% of seating capacity from 10% previously. Early this week, the government shortened curfew hours in the capital region and eased stay-at-home order in response to a request from the Cabinet to allow more businesses to thrive.

9. Ant’s IPO Lures Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, UBS Asset

T. Rowe Price Group, UBS Asset Management and Fidelity Investments, are among the money managers angling for a piece of Ant Group’s blockbuster IPO. Each of the firms is considering investments worth several billion dollars in Ant’s Hong Kong-listed shares. Ant is expected to start taking orders for the Hong Kong portion of its dual listing on Oct. 26 and price shares as soon as Oct. 29, people familiar with the matter said. The company may raise about $35 billion in Hong Kong and Shanghai combined.

10. Vietnam’s Stocks Erase 2020 Losses Amid Optimism Over Economy

Vietnam’s stocks rallied the most in seven weeks on Friday, helping the benchmark gauge erase its year-to-date losses. The VN Index rallied 1.2%. The measure has rallied more than 12% over the past three months, the best performance in Southeast Asia, taking its rebound from this year’s low in March up by 46%. Vietnam’s economy is one of the few in Asia that are expected to expand this year after the country successfully curbed the pandemic.