1. Jack Ma’s Ant Group Raises IPO Valuation Target to $280 Billion

Ant Group plans to increase the valuation target for its initial public offering to at least $280 billion due to strong demand, charging ahead with the sale even as the Trump administration weighs restrictions on the Chinese fintech giant. The company is lifting the target by at least 12% after initial discussions with investors. Despite the U.S. headwinds, Jack Ma’s Ant is moving ahead with what could be the world’s largest IPO, with same-day listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Ant Financial has 72 crore active users with over $17 trillion (INR 1250 lakh crore) in yearly transactions.

2. Positive Corporate News Lift U.S. Market Sentiments

U.S. equity-index futures edged higher along with stocks in Europe as positive corporate news lifted sentiment more than the negative concerns about new restrictions to curb the pandemic and the stalemate over U.S. stimulus. Boeing gained in U.S. pre-market trading after its troubled 737 Max airliner was judged safe to fly by European regulators. Pfizer also rose after saying it will seek emergency authorization for use of its Covid-19 vaccine as soon as November. Those helped push futures on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average into the green after they drifted most of the day. Treasuries held gains, while the dollar slipped with crude oil.

3. The U.K. Is Now Preparing for No-Deal: Brexit Update

The British pound fluctuated between gains and losses after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the nation was heading towards no deal with the European Union, while still holding out room for more negotiations this year. He said the U.K. will now get ready to leave the bloc’s single market and customs union at the end of the year without a new agreement in place. He blamed the bloc for refusing to “negotiate seriously” in recent months but kept the door open for further talks. He said he would always be willing to hear from the EU side if it came back with “a fundamental change of approach.”

4. Pfizer Targeting Late November for Covid Vaccine Application

Pfizer Inc. said it could seek emergency-use authorization for its Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. by late November if the shot is shown to be effective in a large late-stage trial. Safety reviews will dictate the timeline, with the Food and Drug Administration requiring that at least half the people in the study be watched for side effects for two months. That milestone should be achieved in the third week of November, Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in an open letter published Friday on the company’s website. Pfizer shares rose 2.5% in premarket U.S. trading.

5. Singapore: Employers Can Temporarily Cut Wages to Save Jobs

Employers in Singapore can consider implementing reasonable temporary wage cuts if such a move minimizes job losses, the National Wages Council said in a statement. The Council added that management should lead by example and “take earlier and deeper cuts to their wages” to effect the desired extent of cost savings. Wage cuts accepted in good faith by employees should be restored when business conditions allow.

6. Chinese Police Investigation Halts Withdrawals at Crypto-Exchange OKEx

Chinese police have launched an investigation linked to cryptocurrency exchange giant OKEx, forcing one of the world’s largest Bitcoin trading platforms to block users globally from withdrawing money. An unidentified staff responsible for users’ private keys — accounts where crypto assets are stored — has been “out of touch” while cooperating with a police investigation, the Malta-based exchange reported. As a result, the company has halted all cryptocurrency withdrawals, without saying when they will resume.  Bitcoin fell as much as 2.9%. OKEx’s native token, which serves as a user loyalty program to incentivize trades, plunged 14%.

7. Japan will not join U.S. plan to bar China from telecom networks

Japan has told the United States that Tokyo will not, at the moment, join Washington’s plan to exclude Chinese firms from telecommunications networks. Japan will take its own steps to respond in case there are worries over security issue, while Tokyo will cooperate with the United States. The U.S. State Department published in August a plan update called the “Clean Network” pushing for telecom companies, cloud service providers, and mobile apps of Chinese origin to be kept out of the United States. The United States is also pressing allies to ban Huawei from 5G mobile phone networks on security grounds.

8. Major Gulf markets dip as financials decline

Major stock markets in the Gulf fell in early trade on Thursday, hurt by losses in banking shares, with Dubai stocks falling the most. A second wave of the coronavirus is sending shock waves through the global oil market with oil producers struggling to balance output cuts with a tight fiscal situation. The second wave doesn’t fare well for an already struggling oil market and the OPEC economies especially the Gulf nations that have seen dwindling oil wealth on account of decline in crude prices. The IMF, in its latest forecast, has revised the economic growth for the largest Gulf economies – Saudi Arabia, and UAE at declines of 5.4% and 6.6% this year.

9. WHO: Remdesivir does not cut hospital stay or mortality in COVID-19 patients

The antiviral medication, among the first to be used as a treatment for COVID-19, was one of the drugs recently used to treat US President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection. The results are from WHO’s “Solidarity” trial, which evaluated the effects of four potential drug regimens, including remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, anti-HIV drug combination lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon, in 11,266 adult patients across more than 30 countries. The study found the regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the length of the in-hospital course among patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

10. Tokyo Opens Hong Kong Office to Attract Firms to Financial Hub

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has set up an office in Hong Kong to consult with companies considering a move to the Japanese capital, part of its push to make the city a global financial centre. The Hong Kong office opened for online consultations on Friday. Hong Kong’s political turmoil has made the city a key target for Japanese officials in their bid to lure foreign firms to the country. Yet high taxes, a language barrier and excessive bureaucracy are seen as hurdles to boosting the status of Japan as an international finance hub.