1. Stocks Slump on Rising Covid Cases; Dollar Gains

U.S. equities slumped along with European shares on concern that rising coronavirus cases will weaken the global economy and as prospects dimmed for fiscal aid from Washington before the presidential election. Energy and materials companies were among the worst performers on the S&P 500 Index. In Europe, a gauge of tech stocks fell the most since March after German software maker SAP SE plunged 20% following a cut to its revenue forecast and warnings that the pandemic will hurt business through mid-2021. Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. slid on China’s plan to sanction the companies after the U.S. approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan last week.

The S&P 500 Index decreased 0.9% as of early morning New York time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.1%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 0.3%.

2. China to Sanction Boeing, Raytheon Over U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

China will impose unspecified sanctions on Boeing Co.’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. after the U.S. State Department approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan last week. The sanctions will be imposed “in order to uphold national interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday in Beijing. The action follows the U.S. State Department’s approval last week of $1.8 billion in sales of new weapons for Taiwan and submission of the package to Congress for a final review. The deals, and an earlier one involving Lockheed F-16 fighters, are taking place amid rising tension between the superpowers ahead of the U.S. election next week. 

3. Pelosi Awaits Virus Stimulus Offer Today as Hope for Vote Fades

The three months of squabbling over a new round of virus relief moved no closer to a resolution over the weekend, all but extinguishing the prospects of a stimulus bill being written, voted on, and signed into law by President Donald Trump before the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s waiting for another counter-offer on Monday from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as she and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows accused each other of “moving the goalposts” in negotiations. Much of the weekend was devoted to work by congressional committees with the goal of writing legislation, but aides in both parties said little progress was made despite the pledges from both sides that they want to quickly deliver $1,200 (89,000 INR) stimulus payments to most Americans along with aid to struggling businesses.

4. Europe Struggles to Regain Control from Second Covid-19 Wave

Europe took a step closer to the strict rules imposed during the initial wave of the pandemic, with leaders struggling to regain control of the spread while confronting growing opposition to restrictions. The Czech Republic — the European Union’s worst hot spot — and Poland signaled more curbs may be near, and Belgium is mulling a lockdown. AstraZeneca said its vaccine candidate produced a robust immune response in elderly people, while Johnson & Johnson said the first batches of its shot could be available in January. Both companies are resuming trials that had been paused due to safety concerns. U.K. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said his “central expectation” is there will be a vaccine to roll out in the first half of 2021. The World Health Organization’s director general said some countries in the northern hemisphere are facing a “dangerous moment.”

5. Dubai announces $136 million extra stimulus package

Dubai has announced a new 500 million dirhams (INR 1000 cr) stimulus package to support the local economy, taking Dubai’s total stimulus measures this year to 6.8 billion dirhams, the crown prince of the emirate said on Twitter on Saturday. “The private sector is a major partner in Dubai’s development process, and we have adopted a set of new exemptions for some fees and a reduction in rents for some sectors, as well as an extension of the validity of a previous set of exemptions from fees,” said Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum.

6. U.S. appeals WTO ruling on its multi-billion tariffs on China

The United States lodged an appeal on Monday against a WTO ruling last month that found U.S. tariffs imposed on China in 2018 breached global trade rules, a World Trade Organization (WTO) official said. A three-person panel had ruled that U.S. had not justified why the tariffs imposed after a Section 301 investigation against China were a justifiable exception to its obligations. The U.S. delegation, in a speech seen by Reuters announcing its appeal, said that the panel report “reflects a major, missed opportunity for the WTO to begin to address the most serious problem faced by every member that seeks a balanced and fair world trading system: namely, aggressive, state policies that seek to dominate broad industrial sectors.”

7. Fiat, PSA to win EU approval for $38 billion merger

Fiat Chrysler and PSA are set to win EU approval for their $38 billion (INR 2.8 lakh cr) merger to create the world’s fourth-largest carmaker, as they strive to meet the industry’s dual challenges of funding cleaner vehicles and the global pandemic. The green light from the European Commission would formalise the creation of Stellantis, a carmaking group that could tap hefty profits from selling RAM pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs to U.S. drivers to fund the expensive development of zero-emission vehicles for sale in Europe and China. The all-share merger announced late last year would unite brands such as Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Maserati with the likes of Peugeot, Opel and DS.

8. Bond Defaults Deliver 99% Losses in New Era of U.S. Bankruptcies

Bankruptcy filings are surging due to the economic fallout of Covid-19, and many lenders are coming to the realization that their claims are almost completely worthless. While few could have foreseen the pandemic’s toll on the economy, the depth of investors’ pain from corporate distress was all too predictable. Desperate to generate higher returns during a decade of rock-bottom interest rates, money managers bargained away legal protections, accepted ever-widening loopholes, and turned a blind eye to questionable earnings projections. Corporations, for their part, took full advantage and gorged on astronomical amounts of debt that many now cannot repay or refinance. It’s a stark reminder of the long-lasting repercussions of the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented easy-money policies. Ultralow rates helped risky companies sell bonds with fewer safeguards, which creditors seeking higher returns were happy to accept. Now, amid a new bout of economic pain, the effects of those policies are coming to bear.

9. Jack Ma Wealth Surges Above Walmart Heirs’ With Record Ant IPO

Jack Ma, the former English teacher who co-founded Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is poised to become the world’s 11th richest person after Ant Group Co. priced shares for a record IPO. Ma’s 8.8% stake is worth $27.4 billion based on the stock pricing in Hong Kong and Shanghai. That will take the 56-year-old’s fortune to $71.6 billion (INR 5.3 lakh cr) on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, exceeding that of Oracle’s Larry Ellison, L’Oreal’s heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers and individual members of the Waltons, whose family own Walmart Inc. Ant’s mammoth listing is poised to boost the fortunes of a group of early investors and employees. The company has granted staff share-based awards since 2014 and at least 18 other people have become billionaires from the IPO.

10. Brexit decision entirely separate from U.S. election outcome

Britain’s decision on whether to agree a Brexit deal with the European Union is entirely separate to the outcome of the U.S. election next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

“The two things are entirely separate,” Johnson said, when asked about an Observer newspaper report that he was waiting to see the U.S. result before making a Brexit decision, and whether he was concerned about the prospect of a Joe Biden presidency.

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