1. Stocks Surge and Dollar Drops on U.S. Election Day

Stocks rallied with U.S. futures on Tuesday as a gust of optimism swept through global equity markets with millions of Americans headed to vote.While trades reflecting a Democratic sweep held firm, betting markets weren’t convinced. Traders hedged prospects of post-vote volatility, driving a measure of expected swings in China’s yuan to its highest level in more than nine years. In Europe, mining shares climbed, helped by the slumping dollar. Banks rallied and joined its European peers in posting lower-than-expected bad-loan provisions from the pandemic.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 1.2% as of early morning New York time.

Nasdaq 100 Index futures advanced 0.7%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged 1.7%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 1%.

2. Americans Face Stark Choice as Election Day 2020 Dawns

Election Day 2020 is underway and for American voters the choices couldn’t be more stark. Donald Trump was a novelty four years ago, a reality television star and real estate developer with a penchant for bombast and Twitter insults. The 74-year-old president has erased any notion that the Oval Office would tame him, thrilling Republicans by cutting regulations and taxes, restricting immigration and appointing three Supreme Court justices. Joe Biden, 77, passed on a chance to run in 2016 but said Trump’s reaction to racial protests in Virginia the following year convinced him to return to politics. After lagging in the primaries, the former vice president emerged as a unity candidate, portraying himself as a man of decency who would listen to scientists fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, restore America’s overseas alliances and confront climate change. The election entered its final day on Tuesday with a record-shattering 100 million votes already cast. It’s taking place amid a third deadly wave in the pandemic, warnings about renewed foreign interference and a political environment even more polarized than in 2016, with both sides warning that a vote for the other risks plunging the country into ruin.

3. China Suspends Jack Ma’s Ant Group Shanghai IPO

China has suspended the Shanghai leg of Ant Group Co.’s $35 billion offering, potentially derailing the world’s biggest IPO. The Shanghai stock exchange will suspend the listing amid changes in the regulatory environment.  The shock move comes after China’s regulators warned that Jack Ma’s firm faces increased scrutiny and will be subject to the same restrictions on capital and leverage as banks. Ma, Ant’s billionaire co-founder, was summoned to a rare joint meeting on Monday with the country’s central bank and three other top financial regulators.

4. China Wages Trade War to ‘Punish’ Australia

What started as a political spat between Beijing and Canberra has become a one-sided trade war that threatens serious disruption for an expanding number of Australian exporters. China won’t allow imports of a swathe of Australian commodities and foodstuffs from as early as this week. The curbs are a major escalation in Beijing’s pressure campaign following a two-year stand-off over issues from technology to the origins of coronavirus. China’s blacklist — delivered verbally to commodities traders — includes coal, barley, copper, sugar, timber, wine and lobster. It doesn’t cover materials, like iron ore or natural gas, where import curbs could unduly damage China’s own economy.

5. Billionaire Adani Set to Develop Sri Lanka’s Port Terminal

India’s Adani Group is the front-runner to develop Sri Lanka’s stalled East Container Terminal in Colombo port, helping billionaire Gautam Adani expand his port business overseas. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. and a local partner received an in-principle approval to sign a deal with Sri Lanka Ports Authority, which will hold majority stake in the project. Details of the stake-holding are still being worked out after a review of the project following labor protests that had stalled the deal before parliamentary elections in August. Adani, India’s biggest ports and logistics company, had signed a preliminary agreement for the project last year.

6. Microsoft to Join $100 Million Investment in Indonesia’s Bukalapak

Microsoft has agreed to join a $100 million investment in Indonesian online marketplace PT Bukalapak.com. The U.S. company confirmed it was making a strategic investment in Bukalapak in a joint statement on Tuesday, though it didn’t disclose the amount. Under the partnership, Bukalapak will adopt Microsoft’s Azure as its preferred cloud platform to support its more than 1.2 crore merchants and 10 crore customers. U.S. tech giants are increasingly turning their attention to Indonesia, seeking to tap a rapidly growing smartphone population in the world’s fourth most-populous country. 

7. Singapore Stocks Post Biggest Gain in Five Months on Biden Victory Hopes

One of Asia’s worst-performing stock markets got some respite on Tuesday ahead of the U.S. presidential poll as investors gear up for a Biden win. The Straits Times Index closed up 2.2%, its biggest rise in five months, and climbed the most among all major indexes in Asia Pacific. All 30 stocks were in the green, with industrials, property and banking shares among the top gainers as investors bought into the gauge dominated by old-economy sectors. All polls are predicting a Biden win so this is investors positioning themselves.

8. Slumping oil demand, prices drive Saudi Aramco profit 44.6% lower

Saudi state oil giant says it will maintain its quarterly dividend payment, most of which goes to the government. Aramco has reported sharply lower earnings as crude prices slide while countries once again impose measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The company, which launched the world’s biggest-ever public IPO sale last December, on Tuesday reported a 44.6% drop in third-quarter net profit. Weaker refining and chemicals margins have also hit the company’s net profit.

9. Cash-strapped Oman plans income tax on wealthy starting 2022

To tackle a growing budget deficit, Oman is to break with the long-standing practice among Gulf Arab states and tax the income of wealthy individuals starting 2022. Cash-strapped Oman plans to take a step unheard of in the Persian Gulf region: It’s going to start taxing the income of wealthy individuals beginning in 2022, as part of a broader program to tackle a budget deficit that’s ballooned due to low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. By reducing government spending while spurring investments, the plan is projected to bring the budget deficit – estimated to reach nearly 19% of gross domestic product in 2020 by the International Monetary Fund – to 1.7% by 2024, the Ministry of Finance said on Sunday.

10. UAE non-oil private sector shrinks for the second time in three months

The United Arab Emirates’ non-oil private sector slipped back into contraction in October for the second time in three months, stunting the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Companies continued to shed jobs for the 10th consecutive month amid concerns that costs would eclipse revenues, though October’s fall in employment was softer than the average for the year to date. The seasonally adjusted UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which covers manufacturing and services, fell to 49.5 in October from 51.0 in September, slipping below the 50.0 mark that separates growth from contraction for the seventh month this year.

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