1. U.S. Stocks Push Higher; Oil Tumbles on Virus Concerns
U.S. stocks rose a day after their biggest fall in four months, with investors encouraged by better-than-forecast GDP data even as they kept a wary eye on growing coronavirus infections. Oil plunged for a second day on concern lockdowns will sap demand. Automakers led the S&P 500 Index higher after reports showed record growth in the third quarter and a decline in weekly jobless claims. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 outperformed ahead of earnings reports from Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook due after the close. In Europe, stocks erased most of their losses after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said officials could look at new instruments for supporting the economy when they meet in December.
The S&P 500 Index rose 0.8% as of early morning New York time.
The Nasdaq 100 Index increased 1.5%.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2%.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.2%.
2. US economy turns in record Q3 growth, but the crisis is not over
The United States economy grew at its fastest pace on record in the third quarter, rebounding at an annual rate of 33.1%. The blockbuster reading follows on from a record-shattering 31.4% contraction in the Q2 and a -5% hit in Q1– when the economy officially entered recession in February.The balance signals that though the economy is crawling out of the deep hole dug by COVID-19 it still has a way to go to recapture its pre-pandemic strength. Moreover, some sectors of the economy are recovering faster than others and those disparities are rippling through the fabric of American society in the form of deepening inequalities. Those with a job and assets like stock portfolios and homes are doing well, while those who are jobless or own a business ravaged by virus restrictions are falling further behind. Racial wealth and income disparities are widening. Women are dropping out of the workforce at an alarming rate as the demands of jobs and looking after children learning remotely force tough choices on parents.
3. Three killed in ‘terrorist attack’ on French church
An attacker armed with a knife killed three people inside a church Thursday in the Mediterranean city of Nice, prompting the country to raise its security alert status to the highest level. It was the third attack in two months in France that authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher. It comes amid a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo — renewing vociferous debate in France and the Muslim world over the depictions that Muslims consider offensive but are protected by French free speech laws.
4. China aims for sustained, healthy growth in the five years to 2025
President Xi Jinping and members of the Central Committee, the largest of the ruling party’s elite decision-making bodies, met behind closed doors this week to lay out the 14th five-year plan, a blueprint for economic and social development. China’s external environment “is getting more complicated”, the state news agency said, adding, “There is a significant increase in instabilities and uncertainties.” However, the country’s development was still in a period of important strategic opportunities, despite new challenges, it said. It added that China aims to boost its gross domestic product (GDP) per person to the level of moderately developed countries by 2035, while GDP is due to cross $15 trillion by the end of 2020. China will also deepen reforms and let market forces play a decisive role in resources allocation.
5. Germany Imposes Toughest Restrictions Since Lockdown
Chancellor Angela Merkel will impose the toughest restrictions on Germany since a national lockdown earlier this year, closing bars and restaurants in Europe’s largest economy to regain control of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. The one-month partial shutdown, which will go into effect on Monday, is designed to keep most businesses operating. Officials will discuss again in two weeks to assess the impact of the measures. With the public weary of pandemic measures and protests increasing, the government sought to ease pressure by making available up to $11.7 billion (INR 88,600 cr) in aid for companies affected by the measures, including reimbursing as much as 75% of lost sales in November.
6. China Marks Another Step in Virus Rebound With Singapore Opening
Singapore will lift border restrictions on visitors from mainland China from Nov. 6, a further reminder that the nation where the coronavirus outbreak first began is firmly on the road to recovery as the pandemic rages elsewhere. Visitors will have to undergo a coronavirus PCR test upon arrival at Singapore’s Changi Airport. If the result is negative, they will be allowed to enter Singapore without having to serve a stay-home notice.
New cases in China have remained below 100 a day since mid-August, with travelers into the country subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Masks and temperature checks are generally still required in public places.
7. Record 200 Days With No Local Case Makes Taiwan World’s Envy
While many countries around the world are hitting new highs in coronavirus cases, Taiwan has achieved a different kind of record — 200 days without a locally transmitted case. Taiwan holds the world’s best virus record by far and reached the new landmark on Thursday, even as the pathogen explodes anew in Europe and the U.S. Taiwan’s last local case came on April 12; there has been no second wave. What did this island of 23 million people do right? It has had 553 confirmed cases, with only seven deaths. Experts say closing borders early and tightly regulating travel have gone a long way toward fighting the virus. Other factors include rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and widespread mask wearing. Further, Taiwan’s deadly experience with SARS has scared people into compliance.
8. Central Banks Sell Gold for First Time in a Decade
Central banks became gold sellers for the first time since 2010 as some producing nations exploited near-record prices to soften the blow from the coronavirus pandemic. Net sales totaled 12.1 tons of gold bullion in the third quarter, compared with purchases of 141.9 tons a year earlier, according to a report by the World Gold Council. Selling was driven by Uzbekistan and Turkey, while Russia’s central bank posted its first quarterly sale in 13 years, the WGC said.
9. Asian stocks extend global market sell-off as virus cases surge
Asian share markets fell on Thursday but not as sharply as Wall Street’s sell-off overnight, while oil bounced off lows and US stock futures jumped, as Asia’s brighter economic outlook offset investor worries about fresh COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1 percent. Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.8 percent and drops in Hong Kong, Sydney, Shanghai and Seoul were smaller than 1.5 percent. Those are heavy losses, but much less than the United States’s S&P 500 index’s 3.5-percent drop in New York or the 4.2-percent fall by Germany’s DAX, which led European shares to their lowest level since late May.
10. Abu Dhabi to issue FDI licences allowing 100% foreign ownership
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, will issue foreign direct investment (FDI) licences to allow foreign investors to own 100% of projects in the emirate in sectors including agriculture, industry and services. The move implements a foreign investment law approved in 2018 allowing foreign investors to own more than 49% and up to 100% of some UAE businesses, as the country seeks to boost private sector activity. About 122 economic activities, which were approved by the UAE cabinet last year across 13 sectors, would allow 100% foreign ownership in Abu Dhabi.