Tech giants disappoint, rocking global stocks and U.S. futures

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Happy Friday, Bull Sheeters. Big Tech’s big four—Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google—reported on Thursday a combined $38 billion in profits, and yet Nasdaq futures are bombing this morning on the murky outlooks they provided.

Meanwhile, COVID cases hit fresh records across much of Europe and the U.S. in the past 24 hours. It’s entirely possible that Americans will see numbers topping 100,000 cases per day shortly after Election Day.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update

Asia

  • The major Asia indexes are solidly in the red in afternoon trading with Japan’s Nikkei down 1.5%.
  • Demand for Ant Group shares is feverish on the eve of its record-breaking IPO, forcing its underwriters to boost the fund-raising effort to a whopping $37 billion.
  • China’s latest five-year plan was released yesterday. Out is the practice of GDP targeting; in is an emphasis on “quality growth.”

Europe

  • The European bourses were sharply lower at the open, adding pain to a brutal week for European equities. Germany’s DAX was off 0.7% an hour into trading.
  • The French economy grew by a better than expected 18.2% last quarter, but nobody’s cheering as the country deals with a devastating second wave of COVID that will significantly dent GDP in the weeks and months to come.
  • Shares in Total were down 0.7% as the French energy giant issued a big bottom-line beat on Friday, and shrugged off concerns of oil prices hovering around $40.

U.S.

  • U.S. futures point to a rough open with Nasdaq futures sinking by as much as 230 points as investors weren’t pleased with the outlooks provided by Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
  • Shares in Apple are down 5% in pre-market trading as iPhone sales slumped.
  • Investors cheered Netflix’s first subscription price increase since January 2019, pushing shares up 3.7%. It comes after Netflix disappointed last week on subscriber numbers.

Elsewhere

  • Gold is up, trading above $1,870/ounce.
  • The dollar is down.
  • Crude is falling again with Brent now trading around $37.50/barrel. Sorry, oil bulls. No matter who wins the White House, it won’t ease Big Oil’s biggest problem: too much oil on the market.
  • Bitcoin is up 1.3%, trading above $13,300.

***

By the numbers

-1,135

Let’s start in Germany. The DAX in Frankfurt is down again this morning, and is now off 1,135 points (-9%) over the past five trading sessions. There were high hopes for European stocks going into Q4, but the second wave of coronavirus has squelched that trade. In fact, European stocks are on pace for their worst week since March. A reminder: March was not a good month for stocks.

100

Yesterday, Fortune released its annual fastest-growing companies list, charting the 100 companies who’ve grown their top-line, profits and shareholder return at the strongest pace over the past year. This is indeed an impressive cohort. On average, Fortune‘s Fastest Growing Companies delivered a 19% return to shareholders over the past three years, easily outperforming the S&P 500 index (11%). Four China-based companies made the list; and California is the top state in the union with 20 representatives from the Golden State. Yes, tech companies are well represented, but it’s not the top sector. That honor goes to finance. Yes, finance.

T-minus 4

We’re just four days away from Election Day, so we’re going to take another look at the prediction markets for the White House and Congress. Wall Street has been handicapping the odds for months, and Goldman Sachs, among others, still believes a so-called “blue sweep” is a distinct possibility, even if the odds are slipping. They see the Democrats’ chances of gaining control of the Senate as a much tighter race all of a sudden. Why is this important? “Under a Democratic sweep, we think Democrats would likely pass a ~$2.5tn COVID-19 relief package,” Goldman analysts write, and that could provide a healthy lift to Q1 GDP. For my readers who are political junkies, check out Fortune‘s Shawn Tully’s piece on why these two states—Florida and Pennsylvania—are the ones to watch next week.

***

Have a nice weekend, everyone. I’ll see you here on Monday. 

Bernhard Warner
@BernhardWarner
[email protected]

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