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After Wednesday’s monster sell-off, global markets remain choppy ahead of a Big Tech earnings bonanza

October 29, 2020, 9:48 AM UTC

Good morning. Stocks and futures are rebounding modestly after Wednesday’s rout, the worst sell-off in the past four months. But markets remain on edge ahead of a big set of Big Tech earnings calls after the bell today.

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update


  • The major Asia indexes are mostly lower with the Shanghai Composite the best of the bunch, clinging to 0.1% gain in afternoon trading.
  • News flash: China has fallen way behind in fulfilling its part of the bargain for the Phase 1 trade deal struck earlier this year, with its U.S. imports falling to about half (53%) of where they should be under the deal’s parameters.
  • Shares in Samsung are down 1.5% in Seoul after the tech giant issued a profit warning on falling chip prices.


  • The European bourses opened higher before dipping slightly as double-digit recession concerns grow. The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.6% 90 minutes into the trading session.
  • All eyes are on the ECB today. There is increasing speculation that the central bank, facing a wave of lockdowns, will announce a €500 billion boost to its bond-buying program.
  • Tiffany & Co. was one of the few gainers on Wednesday. Its rocky courtship with French luxury giant LVMH is back on again after Tiffany’s board agreed to shave about $425 million off the sale price.


  • U.S. futures point to a solid open. That’s after the three major exchanges all sold off hard on Wednesday, wiping out their gains for the month. Tech stocks were among the biggest losers.
  • The Dow’s 943-point drop yesterday sent market pros back to the history books. Such a precipitous drop so close to Election Day has happened just twice before—during the Great Depression (1932) and in the throes of the global financial crisis in 2008. If history is any judge, that’s bad news for the incumbent.
  • If you’re a follower of the Presidential Predictor—an oft-cited markets-performance indicator during presidential election cycles—it’s now flashing a clear winner for the White House next week.
  • There’s a lot on the calendar today: GDP numbers, unemployment claims and earnings for Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet’s Google.


  • Gold is flat, but after yesterday’s sell-off it’s trading below $1,880/ounce.
  • A reader sent me a note asking for some crypto love in this section, so here goes: Bitcoin is trading just below $13,200, about 3% below a multi-year high reached yesterday.
  • The dollar is up.
  • Crude is tanking again today. Brent is trading below $39/barrel.



Correction territory…

“Expectations that COVID-19 would be under control by now have vanished and we see stocks falling by another 10-20% from here. We believe that if the S&P 500 breaks below 3,200 before the election, its next move may be down another 12% to 2,890.” — James McDonald, CEO of Hercules Investments.

…or just a healthy sell-off?

“As I write this, the S&P 500 is down about 8 percent from the all-time high. That is not nothing, but we saw a bigger drop in September and a subsequent recovery. We saw almost as big a drop in June and a subsequent recovery. And, of course, we saw a much bigger drop in March and a much bigger recovery. Current volatility can pass quickly when conditions change.” — Brad McMillan, Chief Investment Officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.

FAA(-M)G Thursday

“FB GOOG AMZN AAPL on Thursday night. Going to be huge and again, the odds are higher than any weakness on any of them will be read as a contagious sell signal. All are priced for some degree of perfection. All need to hit it.” — Hilary Kramer, Chief Investment Officer for Kramer Capital Research.

On Trump stocks vs. Biden stocks

Stocks go up or down. But what about right or left? Morgan Stanley analysts has an inventive way to look at stocks going into the election. (We cover this further in Today’s reads just below.)

J.P. Morgan US Equity Strategy & Global Quantitative Research

A rough winter in Europe

Economists are once again tearing up and rewriting GDP projections as the pandemic worsens. Berenberg Bank released a note this morning showing the economic toll that curfews and lockdown-like measures will exact on Q4 GDP. Bars and restaurants will be among the hardest hit.


Bernhard Warner

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Today's read

Basket of own-ables. For much of the year, Morgan Stanley analysts have been tracking two different stock groupings—one that presumably would thrive under a Biden presidency, and another that would benefit from another four years of Trump. They call them the "Biden basket" and the "Trump basket." Coming into this week, the Biden basket was far outperforming the Trump basket. Fortune's Lee Clifford explains what it all means.

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Market candy

Quiz time

Yesterday's sell-off of German equities was brutal, with the benchmark DAX down more that 4%. Out of the stocks that make up the blue chip DAX 30, only one closed in the green yesterday. And, that lone high-flyer was ...?

  • A) Bayer
  • B) Daimler
  • C) Delivery Hero
  • D) Adidas

The answer is C, Delivery Hero. The Berlin-based online food-delivery giant, which joined the DAX just a couple of months ago, finished the day 1.25% higher. As Fortune's David Meyer reports, Delivery Hero really delivered for investors last quarter, reporting knockout sales and profits, and improved its guidance. This is no fluke. Delivery Hero shares are up more than 100% in the past year.