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The morning after, there’s no clear winner yet, and no Blue Wave either

November 4, 2020, 11:04 AM UTC

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Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

And the winner of the U.S. election is…far from clear. At the time of writing, Joe Biden had secured 238 of the 270 Electoral College votes he would need to claim the presidency, and Trump had 213. That’s according to the Associated Press. Amid huge turnout, both sides have scored more raw votes than they got in the last election.

This much can be said for sure: there was no Blue Wave. Although the Democrats have notably flipped Arizona, they cannot claim an overall landslide even if they win. As things stand, it seems unlikely that they will flip the Senate, and at the time of writing they were even several seats down in the House.

So the outcome of the election looks uncertain—not just because it’s a close race, but also because President Trump is claiming electoral fraud, with no evidence. Trump said in the early hours of this morning that he had won, and would go to the Supreme Court because “we want all voting to stop.”

“We don’t want them to find any ballots at four o’clock in the morning and add them to the list,” the president said, despite the fact that it is commonplace for the count to continue for days after the election. Republicans such as Chris Christie and Rick Santorum have decried Trump’s comments, while Biden’s campaign called them “a naked effort to take away the democratic rights of American citizens.”

U.S. stock futures fell immediately after Trump’s press conference, before rebounding, then starting to head south again. So buckle up: volatility is the order of the day.

Here are some other outcomes from yesterday’s voting:

Non-election-related news below—yes, other things are happening in the world too.

David Meyer


Alibaba plunge

Alibaba's Hong Kong-listed shares fell more than 6% following Chinese regulators' extraordinary halting of affiliate Ant Group's IPO. Alibaba holds a stake of around a third in Ant Group, a payments firm whose flotation seemed set to be a world record. The suspension following the issuing of new draft rules for online micro-lending. Ant will start refunding investors today. South China Morning Post

J&J appeal

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court the decision by Missouri's Supreme Court in which it refused to consider its appeal against a $2.12 billion damages award to women who claimed asbestos in J&J talc products led to their ovarian cancer. The company claims the damages were awarded following a "fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts." It's still set aside $2.1 billion for the payouts, though. Reuters

T-cell hope

New research in the U.K. has shown that people have a "robust" cellular immune response against the coronavirus for at least six months after infection, even if they didn't have symptoms at the time. Lead study author Paul Moss, of the University of Birmingham: "This data is reassuring. However, it does not mean that people cannot be re-infected. We need to have much larger population studies to show that." So, hold off on those "immunity passport" plans for now. British Medical Journal

Paris Agreement

The U.S. officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement today, and European and U.S. investors are already urging it to rejoin. The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which includes the likes of BlackRock among its members, says recommitting to the global climate accord "would provide an important policy signal, helping unlock additional flows of investor capital to support sustainable growth and job creation across key sectors of the U.S. economy." Reuters


Chinese economy

Official data shows Chinese businesses are waiting twice as long to get paid by clients as they were five years ago—an average of 54 days, versus 45 days last year and 27 days in 2015. That has an impact on businesses' growth plans and, per the experts, it suggests China's economic recovery remains weak. Financial Times

Business survival

U.K. research shows small, independent businesses have proved better at surviving the pandemic and its lockdowns than chain stores have. In the first half of this year, 6,001 chain stores shut down, but 1,833 smaller shops closed. The figures comes from the Local Data Company and PwC, who largely attributed the phenomenon to smaller businesses being more agile and having a smaller cost base. But remember, that just covers the "first wave"; let's see what happens now, as a new lockdown beckons. BBC

Swedish lockdown

Sweden, often held up as an example of a country successfully combating the coronavirus without a lockdown, has nonetheless moved to limit people's contact with those outside their own homes, and advised people to avoid indoor spaces where crowds can form. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven talked yesterday about a "very serious situation" that is putting the Swedish health-care system under pressure, and state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said "overall, the development is moving in the wrong direction in many different ways." Fortune

Tesla squeak

Tesla narrowly avoided bankruptcy a couple years ago, when it was trying to figure out how to mass produce its Model 3 sedan. "Closest we got [to bankruptcy] was about a month," tweeted CEO Elon Musk. "The Model 3 ramp was extreme stress & pain for a long time—from mid-2017 to mid-2019. Production & logistics hell." CNBC

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.