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Europe Covid Cases Dampen World Markets

Monday, October 26, 2020

It was supposed to have been a week where Big Tech earnings reports would dominate, perhaps with better-than-expected results adding to the rebound we began to see in regular-day Friday trading. Last week was down overall for the first time this month, but Friday’s gains — propelled also by continued hope for a new stimulus package to pass through Congress — looked toward a brighter future.

This has been eclipsed to start the new week, however. Reports of a spike in Covid-19 cases in Europe has sparked talk whether shutdowns will be forthcoming in France, Italy, Poland and other places in the EU, in addition to the UK. German tech giant SAP SAP has slashed its revenue estimates during its quarterly earnings report, as demand is now expected to recede based on this second-wave of coronavirus spread. Shares fell more than 20% intraday Monday.

Covid cases here in the U.S. are also troubling: we have a record high new cases per day for three days in a row. Incidentally, these even include staffers and advisors in Vice President Pence’s office. Both WTI and Brent crude oil futures are down more than 2% this morning, and market indexes are taking a bath: Dow -350 points, S&P 500 -40 and the Nasdaq -120. And with regions and states all across the country reluctant to return to “shelter in place,” thus providing a new downturn to the economy, there is little expectation the pandemic will get better, near term.

Starting tomorrow after the afternoon close, we will get earnings results from Microsoft MSFT, followed by Facebook FB, Alphabet GOOGL, Apple AAPL, Amazon AMZN and Twitter TWTR, most of which come Thursday after the closing bell. Along with Merck MRK, Ford F, Starbucks SBUX and many others, this will likely put meat on the bones of Q3 earnings expectations overall.

Next week, of course, is the long-awaited General Election, which all by itself will create multiple narratives for market activity to work off. But we also get new jobs data, both from ADP and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that will either help bolster the narrative that the domestic economy continues to strengthen or suggest that months without relief for pandemic-related layoffs, etc. has begun to appear in employment data. In any case, we’re in for some interesting times ahead!

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