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Big tech gets bigger, virus surges as economic damage is revealed, and Trump gets pushback on changing election date.
Tech giants at the helm of America’s markets and economy grew even bigger, as Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. saw their combined market value swell by $250 billion thanks to earnings that shocked even Wall Street. Apple especially trounced analyst forecasts, with locked-down consumers snapping up new iPhones, iPads and Mac computers to stay connected during the pandemic. Combined, Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook now boast a market cap above $5 trillion, about a fifth of the entire S&P 500.
Just as the full scale of the pandemic’s damage across economies from Spain to the U.S. shows up in GDP numbers, the virus is surging again. Millions of people in northern England returned to a partial lockdown. Italy, the original European epicenter, has also seen an increase in cases, along with France, Germany and Spain. The U.S. saw unprecedented deaths in Texas, Florida and Arizona, while California endured its second-deadliest day. The latest economic fallout: Spain’s economy shrank 18.5%, the deepest so far in Europe, data on Friday showed. France and Italy contracted 14% and 12%, respectively. Bad, yes, but not as dire as the record 32.9% downturn in the American economy in the second quarter.
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No can do
U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that November’s election could be delayed until after the Covid-19 pandemic eases is meeting with fresh skepticism, even within his own party. Senate Majority Leader and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell said the vote can’t be budged and Democrat Nancy Pelosi tweeted the text of the American constitution that says Congress sets the rules on the matter. That said, it’s not the first time a change in election date has ever been suggested.
Markets were mixed, perhaps digesting conflicting signals from turbo-charged tech and dismal economic readings. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1% while Japan’s Topix index closed 2.8% lower with raw material producers slumping the most. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.6% higher at 5:42 a.m. Eastern Time and S&P 500 futures pointed to gains. The 10-year Treasury yield was 0.527% and gold rose.
Personal income and spending data are published at 8:30 a.m. and the latest University of Michigan sentiment index is at 10:00 a.m. The earnings schedule is a bit lighter than Thursday’s, but today’s highlights include Caterpillar Inc., CBRE Group Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp.