Bitcoin rallies above $19,000 after biggest rout since pandemic


By Todd White


Bitcoin clawed back all of its losses from the biggest rout since March, showing a resiliency in a cryptocurrency rally that’s outperformed most major asset classes in 2020.

The most-traded digital coin rose over the weekend and added almost 5% more on Monday to $19,109. That topped its peak closing level reached last week, before prices started tumbling. A Bloomberg gauge of the biggest cryptocurrencies is up 13% from Friday.

Bloomberg

“The Bitcoin correction didn’t last long,” according to Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, who said the token may be poised for a new high. Entering “uncharted territory and the psychological boost that would come with a move like this could propel Bitcoin aggressively higher.” He is targeting $20,000 in the short term.

Bitcoin’s volatility was on show last week, when it crashed by more than $3,000 in just two days. The plunge triggered massive volume in spot and futures trading and drew particular attention because it began just hours after the currency failed to set a new intraday record. Strategists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said that while the recent tumble cleared some speculative “froth,” further declines remain possible.

The futures market is proving that it’s becoming a more important risk-hedging venue for Bitcoin. Open interest on the CME Group platform has averaged 8,300 contracts in 2020 versus 4,000 last year.

Recouping sharp losses is not unusual for Bitcoin. The last time it dove 10% in one day, May 10, it took just four days to recover.

Bitcoin’s more-than-150% rally this year coincides with a steady flow of investments by institutions into the coin and into crypto infrastructure, from trading systems to custody. The latest was from Guggenheim Partners LLC, which said in a filing Friday it might invest up to 10% of its $5.3 billion Macro Opportunities Fund in a Bitcoin trust.





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President Trump’s supporters hold post-election rallies in US cities



Washington

Fervent supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in Washington on Saturday behind his spurious claim of a stolen election and swarmed his motorcade in adulation when he detoured for a drive-by on his way out of town.

Hours later, after night fell in the nation’s capital, demonstrators favoring Trump clashed in the streets with counterprotesters, videos posted on social media showing fistfights, projectiles and clubs. Police arrested at least 20 people on a variety of charges, including assault and weapons possession, officials said. One stabbing was reported, two police officers were injured and several firearms were also recovered by police.

A week after Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner of the election, demonstrations in support of Trump also took place in other cities. Fury at the prospect of a transfer of executive power showed no signs of abating, taking a cue the president’s unrelenting assertion of victory in a race he actually lost.

“I just want to keep up his spirits and let him know we support him,” one loyalist, Anthony Whittaker of Winchester, Virginia, said from outside the Supreme Court, where a few thousand assembled after a march along Pennsylvania Avenue from Freedom Plaza, near the White House.

A broad coalition of top government and industry officials has declared that the Nov. 3 voting and the following count unfolded smoothly with no more than the usual minor hiccups — “the most secure in American history,” they said, repudiating Trump’s efforts to undermine the integrity of the contest.

In Delray Beach, Florida, several hundred people marched, some carrying signs reading “Count every vote” and “We cannot live under a Marxist government.” In Lansing, Michigan, protesters gathered at the Capitol to hear speakers cast doubt on results that showed Biden winning the state by more than 140,000 votes. Phoenix police estimated 1,500 people gathered outside the Arizona Capitol to protest Biden’s narrow victory in the state. Protesters in Salem, Oregon, gathered at the Capitol.

The crowd in Washington was beginning to gather Saturday morning when cheers rang out as Trump’s limousine neared Freedom Plaza. People lined both sides of the street, some standing just a few feet away from Trump’s vehicle. Others showed their enthusiasm by running along with the caravan.

They chanted “USA, USA” and “four more years,” and many carried American flags and signs to show their displeasure with the vote tally. After making the short detour for the slow drive around the site, the motorcade headed to the president’s Virginia golf club.

Among the speakers was a Georgia Republican newly elected to the U.S. House. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has expressed racist views and support for QAnon conspiracy theories, urged people to march peacefully toward the Supreme Court.

The marchers included members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group known for street brawling with ideological opponents at political rallies.

The march was largely peaceful during the day before turning tense at night, with multiple confrontations as small groups of Trump supporters attempted to enter the area around Black Lives Matter Plaza, about a block from the White House, where several hundred anti-Trump demonstrators had gathered.

In a pattern that kept repeating itself, those Trump supporters who approached the area were harassed, doused with water and saw their MAGA hats and pro-Trump flags snatched and burned, amid cheers. As night fell, multiple police lines kept the two sides apart.

Videos posted on social media showed some demonstrators and counterdemonstrators trading shoves, punches and slaps. A man with a bullhorn yelling “Get out of here!” was shoved and pushed to the street by a man who was then surrounded by several people and shoved and punched until he fell face first into the street. Bloody and dazed, he was picked up and walked to a police officer.

The “Million MAGA March” was heavily promoted on social media, raising concerns that it could spark conflict with anti-Trump demonstrators, who have gathered near the White House in Black Lives Matter Plaza for weeks.

In preparation, police closed off wide swaths of downtown, where many stores and offices have been boarded up since Election Day. Chris Rodriguez, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said the police were experienced at keeping the peace.

The issues that Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key battleground states, none of those issues would have any impact on the outcome of the election.

Trump’s campaign has also filed legal challenges complaining that their poll watchers were unable to scrutinize the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing.

A former administration official, Sebastian Gorka, whipped up the crowd by the Supreme Court by saying, “We can win because he did win.” But, he added, “It’s going to be tough.”



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ASX rallies after record closing high on Wall Street, Nine shares fall after chief executive resigns



Shares in media firm Nine Entertainment have dropped nearly 2 per cent after it told the stock exchange that chief executive Hugh Marks will resign during the second half of the current financial year.

On Saturday, Nine’s newspapers reported that Mr Marks had emailed staff to tell them he was stepping down.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, he said intense gossip about his relationship with a former Nine executive, who was a former subordinate, had pushed him to announce his resignation.

He said the board was told about his new relationship last week.

In a statement, Nine said Mr Marks will “actively continue as group CEO” as the board looked for a new boss to take the company through the next stage of its development.

Nine’s businesses include the Nine television network, the Australian Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald, streaming service Stan, and real estate website Domain.

Mr Marks said with almost half of the company’s earnings from digital assets, he was confident it was the right time to announce his retirement.

“When I was appointed CEO five years ago, my brief was to lead the transformation of what was then a television business, to a digitally-based media company,” he said.

“We have achieved so much in that time frame. Bringing together three legacy media businesses, each with their own structural challenges, and investing in the assets that will ensure our position at the forefront of Australia’s media future.”

Nine chairman Peter Costello said Mr Marks had been an extremely successful chief executive for Nine.

“The transformation of Nine to a multimedia and digital business has been all-encompassing and we now have an unreplicable suite of assets, fit to lead us through the digital age,” he said.

“We respect Hugh’s decision, allowing us plenty of notice to work through the next few months, and enable an orderly transition. We wish him well in all his future endeavours.”

At 10:30am AEDT, Nine shares were down 1.6 per cent to $2.40.

Rival News Corporation shares rose 3.9 per cent to $23.58.

ASX rallies in early trade

The Australian share market got off to a strong start with all sectors higher led by real estate firms, miners, banks and oil stocks.

At 10:30am AEDT, the ASX 200 index was up 1.2 per cent or 79 points to 6,484.

The All Ordinaries also rose 1.2 per cent to 6,687.

The big banks have all increased with the Commonwealth Bank up 1.9 per cent, Westpac up 1.4 per cent, ANZ up 2.7 per cent and NAB up 1.8 per cent.

Big miners BHP and Rio have gained 2 per cent.

Buy now, pay later firms have lost ground after a new report by the corporate regulator found that one in five consumers who use the services are behind on their repayments.

ASIC found that in the 2018-2019 financial year, firms like Afterpay and Zip made $43 million from customers who were not able to repay on time.

Afterpay shares fell 0.4 per cent to $101.40, Zip shares fell 0.8 per cent to $6.00 and Sezzle shares were down 1.4 per cent to $6.60.

The Australian dollar has gained 0.2 per cent in today’s trade to 72.82 US cents.

On Friday on Wall Street, the Dow Jones index put on 1.4 per cent to 29,480 on upbeat earnings reports and hopes for a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

The S&P 500 index closed at a record high, up 1.4 per cent to 3,585, and the Nasdaq gained 1 per cent to 11,829.



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The Trump campaign is planning a series of rallies to protest the election result



The Trump campaign is expected to hold a series of rallies in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election defeat.

Mr Trump’s campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh confirmed to reporters that they will hold a series of rallies to build support for the president’s unproven claims of a fraudulent election, Reuters reported.

The details of when and where the rallies will be held are yet to be announced.

In the days leading up to the Presidential election last week, Mr Trump held dozens of large outdoor rallies, defying his critics who warned about the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Large Trump rallies have been a feature of his campaign since 2016 and also continued at various points throughout his four-year presidency.

Mr Trump has always enjoyed holding rallies, saying it gives him a unique opportunity to connect with his base.

A day after all the major media networks called the election for Mr Biden, Mr Trump is still yet to concede defeat.

His legal team has filed lawsuits in several key states alleging widespread voter irregularities and fraud, but is yet to produce any evidence to support the claims. Several of the lawsuits have already been thrown out.  

Mr Trump himself has been tweeting unproven claims of voter fraud, “illegal votes” and that the Democrats are trying to “steal” the election.

None of his claims have been supported by evidence.



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Trump to continue to hold rallies as he protests election loss


One day after Biden clinched enough states to win the presidency, Trump gave no sign of conceding and many of his Republican allies in Congress likewise did not acknowledge Biden’s victory in last Tuesday’s election.

Instead, Trump will hold a series of rallies to build support for the legal fights challenging the outcome, campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh confirmed on Sunday.

Trump also announced teams to pursue recounts in several states and will seek to back up his unfounded accusations of voting fraud by highlighting obituaries of dead people the campaign said voted in the election.

Murtaugh did not say when the rallies, a signature of Trump’s campaign, would resume.

State election officials say there were no significant irregularities in the vote, and Trump’s campaign has yet to produce any evidence of illegal activity.

Biden had more than 4.1 million votes than Trump nationwide, and the former vice president could end up with more than 300 Electoral College votes, well above the 270 needed to secure the presidency.

After delivering a message of unity and conciliation in a speech in his home state of Delaware on Saturday, Biden’s team was making plans to tackle the health and economic crises that will await him when he takes office on Jan. 20.

Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said he would launch a coronavirus task force on Monday, led by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler.

More than 237,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, and coronavirus cases have spiked to record numbers in recent days. Some 10 million Americans thrown out of work during coronavirus lockdowns remain idled and federal relief programs have expired.

Bedingfield said Biden would “address a mandate to bring the country together – to unify, to lower the temperature, to set aside the harsh rhetoric of the campaign and get to the hard work of governing.”

BIDEN PLANS FOR TRANSITION, TRUMP PLANS FOR RECOUNTS

Biden and his advisers will also move forward with the work of choosing officials to serve in his administration.

Two former senior U.S. intelligence officials – Michael Morell and Avril Haines – have emerged as leading contenders to serve as director of national intelligence or run the CIA under Biden, several current and former intelligence officials said.

A nonpartisan good-governance group called for the Trump administration to cooperate in the transition from one president to another, a hallmark of American democracy since the 18th century.

“History is replete with examples of presidents who emerged from such campaigns to graciously assist their successors,” the Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition said.

Trump is the first U.S. president to lose a re-election bid in 28 years. Wearing his trademark red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, he golfed at his course in Sterling, Virginia, for the second day in a row.

“Since when does the Lamestream Media call who our next president will be?” Trump wrote on Twitter after golfing.

Trump’s campaign said it had appointed U.S. Representative Doug Collins, a prominent ally, to oversee the campaign’s recount efforts in Georgia, where Biden leads by 10,353 votes out of nearly 5 million cast. The campaign also plans to seek recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Experts say those recounts are unlikely to change the outcome. Legal analysts said the cases the Trump campaign is bringing were narrow in scope and not likely to affect the results of the election.

Yet many of Trump’s supporters have refused to accept defeat. Outside the Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg, Lynn Nester, 53, said he was suspicious of the record number of mail-in ballots cast this year. “I don’t believe the mail-in process is actually legal,” he said.

Pennsylvania has no-excuse absentee voting, allowing any voter to choose mail-in balloting.

Early voting by mail or in person set a record this year because of voters’ concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, said legal challenges should be allowed to play out. “Then and only then, America will decide who won the race,” he said on Fox News.

But Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Trump’s unsupported fraud claims were hurting democracy.

“I would prefer to see the world watching a more graceful departure, but that’s just not in the nature of the man,” Romney said.

Republican former President George W. Bush said in a statement that he spoke with Biden and congratulated him on his victory.

“Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country,” Bush said.

POLICY PLANS

Biden has spent half a century in public life as a U.S. senator and vice president. He will be 78 years old when he enters the White House, the oldest person to assume the office. His running mate, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president, the country’s No. 2 office.

After attending church on Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden and his family visited the church’s cemetery, where his son Beau and other relatives are buried – as he did on the morning of Election Day on Tuesday.

According to an adviser, Biden plans to repeal a ban on travellers from several Muslim-majority nations, rejoin an international climate accord, reverse Trump’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization and buttress a program protecting from deportation “Dreamers” brought to the United States illegally as children.

Biden advisers have told reporters that if Republicans retain control of the U.S. Senate, he may have to appoint Cabinet officers of a more centrist bent to secure confirmation in the chamber.

Control of the Senate could depend on the outcome of four undecided Senate races, including two in Georgia that will not be resolved until January runoffs.

Reuters





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ASX to open higher after Wall Street rallies on


The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 567 points, or 2 per cent, at 28,415, in early afternoon trading local time, and the Nasdaq composite was 2.6 per cent higher.

Technology stocks were helping to lead the way, as they have through the pandemic and for years before that. Rising expectations that Republicans can hold on to the Senate are easing investors’ worries that a Democratic-controlled Washington would beef up antitrust laws and go after Big Tech more aggressively.

Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google’s parent company were all up between 0.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively. They’re also the five biggest stocks in the S&P 500 by market value.

Broadly, markets are seeing split control of Congress as a case of what Mizuho Bank calls “Goldilocks Gridlock.”

Investors see cause for optimism if either Biden or President Donald Trump ultimately wins the presidency, and what they want most of all is just for a clear winner to emerge. “Equities fear uncertainty rather than the actual outcome,” strategists at Barclays wrote in a report.

But the expectation that Biden has a chance of winning has also raised hopes that US foreign policies might be “more clear,” said Jackson Wong, asset management director of Amber Hill Capital. He added, “investors are cheering for that. That’s why the markets are performing well.”

Stocks climbed across European and Asian markets on Thursday.

Wall Street’s rally was widespread, with nearly 90 per cent of stocks in the S&P 500 higher. Qualcomm jumped 13.3 per cent for the biggest gain in the index after it reported stronger revenue and profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

That’s been the strongest trend through this earnings season, which is close to wrapping up. S&P 500 companies are on pace to report a drop in profits of roughly 8 per cent from year-ago levels. That’s much milder than the nearly 21 per cent decline Wall Street was forecasting at the start of last month.

Still, many analysts warn volatility may lie ahead. Big swings could return as the threat of a contested, drawn-out election still looms.

Trump’s campaign has filed legal challenges in some key swing states, though it’s unclear whether they can shift the race in his favour. A long court battle without a clear winner of the presidency could raise uncertainty and drag down stocks, analysts say.

But concerns about any big changes in tax policy during the next administration have mostly abated now that control of Congress looks as if it will remain split, said Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors.

“History tends to tells us that investors like gridlock because there’s really not a big chance of legislative surprises,” she said

Split control of Washington also carries potential downsides. Gridlock may lessen the chances of the US government coming together on a deal to deliver a big shot of stimulus for the economy, for example.

That’s something investors and economists have been asking for since the last round of benefits for laid-off workers and other benefits expired. A report on Thursday showed that more workers filed for unemployment last week than economists expected, though the number was slightly better than the week before.

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Investors are still hoping Washington can agree on more stimulus for the economy, though they say it likely won’t be as big as it could have been following a Democratic sweep.

If Congress and the White House can’t come to a deal, the pressure rises on the Federal Reserve to do more to support the economy, if it can. The central bank has already slashed interest rates to record lows and stepped forcefully into the bond market to prop up prices.

Federal Reserve officials came out from their latest meeting this morning saying they kept monetary policy in a holding pattern, leaving interest rates near zero and making no change to asset purchases, as the final results of US presidential and congressional elections remain uncertain.

“Economic activity and employment have continued to recover but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement, largely repeating language on the economy it has employed since July. That marked only a slight tweak from the previous statement saying the economy and jobs had “picked up in recent months.”

Investors hadn’t expected it to make any major changes, at least not yet.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.78 per cent from 0.77 per cent late on Wednesday. It had been above 0.90 per cent earlier this week, when markets were still thinking a Democratic sweep was possible that could lead to a big stimulus package for the economy.

The pandemic continues to weigh on economies around the world, with counts rising at troubling rates across much of Europe and the United States. Several European governments have brought back restrictions on businesses in hopes of slowing the spread.

In the US, even if the strictest lockdowns from earlier this year don’t return, the worry is that the worsening pandemic could change consumers’ behaviour enough on its own to undercut companies’ profits. And that’s a potential risk heading into the Christmas shopping season, which many retailers rely on to bulk up sales for the year.

“The underlying economic situation is going to drive whatever happens in the equity markets,” Horneman said.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent as England began a four-week lockdown that will keep closed all shops selling items deemed to be non-essential, such as books and clothes. The Bank of England increased its monetary stimulus by more than expected to help the economy weather the new measures.

In Paris, the CAC 40 gained 1.2 per cent, while Germany’s DAX returned 2 per cent.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 3.3 per cent, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 climbed 1.7 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi rose 2.4 per cent and stocks in Shanghai added 1.3 per cent.

AP, Bloomberg

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Photos: Gunning community rallies for a show of pink | Goulburn Post


news, local-news,

Gunning was awash with pink hues on Friday as businesses, community groups and organisations showed their support for breast cancer awareness. Read more: Gunning turns pink to support breast cancer awareness Read also:

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Thousands take part in anti-France rallies in Bangladesh and Indonesia


Tens of thousands of Muslims marched in the capitals of Bangladesh and Indonesia to protest against Emmanuel Macron’s support for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

In Dhaka, they chanted slogans such as “Down with France”, “Boycott French Products” and burned effigies of the French president.

Meanwhile in Jakarta, more than 2,000 demonstrators many wearing white Islamic robes, filled a major thoroughfare in the Indonesian capital. The protesters chanted “God is Great” and “Boycott French products” as they marched.

Smaller protests took place in other Indonesian cities, including in Surabaya, Makassar, Medan and Bandung.

After the brutal killing of French teacher Samuel Paty near Paris, Macron defended freedom of expression: “We will not give up caricatures and drawings, even if others back away”, calling for an end to hatred and violence and for respect for others.



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Wall Street rallies higher as election looms


It’s an incredibly busy week for markets, with the Federal Reserve announcing its latest decision on interest rates Thursday, the US Labor Department releasing its market-moving monthly jobs report on Friday and roughly 130 companies in the S&P 500 scheduled to report their results for the summer through the week.

Blaring above them all is Election Day. Markets have veered sharply in recent weeks as investors deal with uncertainty about who will control Washington, and what that means for the chances of the U.S. government delivering more aid for the economy.

Many professional investors say they plan to hold steady through whatever volatility the election creates. That’s because history shows politics don’t have a very strong correlation with market returns over the longer term. But Wall Street is nevertheless girding for potentially big swings in the interim.

The feared scenario for investors is a contested election, where it could take weeks for a winner of the White House to emerge. Markets famously hate uncertainty, and many along Wall Street expect stocks to drop in such a scenario.

Which party gets control of the Senate may be just as important as the presidency. If Democrats can gain complete control of Washington, many investors expect them to deliver a big dose of support for the economy. That plus “more predictable trade policy” could offset the higher tax rates and tighter regulations likely to come out of a Democratic-controlled Washington, says the BlackRock Investment Institute.

Democrats and Republicans have been haggling about a stimulus renewal for months, since the last round of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus expired. But a deep partisan divide has so far stymied them.

The U.S. economy has been showing a mixed performance recently. A Monday report on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management gave a reading of 59.3, where anything above 50 indicates growth. That topped economists’ expectations for 56. But Friday’s upcoming jobs report may show a fourth straight month of weakening job growth, according to economists’ projections.

Investors and economists alike say the economy needs another shot of stimulus, particularly when coronavirus counts are accelerating at troubling rates across Europe and much of the United States. So far, the toughest restrictions on daily life and businesses have not returned. But even if they don’t, the worry is that fear about the virus will keep customers away from businesses by itself.

Such worries helped drive the S&P 500 to a 5.6 per cent loss last week. That was its worst since March, when worries about the first wave of the pandemic were sending stocks around the world into a free fall.

Corporate profits, meanwhile, are weaker than year-ago levels but continue to be better than Wall Street had feared.

Nielsen Holdings jumped 5.4 per cent and Clorox rose 5.6 per cent after each of the companies reported better results than analysts expected. Companies in the S&P 500 are now on track to a decline of slightly less than 10 per cent for the summer from a year earlier. That’s not as bad as the nearly 21 per cent drop analysts were expecting at the start of October, according to FactSet.

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In Europe, France’s CAC 40 rose 2.1 per cent, and Germany’s DAX returned 2 per cent after a survey showed industrial output was at a strong level in October in the eurozone, just as new limits are being reimposed on public life. The FTSE 100 in London climbed 1.4 per cent.

In Asia, a major indicator for China’s manufacturing sector reported a rise on Monday, which showed that domestic demand is holding up.

That helped drive Asian stocks higher, along with encouraging data for Japan and India. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.4 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.5 per cent and stocks in Shanghai inched up by less than 0.1 per cent.

But in a show of continued caution, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.83 per cent from 0.88 per cent late Friday.

AP

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Wall Street rallies higher as election looms


It’s an incredibly busy week for markets, with the Federal Reserve announcing its latest decision on interest rates Thursday, the US Labor Department releasing its market-moving monthly jobs report on Friday and roughly 130 companies in the S&P 500 scheduled to report their results for the summer through the week.

Blaring above them all is Election Day. Markets have veered sharply in recent weeks as investors deal with uncertainty about who will control Washington, and what that means for the chances of the U.S. government delivering more aid for the economy.

Many professional investors say they plan to hold steady through whatever volatility the election creates. That’s because history shows politics don’t have a very strong correlation with market returns over the longer term. But Wall Street is nevertheless girding for potentially big swings in the interim.

The feared scenario for investors is a contested election, where it could take weeks for a winner of the White House to emerge. Markets famously hate uncertainty, and many along Wall Street expect stocks to drop in such a scenario.

Which party gets control of the Senate may be just as important as the presidency. If Democrats can gain complete control of Washington, many investors expect them to deliver a big dose of support for the economy. That plus “more predictable trade policy” could offset the higher tax rates and tighter regulations likely to come out of a Democratic-controlled Washington, says the BlackRock Investment Institute.

Democrats and Republicans have been haggling about a stimulus renewal for months, since the last round of supplemental benefits for laid-off workers and other stimulus expired. But a deep partisan divide has so far stymied them.

The U.S. economy has been showing a mixed performance recently. A Monday report on manufacturing from the Institute for Supply Management gave a reading of 59.3, where anything above 50 indicates growth. That topped economists’ expectations for 56. But Friday’s upcoming jobs report may show a fourth straight month of weakening job growth, according to economists’ projections.

Investors and economists alike say the economy needs another shot of stimulus, particularly when coronavirus counts are accelerating at troubling rates across Europe and much of the United States. So far, the toughest restrictions on daily life and businesses have not returned. But even if they don’t, the worry is that fear about the virus will keep customers away from businesses by itself.

Such worries helped drive the S&P 500 to a 5.6 per cent loss last week. That was its worst since March, when worries about the first wave of the pandemic were sending stocks around the world into a free fall.

Corporate profits, meanwhile, are weaker than year-ago levels but continue to be better than Wall Street had feared.

Nielsen Holdings jumped 5.4 per cent and Clorox rose 5.6 per cent after each of the companies reported better results than analysts expected. Companies in the S&P 500 are now on track to a decline of slightly less than 10 per cent for the summer from a year earlier. That’s not as bad as the nearly 21 per cent drop analysts were expecting at the start of October, according to FactSet.

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In Europe, France’s CAC 40 rose 2.1 per cent, and Germany’s DAX returned 2 per cent after a survey showed industrial output was at a strong level in October in the eurozone, just as new limits are being reimposed on public life. The FTSE 100 in London climbed 1.4 per cent.

In Asia, a major indicator for China’s manufacturing sector reported a rise on Monday, which showed that domestic demand is holding up.

That helped drive Asian stocks higher, along with encouraging data for Japan and India. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.4 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.5 per cent and stocks in Shanghai inched up by less than 0.1 per cent.

But in a show of continued caution, the yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.83 per cent from 0.88 per cent late Friday.

AP

Market Recap

A concise wrap of the day on the markets, breaking business news and expert opinion delivered to your inbox each afternoon. Sign up for the Herald‘s here and The Age‘s here.

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