Wednesday Morning Reads
- Two Bad Election Scenarios
- Too Close to Call
- What Investors Can Expect
- What’s Next For Ant
- Remain Independent
- Warning of Virus Risk
- Latest Blockbuster Payment
- Trading the Election
The U.S. presidential election has yet to deliver a clear winner, as many predicted, with several key contested states too close to call and votes still being counted across Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Georgia and Nevada. With 270 electoral votes needed to claim the White House, President Trump currently has 213 electoral votes, and former Vice President Joe Biden has 238, according to the Associated Press. While many were hoping for a quick and decisive result, a historic number of mail-in ballots could be counted into Wednesday and possibly beyond.
Early this morning, Seeking Alpha's Editor-in-Chief and COO, Eli Hoffmann, returned his soul to his creator at the age of 52. A leader, a visionary and anchor of the company, Eli was known to all for his warmth and smile. He started Wall Street Breakfast, as well as the Breaking News team, after joining the company in 2006, and served for several years as CEO. We will never forget you, Eli. You will be sorely missed by all of us.
Besides the future of the presidency, control of Congress is hanging in the balance, and in particular the Senate, which is key to how much money will be poured into the economy to battle COVID-19. The results will affect everything from healthcare proposals to taxes and regulation, but investors are specifically eyeing a coronavirus aid package that has been elusive for months despite ongoing negotiations. While some of the races are too close to call, Democrats look set to retain control of the House of Representatives, while the GOP is poised to keep a majority in the Senate.
The "too early to call" Election Night does not seem to be giving tech traders anxiety as Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ) futures climbed fast enough to trigger an exchange volatility halt that pauses rapid swings at 3.5%. Contracts linked to the index have have since pared some gains to trade 2.3% higher, while the Dow (NYSEARCA:DIA) flatlined and S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) futures rose by 0.6%. "If that blue wave isn't there then it's... back to the playbook," said Charlie McElligott, a cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities. Besides betting on the market's most enduring winners, an increasing chance of a Trump win would allay any concerns of greater regulatory scrutiny, as well as higher corporate and capital gains taxes, that could hurt tech stocks in a Biden administration.
Some market volatility additionally ensued after President Trump vowed to petition the Supreme Court about the inconclusive election, calling the process "a major fraud on our nation." "Frankly, we did win this election," he announced in a late night presser from the White House. "We were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off." "It ain't over until every ballot is counted," Democratic nominee Joe Biden said earlier from Delaware. "We knew because of the unprecedented early vote that this may take awhile."
Californians have overwhelmingly voted in favor of Proposition 22, a ballot measure that would exempt drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies from being classified as employees. The bill had essentially become Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft's (NASDAQ:LYFT) last hope to continue their operations in the state under the status quo. Under the new proposal, the companies will still guarantee new protections to workers, such as giving drivers 30 cents a mile driven to account for gas and other vehicle costs, healthcare subsidies for drivers who work 15 hours or more a week and occupational accident insurance coverage while on the job. UBER +13.9%; LYFT +12.9% premarket.
Voters in New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota have jumped on the recreational marijuana train, meaning 1 in 3 Americans now live in a state where adult pot use is legal. Despite the news, a big pullback is hitting the sector, with Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB), Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON) all off by 8% in premarket trade. More drug-related initiatives were also decided across the nation, with Oregon becoming the first in the nation to decriminalize possession of hard drugs, while D.C. voters approved a measure that will effectively decriminalize "magic mushrooms" and other organic psychedelics (Denver, Oakland and Santa Cruz previously passed similar proposals).
Suspending the world's biggest IPO may have just been the start: China is working on a bigger crackdown on Ant Group (NYSE:BABA) to bring Jack Ma's fintech empire to heel. Regulators there are now looking at curbing credit platforms that funnel loans from financial institutions to millions of consumers across China, according to Bloomberg. Yesterday, Ant's offering was fully suspended just two days before it was supposed to go live in Shanghai and Hong Kong, in a dual listing that could have raised almost $40B. Shares of Alibaba, which owns a third of Ant, closed down 8% following the news on Tuesday.
What else is happening...
Florida votes to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Maryland approves measure for sports and events betting facilities.
Tuesday's Key Earnings
Bausch Health (NYSE:BHC) -6.1% despite beats, reiterating guidance.
Emerson Electric (NYSE:EMR) +3.6% on plans to increase dividend, resume buybacks.
Prudential Financial (NYSE:PRU) unchanged AH as the company repriced products.
In Asia, Japan +1.7%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China +0.2%. India +0.9%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.4%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow flat. S&P +0.6%. Nasdaq +2.3%. Crude +2.5% to $38.59. Gold -1.1% at $1890.10. Bitcoin +1.3% to $13689.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -9 bps to 0.79%
Today's Economic Calendar