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Wednesday Update

DB Live: US election knife edge; markets push higher

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4.30pm: Investors buy into top stocks

After a day of political speculation and tension investors put their faith in some good coming from the eventual winner of the US race to the White House, pushing the FTSE 100 96.49 points (1.67%) higher to close at 5,883.26.

2.30pm: US election on knife edge, markets seek direction

Joe Biden Biden has edged ahead of Donald Trump in Wisconsin – with 49.4% of the vote to Trump’s 48.8% – and Michigan, with 49.26% to Trump’s 49.19% .

Mr Trump said he would be going to the Supreme Court to demand all voting is stopped after he claimed overnight that the entire election was a ‘fraud’.

With the result still too close to call the final count may not come in until Friday.  Pennsylvania, Nevada, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona all remain undeclared.

With 41 of the 50 states declared Mr Biden leads on 238 electoral college votes to Mr Trump’s 213 with 270 required to get to the White House.

With no sign of an early result the markets have been looking for direction, though the FTSE 100 recovered from an early plunge and has spent the day in positive territory. At 2.15 pm BST it was trading up 52 points at 5,838.98 (see commentary below).

1.30pm: John Lewis and Lloyds cut jobs

Hundreds more job losses have been announced by John Lewis and Lloyds Banking Group as the pandemic forces companies to cut costs and reshape their business.

Full story here

Noon: UEFA firm on Euro 2020

UEFA said it has no plans to change the format Euro 2020 amid reports it could scrap next summer’s delayed multi-nation tournament and move it to Russia.

Full story here

Boris Johnson addresses CBI 2020

11.30am: Boris Johnson makes pledge

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, addressing the CBI annual conference, said that thanks to British technical innovation it was in a far better position than during the first wave of the pandemic lockdown.

Full story here

11.15am: Prime Minister to address CBI conference

Boris Johnson will deliver a speech to the CBI conference at 11.30am after pulling out of a scheduled address on Monday.

11am: Beer saved

A UK government u-turn has saved 7.5 million pints of beer being poured away ahead of the Thursday lockdown in England.

As long as the takeaway beer has been pre-ordered and customers do not enter the premises, pubs have the green light to sell the leftover beer this weekend.

9am: Markets seek clarity in US

London’s stock market was relatively calm despite uncertainty over the outcome of the US elections and threats by Donald Trump to pursue legal action.

“Trump declaring that he has won without all the votes being counted caused turbulence on the markets,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“Chaos is the last thing people want, particularly when coronavirus is causing so much disruption to the world. We’re now facing the prospect of volatile markets for days or potentially weeks until the election is sorted out.

“Trump’s actions raise the chances of the election result being fought out in the Supreme Court, thus prolonging the outcome, and causing more uncertainty which markets hate.

“Leading up to election day markets had been pricing in a Biden clear sweep, with the dollar falling on expectations of very large fiscal stimulus. Even if Biden does win the presidential election, a scenario with the Republicans in charge of the Senate could mean delays to the stimulus bill and for it to be much smaller in size than if the Democrats had a majority position.”

The dollar has subsequently bounced back to reflect the potential change in the outcome of the election.

A stronger dollar versus the pound is good for the large number of stocks in the FTSE 100 which have overseas earnings, thus explaining why the UK index has emerged relatively unscathed from the election updates. It fell at the market open but quickly recovered to trade 26.5 higher at 5,813.27.

Pre-market indicative prices suggest the tech-heavy Nasdaq index will open 2.4% higher and the S&P 500 up 0.5%. Mr Mould points out that Biden was arguably negative for tech stocks on the grounds that he might begin more strenuous antitrust reviews and potentially increase their tax bills.

7.30am: US election too close to call

Donald Trump and former his Democrat rival Joe Biden remained locked in a tighter race than had been forecast by some pollsters and is expected to be decided by a few key states.

Mr Trump won Ohio, Iowa, Texas and the key prize of Florida, while Democrats succeeded in Arizona, which Trump won in 2016.

Bookmakers were seeing a flurry of bets on Mr Trump saw him emerge as odds-on favourite to win the US election.

Stock markets were on tenterhooks and looking for direction, with volatility expected throughout the day (see below).

7am: STV sees advertising revival

Broadcaster STV said it had detected signs of recovery in the advertising market.

Full story here

M&S label

M&S reports first loss

Marks & Spencer CEO Steve Rowe remained bullish about the chain’s long term prospects despite confirming its first ever loss.

Full story here

Markets

The FTSE 100 index was set for a volatile session today as the US election result came in too close to call. IG Index was calling the FTSE 100 up just 11.7 points at 5784. 

Wall Street closed the session on a high as traders look ahead to some clarity after the elections.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 552 points, or 2.1%, the index’s biggest one-day gain since July, though it’s still down about 3.5% this year.

The S&P 500 was 1.8% higher and the tech-heavy Nasdaq–which led last week’s sell-off – climbed 1.9%. The two indexes are up 4% and 23% respectively for the year.

The FTSE 100 took its lead from a rising Wall Street and ended the session sharply higher, up 131.8 points (2.33%) at 5,786.77.

Today’s agenda

First Minister appears before Covid committee

Today’s top Daily Business headlines

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Fund supports 90 early stage firms hit by pandemic

Napier spin-out Symphonic acquired by US firm

Connery studio gets role in Amazon series The Rig

Epidarex offloads Aberdeen spin-out Sirakoss

UK ministers accused of muddle over furlough pay

Hyslop ‘deflecting’ failure to help BiFab say unions

Latest Rangers share issue could raise £4m



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