Stocks are set to rise for a second day after the election and it looks as if there is another election winner: Bitcoin.
U.S. stock futures are solidly in the green with
Dow Jones Industrial Average
futures up 1.7%, and
futures up 2.5%. It’s a second day of big gains following Election Day.
Bitcoin is doing even better. For its part, the cryptocurrency is up $688.12, or 4.9%, to $14,696.87, a new 52-week high. Bitcoin has tacked on almost $1,000 since Election Day.
How Bitcoin trades can be a mystery. Some call them a hedge against inflation, but, then again, inflation expectations have been dropping.
The Federal Reserve has kept rates low to try to lift inflation. And low rates make it easier to hold an asset like Bitcoin, which doesn’t pay any interest.
Volatility could be another reason Bitcoin is rising. Stocks were very volatile heading into the election. Because it doesn’t always move with stocks, Bitcoin can offer the perception of safety when investors feel particularly nervous. But given its own volatility, calling it a haven seems like a stretch.
Our best guess: Bitcoin is being Bitcoin, and moving for reasons only it understands.
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What We Know About the States That Haven’t Been Called
The winner of the U.S. presidential race is still uncertain as full results remain outstanding in four battleground states. So far, former Vice President Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 264 electoral votes to 214, according to calls made by the Associated Press. Here’s what we know about the four battleground states that have not yet been called:
- Georgia: With 98% of the estimated votes counted in Georgia, Trump is up 49.6% to 49.2% over Biden. Due to an issue with absentee ballots, results in three of the state’s counties have been delayed.
- North Carolina: With 94% of the estimated votes counted, Trump is up by 50.1% to 48.7% over Biden. Election officials are currently checking on 117,000 requested absentee ballots that they do not have votes for and don’t expect final results until next week.
- Pennsylvania: With 89% of votes counted, Trump is ahead of Biden, 50.7% to 48.1%. The state’s top election official said that it might have full results before Friday. A state court rejected on Wednesday one GOP lawsuit claiming that they were not given proper access to observe vote counting.
- Nevada: Biden holds a slim 49.3% to 48.7% lead, with 75% of the estimated votes counted. Elections officials said Wednesday morning that they are still counting tens of thousands of mail-in ballots as well as a smaller number of provisional ballots and that more results would be released Thursday.
- Trump is calling for a recount in Wisconsin, which the AP called for Biden on Wednesday, and is suing to stop counting in Michigan, which the AP also called for Biden on Wednesday.
What’s Next: In a speech Wednesday afternoon, Biden said that “it’s clear that we’re winning enough states to win 270 Electoral votes.” In a series of tweets with false claims, President Trump said that he was claiming victory in Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina, states where votes are still being tallied.
McConnell Says Senate Will Start Working on a New Stimulus Bill Next Week
The Senate is back in session on Monday, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that the upper chamber will start work on another round of stimulus when it returns.
- McConnell added that “it’s a possibility we will do more for state and local governments,” a key stumbling block in pre-election talks.
- Tossing out the possibility of additional state and local aid could be McConnell’s way of showing he’s open to a deal—if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi goes along with one of his asks, such as a liability shield for employers.
- Such liability shield language has been anathema to Democrats, but Pelosi might be willing to concede it given that the GOP currently appears on track to hold a slightly slimmed-down Senate majority.
- If fresh talks begin, they will come on the heels of disappointing economic news. Businesses added 365,000 jobs in October, according to ADP, far below the 600,000 analysts had forecast and well below the pace seen in September and August. Friday’s jobs report will provide a fuller picture on the country’s labor recovery.
What’s Next: The acceleration in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. may push lawmakers to reach an agreement during a lame-duck session. Some 102,800 new daily infections were reported Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the highest daily tally yet.
Tech Stocks Surge on Election Results
With the presidential election still too close to call, shares in big tech companies soared. Failure of a “Blue Wave” to materialize augured a divided government and a low likelihood of new regulatory scrutiny.
- The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite rose 3.9% Wednesday, far outpacing the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500, which also enjoyed a post-Election Day bump.
were among the day’s standouts, soaring 14.6% and 11.3%, respectively, after California voters approved Proposition 22 by a wide margin, reversing a recent state law and allowing the companies to continue to classify drivers as contractors.
Big Tech also enjoyed a huge rally Wednesday. The biggest winners were
which rose 8.3%,
up 6.3%, and
which closed up 6.1%.
What’s Next: The prospect of the GOP continuing to hold the Senate dents the chances of a Democratically-led push on antitrust policy and other regulatory fronts like privacy.
Bank of England Boosts Asset-Buying Program to Help U.K. Fight Double-Dip Recession
The British central bank said Thursday that it would buy £150 billion ($195 billion) more of U.K. government bonds as it warned of a GDP fall in the fourth quarter of 2020 because of new Covid restrictions, and more uncertainties ahead when the U.K. leaves the EU single market.
- The BoE kept its key rate steady at 0.1% but the increase of so-called quantitative easing was significantly more than the £100 billion market analysts and economists had predicted.
- The decision will increase to £875 billion the stock of U.K. government bonds detained by the central bank.
- Rishi Sunak, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to detail later Friday new measures to help the economy through the new, one-month national lockdown that England entered into on Thursday.
- The government already decided to let its furlough scheme, whereby the government pays up to 80% of the wages of workers of companies hit by the lockdown, run until the end of December.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday declined to rule out an extension of the restrictions, due to run until December 2, into the Christmas season.
What’s Next: The Bank of England has sent the clear signal that it expects more fiscal stimulus, and is ready to finance it for now. The government now has the backing it needs to put deficit and debt concerns on the back burner for now.
Earnings Season Isn’t Over
Investors will get a look at September quarter results for several major companies after the market closes.
has been one of the hottest stocks amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Gym shutdowns supercharged sales in the spring and summer. Its fiscal first-quarter report will show how that momentum held up through September.
- Analysts expect Uber Technologies to report an adjusted net loss of 50 cents a share, narrowing the loss from the second quarter.
Other notable companies reporting include
Take-Two Interactive Software,
Virgin Galactic Holdings.
What’s Next: Investors will be sure to look for any forward-looking guidance as they piece together potential impacts of the pandemic on the coming holiday season.
The CDC has given the green light for a phased reopening of the cruise industry. What does that mean for travelers planning future cruise vacations and their safety?
Public-health officials have given cruise lines the green light to begin a phased reopening in the U.S. following months of no-sail orders amid the coronavirus pandemic.
But it could be months before travelers start sailing the high seas again out of American ports.
Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it was not extending the full no-sail order that had shut down the cruise industry for months. The no-sail order, as a result, expired on Oct. 31, and in its place the CDC introduced a conditional sail order laying out the requirements that cruise lines must meet to resume operations.
However, on Tuesday, the Cruise Line International Association, the primary trade group representing the cruise industry, announced that its members had elected to voluntarily suspend operations in the U.S. through the rest of the year. This includes the cruise lines owned by
Royal Caribbean Group
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The cruise industry has drawn particular scrutiny—especially compared to other sectors of the travel industry—during the coronavirus pandemic. When coronavirus cases began skyrocketing earlier this year, cruise-ship outbreaks drew extensive media attention. In particular, more than 700 passengers and crew tested positive for Covid-19 on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess back in March.
Meanwhile, cruise lines have slowly begun to resume operations in Europe and Southeast Asia, though small Covid-19 outbreaks have occurred on some of those ships despite extensive precautions. In October, a sailing on a Costa Cruises voyage that departed from Genoa, Italy, was cut short after eight people tested positive.
Here is what travelers planning a cruise vacation for next year need to know about the industry’s reopening.
Read more here.
—Newsletter edited by Stacy Ozol, Anita Hamilton, Mary Romano, Matt Bemer, Ben Levisohn