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23 Oct - Good morning to everyone watching the US presidential debate with popcorn, and Borat lovers because Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is out on Amazon Prime today. TGIF!

MARKETS

Dow Jones

28,363.66

0.54%

S&P 500

3,453.49

0.52%

Nasdaq

11,506.01

0.19%

Nikkei

23,474.27

-0.70%

Shanghai

3,312.5

-0.38

Hang Seng

24,786.13

0.13%

FTSE 100

5,785.65

0.16%

DAX

12,543.06

-0.12%

Gold

1,907.65

-1.13%

Bitcoin

13,151.84

2.56%

MARKETS WRAP

  • Despite ongoing stimulus uncertainty, US markets gained slightly on Thursday, buoyed by encouraging labor market data. New US jobless claims dropped to 787,000, compared to 842,000 in the prior week. This is the lowest level since March.
  • Energy stocks were one of the day's best performers as oil price bounced back slightly from previous day's drop.
  • INTC (Intel) reported earnings inline with analysts' expectations but fell more than 9.5% in after-hour trading, driven by concern over weakness in its data center business.
  • MAT (Mattel), the toymaker, is up more than 6.4% in after-hour trading after it reported its biggest increase in quarterly sales in a decade. Parents are buying more toys to keep their children entertained at home as the kids have nowhere to go! Best-selling category? Dolls. Barbie rocks.

1MDB, GOLDMAN SACHS
Goldman Sachs has agreed to plead guilty to end a bribery probe in the 1MDB scandal. It will pay $2.8B - a record foreign bribery penalty - in the US. This is on top of the $2.5B settlement it reached with Malaysia in July. You do the math; that's a lot of moolah. The tl;dr version of the story is Malaysia government launched a fund called 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), which raised $6.5B by selling bonds to investors via Goldman Sachs, multiple times. There were a lot of red flags and bribery involved, and now most of the money is poof - gone! One of the main characters, Jho Low, remains at large. If any of you Sherlock Holmes knows his whereabouts, please don't hesitate to send us an email. 

Fascinating story. Pick up the book, "Billion Dollar Whale" if you want a deep dive.

IPO, ANT GROUP
The other day we mentioned that Ant Group is still waiting for the green light from China's securities regulator for its dual IPO listing in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. On Wednesday, it got one. Ant Group is now expected to announce the IPO share price on October 27. The floated shares will be evenly split between both cities, and the amount raised is expected to set a new world record. At more than $250B market cap, it will be interesting to see if it has the usual "IPO pop" that we often see with tech company listings.

STARTUPS, FOODTECH
We know we talked about Perfect Day yesterday and this alternative protein news is getting repetitive. But newsworthy news is news. Eat Just, a startup that makes plant-based eggs, announced on Thursday it is seeking to raise another $200M at a $2B valuation. This is likely the last capital raise before an IPO. And guess who is one of the earlier investors? That's right - Li Ka-shing's Horizon Ventures again.

If you are wondering how these plant-based food companies are performing in the public market after their IPO - BYND (Beyond Meats) are TTCF (Tattooed Chef) are up 127% and 91% respectively so far this year. 

BREXIT, UK
We all know Brexit is messy. The bad news is UK government restarted negotiations with the European Union on Thursday, to avoid tariffs and quotas being re-imposed. "Restarted?" We ask. How can they still be negotiating when UK is set to leave the union on 31 Dec this year. The good news is they are set to sign a trade deal with Japan today, its first with a major economy since Brexit. The deal will primarily preserve the terms it previously had when it traded as a member of the EU.

PROTEST, THAILAND

Protest continued in Thailand even as the government lifted a week-old emergency declaration to de-escalate unrest on Wednesday night. The protesters are giving the Prime Minster 3 days to resign. In addition, they are also demanding monarchy reform and draft a new Constitution. 

CORONAVIRUS, EUROPE

Europe continues to struggle with the second wave of coronavirus in the region. Things are starting to look really bad. Its daily number of reported cases has crossed 200,000 for the first time. Ireland has already imposed a second nationwide lockdown. Spain and Netherlands have entered a partial lockdown.  France, reporting an all-time high daily infection cases on Thursday, will implement a 9pm-6pm curfew in high-risk areas starting Friday. Most of these lockdowns and curfews will last 6 weeks. That's a long time. Most of us know the pain.

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