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Stimulus Gone, Earnings Deluge, AMD/Xilinx Deal - What's Moving Markets

Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate, all but ending hopes of a stimulus package in the next week. AMD is to merge with Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) in a $35 billion deal. Earnings and economic data flood in, with pharma giants leading the early billing. Europe's banks show signs of life, and stocks and oil rebound after virus fears caused heavy losses on Monday. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Tuesday, October 27.

1. Stimulus hopes fade; durable goods, house price data due

Hopes for a stimulus package for the U.S. economy in the near term all but died as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell adjourned the Senate until November 9.

Senate Republicans have been the major stumbling block to a deal in recent days, refusing to go along with President Trump’s calls for a bigger package.

Updates from the economy due later include durable goods orders for September at 8:30 AM ET (1215 GMT), house price data at 9 AM and the Richmond Fed’s regional business survey along with the Conference Board’s consumer sentiment index at 10 AM.

2. AMD/Xilinx deal keeps silicon M&A wave going

Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) has agreed to buy rival chipmaker Xilinx in an all-stock deal valued at $35 billion, in one of the year’s biggest merger deals so far.

The deal opens up essentially new markets for AMD, which has traditionally focused on chips that are used in laptops and gaming systems. Xilinx specializes in chips that can be reprogrammed by their buyers, including data center operators, telecommunications companies and the defense sector.

The deal continues a wave of consolidation in the chipmaking sector, coming only a couple of weeks after Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) agreed to buy U.K.-based chip designer ARM Holdings (LON:ARM) from Softbank (OTC:SFTBY) for $40 billion.

3. Stocks set to bounce weakly; pharma earnings due

U.S. stock markets are set to open with a modest bounce after their worst day in over a month on Monday.

By 7:15 AM ET (1115 GMT), Dow 30 futures were up 102 points, or 0.4%, while S&P 500 futures were up in parallel. Nasdaq futures were outperforming slightly, up over a little more than 0.5%

It’s an intense day for earnings, with pharma companies leading the early reporters. Merck put in the strongest performance, while Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) also edged past expectations for profit but not on revenue. Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) stock fell 3.0% in premarket after the company reported a 4% drop in third-quarter profit, a day after acknowledging that its experimental antibody treatment for Covid-19 had not produced the desired results in tests.   

4.  European banks put pressure on regulators with strong results

Two of Europe’s largest banks posted stronger-than-expected results, putting pressure on the continent’s regulators to lift their current bans on dividend payments.

HSBC stock rose 6.4% to a 10-week high after a strong rebound in the Chinese economy helped it to report higher profits and lower loan loss provisions. Spain-based Santander (MC:SAN) also beat expectations after growth upgrades in Brazil and Mexico, two of its most important markets, and a second straight quarter of lower provisions.

Core tier 1 capital, a key measure of financial strength, rose at both banks.  HSBC said it is looking at announcing a dividend for 2020 and will take a decision early next year, while Santander’s shareholders are due to vote on a scrip dividend proposal next week.

5. Oil bounces; BP (NYSE:BP)'s debt stabilizes; API eyed

Crude oil prices bounced overnight after heavy losses in line with other risk assets on Monday, but U.S. crude futures were still stuck below $39 a barrel, while Brent futures were at $41.23 a barrel, also toward the lower end of their range over the last four months.

The day’s routine corporate tale of woe came from U.K. major BP, which reported a small underlying loss for the third quarter. BP stock eked out a 0.8% gain as investors took comfort in a small decline in net debt that improved the chances of it not cutting its dividend any further.

The focus later will be on the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly assessment of U.S. crude stockpiles at 4:30 PM ET. Data from GasBuddy suggest U.S. gasoline demand fell by some 0.5% last week.

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Oct 28, 2020