Adam Vettese, UK Market Analyst at eToro, has provided his daily commentary on traditional and crypto markets for October 23, 2020.
Stocks were higher yesterday, as weekly data on US unemployment benefit claims showed that new jobless claims fell to 787,000 last week from 842,000 the week prior. Officials also revised downwards the number of people who filed a new jobless claim in the two weeks before that, with the final total for the week ending October 3 coming in at 767,000 – the lowest figure since March. An apparent stagnation in the recovery of the US labour market has been one fear weighing on investors in recent months, and next week’s figure will be watched closely for signs of a sustained positive trend.
In corporate news, biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences had its antiviral drug remdesivir approved as a treatment for Covid-19 by US regulators yesterday, sending its stock surging. Gilead climbed more than 7% in after-hours trading following the news.
Align Technology soars 35% after social media influencers drive sales
Eight of the 11 sectors in the S&P 500 were in the green yesterday, led by the energy and financial sectors which gained 4.2% and 1.9% respectively. Leading the S&P was Align Technology, which surged 35% after delivering Q3 earnings that far surpassed analyst expectations. At $734m, the company’s revenue came in at more than $200m beyond analysts’ predictions, driven in part by new social media influencers helping to increase sales of its Invisalign clear braces to teenagers.
Chipmaker Intel faced a tougher third-quarter earnings report after the market close, as while it met earnings expectations, the company’s data center business showed weakness. Investors reacted sharply in after-hours trading, sending Intel’s share price down more than 10%.
In other corporate news, Uber and Lyft both faced a mixed day, and will be stocks to watch when the market opens tomorrow. The companies both posted share price gains of around 4% during market hours, but late in the evening a ruling came through against the companies in their legal battle over classifying drivers as contractors rather than employees.
- S&P 500: +0.5% Thursday, +6.9% YTD
- Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.5% Thursday, -0.6% YTD
- Nasdaq Composite: +0.2% Thursday, +28.2% YTD
Airlines, banks lead a positive day for UK stocks
Both the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 posted modest gains yesterday, as British Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new package of support for businesses hit by the latest pandemic restrictions.
The top performers in the FTSE 100 came from a mixed bag of sectors, but similar to the US major finance names enjoyed positive days. Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Legal & General Group, Barclays and more were all in the top 20 FTSE 100 performers yesterday. At the bottom of the index was defense company BAE Systems, which fell 4.9%.
In the FTSE 250, airlines helped lead the day, with Tui, easyJet, and Wizz Air up 6.1%, 6% and 4.5% respectively. At the bottom of the index was real estate investment company Shaftesbury, which fell 15.7%, followed by Moneysupermarket.com with a 9.9% loss and Cineworld with a 9.2% loss.
- FTSE 100: +0.2% Thursday, -23.3% YTD
- FTSE 250: +0.6% Thursday, -18.2% YTD