Clock Ticking On Brexit Deal, Still No Agreement On Stimulus Package

FTSE 100: -0.3% Thursday, -13.1% YTD

FTSE 250: +1% Thursday, -7.3% YTD

What to watch

Nike (NKE): One of the earnings highlights of the week, sports apparel giant Nike will deliver its latest quarterly report on Friday after the market close in the US. The firm has added 39% to its share price in 2020, on the back of a strong online presence and Chinese market demand. Wall Street analysts overwhelmingly favor a buy rating on the stock, after the company delivered a major earnings beat in its last set of results. The firm generated $10.6bn in revenue, more than $1bn higher than expectations, and double the expected profit. That was a dramatic bounceback from a loss in the quarter ended May 31, when store closures due to the pandemic took a toll.

Darden Restaurants (DRI): Restaurant group Darden owns brands such as Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, with close to 2,000 restaurants across the US. Despite the toll that the pandemic has taken on the restaurant industry, with mass closures and capacity restrictions, Darden’s share price is up by 8.8% this year following a 29.5% rally over the past three months. The company beat earnings expectations in its last quarterly results and reinstated its dividend. A key point of focus on its Friday earnings call will be what toll the huge surge of Covid-19 cases across the US is taking on the firm. 

Crypto Corner: Institutions pile in to bitcoin as the price continues to climb

Bitcoin has delivered a return of 224% year-to-date, making it the best performing asset of 2020, with the price up nearly 500% if taken from the lows seen in March.

Bitcoin crossed $20,000 on Wednesday for the first time, the latest milestone in a rally that has also made it the best-performing investment of 2020, according to Forbes. However, it has not stopped there, hitting a new record peak of $23,764, up more than 500% from its low of $3,797.

Huge institutional buying has fueled the latest surge above $20,000. In the last three months, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, a popular ETF backed with Bitcoin held in Coinbase vaults, said the pace at which institutional investors have been investing into GBTC has tripled. Grayscale has a six-month lock-up period on investments, making it far more popular with institutions and family-wealth firms and therefore a better gauge on institutional investment demand.

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