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Five Things

Big tech gets bigger, virus surges as economic damage is revealed, and Trump gets pushback on changing election date.

Even bigger

Tech giants at the helm of America's markets and economy grew even bigger, as Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. saw their combined market value swell by $250 billion thanks to earnings that shocked even Wall Street. Apple especially trounced analyst forecasts, with locked-down consumers snapping up new iPhones, iPads and Mac computers to stay connected during the pandemic. Combined, Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook now boast a market cap above $5 trillion, about a fifth of the entire S&P 500.

It's back

Just as the full scale of the pandemic's damage across economies from Spain to the U.S. shows up in GDP numbers, the virus is surging again. Millions of people in northern England returned to a partial lockdown. Italy, the original European epicenter, has also seen an increase in cases, along with France, Germany and Spain. The U.S. saw unprecedented deaths in Texas, Florida and Arizona, while California endured its second-deadliest day. The latest economic fallout: Spain's economy shrank 18.5%, the deepest so far in Europe, data on Friday showed. France and Italy contracted 14% and 12%, respectively. Bad, yes, but not as dire as the record 32.9% downturn in the American economy in the second quarter.

No can do

U.S. President Donald Trump's suggestion that November's election could be delayed until after the Covid-19 pandemic eases is meeting with fresh skepticism, even within his own party. Senate Majority Leader and fellow Republican Mitch McConnell said the vote can't be budged and Democrat Nancy Pelosi tweeted the text of the American constitution that says Congress sets the rules on the matter. That said, it's not the first time a change in election date has ever been suggested

Market mixed

Markets were mixed, perhaps digesting conflicting signals from turbo-charged tech and dismal economic readings. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 1% while Japan's Topix index closed 2.8% lower with raw material producers slumping the most. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.6% higher at 5:42 a.m. Eastern Time and S&P 500 futures pointed to gains. The 10-year Treasury yield was 0.527% and gold rose. 

Coming up...

Personal income and spending data are published at 8:30 a.m. and the latest University of Michigan sentiment index is at 10:00 a.m. The earnings schedule is a bit lighter than Thursday's, but today's highlights include Caterpillar Inc., CBRE Group Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

What we've been reading

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

And finally, here's what Emily's interested in this morning

One takeaway from this week's understated Fed meeting is that, in these trying times, the market has faith in Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. There wasn't much to react to in Powell's comments wrapping up the July policy meeting Wednesday, but some subtle moves in rates on the day suggest traders were putting money on the central bank's ability to meet its mandate. Specifically, breakeven rates -- the inflation compensation embedded in Treasury securities -- climbed to levels last seen in late February, before all hell broke loose.



To be clear, this chart isn't showing a stunning recovery. Clambering out of a hole in March has taken nothing less than shock and awe from the Fed, it reflects expectations over the next decade, and it still implies consumer price inflation will undershoot the Fed's 2% goal by almost a half-percentage-point. If you convert to the Fed's preferred inflation gauge of personal consumption expenditure, it's a roughly 0.8 percentage point shortfall.

Still, it's progress, and the recent trend has been sufficient to lure plenty of big-time investors into cheap hedges against a sharper-than-expected rebound. And the rising trend may have legs if the Fed manages a convincing overhaul of its inflation-targeting strategy, which is expected as soon as September. The Fed has been engaged in a soul-searching exercise since November 2018. Fed watchers expect officials to strengthen guidance about the path of interest rates by linking the timing of any rate increase to thresholds for unemployment and inflation that would imply a greater willingness to run the economy hotter.

Follow Bloomberg's Emily Barrett on Twitter at @notthatECB

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