5 things to start your day

Five Things - Europe

Good morning. The U.S. election count continues, there's news of a deal in U.K. insurance and it's payrolls day. Here's what's moving markets.

`No Doubt'

Democrat Joe Biden strengthened his hold on the race for the White House on Thursday, steadily chipping away at Donald Trump's early lead in the crucial swing states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. Each state has been counting a surge of mail-in ballots, which skew Democratic, while Biden also expanded his lead in Nevada. "We have no doubt, when the count is finished, Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners," Biden said in brief remarks, while Trump used an evening statement to say the election is being stolen from him, despite no evidence of widespread illegal voting. Follow Bloomberg's live blog here

Insurance Premiums

U.K. general insurance is exciting right now. No, seriously. Britain's RSA Insurance Group received a 7.1-billion-pound takeover proposal from Canada's Intact Financial and Denmark's Tryg at a 49% premium to Wednesday closing price. It's not the industry's first foreign bid for this year, after Finland's Sampo agreed to buy Hastings Group Holdings in the summer. The sector has had mixed fortunes during the pandemic, as lockdowns have reduced claims rates in areas like motor and travel, though many firms have offered payment holidays and seen customers switch to cheaper plans.

Nonfarm Friday

Place your bets, it's jobs day. Bloomberg Economics expects U.S. payroll growth to have slowed to a near stall in October, with rising Covid-19 infections potentially hindering hiring in services. Other data points, like a broad-based slowdown in ADP private-sector hiring and a sharp decrease in the ISM services employment index are consistent with that view, BI's Yelena Shulyatyeva writes. The consensus nonfarm payrolls number among economists is 593,000. After an election week, here's a look back at Trump's record on the economy.

Futures Lower

European equity futures are suggesting the first down day of the week as a global rally showed signs of stalling, with Nasdaq contracts unwinding some of a recent surge. Even so, if history is anything to go by, the post-election day rally in U.S. stocks bodes well for further gains. Elsewhere, the dollar is steady after the Federal Reserve voted unanimously to keep policy unchanged, while opening the door to a possible shift in bond purchases in coming months to further stem the economic impact of the coronavirus. In pandemic news, France posted a record number of new virus cases, while a new mutation that started in Denmark's mink population has spread beyond the region in which it was first discovered.

Coming Up…

In a perfect combination for a Friday, craft-beer maker Alefarm Brewing will start trading in Copenhagen after an initial public offering and beauty products-developer Euro Cosmetic will make its debut in Milan. Elsewhere, posh watch-manufacturer Compagnie Financiere Richemont is reporting earnings. Industrial production statistics are due from Germany and Spain, while Moody's is due to give ratings updates for Greece and Italy.

What We've Been Reading

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

And finally, here's what Cormac Mullen is interested in this morning

A pullback in fiscal stimulus bets and fresh impetus for asset purchase programs has sent investors rushing once more to sovereign bonds, pushing the world's stockpile of negative-yielding debt to a record. The market value of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Negative Yielding Debt Index rose to $17.05 trillion on Thursday, an all-time high. Its share of total world debt climbed to 26%, still below the 30% reached last year thanks to the slew of global issuance in 2020 to deal with the impact of the coronavirus. A surge in Treasuries as traders dialed down their expectations for a massive fiscal spending package under a unified Democratic government has helped fuel the recent rise in global bonds. Meanwhile, plans from the Bank of England and Reserve Bank of Australia to expand bond buying and the Federal Reserve discussing a shift in its purchase program has reminded bond bears who they are up against. Of course the slide in the greenback may also have amplified the move, given the sizeable amount of negative-yielding debt denominated in euros and yen. But the sheer wall of money sitting in the below-zero club suggests any sell-off in bonds with positive yields -- from Treasuries to BTPs to gilts to Aussie sovereigns -- would quickly be seen as a buying opportunity.

Cormac Mullen is a Cross-Asset reporter and editor for Bloomberg News in Tokyo. 

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