Vote count remains tight

Stock futures are trimming their best weekly advance since April following a four-day rally that saw the S&P score daily gains in excess of 1% and a whole lot more for Big Tech. At the time of writing: Dow -0.5%; S&P 500 -0.7%; Nasdaq -1%. Worries over the election are weighing on some sentiment after President Trump questioned its credibility and said the vote was being “stolen” from him. He’s pursuing lawsuits challenging the counting process in several states, as rival Joe Biden took a slight lead in Georgia and gained in Pennsylvania, though his lead contracted in Arizona and Nevada.

Emergency election measures

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has pulled the trigger on “temporary emergency measures” that executives previously described as their “break glass” options to respond to post-election unrest. Examples: The company took down the “Stop the Steal” group, which was organizing protests of vote counts around the country and grew to more than 361,000 members within 24 hours. Another feature will require users seeking to share election-related material to click through a notice encouraging them to visit the website’s Voting Information Center. Facebook will also restrict the spread of live video and reduce the likelihood that users will see content that its algorithms classify as potential misinformation.

Fed not out of firepower

The FOMC made no change to its pace of asset purchases and kept rates at rock bottom on Thursday, which will stay there until the pandemic-hit economy reaches full employment with higher inflation. Fed Chair Jay Powell also made another pitch for a stimulus package from Congress and the White House, but he might have to do more on the monetary end if the gridlock continues amid a “particularly concerning” rise in new COVID-19 cases. “Is monetary policy out of power or out of ammunition? The answer to that is no, I don’t think that,” Powell declared. “I think that we’re strongly committed to using these powerful tools for as long as needed.”

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Bitcoin on a tear

Fresh off celebrating its 12th white paper anniversary, Bitcoin (BTC-USD) rose another 9% overnight to nearly touch $16,000, spurred by a tumble in dollar, ever looser monetary policy and after the DOJ seized a record amount of cryptocurrency. Officials took possession of more than $1B, including 69,000 bitcoins that had been associated with the dormant dark web site Silk Road, marking the largest seizure of crypto in the agency’s history. Bitcoin’s surge widens the crypto’s lead over gold as the top asset of 2020, according to Bloomberg, whose Galaxy Crypto Index of digital currencies is up about 120% this year exceeding gold’s jump of about 30%.

Public comments on Ant IPO suspension

“The decision was made in accordance with laws and regulations… and about maintaining stable, healthy market development in the long term,” announced Liu Guoqiang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China. “Any listed company must comply with the requirements of relevant laws and regulations,” added Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. China put a halt to the $37B listing on Tuesday, spoiling the world’s largest stock market debut and throwing the company and its investors into a tailspin. Shares of Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), which owns a third of Ant Group, have since tumbled on the news, as the fintech races to satisfy tighter regulations.

New Alzheimer’s drug set for approval

The future of aducanumab, Biogen’s (NASDAQ:BIIB) treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, looks set to get a thumbs-up from the FDA, becoming the first new therapy for the brain disorder in nearly two decades (memantine was approved back in 2003). A meeting of outside advisers will meet virtually today and investors are clearly expecting an approval based on aspects of the FDA briefing document (Biogen shares soared over 30% on Wednesday). While some are skeptical about the data, aducanumab is said to reduce cognitive decline by targeting and eliminating toxic proteins in the brain, called beta amyloid.

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