Week ahead: Brexit drags on, COVID-19, UK and US retail sales

Suban Abdulla
·4-min read
28 October 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: A stock trader observes his monitors on the floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in front of the board with the falling Dax curve. The worsening corona crisis with rapidly rising infection figures and the threat of a "lockdown" of public life in Germany have put a heavy strain on the German stock market. For the first time since June, the Dax slipped below the 12,000 point mark. It is already more than 13 percent away from the interim high of 13,460 points at the beginning of September. Photo: Arne Dedert/dpa (Photo by Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Last week, global stock markets rebounded and made strong gains on US election results and a COVID-19 vaccine headlines. Photo: Arne Dedert/dpa via Getty Images

This week the spotlight will be on whether a Brexit agreement will be finally reached as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, global stock markets rebounded and made strong gains on US election results and a COVID-19 vaccine headlines.

On Wednesday, global stocks rose and oil hit a two month high, as optimism about Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech’s (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine grew.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) climbed to a 5-month high, on the vaccine news — reaching levels not seen since early June.

As ever, the coronavirus pandemic remains in full focus with the US reaching new record highs and cases continuing to soar in the UK and across Europe.

While there is optimism that a vaccine is on the horizon, there is potentially a long window before there is a vaccination programme and global economies can be fully reopened.

UK: Will this be the week for a Brexit deal?

European flag broken by United Kingdom exit with blurred Big Ben tower of London, the house of a British parliament. The financial concept for Brexit and EU division.
Brexit talks have continue to trot on in the background over the last two weeks. Photo: Getty

Could this be the week where a Brexit deal is agreed?

The UK set a deal deadline for 15 November, but Brussels views the EU summit video conference on 19 November as a deadline for a draft deal.

Brexit talks have continued to trot on in the background over the last two weeks.

But, while UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have stepped in to facilitate negotiations. The two sides are still deadlocked on “significant differences” such as fisheries and a level playing field.

In terms of figures: inflation, which is sitting at 0.5%, is out on Wednesday, while retail sales, which last came in at 1.5%, are due on Friday.

Key company results:

  • Vodafone (VOD.L) — interim (Monday)

  • easyJet (EZJ.L) — final (Tuesday)

  • Halfords (HFD.L) — Q2 (Wednesday)

  • Royal Mail (RMG.L), Jet2, Investec (INVP.L) — interims (Thursday)

  • Nationwide — interim (Friday)

  • Sage (SGE.L) — final (Friday)

US: Retail sales and Biden administration forming in the background

WILMINGTON, DE - NOVEMBER 04: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden takes his face mask off as he arrives to speak one day after Americans voted in the presidential election, on November 04, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden spoke as votes are still being counted in his tight race against incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump which remains too close to call. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Investors will watch for any further developments as president-elect Joe Biden continues to select key members of his administration. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As president-elect Joe Biden continues to form his administration, naming key appointments, Wall Street and global markets will pay close attention to Biden’s treasury secretary pick.

Investors will have their hands full with America’s labour market on the edge of permanent damage, a wealth inequality gap that needs bridging as well as pushing along climate change initiatives.

Two women, current Federal Reserve (Fed) Governor Lael Brainard and former-Fed Chair Janet Yellen are allegedly at the top of Biden’s list.

On Sunday, Republican president Donald Trump reluctantly said on Twitter (TWTR) for the first time that Biden had ‘won’ before doubling down on election fraud.

Trump and his team continue on with legal challenges of several key states and recounting votes, such as in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Biden has all but solidified his win after taking Georgia, making him the first Democratic candidate to take the state since 1992.

Data wise, the monthly retail sales data is out on Tuesday with an expected sixth consecutive increase in the economy’s main motor, consumer consumption. So far, figures have had a V-shaped rebound from the big declines in the first part of this year.

Also on the slate is the closely-followed regional factory sector survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, on Thursday.

Watch: What does a Joe Biden presidency in the US mean for the global economy?

Eurozone: Coronavirus situation across the continent, EU summit video conference

Coronavirus cases have continued to surge in Europe, despite many member states, such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain taking curbs including tighter restrictions and full national lockdowns.

On Thursday, the 27 heads of state and government will hold the EU summit video conference to discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Central Bank’s financial stability review is also out on Monday, region-wide inflation on Wednesday, the current account reading on Thursday and consumer confidence figures on the slate for Friday.

Elsewhere: A host of data is out for China, with expectations that the world’s second largest economy will continue to outperform the rest of the world over the remainder of 2020. China industrial production and retail sales figures are out on Monday. September was the first solid month of positive retail sales growth in 2020 for the country, with a rise of 3.3%, after a 0.5% gain in August. This looks set to improve further in October with a rise of 5% expected. The People’s Bank of China will unveil its rate decision on Friday.