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Nervy November for Nasdaq?

2 November 2020

Investors are set to carry a weight of anxiety on their shoulders as they enter the US elections week, after nerves have been left raw by the steep selloff in October. The new trading month however could kick off with tepid gains, as Nasdaq 100 futures edge into the green during the Asian morning session and attempt to claw its way out of a technical correction once more.

The Nasdaq 100 index has just wrapped up its biggest weekly loss since March, sealing a 3.2 percent decline for the month of October. Last week’s better-than-expected Q3 earnings out of US tech companies failed to stop the rot in the index, as it explored more of its downside last week to post two consecutive monthly drops. The tech-heavy benchmark could make it three in a row, if nerves get the better of stock markets in the aftermath of Tuesday’s US elections.

Last Friday’s declines pushed the Nasdaq 100 back into correction territory, with its futures now about 11 percent lower from its highest ever closing price on September 2nd. A correction constitutes a drop of more than 10 percent from the recent high. The price action from the past three weeks has also taken a big chunk out of the index’s rebound which commenced on September 21st.

Should the Nasdaq 100 Minis set a lower low than the 10,669 mark on September 21st, that would confirm a downtrend for this particular asset. Still, for broader context, the Nasdaq 100 remains 58 percent higher compared to its year-to-date low which was set on March 20th.

In contrast, the FXTM Social Media Index is less than five percent below its record high, given its concentration on pandemic-era winners. Shares in Alphabet, Google’s parent company, climbed nearly seven percent over the last two trading sessions of October, combined, after reporting better-than-expected Q3 earnings last week. Google’s 25 percent weightage on the FXTM Social Media Index helped to offset the declines in its other three constituents, namely Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Overall, stock market participants have only been too eager to take profit over recent weeks, as chances of a pre-election US stimulus package evaporated while US political risks beckoned closer. When polling stations open across America tomorrow, it could mark the start of an extended period of political uncertainty, as it could take weeks before the world finds out who won the 2020 US presidential elections.

Investors may continue with their risk averse stance as the world waits with bated breath to find out who will get to stay in the White House for the next four years. However, once we can get to the other side of the great unknown that is the US elections, the US tech sector is expected to be restored towards their lofty valuations, given the pandemic-fueled tailwinds and the Fed’s ultra-accommodative policy stance. But between now and then, it could be one very bumpy ride.



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