10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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Here’s what you need to know before markets open.

1. HSBC’s profits dive 67% in the second quarter as COVID-19 and US-China geopolitical trade risk hit the lender. HSBC reported a plunge in profits-before-tax of 67% in the second quarter of 2020 as COVID-19 and a period of geopolitical risk weighed on the lender. 

2. Warren Buffett’s Apple stake has tripled in value to more than $100 billion. Apple is by far Buffett’s biggest holding, and represents around 5.7% of the tech giant’s outstanding stock.

3. The day-trading boom is a ‘welcome phenomenon,’ and has actually helped to reduce market volatility, a veteran Wall Street trader says. At a time where day-traders have been blamed for adding market volatility and falsely inflating stocks, one veteran trader thinks they have actually reduced volatility.

4. ‘The stock market can drop as much as 80%’: A 47-year market vet explains why we’re in the midst of a global bust – and makes a case for $10,000 gold. David Hunter, the chief macro strategist at Contrarian Macro Advisors, isn’t coy in his assessment of the prevailing economic environment. 

5. A Wall Street quant chief breaks down why a COVID-19 vaccine is not the silver bullet investors have been hoping for – and warns another stock-market meltdown is likely. Stocks are recovering from their coronavirus-induced losses so quickly that even several of the world’s biggest investors are being proven wrong. 

6. These 16 global stocks have at least 20% upside in the next year – and they’ll continue to thrive as COVID-19 accelerates a crucial technological shift, UBS says.  You know the story: There’s an e-commerce and work-from-home revolution happening, and it’s sending certain types of tech stocks skyward.

7. TikTok is at the heart of a wild geopolitical dogfight which means Microsoft might buy it. The wildly popular short video app has become the subject of increasing criticism in the US due to the fact it is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, a fact which some officials and lawmakers including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo say make it a national security threat.

8. Most stocks are up. Major Asian stocks are up between 0.7% and 1.1%. European stocks are up between 0.7% and 1.8%, while US futures are pointing to an increase between 0.3% and 0.9% for the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq.

9. Earnings coming in: American International Group and Heineken Q2 20 earnings are due. 

10. On the economic front: US Market Manufacturing PMI Index and US Total Vehicle Sales are due. 

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