European markets closed marginally higher on Friday as investors reacted to promising news on Pfizer’s Covid 19 pill and a strong U.S. jobs report. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up just 0.05%, while most sectors closed higher. Eurozone retail sales surprisingly fell 0.3% month-on-month in September, according to Eurostat data Friday, as weakness in Germany weighed on the eurozone.
U.S. stocks rose to record highs Friday after a better-than-expected jobs report for October, adding to optimism about the economic recovery. Stocks rose after the jobs report for October showed a gain of 531,000 jobs. Consensus estimates were for 450,000 new jobs, according to Dow Jones. The report also revised the disappointing September number to 312,000 new jobs from 194,000 previously and increased the August number by a similar amount. Shares of Pfizer rose nearly 11% after the company said its drug Covid-19, used with an HIV drug, reduces the risk of hospitalizations by 89%.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower this morning as investors reacted to trade data from China released over the weekend. Official data released over the weekend showed China’s exports rose 27.1% in October from a year earlier. That was higher than the 24.5% growth forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll. The Australian stock market is slightly lower in choppy trading, giving back some of its gains from the past three trading days. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 is holding above the 7,400 mark despite positive cues from Wall Street on Friday, as gains in mining and energy stocks were more than offset by weakness in technology stocks.
Berkshire’s operating profit surges 18% in latest quarter as Buffett’s cash on hand hits record $149 billion
Berkshire Hathaway posted another double- digit increase in operating profit thanks to a steady recovery in its rail, utilities and energy businesses from the pandemic, while the company’s cash holdings hit a record high as Warren Buffett continues to sit on the sidelines. The conglomerate reported third-quarter operating profit of $6.47 billion, up 18% from $5.48 billion in the year-ago quarter, according to an earnings report released Saturday. At the end of September, Berkshire’s cash holdings reached a record $149.2 billion, up from $144.1 billion in the second quarter. Buffett has not made a major acquisition in recent years as valuations hit record highs and the business environment became competitive.
Twitter poll calls on Elon Musk to sell 10% of Tesla shares
In a Twitter poll, voters have called on Elon Musk to sell 10% of his stake in Tesla to pay taxes. More than 3.5 million Twitter users participated in the poll launched by Musk on Saturday. Nearly 58% voted in favour of selling the stake. The vote could lead to him selling nearly $21bn (£16bn) worth of shares in the electric carmaker. In response to the US Democrats’ proposed “billionaire tax”, he has promised to abide by the result. Musk has yet to comment publicly on the ruling or how and when he would sell his stake. Should he go through with the sale, he could be left with a hefty tax bill.