By Callum Keown
Earnings continue to take center stage on Friday, ably supported by the twists and turns of the U.S.-China trade war.
Renewed trade fears sent stocks retreating on Thursday, while mixed corporate earnings failed to inspire investors.
In the background, the race to become the Democratic challenger to Donald Trump in next year's election is bubbling along -- and investors should take note.
Goldman Sachs, in our call of the day, has downgraded the communication services sector to neutral from overweight due to rising regulatory risk ahead of the election.
"Although the growth prospects of many communication services companies remain attractive, the valuation overhang from regulatory uncertainty will likely continue to grow and weigh on the sector's performance," analyst David Kostin said.
In a note, Goldman Sachs said antitrust lawsuits against IBM (IBM) in 1969, AT&T (T) in 1974, and (MSFT) n 1998 had all hit the companies' sales growth and valuation.
Elsewhere the note said most equity investors had focused on Elizabeth Warren's rising prospects and the potential consequences of her policies.
Most notably managed health care stocks have declined as Warren's popularity has risen, Goldman said, due to her "Medicare for All" proposals.
Kostin said the winning candidate would still need the support of both chambers of Congress for policies discussed on the campaign trail to be implemented and urged investors to look at the probability of outcomes.
He added: "Based on our earnings and valuation sensitivities, the current state of the race implies a probability-weighted year-end 2020 S&P 500 level of roughly 3,200."
After the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 140 points on Thursday, Dow futures are up 0.2%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures are also higher. Europe stocks are up, following Asian markets , which made gains as Chinese factory activity grew at its fastest pace in more than two years in October.
It will be another bumper day for earnings as Exxon, Chevron, Colgate-Palmolive, biopharmaceutical firm AbbVie (ABBV) and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba all report third quarter results ahead of the open.
Colgate-Palmolive beat profit expectations but sales fell short in the third quarter, sending the stock 1.3% lower in pre-market trading, while Exxon's earnings topped analysts forecasts, boosting shares.
Alibaba (BABA) shares climbed in pre-market trading after the company reported (sizable earnings beat.
AIG (AIG) swung to a profit late on Thursday as catastrophes had less of an impact on the insurer.
The U.S. government's October jobs data will also be released on Friday morning.
Pinterest's (PINS) stock fell close to 20% in late trading on Thursday ( ) as revenue growth slowed in the third quarter.
Australian airline Qantas said on Friday it grounded three Boeing 737s after finding hairline cracks (the aircrafts' wing structures. The airline has been inspecting its Boeing 737 NG planes following calls from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. These are different from the grounded Boeing 737 Max jets.
U.S. drugmaker Amgen (AMGN) said it would take a 20.5% stake in Chinese biotech company BeiGene ( ) for $2.7 billion in cash. Amgen said the Beijing-based company will commercialize certain Amgen treatments in China and split the earnings.
Woman claims to be werewolf after biting friend's (/) ear off.
Krakow rated best European city for a holiday ().
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino said "we're not doing this ever again" (WSODIssue="45563793">Facebook#Echobox=1572592967) ahead of the release of their much-anticipated mob movie The Irishman.
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-Callum Keown; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 01, 2019 12:44 ET (16:44 GMT)
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