Black Friday has finally arrived, but the shopping season is set to be different with online sales likely to surge. European banking consolidation is put on hold in Spain, while AstraZeneca is not likely to feel much warmth as Wall Street returns from its Thanksgiving holiday. Oil is trading mixed as a crucial OPEC+ meeting emerges, while sterling retains strength and stocks are seen continuing the recent positive trend.
As we know Black Friday is usually the busiest shopping day of the year , but his year it is different. We are used to seeing pictures of people tackling each other in shops, but Covid-19 restrictions have forced shops to divert most purchases online.
Many retailers, who have been affected by the pandemic, started offering their Black Friday promotions much earlier than they normally do, taking their lead from Amazon hosting their Prime Day in the middle of October, in order to capture as much holiday-related as possible. It’s still likely to be a bumper period for the major retailers, with the National Retail Federation forecasting U.S. holiday retail sales will increase between 3.6% and 5.2% over 2019, for a total of $755.3 billion to $766.7 billion. This compares with an average annual increase of 3.5% over the past five years.
Banco Sabadell stock flopped 12% after its potential merger with rival BBVA slumped, just two weeks after the two Spanish banks announced plans for a tie-up. The reason they didn’t see eye to eye is about the price of the deal, which would have resulted in a bank with a market capitalization of around 27.5 billion euros. BBVA said it was in no rush to scale up its operations given it already has around 15% of Spain’s market share, while Sabadell said it would launch a new strategy to prioritize domestic business. European lenders have been under a lot of pressure, with the financial challenges surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic adding to their distress. Consolidation of the region’s fragmented banking sector has been seen as a way to progress, and even before this CaixaBank and Bankia had announced plans to merge in a deal that would create Spain’s largest domestic bank, with a combined market capitalization of almost €17 billion.