Trump suggests delaying US Presidential Election, US GDP better than expected

US President Donald Trump has tweeted that the US Presidential Election 2020 should be delayed beyond November. US stock market futures paid little attention to the comment, but the Dow was 300 points in the red anyway after US growth and jobs data. Trump claimed, without providing any evidence, that November’s ballot would be “the most inaccurate & fraudulent election in history”.

Can Trump delay the US 2020 Presidential Election?

The president has long taken issue with mail-in ballots, and has claimed before that they pose a high risk of fraud. Many states have already taken the decision to open mail-in ballots to all voters for safety reasons given the huge number of coronavirus cases in the United States.

As Helen Thomas pointed out in our earlier election coverage, “recent electoral results have indicated that expanding vote-by-mail favours Democrats, as the easy access to the ballot has increased turnout in their favour”.

US GDP better than forecast, but jobless claims rise

Markets were little cheered by the latest US economic data, despite a smaller than expected decline in Q2 GDP. The economy shrank by -32.9% between April and June, compared to forecasts of a -34.1% drop. The decline is still the largest drop in output since the Second World War.

Jobless claims figures published alongside the latest US growth data pointed to a small uptick in claims. 1.434 million Americans filed for jobless benefits in the week ending July 25th, up from 1.416 million the previous week. The four-week average has risen from 1.360 million to 1.368 million, and the number of continuing claims rose from 16.2 million to 17 million – a much larger increase than had been forecast.

Stocks edge further into negative territory

European stocks and US futures slowly drifted further into negative territory after the data, with Wall Street going on to open around -1% lower. Equities had been languishing in the red ever since this morning’s European data, which showed a larger-than-expected drop in Q2 GDP for Germany and a rise in Eurozone unemployment.

At the time of writing the DAX was down -4%, while the Euro Stoxx 50 was trending -3% lower.