Black Friday 2020: The best early deals, our expert buying advice, and all of your FAQs answered

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Black Friday is one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year, and this year's Black Friday is shaping up to be unlike any that came before it.

Below, learn everything you need to know about Black Friday 2020, including the important dates to know, where to shop, what to buy, and the best deals our team of expert product reviewers expects to see this November. 

The best early Black Friday deals available now

What is Black Friday? 

Black Friday is an annual sales event that traditionally happens at the end of November and, historically, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The event is one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year — sales are so high that the day can push a retailer into "the black," or solvency.

Shoppers can expect thousands of deals to crop up on the days leading up to and following the big sales event. That said, many retailers often wait until the big day to drop the best deals.

Is Black Friday 2020 cancelled?

No, but it will be unlike any Black Friday that came before it. This year, Black Friday will be longer and more online than ever.

Nearly every major retailer will offer deals and exclusive offers throughout the month of November, if they haven't started already. 

With the ongoing pandemic, the in-store Black Friday experience will look a lot different than in previous years. It's hard to imagine seeing the deluge of people scrambling for doorbuster deals happening this year with safety restrictions in place.

When is Black Friday 2020?

Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year, Black Friday falls on November 27. 

However, due to increased online shopping and subsequent supply-chain delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, several storefronts, including Walmart and Best Buy, have augmented their schedules. For instance, Best Buy launched its "Black Friday" sale alongside Amazon Prime Day. The electronics retailer decided to begin its sale early this year "to help shoppers start their shopping season early — and safely." 

What time does Black Friday start?

Technically speaking, Black Friday starts at 12:01 a.m. local time for online retailers. However, Black Friday sales start whenever each retailer decides their sales will go live.

From what we've seen so far, several retailers will be releasing new deals every week in 2020. 

  • Amazon: While Amazon hasn't released when it will release its official, wide-ranging Black Friday sale, it's offering several one-day offers during the lead-up. Last year, Amazon's deals started online at midnight on November 22.
  • Best Buy: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer is running its 'Prep for the Holidays Black Friday' sale for the whole month of November. 
  • Gamestop: While Gamestop has yet to announce its Black Friday sale dates, we do know that all stores will be closed for Thanksgiving Day and that the retailer is planning to offer deals ahead of November 28.
  • Home Depot:
  • Kohl's: Stores will be closed Thanksgiving Day, but the retailer's sale is slated to start on Black Friday, November 28.
  • Macy's: Macy's is currently mum on when it will kick off its Black Friday sale. Last year, Macy's opened from 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to 2 a.m. November 29 of last year. They reopened at 6 a.m. November 29 of last year.
  • Nordstrom: Last year, stores opened at 10 a.m. November 29 and online sales started on November 27. This year, we expect to see Nordstrom take a more online approach. 
  • Target: The company is offering new deals every week of November for Black Friday this year, with weekly ads dropping each Thursday. The first ad will be released on October 29.
  • Walmart: Walmart is holding 'Black Friday Deals for Days' events this year. Three events are taking place starting as early as November 4 both online and in stores, with a few online-only sales.  
  • Wayfair: Last year, Wayfair sales began online at 9 a.m. ET November 22. 

How long do Black Friday sales last?

Don't be fooled by the name that suggests it's a single day. It's most definitely not. It's more like a shopping season that begins in early November. 

Black Friday sales generally start days or weeks in advance of the actual shopping event and continue on until Cyber Monday. Better yet, some retailers hold their deals until well after both events to further boost the entire December shopping season.

What should you buy on Black Friday? 

Since it falls a few weeks before the gift-giving season, Black Friday provides excellent opportunities to buy — and save on all your holiday gifts  — before the last-minute rush. 

It's nearly guaranteed that you'll get great value for your money on certain products during Black Friday — but some tend to see better discounts at other times of the year. If you go in knowing what you're looking for, you're less likely to be ripped off by a fancy-looking coupon or to spend money on products you don't need.

Shoppers can expect tons of great deals — including so-called "doorbusters" — online before and the days following Black Friday. During the event, prices will drop to all-time lows, often beating out prices we see over the course of the year. The sale covers every product category: tech, home and kitchen, fashion, and smart home. 

This Black Friday, shoppers should expect to see similar offers to the ones we saw on Amazon Prime Day, except more wide-ranging.

We recommend focusing on the following product categories if you want the best deals: 

  • TVs
  • Smart home devices
  • Gaming consoles and video games
  • Kitchen appliances

Historically, Black Friday has been a great time to purchase big-ticket electronics — especially larger TVs. Whether you're looking for a top-of-the-line Samsung set or LG OLED, or a budget-friendly TCL or Hisense model, Black Friday will likely deliver several deals.

Much like Amazon Prime Day, we expect to see tons of discounts on smart home products. We'll likely see Amazon Echo products drop to their lowest prices ever, plus several discounts and bundles on Google's recently released products.

Black Friday happens after the latest Xbox and Playstation consoles are released. While we're unlikely to see any markdowns on the consoles, we may see a few bundles crop up. We will likely see modest discounts on games for all consoles, and huge bundles for last-generation consoles. 

If you're looking for a kitchen upgrade, Black Friday is a great time to shop. We'll likely see discounts on Instant Pot pressure cookers, KitchenAid appliances, pots and pans, plus everything else you'll want for the upcoming holiday season.

Of course, the deals found during Black Friday are incredibly wide-ranging. While we expect there to be several deals on diapers, toilet paper, or other household essentials and toiletries, please be careful not to over-stock on supplies during a pandemic.

Is Black Friday or Cyber Monday better?

It's complicated, and it matters much less this year.

For those unfamiliar, Cyber Monday traditionally comes three days after Black Friday, or the following Monday after. However, we've seen Black Friday and Cyber Monday slowly merge and expand to a weeklong, or even a monthlong affair. Different products receive better discounts on each day, and the deals that each retailer offers will vary.

This year, with most Americans shopping online, it's more critical for shoppers to know where and what time to shop, not what day. 

A good rule of thumb to follow: If you think you see a good deal, (e.g. one we recommend) create the order as soon as possible. While you can always cancel or return a product, it's impossible to take advantage of an inactive, or expired deal.

Suppose you purchase a discounted product during Black Friday and see a more significant markdown at another retailer come Cyber Monday. Don't sweat it.

You can ask the original storefront to match the price (some automatically refund you the difference), or you can return or cancel the order, then place a new order with the better price. Some orders won't even ship during the weekend, which makes it easy to cancel orders.

For those who can shop in-person during Black Friday, we've found that it's better to shop on Black Friday in these situations:

  • For expensive products
  • For major stores
  • For this year's products
  • If you plan to shop in stores (if it's available in your area)

It should go without saying, but this year's in-store experience will be a lot different from the one last year. If you so choose to shop Black Friday in-person, make sure to read up on the safety guidelines provided by each storefront.

What stores have Black Friday deals? 

Outside of a few notable exceptions like REI, nearly every major retailer and direct-to-consumer company will offer markdowns during the event. Shoppers should expect deals from Walmart, Best Buy, Dell, Amazon, Adorama,  Lowe's, Home Depot, and more.

As we do every Black Friday, we are sifting through all of the offers and rounding up the best deals from your favorite retailers. 

Will there be Black Friday shipping delays?

Shipping delays and major shopping holidays go hand in hand, and this year is no exception. Experts suggest that consumers may see low inventory problems and shipping, during Black Friday and the weeks following. 

While we do expect shipping delays, several retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, are hoping to alleviate some of that stress by offering in-store pickup and contactless curbside pickup. This means shoppers can grab their orders at a nearby location if the store has it in stock. 

When do Black Friday ads come out?

Every year, shoppers eagerly await Black Friday advertising to get a sneak peek at the deals each retailer will over. Shoppers use these "ad scans" to help create their Black Friday game plan.

While there isn't a release schedule available, a smattering of retailers has already posted their advertising online, the most notable being Walmart. We'll update this section to include all of the available ad scans as soon as they become available.

Here are the most important ad scans currently available: 

  • Walmart: To find the ad scan, first find your local Walmart via the local directory. Once you get to the "Store Overview" page, find the "Weekly Ad" section.

How we select the best Black Friday deals

  • We only choose products that meet our high standard of coverage and that we've either used ourselves or researched carefully.
  • We'll compare the prices among top retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart and include only the deals that are better than all others offered (not including promotional discounts that come from using certain credit cards). 
  • All deals will be at least 20% off, with the occasional exception for products that are rarely discounted or provide an outsize value.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]

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Shark Tank investor Kevin O'Leary says the market 'just doesn't care' about who wins the US election

“Shark Tank”/ABC

  • Kevin O’Leary told CNBC on Wednesday that markets are not concerned with who wins the election because they know that a $2 trillion stimulus package will be released regardless of who wins.
  • “This is the most fascinating election the American economy has ever seen because the market just doesn’t care,” the investor said. 
  • He added that policies are unlikely to change in the near term if Biden wins because the former vice president’s “hands will be tied” around the unemployment rate. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kevin O’Leary said that markets are not concerned with who wins the US presidential election in a CNBC interview released Wednesday.

The Shark Tank investor and O’Shares ETFs chairman said that there will be a $2 trillion stimulus with either candidate, and that’s really what the market is trading on right now. 

“This is the most fascinating election the American economy has ever seen because the market just doesn’t care,” O’Leary said. 

He also said Joe Biden is unlikely to change policies immediately if he wins the election because the unemployment rate will still be at 9%. 

Read more: An investment chief overseeing $23 billion breaks down 2 critical election-linked risks facing the market – and shares the smartest way to turn them both into profit opportunities

“You got 9% of the economy unemployed. I think his hands are tied. I don’t think he does very much of anything, I think the policies remain the same,” the investor said. Even with a “blue tide” where Democrats gain control of the White House and Congress, policies are unlikely to change until the midterm elections two years down the road, he added. 

The market is expecting increased tensions between the two largest economies of the world too, O’Leary said.

The investor added: “If you’re the Chinese government you’d rather have Biden, but if Trump wins again … bar the doors on China relations, he’s going to put the screws down even harder and the market’s ready for that too.”

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Up to 100 jobs at risk as Langham’s brasserie teeters on brink

Langan’s Brasserie, the London restaurant once co-owned by the actor Michael Caine and famous as a 1980s celebrity haunt frequented by diners as diverse as Princess Margaret, Muhammad Ali and Mick Jagger, is teetering on the brink of administration.

Up to 100 jobs are at risk at the brasserie, which was opened in 1976 by Caine, and the restaurateur and bon viveur Peter Langan.

The eatery was a favourite destination for the rich and famous, and especially was known for the antics of Langan, who would climb on tables and crawl beneath them to nibble his customers’ ankles, and who once put out a fire in the kitchen with vintage champagne.

The restaurant, in Stratton Street, Mayfair, central London, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, a legal measure that provides 10 working days of protection from creditors as advisors examine options for the business.

The brasserie has been battered by Covid-19 restrictions and a lack of tourists in the capital; it also faces the end of the UK government furlough scheme, due to end on 31 October.

The financial advisory firm Begbies Traynor has been lined up as potential administrator and is understood to be in talks with a number of possible rescuers, thought to include Richard Caring, owner of The Ivy restaurant and a string of other upscale London diners including Scott’s.

UK retail and hospitality job cuts on back of Covid-19 crisis

Marston’s – 2,150 jobs
15 October: Marston’s  – the brewer which owns nearly 1,400 pubs, restaurants, cocktail bars and hotels across the UK – said it would cut 2,150 jobs due to fresh Covid restrictions. The company has more than 14,000 employees. 

Whitbread – 6,000 jobs
22 September: Whitbread, which owns the Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre chains, said it would cut 6,000 jobs at its hotels and restaurants, almost one in five of its workforce

Pizza Express – 1,100 jobs
7 September: The restaurant chain confirms the closure of 73 restaurants as part of a rescue restructure deal.

Costa Coffee – 1,650 jobs
3 September: The company, which was bought by Coca-Cola two years ago, is cutting up to 1,650 jobs in its cafes, more than one in 10 of its workforce. The assistant store manager role will go across all shops.

Pret a Manger – 2,890 jobs
27 August: The majority of the cuts are focused on the sandwich chain’s shop workers, but 90 roles will be lost in its support centre teams. The cuts include the 1,000 job losses announced on 6 July.

Marks & Spencer – 7,000 jobs
18 August: Food, clothing and homewares retailer cuts jobs in central support centre, regional management and stores.

M&Co – 400 jobs
5 August: M&Co, the Renfrewshire-based clothing retailer, formerly known as Mackays, will close 47 of 215 stores.

WH Smith – 1,500 jobs
5 August: The chain, which sells products ranging from sandwiches to stationery, will cut jobs mainly in UK railway stations and airports. 

Dixons Carphone – 800 jobs
4 August: Electronics retailer Dixons Carphone is cutting 800 managers in its stores as it continues to reduce costs.

DW Sports – 1,700 jobs at risk
3 August: DW Sports fell into administration, closing its retail website immediately and risking the closure of its 150 gyms and shops.

Marks & Spencer – 950 jobs
20 July: The high street stalwart cuts management jobs in stores as well as head office roles related to property and store operations.

Ted Baker – 500 jobs
19 July: About 200 roles to go at the fashion retailer’s London headquarters, the Ugly Brown Building, and the remainder at stores.

Azzurri – 1,200 jobs
17 July: The owner of the Ask Italian and Zizzi pizza chains closes 75 restaurants and makes its Pod lunch business delivery only

Burberry – 500 jobs worldwide
15 July: Total includes 150 posts in UK head offices as luxury brand tries to slash costs by £55m after a slump in sales during the pandemic.

Boots – 4,000 jobs
9 July: Boots is cutting 4,000 jobs – or 7% of its workforce – by closing 48 opticians outlets and reducing staff at its head office in Nottingham as well as some management and customer service roles in stores.

John Lewis – 1,300 jobs
9 July: John Lewis announced that it is planning to permanently close eight of its 50 stores, including full department stores in Birmingham and Watford, with the likely loss of 1,300 jobs.

Celtic Manor – 450 jobs
9 July: Bosses at the Celtic Collection in Newport, which staged golf’s Ryder Cup in 2010 and the 2014 Nato Conference, said 450 of its 995 workers will lose their jobs.

Pret a Manger – 1,000 jobs
6 July: Pret a Manger is to permanently close 30 branches and could cut at least 1,000 jobs after suffering “significant operating losses” as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown

Casual Dining Group – 1,900 jobs
2 July: The owner of the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas restaurant chains collapsed into administration, with the immediate loss of 1,900 jobs. The company said multiple offers were on the table for parts of the business but buyers did not want to acquire all the existing sites and 91 of its 250 outlets would remain permanently closed.

Arcadia – 500 jobs
1 July: Arcadia, Sir Philip Green’s troubled fashion group – which owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Evans and Wallis – said in July 500 head office jobs out of 2,500 would go in the coming weeks.

SSP Group – 5,000 jobs
1 July: The owner of Upper Crust and Caffè Ritazza is to axe 5,000 jobs, about half of its workforce, with cuts at its head office and across its UK operations after the pandemic stalled domestic and international travel.

Harrods – 700 jobs
1 July: The department store group is cutting one in seven of its 4,800 employees because of the “ongoing impacts” of the pandemic.

Harveys – 240 jobs
30 June: Administrators made 240 redundancies at the furniture chain Harveys, with more than 1,300 jobs at risk if a buyer cannot be found.

TM Lewin – 600 jobs
30 June: Shirtmaker TM Lewin closed all 66 of its outlets permanently, with the loss of about 600 jobs.

Monsoon Accessorize – 545 jobs
11 June: The fashion brands were bought out of administration by their founder, Peter Simon, in June, in a deal in which 35 stores closed permanently and 545 jobs were lost.

Mulberry – 470 jobs
8 June: The luxury fashion and accessories brand is to cut 25% of its global workforce and has started a consultation with the 470 staff at risk.

The Restaurant Group – 3,000 jobs
3 June: The owner of dining chains such as Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s has closed most branches of Chiquito and all 11 of its Food & Fuel pubs, with another 120 restaurants to close permanently. Total job losses could reach 3,000.

Clarks – 900 jobs
21 May: Clarks plans to cut 900 office jobs worldwide as it grapples with the growth of online shoe shopping as well as the pandemic.

Oasis and Warehouse – 1,800 jobs
30 April: The fashion brands were bought out of administration by the restructuring firm Hilco in April, with all of their stores permanently closed and 1,800 jobs lost.

Cath Kidston – 900 jobs
21 April: More than 900 jobs were cut immediately at the retro retail label Cath Kidston after the company said it was permanently closing all 60 of its UK stores.

Debenhams – 4,000 jobs
9 April: At least 4,000 jobs will be lost at Debenhams in its head office and closed stores after its collapse into administration in April, for the second time in a year.

Laura Ashley – 2,700 jobs
17 March: Laura Ashley collapsed into administration, with 2,700 job losses, and said rescue talks had been thwarted by the pandemic.

Langan lined the walls of the restaurant with work by artists including David Hockney, a regular at the restaurant, who helped design the menus turning them into collectors’ pieces, and Patrick Caulfield.

The Irish restaurateur had a reputation for throwing out customers, but the restaurant, which had no dress code, pulled in stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando and Mick Jagger in 1970s and 1980s to dine on its signature dish of spinach soufflé with anchovy sauce.

Caine reportedly said of Langan: “Peter stumbles around in a cloud of his own vomit and is a complete social embarrassment. You would have a more interesting conversation with a cabbage.” Langan died in 1988 aged 47.

The chef Richard Shepherd, who joined Langan’s in 1977 and was instrumental in its survival for more than 40 years, retains an interest in the business, although it is controlled by the entrepreneur Vijay Malde and former Bolton Wanderers chairman Ken Anderson.

Langan’s closed temporarily in March just ahead of high-street lockdowns. It has not reopened. Staff were retained under the furlough job protection scheme but have been told their jobs are at risk now.

Restaurateurs said London’s dining establishments were under serious strain from the loss of tourists and high-spending shoppers during the pandemic. New coronavirus restrictions on meeting other households indoors and the advice to avoid public transport were also taking a toll.

One rival restaurant group said it had thousands of cancellations last weekend as “tier 2” restrictions were imposed; another said that many restaurants in London were experiencing a 75% slump in takings.

One said Langan’s might struggle to find a buyer. “All restaurants have been struggling since March. After lockdown we were starting to see a recovery when more restrictions came in and knocked it for six.

“Restaurants like Langan’s? How can they survive without regular visitors from out of town who want a relaxing long lunch or dinne? Those people are not around any more. London has been crippled and on the course we are on it could take a decade or more for it to recover.”

Other London landmarks including Simpsons on the Strand, several Brasserie Blancs, and Le Caprice restaurant have also kept their doors closed since the lockdown in England ended. The Soho restaurant Polpo went into administration as did the dining chains Carluccio’s and Gourmet Burger Kitchen.

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Nikola surges 13% after GM president reiterates confidence in partnership plans


  • Nikola leaped as much as 13% on Wednesday after General Motors President Mark Reuss said he still sees a path forward for a partnership between the two automakers.
  • Appearing on Bloomberg TV and CNBC in interviews aired Wednesday, Reuss said the companies are moving forward in completing a $2 billion deal.
  • A deal hasn’t been finalized, he added, but the automakers have until December 3 to reach an agreement.
  • Nikola tumbled on Friday after its CEO said it had a strategy ready should the agreement fall through.
  • Watch Nikola trade live here.

Nikola shares rallied as much as 13% on Wednesday after General Motors President Mark Reuss said he still plans for the automakers to ink a partnership.

In interviews aired on Bloomberg TV and CNBC, Reuss said that, while the $2 billion deal hasn’t been finalized, the companies are moving forward in talks. Nikola and GM first announced the agreement in September, but allegations made by a short-selling research firm prompted concerns of a canceled deal.

GM delayed the expected closing of the deal last month, but the automaker’s president confirmed Wednesday that bringing the partnership to fruition would benefit both companies.

“We know there’s great operational cost advantages there, there’s great efficiencies and there’s great opportunities,” Reuss said on CNBC. 

Read more: MORGAN STANLEY: Buy these 61 stocks that will offer major earnings-driven upside following an imminent 10% market sell-off

Shares pared some gains through the day but still sat roughly 8% higher at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The two automakers now aim to reach an agreement before December 3. Under proposed specifics, GM would manufacture Nikola’s Badger pickup truck, while Nikola would use GM’s battery and fuel cell technology.

The Wednesday leap follows a 15% tumble on Friday after Nikola’s CEO said it had plans to work on its own should the GM partnership fall through.

While the stock has mostly recovered from last week’s decline, it’s still well below its June peak of nearly $80 per share. Hindenburg Research’s bearish report drove a sharp sell-off in September, and the resignation of founder Trevor Milton also slammed investor sentiment. Milton has since been accused of sexual assault by two women, extending controversy around the company and its rise through 2020. 

Nikola traded at $22.45 per share as of 2:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

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Bing COVID-19 Tracker (10\/21): Argentina the Fifth Nation With 1 Million Cases

According to the Bing COVID-19 Tracker, global confirmed cases of the disease reached 40,652,097 today, up by 358,051 from the day before. Global confirmed cases often have risen by over 350,000 a day recently. This is above the sustained figure for any period since the spread of COVID-19 began.

Fatal cases have reached 1,122,036, after a one-day gain of 5,519.

The number of cases continues to rise quickly in the northern hemisphere, where winter is quickly approaching. In some nations in Europe, new daily cases have hit records. With most viruses, the rate of spread rises as people move indoors. This has been true of the flu for decades. At the same time, the southern hemisphere has not posted much improvement. Among the hardest-hit nations in the world are Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The United States remains the country with the most confirmed cases at 8,362,181, after a 60,931 increase in a day. COVID-19 fatalities there stand at 224,308 and are likely to reach 225,000 by the end of the week. The rate of the spread has increased sharply in the past two weeks, sparking concern that coronavirus deaths may top 300,000 by year-end. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the spread will not be arrested until the average daily increase drops to under 10,000 per day, which certainly will not happen soon.

U.S. confirmed cases are concentrated in the largest states by population. California has 887,093 and Texas has 879,419. In Florida, there are 760,389 cases, and New York has 491,296. Yet, some of the states where COVID-19 is growing fastest have small populations, most notably North and South Dakota. New York continues to have the largest number of coronavirus deaths by far at 32,998, about 15% of the national total.

Currently ranked second in the world based on confirmed COVID-19 cases, India has 7,652,780. The coronavirus death count there stands at 115,969. Health care experts say that because of the size of the nation geographically, and its relatively primitive health care systems, more than 60 million people actually have been infected, which is about eight times the official number. The Indian Council of Medical Research puts the figure as high as 63 million.

Brazil has a confirmed case count of 7,652,780. New cases recently have risen at a rate of over 20,000 a day. Its COVID-19 deaths number 154,888. As with India, Brazil’s figures are too low. It is nearly impossible to count cases in the nation’s interior. In the poorest parts of the largest cities, packed with impoverished people, the disease is also difficult to track.

Russia has 1,447,335 cases, and fatal cases there number 24,952. Most experts say the death count is far too low to be real. It may be that the government has kept counts down to make it appear it has the pandemic under control. Confirmed cases rose by 32,019 yesterday, among the highest one-day counts in Russia since the pandemic began.

Argentina became the fifth nation to post a total of a million cases or more. The figure for the country hit 1,021,397. Coronavirus deaths there are at 27,175.

ALSO READ: America’s Highest Paid Governors

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America\u2019s Highest Paid Governors

This November, in addition to the presidential election, 11 U.S. states as well as two territories will hold elections for governor. Governors are the highest-ranking public official in a state government, effectively serving as chief executives. While the general job description is the same across the 50 states, the details can vary considerably by state. Key differences include state-specific policy priorities and legislative hurdles, populations, and of course, compensation. 

The power wielded by state governors has been evident in 2020, as each state, under the direction of its governor, has adopted its own approach to combating the coronavirus. Some governors have chosen to ignore federal guidelines, while others have responded with even stricter measures.  

Unlike senators, who are also elected on a state-by-state basis, there is no set salary for governors. While senators earn an annual salary of $174,000, governors’ salaries vary by state — from as little as $70,000 to more than $200,000. 

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2019 salary information from The Council on State Governments, a policy database, to identify how much America’s governors are paid in every state.

Despite their status as the highest-ranking public officials in state governments, governors are usually not the highest paid state employees. Reasons for this vary from state to state. Often, various state departments pay their leadership larger salaries in order to compete with the private sector for top talent. In politically divided states, a pay raise for the governor may lack the necessary legislative support. Also, importantly, governors do not typically run for office for the paycheck.

While there is no hard and fast rule, generally, states that collect more taxes on a per capita basis tend to pay their governors more than states that collect less taxes. Here is a look at how much Americans are paying in taxes on a state-by-state basis.

Click here to see America’s highest paid governors.
Click here to read our detailed methodology.

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Mortgage demand from homebuyers falls for the fourth straight week

  • Purchase demand is down nearly 7% compared with four weeks ago.
  • The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.02% from 3%.
  • The rate was a full percentage point higher one year ago.

Homebuyer demand is incredibly strong compared with last year, but there appears to be a slight pullback this month.

A drop in buyer demand caused total mortgage application volume to fall 0.6% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index.

Applications to purchase a home fell 2% for the week, the fourth straight week of declines. Purchase demand is down nearly 7% compared with four weeks ago. Volume, however, is still 26% higher than one year ago.

The drop may be seasonal, although not much has conformed to normal patterns in the year of Covid-19. It may be more a factor of the incredibly low supply of homes for sale. Inventory continues to set record lows, especially at the entry level of the market.

Strong demand is outstripping any new supply coming onto the market, thanks to consistently low mortgage rates, which set a new record two weeks ago.

Rates did move slightly higher last week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) increased to 3.02% from 3%, with points increasing to 0.36 from 0.32 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That rate was a full percentage point higher a year ago.

The tiny move higher did not dampen demand for refinances. That volume rose 0.2% from the previous week and was 74% higher than a year ago.

"Despite the uptick in rates, refinance activity held steady, with FHA refinance applications posting a 17.6% increase, helping to offset declines in the other loan types," said Joel Kan, MBA's associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting.

The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 66.1% of total applications from 65.6% the previous week.

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Saudi retailer BinDawood sees shares jump 10% in market debut

  • Saudi supermarket operator BinDawood Holding started trading on Wednesday morning on the Tadawul.
  • The supermarket operator, which is listing 20% of its shares publicly for the first time, saw a subscription of 4,870% of the total offered shares.

Shares of Saudi Arabian retailer BinDawood Holding rose on Wednesday as the firm made its market debut on the kingdom's stock exchange.

BinDawood Holding's stock opened at 105.60 Saudi riyals on the Tadawul, hitting its daily limit. That's up from its offering price of 96 riyals ($25.60), which was at the top end of the 84 riyals to 96 riyals per share range.

The supermarket operator, which is listing 20% of its shares publicly for the first time, saw a subscription of 4,870% of the total offered shares.

Ahead of the market open, Ahmad BinDawood, chief executive officer at BinDawood, said there was "very high demand" from both institutional and retail investors, and that they trust the company's strategy and ability to deliver results.

He told CNBC's "Capital Connection" that the current environment is "definitely" a good time for the company to go public despite the ongoing virus situation.

The company's revenue in the first half of 2020 increased 22% from a year ago, driven in part by higher demand for groceries and home consumption when the kingdom was under curfew due to the coronavirus crisis.

"During the pandemic, the sector showed its resilience," BinDawood said. "We are lucky that we are in the (fast-moving consumer goods) grocery retail, where we saw very high demand coming from the customer side."

He also said he is optimistic about demand after the virus situation is put under control.

The firm runs 73 BinDawood and Danube stores across Saudi Arabia, and has more than 10,000 employees. It plans to open an average of six stores a year to reach 100 outlets by 2024.

The sale of 22.86 million shares in its initial public offering raised around $585 million. Buyers include private funds, public funds, government institutions and individual investors.

Matthew Benson, MENA strategy and transactions leader at EY, in June said there has been a "marked increase" in companies pursuing listings in the Gulf region after Saudi Aramco's IPO in December.

The press release also said Saudi Arabia continued to lead such activity in the Middle East and North Africa in the first quarter of 2020.

Two companies listed in the kingdom in that period, raising more than $745 million. Oman and Egypt saw one IPO each in the first three months of 2020.

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Amazon vs Future duel underway in Singapore, verdict by next week

An emergency arbitration hearing between Amazon and retail conglomerate Future Group took place last week and a verdict is expected in the next few days, according to sources.

The arbitration proceedings between Jeff Bezos-led Amazon and Kishore Biyani-headed FutureGroup have begun in Singapore.

An emergency arbitration hearing between Amazon and retail conglomerate Future Group took place last week and a verdict is expected in the next few days, according to sources.

The hearing took place at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

This follows a dispute over Future’s sale of its retail and wholesale businesses to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

Amazon had sent legal notice to Future, alleging the retailer’s Rs 24,713-crore asset sale to RIL breached an agreement with the American e-commerce giant.

The matter was heard by former Singapore attorney general V K Rajah on October 16, according to sources.

He was the sole arbitrator in the Amazon vs Future vs Reliance arbitration case.

Rajah had also served as judge at the Appeal of the Supreme Court.

The hearing is said to have lasted five hours.

It has been reported that Gopal Subramanium, senior counsel who had served as Solicitor General of India, appeared for Amazon.

Singapore-based Davinder Singh appeared on behalf of Future Coupons, one of Future’s unlisted firms.

Harish Salve appeared for Future Retail (being acquired by RIL).

Amazon did not respond to queries related to this matter.

Earlier, the Seattle-based company had said Future did not seek its permission before striking a deal with RIL.

Analysts said the Future-RIL deal had created a hindrance for Amazon’s plans to tap offline retail and opened up huge opportunities for RIL.

Only 7 per cent of the $1.2-trillion retail market is online, and players including Amazon, Flipkart, and Reliance’s JioMart are competing with one another and eyeing the remaining 93 per cent, according to analysts.

Due to foreign direct investment (FDI) regulations, Amazon cannot directly acquire assets, according to analysts.

They said Amazon was doing smaller deals with players such as Shoppers Stop and Future and working as a partner.

“Amazon is trying to get more offline assets so that when there are changes in FDI, they are in a better position to acquire these assets,” said Satish Meena, a senior forecast analyst at Forrester Research.

“For Reliance, the deal with Future increases its grocery market share to almost 40 per cent,” he added.

Last year in August, Amazon bought a 49 per cent stake in Future Coupons for Rs 1,430 crore.

Future Coupons owns 7.3 per cent in Future Retail.

The deal had a few conditions including a “non-compete” clause and “right of first refusal” (RoFR) clause, which meant Future could not sell its shares without approval from Amazon.

The RoFR gave Amazon the right to be the first to invest in Future Retail if Future decided to sell its shares.

But there is another clause that mentioned that Future could not sell its assets without Amazon’s approval.

According to sources, there is a non-compete clause, due to which Future Group could not do the deal with certain specific competing parties without speaking to Amazon.

Future Group founder Kishore Biyani recently made his first public appearance since selling his retail assets to Reliance.

He said he had no option but to exit the business in the face of mounting debt and revenue losses, triggered by the pandemic and lockdown.

He said the company lost Rs 7,000 crore in revenue in the first three-four months of the pandemic phase.

Photograph: Karma Sonam Bhutia/ANI Photo

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Tighter coronavirus restrictions, not U.S. elections, are the 'biggest near term risk': UBS

  • Economies around the world are increasing movement restrictions as they continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and that's a "major downside risk" for the fourth quarter, according to Swiss bank UBS.
  • "Forget about the U.S. elections or fiscal stimulus — restrictions creeping higher is the single biggest near term risk to the outlook," Arend Kapteyn of UBS wrote in a note.

SINGAPORE — Economies around the world are increasing movement restrictions as they continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and that's a "major downside risk" for the fourth quarter, according to Swiss bank UBS.

"Forget about the U.S. elections or fiscal stimulus — restrictions creeping higher is the single biggest near term risk to the outlook," economist Arend Kapteyn wrote in a note dated Oct. 19.

"If countries start to impose 'circuit breaker' lockdowns that last just several weeks, that may already be enough to turn a positive (fourth quarter) growth rate negative," he said.

The phrase "circuit breaker" has become popular in the U.K. and refers to a short but strict lockdown intended to break the chain of infection.

There have been more than 40.6 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide, and at least 1.12 million people have died, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.

Increasing restrictions

Various economies including France and the Netherlands have tightened measures in recent weeks, Kapteyn wrote. UBS has been tracking coronavirus mobility restrictions in 42 geographies weekly since March on a scale of one to 10.

According to the bank, if restrictiveness increases by one point for an entire quarter, gross domestic product will decline by 6 percentage points.

Over the last month, the U.K. and the Netherlands have increased from a "moderate" rating of 2.5 to an "intermediate" level of 5. UBS also increased the Czech Republic's score by 2 points to 4.3, and Ireland and France by 1.5 points to 4.5.

The median level of restrictiveness is 3.5, up slightly from August, but down from 8 in April.

"However, the number of countries taking measures has been increasing," Kapteyn said. Last week, 13 economies increased restrictions, while three lowered them, the highest "net" number of increases since April.

"We'll need to monitor how long restrictions stay in place and how mobility responds, but this is now a major downside risk to our forecasts for (the fourth quarter)," he said.

— CNBC's Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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