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Top Links: Two big deals in the oil patch

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the Web.

I don't think market fundamentals are going to matter much until the toxic farce of a U.S. election is over on Nov. 8. Friday's 10-point intraday swoon in the S&P 500, resulting from reports that the FBI is subpoenaing more of Hillary Clinton's e-mails, could just be the beginning. Prominent election forecaster Nate Silver estimates a 79 per cent chance of a Clinton victory but new polls have Donald Trump ahead in the swing state of Florida and Americans are so disgusted that voter turnout is difficult to predict.

The markets, and most people, will be happy when the election's done. The dense cloud of historic position flip flops and general sketchiness continue to surround, and at times protect, Mrs. Clinton while Mr. Trump has been a lance for the putrescent boil of non-coastal Caucasian male disaffection. It's been hard to watch.

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"Who will win the presidency?" – Silver, FiveThirtyEight

"FBI obtains warrant to examine Clinton emails – source" – Reuters

"A history professor who has accurately predicted three decades of U.S. presidential races is calling a Trump win" – Quartz

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In a major scoop for The Globe and Mail, Niall McGee and Rita Trichur report that TD Bank has made a preliminary $600-million bid for brokerage Richardson's GMP. I honestly didn't think this deal would get done because of the complicated, three-part ownership structure at Richardson's and the issue of broker retention.

"TD makes $600-million bid to buy Richardson GMP: sources" – Report on Business

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Oil prices are at a one-month low Monday morning after a proposed OPEC deal to cut production have seemingly, once again, fallen apart,

" 'Oil prices are starting the new week of trading down after a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries failed to produce any agreement at the weekend,' Commerzbank said in a note. It added there could be more downward pressure later in the day as it expected OPEC production surveys to show the cartel produced 'significantly more oil than necessary in October.' "

The October crude future expires today, which might contribute to volatility.

"Oil slides as non-OPEC nations demure on output limit plan" – Reuters

Also in the oil patch, General Electric has agree to buy oil services giant Baker Hughes, and fold its own oil and gas business into a new company,

"General Electric Co (GE.N), banking on a recovery in oil prices, said on Monday it would merge its oil and gas business with No. 3 oilfield services provider Baker Hughes Inc (BHI.N). GE will own 62.5 per cent of the new company, which will have combined revenue of $32-billion, while Baker Hughes shareholders will own 37.5 per cent."

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"GE to merge oil and gas business with Baker Hughes" – Reuters

There is also a sizable deal in the domestic oil patch as Suncor appears to have sold its lubricants business to refiner HollyFrontier Corp. for $1.13-billion.

"Suncor Energy Inc. sells lubricants unit to HollyFrontier Corp. for $1.13-billion" – Financial Post

Tweet of the Day: "@georgemagnus1 Misunderstanding econ 101. China a big country w/ GDP growing quite fast. Runs a [Balance of Payments] surplus. It contributes to global maths not global GDP" – Twitter

Diversion: "NASA Absolutely Killed the Halloween Pumpkin Carving Competition" – Gizmodo

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