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TS Lombard analysts outline what's at stake in Trump-Biden debate.

Democratic President Joe Biden will square off against Republican challenger Donald Trump in a televised debate on CNN on Thursday, in the first head-to-head encounter between the two candidates prior to the November election.

Age is expected to be a central theme in the debate between Biden, the incumbent U.S. President, and his predecessor Trump.

Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, are the two oldest major-party contenders to ever seek the U.S. presidency. Trump has accused Biden of being physically and mentally unfit for office, while Biden has called Trump “unhinged” in the run-up to the event.

With national opinion polls largely split between the two, the debate could serve as a vehicle for either candidate to prove their fitness to a cohort of undecided voters that could influence the outcome of the election.

Analysts at TS Lombard said that while the debate will likely bring “few voter surprises,” it has the potential to “recast if not shake up a dead-heat race.”

“For Biden and Trump, […] proving their mental acuity in a 90-minute debate without props or notes will outrank all else,” the analysts said in a note to clients.

“If a shaky Biden underperforms his rival, pressure from big Democratic donors to ditch his candidacy will surge, especially with Biden now trailing on fundraising for the second straight month. If Trump goes off the rails, Republicans may wince, but the GOP ticket won’t change. Rather the onus will shift to Trump’s as yet unannounced [Vice President] pick to steady his campaign.”

Rivian investors to seek details on path to profits at investor day.

By Akash Sriram

(Reuters) – Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) shareholders will seek details on the company’s upcoming models and progress in cutting costs at an investor day event on Thursday, two days after the US electric vehicle maker announced a $5 billion investment from Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p).

The JV, which will give VW access to Rivian’s electrical architecture and software, is a “vote of confidence” in the American automaker’s prospects as it looks to produce and sell less expensive R2 and R3 crossovers to compete with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA)’s bestselling Model Y SUV.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN).com-backed Rivian still lost about $39,000 per vehicle sold in the first quarter, but analysts expect the company to post its first quarterly gross profit in the fourth quarter.

Rivian halted production for three weeks in April to implement cost-saving measures. Reuters reported last week the company has retooled its manufacturing process, resulting in a 35% reduction in the cost of materials for vans and savings of “similar magnitude” for its other lines.

“Rivian will be sharing more about the R2 and R3 models, as well as details on the deal with Volkswagen,” said Michael Shlisky, analyst at D.A. Davidson. “I am sure financial details will be discussed, but they may wait until next week to share Q2 sales figures and guidance updates.”

Demand for electric vehicles has faltered amid high borrowing costs, and as buyers turn to cheaper gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

Wall Street expects Rivian to post second-quarter deliveries of 10,282 units and production of 9,369 vehicles, when it reports quarterly figures next week, according to analysts polled by Visible Alpha.

Spice maker McCormick beats quarterly results on strong EMEA business.

(Reuters) – McCormick (NYSE: MKC) beat market expectations for second-quarter profit and sales on Thursday, led by strong demand for its spices and seasonings in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Customers grappling with still-high costs preferred cooking at home to dining out, improving volumes across the company’s consumer segment, its biggest unit.

Consumer sales in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) business rose 5%, driven by 4% increase in volumes in the quarter ended May 31, even as total sales in the segment decreased 0.8%.

The Cholula hot sauce maker’s net sales fell 1% to $1.64 billion but edged past estimates of $1.63 billion, according to LSEG data. The company cited the divestiture of its canning business as a reason for the decline.

Benefits from price hikes taken over the past quarters lifted the company’s gross profit margin to 37.7%, from 37.1% a year earlier.

McCormick reported an adjusted profit of 69 cents per share in the quarter, compared with analysts’ average estimate of 59 cents.

Shares of the Hunt Valley, Maryland-based company, which reiterated its annual forecasts, were marginally up before the bell.