What to watch for today
Boeing’s profit growth. The aircraft manufacturer should post a strong third quarter despite a dip in defense spending from the US government. Its stock hit a record high earlier in October after Boeing announced soaring demand for its commercial airplanes.
Caterpillar’s weak earnings. Caterpillar is expected to post a fourth consecutive quarterly drop in profit due to weak demand for its machinery and engine products. AT&T, which announced yesterday that it will be the exclusive network in the US to carry the new Nokia 1520 supersize smartphone released today, also releases earnings today.
Diplomatic meetings. US Secretary of State John Kerry meets Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, in Rome to discuss Iran. Netanyahu will also meet the Pope. Meanwhile, Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif will meet Barack Obama in Washington to try to smooth out tetchy relations.
While you were sleeping
Apple unveiled the iPad Air. It’s about 20% thinner than its predecessor, almost one-third lighter, and can be yours for $499 from November 1. Apple also said it would give its users the latest issue of its Macintosh operating system for free. That looks like an attempt to encourage more people to upgrade the software, and then their hardware, to keep up.
Another big fine over Libor. The Dutch lender Rabobank could pay UK and US regulators nearly $1 billion to settle charges that it was involved in a global scheme to manipulate the benchmark lending rate. The biggest fine so far in the Libor scandal that broke last year has been $1.5 billion, for Switzerland’s UBS.
Cuba will end its two-currency system. The much-resented “convertible peso”, pegged to the US dollar and reserved for tourism and foreign trade, will be gradually eradicated. Estimates are that it could take around 18 months.
The EU will resume accession talks with Turkey. Turkey’s bid for European Union membership is back on the table, after Germany dropped its opposition over Turkey’s crackdown on protestors earlier this year. Officials argue that the promise of joining the EU could encourage Ankara to implement democratic reforms.
US chief executives got richer. The 10 highest-paid executive bosses in the US each pocketed more than $100 million in total compensation for the first time ever, totaling $4.7 billion between them. Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Kinder, CEOs of Facebook and Kinder Morgan respectively, each made more than $1 billion.
Microsoft could launch its own version of Google Glass. The company is said to be testing prototypes for internet-connected eyewear like that of Google, following its $7 billion deal last month to acquire Nokia’s cellphone business.
Quartz obsession interlude
Heather Timmons on electric-power bicycles, the craze that seems to be eluding the US: “E-bikes normally travel at speeds of 20 to 30 mph (32 to 48 kph), they charge from a regular electric socket and starting at about $1,000 per bike they’re rather affordable, at least compared to electric cars. You can even build one yourself for much less… Strangely, most US politicians are doing little to encourage their use, and some are actively discouraging it.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Wikipedia’s on the way down. The online encyclopedia’s volunteer workforce, which is around 90% male, has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is unwelcoming to newcomers.
Corporate transparency means higher pay. Reforms designed to curb executive pay, such as disclosure rules, lead to higher salaries because they tell executives what their peers elsewhere are making.
Robots will always be a step behind humans. For example, robots can’t decipher messy handwriting, search as effectively for complex flights or keep up with rapidly changing social and cultural phenomena.
Americans want weed. For the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) think marijuana should be available legally, compared to 12% who thought so in 1969.
Apple’s iOS7 could have been designed using Microsoft Word. It probably wasn’t. But it could have been.
Team sports players are more likely to land a job. People who play sports such as soccer, rugby and basketball are more likely to get employed, but golfers and skiers get paid more.
The Vatican has a cricket team. It will go head-to-head with the Church of England in teams composed of priests and seminarians in Rome.
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