What to watch for today
Economic growth slows in Europe. German GDP is expected to fall 0.4% in the third quarter compared to 0.7% growth in the second, dragged down by weak industrial activity. France, whose credit rating was downgraded last week, could slow to 0.1% from 0.5%, and the euro zone as a whole to 0.1% from 0.3%.
Better results for Macy’s. The US retail chain’s sales were dragged down by sluggish consumers, but should pick up in the back-to-school season. Macy’s could also outline its expectations for the crucial holiday period.
Boeing workers vote on a new labor contract. The aircraft maker’s biggest union has pledged to reject the deal, which could lead to losing out on building the company’s next jet, the 777X.
While you were sleeping
UK unemployment dipped. The third quarter jobless rate fell to 7.6% from 7.7% the previous quarter; the Bank of England could consider interest rate hikes if it falls to 7%.
Japan is reforming its energy sector. Prompted by the Fukushima disaster, the country passed sweeping reforms that could dismantle regional monopolies, like Tokyo Electric Power Co., that provide nearly 98% of Japan’s electricity.
China’s fiscal revenues increased 16.2% from a year earlier to 1.2 trillion yuan ($197 billion) in October, versus September’s 13.4% gain. Revenues for the first ten months of the year have risen 9.4%, while fiscal expenditures have increased 10%.
Starbucks was ordered to pay $2.76 billion in a distribution dispute. The company will shell out the money to Mondelez International Inc., formerly known as Kraft Foods Inc., in a dispute over the chain’s retail coffee products.
Yum’s China sales dropped less than expected. Yum! Brands Inc., which owns KFC, saw its October same-store sales in the country decline 5%, a smaller drop than expected as the company grapples with stiffer competition from local chains.
Philippines struggles after storm. With people scrambling for food and water following last weekend’s Typhoon Haiyan, government forces exchanged gunfire today with armed men in the country’s worst-hit province, and survivors swarmed the Tacloban airport. The UN reckons some 673,000 people have been displaced by the storm.
A 1969 Francis Bacon triptych sold for $142.4 million. In what appears to be the biggest ever sale of an artwork at auction, a consortium of investors bought “Three Studies of Lucian Freud,” paying more than the price tag for Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on the economics of selling expensive phones to rich people in poor countries. “It’s a kind of institutionalized haggling: Start with a ridiculously high number and then knock it down as demand falls. Indeed, newspapers are filled with advertisements for sales on smartphones. But even Apple, while keeping its sticker prices high to retain its image, must find ways to compete… It’s the high price that makes the phone desirable, but it’s the savings that move it off the shelves.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Airlines should have quiet flights. Now that airplanes are electronic device friendly, airlines should introduce “quiet flights.” Hey, it worked for trains.
Young adults should take their parents to work. It would probably help their burgeoning careers.
Catholic school is good for girls. The academic benefits of single-sex schools have been proven, and such institutions tend to cultivate strong female leaders.
A new status symbol for the health-conscious. Carrying clear bottles of green veggie juice, which can cost upwards of $10, signifies a dedication to healthy living.
Occupy Wall Street’s return on investment. The group spent $400,000 to retire $15 million worth of consumer debt.
Researchers are tracking a huge Antarctic iceberg. The Singapore-size chunk of ice is on the move and could pose a risk to vessels if it enters shipping lanes.
Is the mafia invested in Argentinian soccer? An organized crime syndicate is suspected of profiting from a stake in Angel Correa, one of the country’s star players.