Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The UK’s BP is expected to announce the sale of its 50% stake in TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest oil company, to state-controlled Rosneft for as much as $27 billion. The agreement ends a bitter and, for BP, sometimes frightening 14-year partnership with four Russian oligarchs. Now the oligarchs themselves have to figure out how to deal with a new partner not as easy manipulated as BP: the Russian state.
US presidential candidates’ third debate. Foreign policy is on the agenda for the final debate between Republican contender Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. The race is close, with each garnering 47% of likely voters according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, released 16 days before the election. The separate RealClearPolitics average of national polls now has Obama ahead by 0.2 percentage points. The NY Times’ election blog gives Obama a 67.6% chance of winning the deciding electoral college tally.
Caterpillar reports third-quarter earnings. The US construction equipment maker’s sales are tied to some of the critical sectors of global growth: construction, mining, and energy. CEO Doug Oberhelman last month told investors Caterpillar expects continued weak economic growth in 2013–and the analyst conference call today should provide color on the outlook for the world economy, including the impact of China’s slowdown on the natural resources sector.
Discussions between the Canadian government and Malaysian state oil company Petronas. Canada blocked Petronas’s $5.2 billion deal to buy Progress Energy Resources late Friday. But Petronas and Progress still have 30 days from then to convince Canada to reconsider, and the government says discussions are underway. The Malaysian firm needs to prove the deal provides a so-called “net benefit” to Canada. The Petronas deal is seen as a key indicator of the fate of the $15.1 billion agreement by China’s Cnooc to buy Canada’s Nexen, which is still pending Canadian government approval. It’s also a possible indicator of waning enthusiasm by Canada for foreign investment.
While you were sleeping
Australia’s treasury insisted it could maintain the nation’s surplus in its mid-year budget. As Australia relies heavily on selling commodities to China, some economists have warned the ruling Labor Party’s financial projections seem optimistic.
Japan’s exports fell 10.3% in September from a year earlier, on sharp drops in trade with China and Europe. Exports to China fell 14.1% amid an ongoing diplomatic spat between the two countries, and shipments to Europe dropped 21.1%.
Spain’s ruling party won a key regional election, according to exit polls. The People’s Party triumph in Galicia eases pressure on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy as he pursues a policy of austerity and tax increases.
Yahoo mulled online acquisitions. Reuters cites an anonymous source saying the US Internet company “appeared to show interest” in potential deals to buy restaurant reservation site OpenTable and PubMatic, Turn and Millennial Media, all advertising technology firms. Any discussions come as new CEO Marissa Mayer looks to build on Yahoo’s tools and technology more than its media activities for its comeback, according to Reuters.
Facebook’s managing director for Europe, Middle East, and Africa operations is leaving the Internet company. Joanna Shields will head London’s Tech City Investment Organization, one of the many efforts globally to create the next Silicon Valley.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve LeVine on the 10 indicators you should watch to predict the geopolitics of energy: “Everything we see today—price swings, energy gluts and droughts, wars over oil, environmental disasters, races to find new technologies—has been happening in some form or other for the past century and a half. But not all events in energy’s history have had geopolitical impact. In order to cut away the underbrush and irrelevant trees, we require a set of indicators, guideposts to a potential geopolitical disruption.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Students should be required to chew gum in school. Doing so three to five times a day could cut the incidence of cavities.
Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide. Accountants and their relatives are at no greater risk for suicide and other mental illnesses.
Latin America’s skies are the least safe. The region’s record improved this year, but pilot error and mechanical problems are still an issue.
EBay paid a bargain £1.2 million corporation tax on almost £800 million of UK sales. That is according to an investigation by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper and covers 2010, the last year for which UK accounts were made available. Starbucks has also been roasted by British media for paying low UK tax. This Forbes columnist says eBay’s actions are justifiable.
Ayn Rand outsells Karl Marx in India by 16 to 1. Indians are purer in their Randophilia than Americans are—or at least, understand Rand’s philosophy better.
Mobile news this week and next
Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, thoughts on multinationals paying minimal tax in Britain, or favorite Rand and Marx passages to firstname.lastname@example.org.