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What to watch for today
Hurricane Sandy disrupts business on the east coast of the United States. Sandy is expected to make landfall late Monday Oct. 29 or early Tuesday ET. All US markets are closed and federal offices in Washington, DC will be closed to the public. New York state suspended mass transit on Sunday evening, affecting a ridership of roughly 8.5 million people, and New York City closed schools, and is evacuating roughly 400,000 people. Experts say the storm could potentially inflict $18 billion in damage, and leave millions without power for a week or more. Quartz has catalogued the webcams watching the arrival of the storm for the benefit of weather geeks worldwide, and rounded up a few hurricane special discounts.
Rising optimism for Indian oil projects after the nation got a new cabinet. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffled his top team to bring in younger, fresher faces ahead of elections that could take place as early as next year. Yet the most interesting change for foreign investors could be 72 year old Veerappa Moily getting the top job at the oil ministry. His predecessor Jaipal Reddy was criticized by industry for being too slow to approve new oil field developments. Moily has promised to speed things up.
“Random Penguin” scuttled? News Corp. plans to make a roughly £1 billion cash offer to Pearson for its Penguin publishing house, according to the News Corp.-owned Sunday Times newspaper. Any dealmaking by News Corp., which already owns Penguin-rival Harper Collins, could scuttle a planned merger between Penguin and Bertelsmann’s Random House. That is a shame for internet wags, as the potential “Random Penguin” name gave good meme.
While you were sleeping
Euro skeptics broadened their support in Finland. The anti-Euro Finns Party gained in local elections on Sunday. The vote could indicate increased Finnish public support for exiting the euro zone, and bolster pressure on Finland’s government to take a tough stance in negotiations around euro zone budgets and reforms.
Honda suffered from the China backlash. The Japanese carmaker slashed its full yet net profit forecast by 20% for the year to March 2013 after Chinese consumers rejected Japanese marques. Honda’s rivals Nissan and Toyota are suffering similar problems from the nationalist backlash spurred by China and Japan’s ongoing spat over some uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. Sales by Honda and its Chinese joint ventures dropped 40% in September on the previous year. Honda had already communicated those bad numbers to the market.
The Chinese coastal part city of Ningbo suspended plans to expand a petrochemical plant following protests. The $8.9 billion expansion to a state-controlled Sinopec plant came under fire for environmental concerns.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on new estimates of capital flight from China: “Whether it’s the fortune of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s family or the downfall of disgraced party leader Bo Xilai, more attention is being paid to the capital that China’s wealthiest send out of the country. Now we know more about the amount of money that has eluded Chinese capital controls (which forbid citizens to send more than the equivalent of $50,000 abroad) in recent years: $3.7 trillion between 2000 and 2011, and more than $600 billion in 2011 alone. Global Financial Integrity, an NGO that attempts to track illicit capital flows, detailed those findings in a new report.“ Read more here.
Matters of debate
Should the US should block Chinese investments until China opens its market wider? Some people argue it should, under the principle of reciprocity.
It’s time to reduce equity holdings. Barry Ritholtz makes the case: “we are more likely to see a normal cyclical recession before Spring 2014 than not.”
A German robot is being trained to challenge human ping-pong players. The project is part of a movement to develop robots that can perform a range of tasks after being guided by their owners.
Steve Jobs’s yacht makes what’s apparently its first public appearance. The luxury ship was photographed in the Dutch city of Aalsmeer more than a year after the Apple co-founder’s death.
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