Market meltdowns, monitoring Iran, hand-dryer history

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What to watch for today

More market meltdowns? Investors will be waiting to see if the selloff which began in Asia on Monday works its way around for another cycle. In Europe the Stoxx 600 closed down roughly 4.5%, and the major US indices were down less than 4% after some vertiginous early plunges. Mining and oil stocks (paywall) were especially hard hit, and commodities plumbed a 16-year low.

The cost of policing Iran’s nukes. The International Atomic Energy Agency meets to discuss how to pay for monitoring the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in July, a condition for the lifting of sanctions on Iran. One report puts the expected cost at €9.2 million ($10.5 million) a year, over 15 years.

Sisi and Putin get a little closer. Egypt’s president visits his Russian counterpart for talks in Moscow, focusing on economic cooperation. In February they announced that Moscow would help Cairo build its first nuclear power plant. The two countries have been cozying up for the past year as their relations with both the US and Saudi Arabia have chilled.

US home prices recover their upward trend. The Commerce Department reports new home purchases, which are likely to rise after June’s surprising slump. The S&P/Case-Shiller index is also expected to show that home prices in 20 cities increased over the year leading up to June, boosted by heightened demand for new houses.

Earnings, earnings. BHP Billiton, Bank of Montreal, Best Buy, Toll Brothers, DSW, and others report their quarterly results.

While you were sleeping 

North and South Korea stepped back from the brink. After three days of negotiations, the edgy neighbors agreed to end one of the peninsula’s tensest military standoffs in years. The impasse began on Aug. 20, after the north began shelling a set of loudspeakers broadcasting anti-Pyongyang broadcasts from across the border.

Two Ashley Madison clients may have taken their own lives. Toronto police say they have unconfirmed reports of two suicides “associated” with last week’s leak by hackers of more than 30 million email addresses and some credit-card details of users of the Canadian adultery dating site. Ashley Madison also faces a $578 million class-action lawsuit in Canada for failing to protect user information.

A universal flu vaccine came one step closer. After promising animal trials, researchers said they have made progress developing a vaccine that would protect against flu for life. The vaccine, which homes in on a stable part of the flu virus, would pre-empt the virus’s tendency to mutate into sometimes deadly new strains. Human trials are the next step.

US energy companies made a big gas bet. Southern, a big electric utility, will buy AGL Resources, a natural gas distributor, for $8 billion plus about $4 billion in debt, in order to tap into growing demand for natural gas. Together, they will be the second largest utility in the US, with around 9 million customers.

ISIL reportedly blew up an ancient Syrian temple. Syria’s antiquities and museums director said that that members of the Islamic state rigged the Temple of Baalshamin—which is nearly 2,000 years old—with explosives and detonated them. The extent of the damage isn’t yet clear.

Quartz obsession interlude

Marc Bain on how China’s luxury fashion is tumbling along with the market. ”The luxury sector is particularly exposed to catching a cold when China sneezes. Swatch and Richemont, both high-end makers of watches and jewelry, derive more than 40% of their revenue from Chinese shoppers, according to a recent Deutsche Bank report. Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermès, Burberry, and Prada all get more than 30% of their revenue from Chinese shoppers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Don’t get smug about plunging oil prices. OPEC may be unpopular, but no-one wants chaos in the Middle East.

When firefighters talk about climate change, we should listen. They’re the ones experiencing global warming at the sharp end.

Working long hours does not, in fact, work. The research is clear.

American political debate is now just like internet trolling. And Donald Trump is exhibit A.

To succeed in investment banking, switch off emotion. Bankers put their selves to the side.

Surprising discoveries

Deez Nuts, Rocky Balboa, and Butt Stuff are all running for US president. And there are hundreds of other not-quite serious bids.

Holocaust trauma can be passed on at a genetic level. It moves from parents to children through “epigenetic inheritance.”

Sometimes living on a train is cheaper than paying rent. A life that fits in a small backpack.

Hand dryers have a surprisingly interesting history. It involves a 19th-century Hungarian obstetrician.

The person behind the best maps on the Islamic State is a Dutch teen. He learned Arabic on YouTube.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, late presidential bids, and train-living tips to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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