Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US probes fantasy sports, China hurts Burberry, marathon weight gains

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What to watch for today

Macro data from the US. Consumer prices are expected to have fallen in September due to a strong dollar and low oil prices—although excluding fuel and food, the figure may inch up. Jobless rates are also expected to creep upwards, suggesting the Federal Reserve could delay its long-awaited interest rate hike.

Time’s up for Puerto Rico’s electric company. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is at the end of its ninth extension to reach a deal with bondholders over $8.3 billion of debt. The territory is also reportedly in talks to issue a “superbond” to restructure its $72 billion in debt, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

US authorities turn their attention to fantasy sports. The FBI and US Justice Department are contacting customers of DraftKings in an investigation over the legality of such fantasy sports websites that accept entry fees and pay out cash prizes, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall). It comes after fantasy sports are going through their first, and inevitable, insider trading scandal.

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs release third-quarter earnings. The giant banks are expected to feel the pain from China’s turbulent stock market; Citigroup has already said it expects trading revenue to be lower. UnitedHealth, Blackstone, Charles Schwab, and Mattel are also expected to release results.

While you were sleeping

Unilever beat expectations despite soft global growth. The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap and Lipton tea said third-quarter underlying sales rose 5.7% from a year earlier, beating estimates of a 3.9% rise. A rebound in China helped push its sales growth up by 8.4% among emerging markets, from which Unilever draws over half of its sales.

Germany ordered Volkswagen to recall 2.4 million cars. The German automotive watchdog rejected VW’s earlier plan to let customers bring in their vehicles voluntarily starting in January next year. Instead, the car maker must recall and fix the emissions in diesel models that were designed to cheat emissions tests.

Slowing smartphone demand hit a major chip maker. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company lowered its budget for investments to around $8 billion this year, from up to $11 billion previously. That followed a 1.3% drop in third-quarter net income to NT$75.3 billion ($2.3 billion), partly also on the back of weak PC sales.

Burberry warned of a worsening environment for luxury. The British maker of expensive trench coats reported same-store sales growth of just 1% in its fiscal second quarter, missing expectations of 5% growth. That gauge fell by mid-single digits in Asia-Pacific; Burberry will speed up cost cuts.

Australia’s job market took a surprise dive. The economy lost 5,100 jobs in September, compared to expectations of a gain of 9,600 jobs, with full-time work being hit the hardest. A fall in the number of people looking for work has also worried some analysts.

South Korea lowered its growth forecast. The central bank expects a GDP growth rate of 2.7% in 2015 (paywall) and 3.1% in 2016, both down by 0.1% compared with earlier projections, while inflation expectations were also lowered. That comes as emerging markets suffer a slowdown; the central bank left its base rate unchanged at a record-low 1.5% today.

Japan reopened its second nuclear reactor. Kyushu Electric Power restarted an 89-megawatt reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant—only the second to be made operational since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Prime minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for a return to nuclear power despite widespread public opposition.

Quartz obsession interlude 

Frida Garza on why a New York restaurant empire is ending the injustice of tipping. “Critics of tipping—ubiquitous in the United States, though rare in the rest of the world—say that it is inherently unfair, not only because it rewards food servers over food preparers, but because tips are not meted out based on the quality of service. In turn, it incentivizes servers to prejudge customers based on stereotypes about who tips well.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Credit scores are oversimplified. Complex consumers shouldn’t be reduced to a single number.

A Republican will win the 2016 US presidential election. Despite the primary chaos, computer models favor the GOP.

The US tech industry’s diversity drive is missing ethnic minorities. It’s becoming “inclusive” mainly to white women.

Europe should stop whining about its migration crisis. The aging continent needs an influx of workers.

Antarctica’s ice sheet is not melting uncontrollably. It’s important to remember that we can affect the speed of its melting.

Surprising discoveries

Training for a marathon can make you gain weight. Unfortunately it’s not just “muscle weight.”

Sweden is teaching kids about menstruation with singing tampons. They already know about sex from dancing genitals.

You can get half an MIT masters degree for free. You don’t have to ever appear on campus.

The best time to own stocks this year has been from 10-11am. This investment group looked at hourly returns.

Being born in the summer may be better for your health. Not to mention the outdoor birthday parties.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, singing tampons, and weight-fighting tips for our marathon training to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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