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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Clinton’s Benghazi grilling, falling car profits, drunk cupcake burglars

By Quartz Staff

What to watch for today

The European Central Bank weighs its options. Central bankers meeting in Malta are reportedly edging toward a stimulus extension to prevent the euro from strengthening against the dollar. Bank president Mario Draghi will likely reiterate his willingness to prolong the stimulus—and such talk alone may stem the euro’s rise.

Republicans grill Hillary Clinton. She faces questions from a Congressional committee created to investigate a 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. But Republicans are now under pressure to demonstrate that the investigation—which has shifted to Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state—is not politically motivated.

Tech companies open their books. Amazon has projected an improved operating income this quarter, from a $544 million loss a year ago. Alphabet, the newly formed Google holding company, will report its first results since the reorganization, and Microsoft’s quarterly presentation will hinge on the success of its cloud business.

More earnings: Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly, Raytheon, Under Armour, Caterpillar, United Continental, McDonald’s, Capital One, Southwest Airlines, and AT&T are all reporting quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Car makers painted a bleaker picture. Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, reported a net income of €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion), a 13% drop compared with a year earlier, but Mercedes car sales rose by 18% in the period. Hyundai reported a 23% fall in net profit to 1.2 trillion won ($1.1 billion) on falling China sales, missing estimates.

Samsung Engineering’s share price tanked. The construction arm of the Samsung Group reported a record 1.5-trillion-won ($1.3-billion) third-quarter operating loss on delayed projects in the Middle East. The company announced it would raise 1.2 trillion won by selling shares, which plunged as much as 24% in morning trading.

London and Hong Kong got closer to connecting their markets. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange signed a non-binding agreement to link its commodities trading platform to the London Metals Exchange (LME), the global center for metals trading. A “Hong Kong-London Connect” scheme would increase the LME’s exposure to investors in Asia.

UK retail had a blowout month. Sales volume rose by 6.5% in September compared to a year earlier, well above an expected 4.8% increase. But that boost could have come from the start of the Rugby World Cup, as well as a public holiday falling within the September period.

Apple announced more Chinese green energy investment. The iPhone maker will build solar power plants in China with a combined generation capacity of 200 megawatts (MW), in tandem with supplier Foxconn, which intends to add 400 MW of capacity by 2018. Apple has already built 40 MW of solar capacity in China’s Sichuan province.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on the hype, funding, and surprise sale of a battery start-up. “In an age of routine billion-dollar tech deals and global fever for electric cars and clean-energy research, how did one of the few perceived jewels of advanced batteries sell for less than $100 million—to a vacuum cleaner company?” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Only 10% of “unicorns” are really worth $1 billion. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, predicts a correction among Silicon Valley startups.

Hillary Clinton was wrong to criticize airlines’ practices. Consolidation has been good for the consumer, says Delta Airlines.

Life in 2015 is pretty great. A Nobel Prize-winning economist says there’s more democracy and opportunity for education than ever before.

All-male conference panels are no accident. The dearth of female speakers doesn’t “just happen.”

Surprising discoveries

Robert Mugabe won a peace prize. China has a history of offering its Confucius peace prize to unsavory strongmen.

A Norwegian hiker found a 1,300-year-old Viking sword. The man was sitting down to rest after going fishing.

An Italian mayor is subsidizing gun sales. He’d rather have “cemeteries full of criminals” than see them get away with crime.

Visible food in your kitchen predicts your weight. Women who had breakfast cereal in plain sight were 20 pounds heavier than average.

Police found a cupcake burglar covered in frosting. The “highly intoxicated” woman was arrested for breaking and entering.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, long-lost Viking swords, and burgled cupcakes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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