What to watch for today
The US Fed mulls its interest rate. It begins a two-day meeting today to discuss when it ought to raise the cost of borrowing, after deciding not to move rates higher in September. Chairwoman Janet Yellen has said an increase would be needed this year, but continued stimulus in Europe may confuse that.
Apple releases its earnings… Investors will be scrutinizing iPhone sales, especially in China, with analysts predicting a roughly 25% increase in units sold worldwide. But here’s the most important number to watch for today.
…as does Twitter. Jack Dorsey, the new full-time CEO of the social network, will have to convince his investors that he is making strides in attracting new users. The company has already released a new feature called Moments and cut staff.
More earnings. Bristol-Myers, Merck, Pfizer, UPS, and Ford are also reporting.
A look at the US housing market. The S&P/Case Shiller house price index for August is expected to show about a 5% rise in prices, compared to a year earlier. Separately, the Census Bureau reports third-quarter housing vacancies and ownership rates.
While you were sleeping
The death toll from the Pakistan-Afghanistan earthquake rose. At least 311 people died after a 7.5-magnitude quake struck the Hindu Kush on Monday. The majority of the deaths were in Pakistan; officials say they expect the death toll to keep climbing as they reach more remote areas.
One of these men will succeed Sepp Blatter at FIFA. After nominations closed yesterday, eight people are believed to make up the shortlist for the soccer governing body’s presidential race to succeed Blatter, including Michel Platini, who is believed to be the front-runner, and Sheikh Salman, who is already under pressure over Bahrain’s human rights record.
The US navy sailed a warship into waters claimed by China. The USS Lassen passed within 12 nautical miles of the Subi Reef in the South China Sea’s Spratly archipelago, demonstrating that the US does not recognize China’s territorial claims to the area. China has created islands with airstrips over the reef.
UK economic growth slowed in the third quarter. Britain’s economic output expanded by 0.5% between July and September, down from 0.7% growth in the second quarter. In the third quarter, construction growth fell by 2.2%.
BP smashed profit expectations. The oil and gas supermajor reported a $1.8-billion third-quarter profit, a full 50% higher than analysts expected, partly on lower costs that it says will stay in place through 2017. BP also planned asset sales, saying it believed oil will remain at around $60 a barrel all next year.
Currency fluctuations hit Novartis. The world’s largest prescription drug maker reported third-quarter core net income of $3.1 billion, down by 2% from a year earlier, on currency fluctuations and underperformance at Alcon, its eye-care business. But including one-time items such as settlements, the Swiss drug maker’s net income was $1.8 billion (paywall).
China reported sluggish manufacturing data. Core industrial profits dropped by 0.1% in September from a year earlier, following a record 8.8% drop in August. Some analysts are concerned that major industrial companies could default on debts, as China’s economy shifts from infrastructure spending.
Quartz obsession interlude
Alice Truong on the benefits of graduating from coding bootcamp. “While the makeup of students who attend coding schools still largely skews white and male, there are encouraging signs these so-called bootcamps are helping diversify the industry by encouraging people in their early- to mid-careers (on average, participants were 31 years old) to become programmers.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Demand for “healthier” fast food is causing problems globally. The knock-on rise in demand for palm oil comes with human rights and environmental violations.
Fashion is moving too fast, and it’s killing creativity. Not only on main street, but at luxury fashion houses, too.
Fantasy sports games are pretty good money-laundering vehicles. Here’s how one might use a service to clean their ill-gotten gains.
Chinese bachelors should share wives. Polyandry could erase the country’s huge surplus of single men (and there’s historical precedent, too).
Britain should abandon Halloween pumpkins. Turnips, beets, and potatoes have a much longer “Jack-o’-lantern” lineage.
The Persian Gulf could be too hot for human life in 85 years. Climate change could make air conditioning there a matter of life and death.
A dog named Trigger shot his owner. The chocolate Labrador is no killer; it was a hunting accident.
Turkey tried to delay changing from Daylight Savings Time. But ubiquitous smartphones foiled the plan.
Thousands of possum tails appeared in a New Zealand town. They are fresh, but residents don’t know where they came from.
The Titanic’s last cracker sold for $23,000. It came from the survival kit on one of the doomed ship’s lifeboats.
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