Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
François Hollande meets Park Geun-hye. Following meetings in China to lobby for carbon emission cuts, the French president will meet the South Korean president in Seoul, to discuss bilateral relations and North Korea.
Facebook opens its books. The social media giant is expected to report bumper third-quarter profits, despite a promised increase in investments in its Messenger and WhatsApp services to boost ad revenue, and in Oculus Rift to power future growth.
A $500 million art auction kicks off. Sotheby’s is selling 77 pieces of a 500-lot collection, including artwork by Picasso, De Kooning, and Modigliani. The rest of the items, belonging to the late A. Alfred Taubman, will be sold over three later auctions, and are expected to set a record price tag for a private collection.
Janet Yellen testifies before Congress. The chairwoman of the Federal Reserve appears before the House Financial Services Committee todiscuss the Fed’s oversight (paywall) of the financial system. She will likely face questions about the supervision of big banks.
More earnings. Other companies reporting results include Allergan, Qualcomm, Twenty-First Century Fox, Time Warner, ING, and Prudential.
While you were sleeping
The year’s biggest IPO skyrocketed. Japan Post Holdings’s share pricerose by 17% on debut trading, while its banking and insurance units saw gains of 15% and 48% respectively. The Japanese government privatized around 11% of each company, raising 1.4 trillion yen ($12 billion).
China and Taiwan’s presidents agreed to a historic summit. Xi Jinping will meet Ma Ying-jeou later this week in Singapore for the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two countries. Both sides said that they will discuss issues surrounding the Taiwan Strait; the meeting could have a strongimpact on upcoming Taiwanese elections.
Honda dropped Takata over airbag deaths. The Japanese airbag manufacturer agreed to pay US authorities a $70 million fine and to comply with safety suggestions from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Honda said it will no longer use Takata’s inflators in its front-seat air bags; Takata’s share price fell as much as 11%.
Tesla investors brushed off widening losses. The electric car maker reported a $230-million third-quarter net loss, deeper than a $75-million loss a year earlier. But a strong rise in revenue, coupled with a healthy sales forecast for the current quarter, sent Tesla’s share price up by as much as 9% after the announcement.
Volkswagen disclosed an entirely new front in its emissions scandal.The automaker said it misstated carbon dioxide emissions for at least 800,000 vehicles, in addition to its cheating on nitrogen dioxide tests that has affected millions more. VW was thin on details, but the newly disclosed infractions could cost the company €2 billion ($2.2 billion) to fix.
Good economic news from China and Japan. The Caixin purchasing manager’s composite index rose to 49.9 in October (pdf), from 48 a month earlier and just a whisker below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. That boost came from new orders and the services sector. In Japan, the Nikkei PMI rose to 52.2 (pdf), from 51.4 in September, also suggesting stimulus measures are coming into effect.
Jon Stewart is going to HBO. The former Daily Show host signed a four-year deal to produce short-form content for the premium cable channel’s online outlets, and potentially make longer movies and TV shows. HBO is loading up on comedians and other talent as it tries to drive users to its HBO Now and HBO Go services.
Quartz obsession interlude
Allison Schrager on America’s high-earning poor people: “We tend to associate empty bank balances with those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder. But many in America’s upper middle classes have almost no emergency cushion and are woefully unprepared for retirement. And years into the recovery, they are still struggling, leaving the entire economy vulnerable.” Read more here.
Quartz’s The Next Billion is back in New York on Nov. 16, exploring the next wave of internet users in emerging markets and on mobile platforms. Speakers include Phil Libin of Evernote, Luis von Ahn of Duolingo,Catherine Hoke of Defy Ventures, and many more. We’re hosting a full day of live interviews, interactive demos, debates, and networking with local and international innovators and decision makers. Register today using the code QZBRIEF for a 40% discount.
Matters of debate
We’re not in a tech bubble, we’re in a bust. Public-market valuations are cheap—but privately held “unicorns” are another matter.
Hawaii should be worried about Dengue fever. A recent outbreak has been traced to local mosquitoes.
US educational policy is back-to-front. Reducing tough love against unruly students hurts those who strive to achieve good grades.
Musicians should unbundle their albums. The modern industry demands it—unless you’re Adele.
Cheap chicken has a human cost. A $50-billion industry is fueled by low-wage workers in abysmal conditions.
Google will soon reply to emails for you. The company wants to use “deep learning” technology to create automatic Gmail replies.
Videogames can invade your life. “The Tetris Effect” makes people see videogame elements in the real world.
An Ebola survivor had a baby. Dr. Ada Igonoh, the only female doctor to contract Ebola and survive, gave birth to a healthy baby girl in California on Nov. 3.
A cartoonist is laboring over Apple’s user agreement. Robert Sikoryak’s graphic novel is based on the terms and conditions for iTunes.
Japanese offices are still in the dark ages. Inertia has left them reliant on analog technologies like the fax machine.
An activist group wants the human race to die. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement says it’s the only way for Earth to recover.
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