Najib in #China, #Lebanon’s election, #UberEats surge pricing

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

Malaysia’s prime minister cozies up to China. On his state visit to Beijing Najib Razak hopes to lure Chinese funds into his country, especially for infrastructure and technology development. Embroiled in a scandal involving billions siphoned from a state development fund, he needs all the help he can get before the next election. Malaysia, in return, could lean more toward Beijing on South China Sea issues.

A common prayer. The Catholic church and Lutheran World Federation gather in Sweden to mark 50 years of dialog and “ask forgiveness for division perpetuated by Christians from the two traditions.” Pope Francis will attend the events, which include a cathedral service in Lund and a public event at an arena in Malmö.

The 46th time’s a charm? Lebanon’s parliament is back in session and will once again attempt to elect the country’s new president. Speaker Nabih Berri had to adjourn the last session, the 45th such attempt at choosing a leader, after failing to get a quorum. This time, though, former general Michel Aoun is expected to be elected head of state.

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OVER THE WEEKEND

A massive demonstration in Seoul called on Park Geun-hye to step down. South Korea’s president has yet to contain the public’s anger over her close ties to Choi Soon-sil, a Rasputin-like figure who is being investigated by Korean prosecutors. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets on Saturday demanding Park’s resignation, while Choi was summoned to be questioned by investigators today.

Australia’s prime minister introduced legislation to discourage boat refugees. Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed law would prevent refugees and asylum seekers, if they came by boat, from ever visiting the country, even for tourism or business or as a spouse. Rights activists condemned the measure, which will be introduced to parliament this week.

China agreed to a $2.7 billion currency swap with Egypt. Details are scant, but the deal should go a long way toward helping Egypt line up the $6 billion in funding it needs to win approval from the IMF for a $12 billion loan. An unnamed official from Egypt’s central bank told Bloomberg that Chinese authorities were processing the swap agreement.

Beijing neared a compromise over who selects Catholic bishops in China. Vatican negotiators held out the possibility(paywall) of the pope accepting eight bishops who were ordained by the Chinese government without the church’s permission. Pope Francis would still need to agree to the controversial deal, as would Beijing.

Criticism of the FBI increased… Since director James Comey notified Congress on Oct. 28 of the existence of more emails that may be pertinent to an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s cyber-security, he has been blasted by more than 100 former federalprosecutors and Department of Justice officials, and by senate minority leader Harry Reid.

…While Donald Trump pulled within one point of Hillary ClintonThe US election continues to look like a very tight race. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Trump favored by 45% of likely voters, to Clinton’s 46%. That’s within the survey’s margin of error.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Aimee Groth on what it takes to work at a startup. “Embracing a growth mindset, as former Facebook executive and Sequoia partner Mike Vernal put it, is a way to work through the ambiguity. ‘The very best people for a startup are those that are impatient and want to jump into the thick of things, want to jump into a mess and keep going,’ he said.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Surge pricing is a terrible idea for UberEats. The economics of food delivery are different from ride-hailing.

The best Halloween candy is Mellowcreme Pumpkins. The waxy goodies are the “drones of sugar delivery.”

Donald Trump is going to win. According to a professor whose US election predictions have been right for 30 years.

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

The more we hear a lie, the more likely we are to believe it. An“illusion of truth” results from hearing a lie repeatedly.

PCs are not dead. Apple and Microsoft’s recent offerings confirm that (paywall) people still want laptop and desktop computers.

Singapore doesn’t want photographers messing with its eagles. A surgeon in Singapore was fined S$2,000 ($1,436) for baiting endangered eagles with live fish thrown in the air to snap the birds mid-swoop.

Ancient Roman mythology reveals our longstanding obsession with sex robots. The basic desire for artificial, controllable sexual companions has existed for millennia.

Girls are gaining on boys in tests of extreme math intelligence.Boys still have the lead, but the gap is closing fast.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, eagle bait, and extreme math tests to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.

Annunci

Weekend edition—Free trade’s foes, trouble at #Tata, #Ikeanomics

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Wallonia was once an economic powerhouse. Its vast coal reserves fueled one of the earliest industrialized regions in continental Europe. But the French-speaking part of Belgium has since fallen on hard times.

Before this week, few beyond Belgium cared much. But then the Walloons nearly torpedoed a free-trade deal, seven years in the making, between the EU and Canada. Belgium’s quirky constitution grants its regional parliaments extensive powers, including—it turns out—the ability to veto trade deals affecting half a billion people.

That highlights the fragile state of global trade, under attack from all sides. US presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton reversed her previous support for a major deal between the US and several Asian countries. Huge protests in Europe, especially in export-dependent Germany, have put off politicians negotiating a similar US-EU deal. Post-Brexit Britain, as ever, is a little confused—it is quitting a large free-trade area so it can do deals with countries elsewhere (that’s been going so well, after all). Donald Trump, of course, never saw a trade deal that wasn’t a “rip off.”

Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that protectionist trade measures have been rising much faster than liberalizing ones, and global trade growth has slowed to post-crisis lows. But this isn’t simply a blanket rejection of free trade by populists on the left and right.

The UK is giving a Japanese-owned car plant special treatment to ensure its exports remain competitive if tariffs go up after Brexit. Back in Wallonia, the administration opposes free trade in chocolate with Canada on ethical grounds, but happily sells weapons to Libya and Saudi Arabia.

So while the post-war preoccupation with big multilateral trade deals is fading, a narrower, opportunistic approach is back in fashion, favoring intervention on behalf of favored industries instead of putting faith in free markets. The business barons of Wallonia’s 19th century heyday would feel right at home.—Jason Karaian

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FIVE THINGS ON QUARTZ WE ESPECIALLY LIKED

The magical soothing power of the megastore. Andy Wright loves megastores. He can’t afford to buy much, but he finds it “narcotically calming” to cruise the aisles. That led him to delve into the history and psychology of superstore design, and the enormous effort taken to make us feel comfortable in them.

Trump is good for the Republicans. Adam Freelander makes the case that a landslide defeat in next month’s US presidential election won’t bury the Republican party for a generation as many people think; rather, it will re-energize it. Plus, Chris Arnade on why Trump voters deserve support, not scorn.

The trouble at Tata. The sacking of Cyrus Mistry, chairman of India’s iconic conglomerate, sent shockwaves through the country’s business world. Was he to blame for its flagging performance, or could Ratan Tata, the group’s aging patriarch, just not let go? Madhura Karnik and Manu Balachandran assess the evidence, and tell the story of the Mistry family’s journey from outsiders to kingmakers to opponents. Plus: Devjyot Ghoshal creates the “OK Tata,” a Diwali cocktail with a Mistry ingredient.

Korea’s bitter gender wars. Feminist groups in South Korea have adopted strong tactics against a deep-seated culture of misogynyand spiraling rates of sexual violence. But in doing so they’ve provoked an ugly backlash. Isabella Steger dissects the history and economics of a conflict taking place in both the public and private spheres.

Can a club for women solve women’s exclusion? Jenni Avins visits The Wing, an artfully cozy penthouse space in Manhattan that is a contemporary ladies’ version of the old-style gentlemen’s club. But does its limited space and mile-long waiting list merely mean it is just as out of reach to most women as its all-male precursors?

FIVE THINGS ELSEWHERE THAT MADE US SMARTER

The weird economics of Ikea. Oliver Roeder of FiveThirtyEight dug into decades’ worth of the Swedish furniture giant’s catalogs. He found that prices for some popular pieces have dropped dramatically, others have crept up gradually, and country-by-country variations often follow some mysterious code that researchers struggle to identify and the company is not keen to reveal.

The train of the dead. From 1854 to 1941, London’s Necropolis Railway was devoted to transporting the city’s dead (and funeral guests) to a cemetery 23 miles away, far from the British capital’s then severely overcrowded graveyards. As Amanda Ruggeri writes for the BBC, this inspired all sorts of concerns, among them that the mixing of nobility and the hoi polloi on the same train would be “somewhat egalitarian.”

War is really boring. The battle for Mosul is underway in plain, live streamed sight. The unedited continuum of war images accessible online does nothing to help an understanding of what’s happening, argues Sam Kriss, but it perfectly represents our war against ISIS: always, everywhere, yet mostly uneventful.

Instagram’s Renaissance hangover. Pics of brunch and selfies were a thing way, way before Instagram. Jacob Mikanowski for The Point takes us from ontbijtjes, or 17th-century Dutch paintings of breakfast, to Symmetry Breakfast, the Instagram account with 640,000 followers. He dissects Silicon Valley’s unspoken obsession with aesthetics—from Mark Zuckerberg’s desire for “minimalism” to Larry Ellison’s ersatz medieval Japanese palace—for good measure.

It’s the end of the line for Vine. To those who mainly understood Vine as a social media platform where young people could gather and gawk at six-second videos, the decision this week by its parent company, Twitter, to shut down the app was perhaps befuddling. But as a former executive told The Verge’s Casey Newton, Vine was destined to wither once Instagram added a video component. Don’t worry about the pseudo-celebrities Vine created—most foresaw the app’s death months ago, and have already gained larger audiences on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

Our best wishes for a relaxing but thought-filled weekend. Please send any news, comments, old Ikea catalogs, and Renaissance-era selfies to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

#UBS struggles, #MacBook makeover, fossilized #dinosaur brains

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY AND OVER THE WEEKEND

A Northern Ireland court rules on a challenge to the Brexit vote. Plaintiffs allege that the Northern Irish regional assemblyshould have had the chance to vote on the exit from the EU. The case is the first in a series of closely watched Brexit legal cases.

Trade and housing fuel US GDP growth. Analysts expect the economy to post third-quarter growth of 3% or more on stronger exports and consumer spending. That would be the strongest performance since 2014.

Pirates conquer Iceland. The Pirate Party, founded less than four years ago by a group of activists, anarchists, and hackers, is poised to upend Icelandic politics with an Oct. 29 general-election victory. It is led by Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks contributor who describes herself as a “poetician.”

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Diverging fortunes at Alphabet and Amazon. Google’s parent company beat revenue and profit expectations on the strength of its core search and YouTube businesses, sending shares up modestly. Amazon, on the other hand, fell short of what analysts were expecting, despite growth in its cloud computing unit, sending shares down 5%.

UBS reported a rough third quarter. The Swiss bank’s net profitfell 60% year-on-year, though the year-ago numbers were helped by a tax benefit. Still, the performance fell far short of expectations. The bank cited high regulatory costs and low transaction volumes caused by political uncertainty and concerns over global growth, and said it expects the tough conditions to continue.

MacBooks got a makeover. The new laptop line has an OLED touchscreen called “Touch bar,” which shows different buttons for different apps. Apple also announced a new app called “TV,” which aggregates shows and films from different streaming apps in one place.

A giant US newspaper merger hit the wall. Gannett’s deal to buy Tronc, which would unite papers including USA Today and the Chicago Tribune, was called into doubt after the banks financing the deal reportedly pulled out. Shares of each company plunged by as much as 30%.

Qualcomm announced the biggest-ever semiconductor acquisition. It’s buying Netherlands-based NXP as it seeks a foothold in making chips for the automotive industry. With mobile phone growth slowing, autonomous cars could be the next big source of tech industry growth. The transaction, including debt, is valued at $47 billion.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

EBIT, EBITDA
non-GAAP. Crafty accounting
Makes us LOL.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Chase Purdy on why farming is no longer “meaningful” work for US prison inmates. “Supporters of the program argued that work outdoors promoted the health and wellbeing of inmates, since many facilities lived largely off the food. But the programs lost favor as the agricultural industry consolidated and became more mechanized.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Search engines are distorting our perception, says Angela Merkel. The German chancellor says the lack of algorithm transparency is troubling.

Bitcoin is only good for one thing: getting money out of China.The cryptocurrency is a near-perfect proxy for capital outflow—and it’s surging.

Twitter needs a full-time CEO. Multitasking Jack Dorsey is not doing justice to a difficult job.

MESSAGE FROM OUR PARTNER

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

The first-ever fossilized dinosaur brain turned up in England.Its existence is “so unbelievably unlikely that it just shouldn’t have happened.”

A new home-delivery meal kit service wants your blood. It analyzes nutrition-related biomarkers in the sample you send to customize dinner.

Colombia’s third-largest city is ditching “Dr.” and “Sir.” The mayor of Cali wants to close the gap between the poor and the rich by eliminating hierarchical titles.

Marijuana may help you see in the dark. New research suggests that it makes specialized cells in your retina more sensitive to light.

Uber is exploring the use of flying cars. It predicts that “vertical take-off and landing” vehicles “will be an affordable form of daily transportation for the masses.”

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, flying cars, and night-vision vaporizers to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.

CWS Market Review – October 28, 2016

CWS Market Review

October 28, 2016
“They say you never go broke taking profits. No, you don’t. But neither do
you grow rich taking a four-point profit in a bull market.” – Jesse Livermore

This week’s CWS Market Review will be all about earnings. Nine of our 20 Buy List stocks reported earnings this week. Most were pretty good, but not all. In this week’s issue, I’ll discuss all of them. Plus, I’ll preview one more Buy List earnings report coming this week.

I also have several new Buy Below prices for you. Please note that many of the new Buy Below prices are downward adjustments. That doesn’t mean I’m any less confident about the stocks. It simply reflects each stock’s most recent price action.

Despite all the earnings news this week, the stock market as a whole has been fairly tame. We’ve now gone 12 straight days without a daily move of more than 0.62%. For 79 straight days, the S&P 500 has closed in the 2100s.

Earnings from Wabtec, Express Scripts and CR Bard

Before I get to this week’s earnings, I want to mention Microsoft (MSFT). Last week, the software giant reported very good earnings. On Friday, after the newsletter came out, the stock gapped up to $61 per share, which was an all-time high. This is a good example of a stock that was clearly a good buy, but the market wasn’t waking up to that fact. It takes time, but the market eventually sees the truth. Microsoft remains a buy up to $63 per share.

On Tuesday, three of our Buy List stocks reported earnings. Wabtec (WAB) was the first, and so far only, earnings miss. The rail-services company earned 94 cents per share, which was five cents below estimates.

Wabtec also lowered its full-year forecast again. The previous range was $4 to $4.20 per share. They now expect full-year earnings of $4 to $4.04 per share.

Raymond T. Betler, Wabtec’s president and chief executive officer, said: “Our transit business continues to perform well, while the freight markets remain challenging due to overall rail-industry conditions and the sluggish global economy. We have continued to focus on controlling what we can by aggressively reducing costs, generating cash and investing in our growth opportunities, including acquisitions. At the same time, we are progressing toward completion of the Faiveley Transport acquisition and remain excited by its growth and improvement opportunities.”

The company’s freight group is struggling, and that’s largely behind the disappointing numbers. Still, their cash flow numbers are decent. On Wednesday, the DOJ said that Wabtec will have to divest Faiveley Transport North America’s entire U.S. freight-car brakes business in order to complete its buyout of Faiveley. That shouldn’t be a problem. WAB is a good company in a tough time for its business. This week, I’m lowering my Buy Below on Wabtec to $82 per share.

After Tuesday’s closing bell, Express Scripts (ESRX) reported Q3 earnings of $1.74 per share. That matched Wall Street’s estimate on the nose. The company had previously given us a range of $1.72 to $1.76 per share.

Now for guidance. Express narrowed its full-year range from $6.33 to $6.43 per share to $6.36 to $6.42 per share. That translates to Q4 earnings of $1.84 to $1.90 per share. Wall Street had been expecting $1.85 per share. Overall, this was a good quarter for ESRX.

“The healthcare industry demands that we stay ahead of future trends and deliver solutions to emerging issues facing today’s market,” said Tim Wentworth, CEO and President. “Doing so deepens the trusted relationships we have built with our clients, resulting in another strong year in terms of client retention and new sales.”

Express also narrowed its expected retention rate for next year from 96% to 98%, to 97% to 98%. It sounds minor, but it’s very good to see. The stock was largely unmoved by the earnings report.

For the most part, the company is doing well, but the stock has lagged this year. Express is also dealing with an unpleasant legal mess with Anthem. It’s too early to say how that will turn out, but I still like ESRX. I’m lowering our Buy Below on Express Scripts down to $74 per share.

I was on CNBC last week, and Brian Sullivan asked me what stock looked to beat earnings. I said I thought medical devices company CR Bard (BCR) was a top candidate to beat the Street. The company had given a range for Q3 of $2.51 to $2.55 per share. I said that was too low. I also said that Bard would guide higher for the rest of the year.

Bard reported on Tuesday, and it turns out, I was right. The company earned $2.64 per share for Q3. That’s up 16% from last year, and it easily topped Wall Street’s estimate of $2.56 per share.

Timothy M. Ring, chairman and chief executive officer, commented, “The results this quarter demonstrate the continued strength of the economic engine of our business. We continue to increase investments in geographies, products, platforms, and programs that we believe can drive revenue growth longer term. During this period of increased investment in 2016, we have also been able to deliver attractive bottom-line returns for shareholders. We have increased our full-year financial guidance every quarter this year, and we are doing so again today. We expect a strong finish to what has been a very strong year for us so far.”

Bard now expects full-year sales growth of 8% to 9%. Excluding currency, that’s 9% to 10%. I was also right on guidance. For earnings, Bard sees profits ranging between $10.23 and $10.28 per share. That’s an increase on the previous range of $10.10 to $10.20 per share. Wall Street had been expecting $10.17 per share.

Bard’s new range implies Q4 guidance of $2.70 to $2.75 per share. Wall Street had been expecting $2.74 per share. This was an excellent quarter for Bard.

With the stock action, I wasn’t quite so prescient. Bard did rise on Wednesday: at one point it was up 2.5%. But that didn’t last long. Soon enough, the shares drifted back to $210. I’m not worried at all about Bard, but I’m dropping my Buy Below to $217 per share.

Earnings from Fiserv and Biogen

On Wednesday, we got earnings from Biogen and Fiserv. I’m pleased to say that Biogen  (BIIB) creamed estimates. The biotech stock reported Q3 earnings of $5.19 per share. That beat the Street’s consensus by 22 cents per share.

All across the board, Biogen had a very good quarter. Last quarter, their star drug, Tecfidera, had sales growth of 10% to just over $1 billion.

Chief Executive George Scangos announced in July he would be leaving, allowing a new chief to lead the company as it works to reignite growth. The biotechnology giant has also drawn takeover interest from drug companies such as Merck Co. and Allergan PLC, The Wall Street Journal reported in August.

Over all for the third quarter, Biogen reported a profit of $1.03 billion, or $4.71 a share, up from $965.6 million, or $4.15 a share, a year earlier. Excluding the restructuring charges, among other items, per-share earnings rose to $5.19 from $4.48.

Total revenue rose 6% to $2.96 billion. Analysts had projected adjusted earnings of $4.97 a share on sales of $2.91 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Remember that Biogen is planning to spin off its hemophilia business. The new company will be called Bioverative. (Yuck, who names these?) The spinoff will probably happen sometime early next year. I’m lowering my Buy Below on Biogen to $310 per share.

After the closing bell, Fiserv (FISV) reported Q3 earnings of $1.14 per share. That was one penny more than expectations. Fiserv is about as consistent as they get.

The financial-services company saw its revenue grow by 5%. Last quarter, earnings-per-share rose 11%, and they’re up 15% for the year. Operating margins dropped a bit, to 32.8%. Free cash flow rose 12% to $747 million.

”Strong operating performance in the quarter drove double-digit adjusted earnings-per-share growth and excellent free cash flow,” said Jeffery Yabuki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fiserv. “Outstanding sales results in the quarter should provide additional market momentum and growth.”

For all of 2016, Fiserv expects EPS between $4.43 and $4.46. That means Q4 EPS between $1.15 and $1.18. Wall Street had been expecting $1.16.

Yabuki said, “We continue to expect strong operating results despite a slight shortfall in revenue growth for the year. We anticipate revenue growth to accelerate in the fourth quarter and into 2017.”

The share took a small hit after the earnings report, but I still like Fiserv a lot. I’m lowering my Buy Below to $105 per share.

Earnings from Ford Motor, AFLAC, Stryker and Stericycle

Now on to Thursday and four more Buy List earnings report. Before the opening bell, Ford Motor (F) reported Q3 earnings of 26 cents per share. That was six cents more than consensus.

Ford’s earnings were down a lot from last year’s Q3, but investors had been expecting that, and the results a year ago were very strong. Ford’s quarterly revenues fell 6% and, more troubling, operating margins fell to 8.4%.

F-150 sales were pretty good, but a lot of those sales were to fleet buyers, which tend to be less profitable. Frankly, this was a difficult quarter for Ford. The company spent a lot of time and money adjusting itself to much higher gas prices. Now that oil is still well below its high, consumers have gravitated to GM’s SUVs. I’m dropping my Buy Below on Ford to $13 per share.

After Thursday’s bell, AFLAC (AFL) said it earned $1.82 in operating earnings for Q3. That was eight cents more than estimates. The duck stock had given us a huge range of $1.58 to $1.86 per share. The stronger yen added 15 cents per share to AFL’s results. Adjusting for currency, AFLAC’s earnings were up 7.1% from last year.

AFLAC decided to raise its dividend from 41 to 43 cents per share. This is their 34th consecutive dividend increase. The new payout gives the shares a yield of 2.45% based on Thursday’s close.

AFLAC said that if the yen averages 100 to 110 to the dollar for Q4, then they expect Q4 earnings between $1.53 and $1.82 per share. That would bring their full-year earnings to a range of $6.78 to $7.07 per share. AFLAC made $6.16 per share last year. AFLAC remains a solid buy up to $75 per share.

Stryker (SYK) said they earned $1.39 per share for Q3. That was two cents better than estimates. It was also better than the company’s own forecast of $1.33 to $1.38 per share. Quarterly revenues rose 17.1% to $2.83 billion, which also beat estimates.

This was a good quarter for Stryker. The orthopedics company felt confident enough to raise the low-end of its full-year guidance by five cents per share. They now expect 2016 earnings to range between $5.75 and $5.80 per share. That translates to Q4 results of $1.73 and $1.78 per share. The Street had been expecting $1.75 per share. I’m dropping my Buy Below price on Stryker down a tad to $119 per share.

Stericycle (SRCL) has been a terrible stock for us this year. I’ve grown concerned with management’s use of “rollups” to mask slowing organic sales growth. Some of my concerns were assuaged a little bit by the Q3 earnings report. The waste-management company earned $1.24 per share last quarter. That beat estimates by seven cents per share. Still, organic sales rose by just 0.3%.

“We were able to maintain consistent margin performance in the quarter despite revenue headwinds from previously discussed pricing pressure and softness in the manufacturing and industrial market,” said Charlie Alutto, President and Chief Executive Officer.

I’m lowering my Buy Below price on Stericycle to $80 per share.

We have one Buy List earnings report next week. On Tuesday, Cerner (CERN) is scheduled to report its results. For Q3, the health IT company sees earnings ranging between 59 and 61 cents per share.

Cerner’s stock has been a wild ride for us this year. By early March, it was down 17%. CERN then rallied 35% by early August. Since then, it’s slowly slid back.

Three months ago, Cerner reiterated its full-year guidance of $2.30 to $2.40 per share, but it lowered its full-year revenue guidance to $4.9 billion to $5.0 billion. The previous range was $4.9 billion to $5.1 billion.

That’s all for now. Lots more earnings next week. We’ll also get some of the key turn-of-the-month econ reports. Personal income and spending are on Monday. The ISM report is on Tuesday. Wednesday is ADP payroll. The Fed also meets on Wednesday. I strongly doubt they’ll do anything. That leads us up to Friday and the big jobs report. Be sure to keep checking the blog for daily updates. I’ll have more market analysis for you in the next issue of CWS Market Review!

– Eddy

Image
Named by CNN/Money as the best buy-and-hold blogger, Eddy Elfenbein is the editor of Crossing Wall Street. His free Buy List has beaten the S&P 500 eight times in the last nine years. This email was sent by Eddy Elfenbein through Crossing Wall Street.
2223 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC 20009, USA

#UK #GDP, àTesla’s surprise, professional bridesmaids

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

The UK releases its third-quarter GDP figures. The country’s economic output will provide a glimpse of its post-Brexit growth prospects. Economists expect growth of about 0.4%, but warn that many of the negative effects of the EU exit will take a while to become apparent.

Apple unveils new Macbooks. Both the Pro and Air lines, long overlooked in comparison to iPhones and other products, will debutrefreshed designs. That will include an OLED touch panel keyboardthat supports customizable keys and fingerprint detection.

Alphabet’s quarterly results. Google’s parent company is expected to report growing revenue and profit from its core advertising business. But investors will be keen to hear updates about its struggling ventures like Google Fiber.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Venezuelans protested against their government. Hundreds of thousands gathered for rallies around the recession-battered nation, chanting “This government is going to fall.” Dozens were arrested or injured, and a police officer was reportedly shot and killed at one of the protest sites. Opposition leaders called for a national strike on Friday.

Tesla shocked doubters with a surprise quarterly profit. The company posted its first positive earnings in two years after CEO Elon Musk urged employees to “throw a pie in the face of all the naysayers on Wall Street who keep insisting that Tesla will always be a money-loser.” Shares jumped more than 6% in after-hours trading.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is in talks with Bai Brands. The beverage giant could value the flavored-water company at more than $1.5 billion, according to Reuters. Fast-growing Bai sells low-calorie drinks containing antioxidants, making it a tempting target for soda makers grappling with increasingly health-conscious consumers.

Snapchat eyed an ambitious IPO goal. The social media company hopes to raise $4 billion with its public listing. If the size of the IPO changes—which it can—valuation could near $40 billion, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

A once great beauty
Looks in a mirror and weeps
Sort of like Groupon.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Nikhil Sonnad, Alison Griswold, and Jason Karaian on Halloween costume ideas for the new global economy:Analyst on a conference call: Standard-issue blue dress shirt and work slacks. Enthusiastically compliment everything around you. (‘Great party, guys’ ‘Great costumes, guys’ ‘Great cocktail, guys.’) Davos Man: Suit and tie with snow boots is the go-to outfit for attendees to this elite conference. Helps if you are a white guy.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

The world should teach its young people like Germany does.More vocational training could create an economic gain of $1.1 trillion.

It’s more important to have a job that pays well than a job you love. Monetizing your passion can ruin it.

Donald Trump’s favorite movie goes against everything he stands for. He is drawing precisely the wrong lessons from Citizen Kane.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Syria has its own Banksy. A 22-year-old fighter and mural artistconjures beauty from destruction in the ruins outside of Damascus.

Virtually every American will know a shooting victim in their lifetime. A new analysis found that 99.85% will eventually know a victim of gun violence.

Rich people don’t care about you or your problems. New research shows that the wealthy unconsciously pay less attention to passersby on the street.

Chinese brides are hiring professional bridesmaids. It’s hazardous work—one woman died from alcohol poisoning earlier this year.

Kobe Bryant almost missed his last game because he was editing short stories. The basketball legend plans to spend his retirement life working on books and films.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Syrian murals, and bridesmaid survival guides tohi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our iPhone app.

#iPhone malaise, #Venezuela rallies, luxury potato chips

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

Elon Musk tries to silence the Tesla doubters. The electric car company’s quarterly results are a chance to “throw a pie in the face of all the naysayers on Wall Street who keep insisting that Tesla will always be a money-loser,” its CEO wrote last month in a staff memo. But a loss is still likely.

Nationwide rallies rock Venezuela. In what’s being dubbed “the takeover of Venezuela”—by the opposition leaders encouraging the demonstrations—protestors will vent their frustration over the country’s economic crisis. The rallies follow the suspension of a recall referendum drive against president Nicolas Maduro. Amidst widespread food shortages, analysts have warned of potentially violent unrest.

India and Russia discuss closer military ties. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu will meet with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi to talk about the joint funding of a new fighter jet and a missile defense system.

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Apple reported iPhone sales fell for the third straight quarter…The company’s quarterly revenue and profit were roughly in line with expectations, but shares fell 2% in after-hours trading. China revenue plummeted nearly 30%.

…And it is apparently developing a car operating system in Canada. Over the past year it’s hired about two dozen engineers from BlackBerry’s QNX, an automotive software provider, Bloomberg reported. The tech giant tends to keep R&D projects at its California headquarters.

Volkswagen’s $14.7 billion US settlement was approved. A federal judge gave the go-ahead for a deal—one of the biggest settlements in corporate history—between the carmaker and 475,000 owners of polluting diesel vehicles. Buybacks will begin next month.

Australia reported better-than-expected inflation numbers for the third quarter. Consumer prices rose 0.7% from the second quarter, compared to a consensus forecast of 0.5%. That makes a rate cut in November less likely.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

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The traders’ big fear? There’s too
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QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Oliver Staley on the paradox of Twitter—a cultural success and a business failure: “The company hasn’t had a profitable quarter in the three years since it went public, it was unable to find a buyer recently during a very public attempt to sell itself, and, according to Bloomberg, it’s now planning on laying off 8% of its employees, about 300 workers. More ominously, user growth is stalling.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Elon Musk’s Mars plan has a slew of critical flaws. The effort istoo large in size and cost and there’s little benefit in reducing the journey time to four months.

Muslim Americans can’t win in the presidential election. It’s Donald Trump’s Islamophobia versus Hillary Clinton’s pro-drone stance in the Middle East.

The US military has a Terminator conundrum. Autonomous weapon systems are central to its future plans (paywall).

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Red Bull has created 11 billionaires in Thailand. Chaleo Yoovidhya, the inventor of the energy drink, left behind $22 billion for his heirs.

Virtual assistants are being sexually harassed. Siri, Alexa, and Cortana have to dodge personal questions and flirtatious comments from human users.

Rodrigo Duterte let Beijing know the South China Sea was theirs long before being elected president. In an interview with China’s state broadcaster CCTV, he scoffed at the Philippines’ legal challenge to China’s maritime aggression.

Hallucinogens may be the future of entertainment. Netflix’s CEO thinks “pharmacological” competition is a few decades away.

Luxury potato chips are retailing at $11 each. A Swedish microbrewery is selling the snacks, which are made by hand from gourmet ingredients.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, luxury snacks, and hallucinogenic entertainment tohi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our iPhone app.

#Duterte in Tokyo, layoffs at #Twitter, climate change warning from 1882

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

Rodrigo Duterte goes to Tokyo. The controversial Philippine president snubbed his Japanese hosts, who are his country’s biggest source of foreign direct investment, by visiting new allies in Beijing first. Japanese leaders are still preparing a bonanza in aid and loans.

Apple earnings lose their shine. Revenues from the iPhone have fallen for two straight quarters, and the launch of the iPhone 7happened too late in the quarter to make much difference. Services from apps, iCloud, and Apple Music may be a bright spot, and results from China will be closely watched.

Google’s latest smartphone begins shipping in India. The well-reviewed Pixel and Pixel Plus will go on sale through e-commerce company Flipkart and in more than 1,000 retail stores. The company is offering customer support through HTC India stores.

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

Alphabet bought a startup specializing in eye-tracking technology. Who needs a computer mouse when eye movements can control things on a screen? That’s the idea behind three-year-old Eyefluence, which will now join the search giant Google at Alphabet. Its technology could work especially well in virtual reality and augmented reality environments.

Twitter plans to fire hundreds of workers. It could announce the layoffs before an earnings report on Thursday, Bloomberg reported. The money-losing company’s share price has fallen about 40% in the past 12 months, making it hard to pay engineers with stock, much less compete for talent. Potential buyers of the company, including Alphabet and Salesforce.com, have backed away.

Nearly everyone panned the AT&T-Time Warner deal. Shares of both companies fell as analysts questioned the logic (paywall) of the $85.4 billion acquisition and its chances of securing approval from antitrust regulators. Both GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine opposed the deal.

Gunmen attacked a police training academy in Pakistan. They killed at least 59 and injured over 115 at the center, located in the southwestern city of Quetta in the Baluchistan province. The Pakistan military attributed the assault to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, which has a history of staging attacks in the region.

QUARTZ MARKETS HAIKU

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QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Isabella Steger on the battle between feminism and deep-seated misogyny in South Korea. “Newly-formed online feminist group Megalia’s activism is a bold step in a country where women continue to face discrimination at home, in the workplace, and on the streets. Yet as more women push against deep-set conservative attitudes in Korea, the backlash has been vicious. Young Korean men, who no longer enjoy the same economic security and position of power in society, are virtually, and literally, taking their frustrations out on women.” Read more here.

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Nobody will admit that America is fighting in five wars.Politicians and the press are trying to avoid responsibility for US military adventures in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

Africa wasn’t “rising” before and it’s not ”reeling” now.Economic tropes have obscured a diverse and complex continent.

There’s no such thing as a true rebel. We’re all subject to influences, especially when we try to resist them.

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SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Climate change is not a new concept. The environmental impact of burning fossil fuels was discussed in 1882.

Your “organic” shampoo is meaningless. There’s no certification process for non-food items.

A Chinese university sells HIV testing kits through a vending machine. The kits cost less than $5 and are sold alongside snacks and drinks in the machines at China’s Southwest Petroleum University in the Sichuan province.

The Victorians were obsessed with disembodied hands. They were frequently incorporated into housewares and sculpture.

A weed-filled bus went up in flames this weekend. The vehicle caused a massive traffic jam, but everyone was surprisingly chill about it.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, disembodied hands, and weed buses to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.