1. The Australian dollar hasn’t seen a gain this large in years. It ripped higher on Thursday, recording its largest one-day percentage gain against the greenback since March 15, 2017. A massive Australian trade surplus for September, optimism towards Brexit and trade negotiations between the US and China and slightly softer US manufacturing activity in October proved to be a potent mix, leading to a raft of short-covering in not only the Aussie dollar but also the Kiwi, British pound and Chinese yuan. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was up 1.87% to 0.7205.
2. Apple shares fell by around 4% in after-hours trade after it reported its fourth quarter earnings this morning. Guidance for the US holiday season was at the low end of expectations, and iPhone sales were flat in Q4. More here.
3. It’s retail sales day: Australia will get another update on the consumption outlook with September retail sales data from the ABS (11:30am AEDT). The forecast is for sales growth of 0.3%, after results missed expectations over the previous two months. Get your 10-second guide to the release here.
4. The US and China are headed toward a “full-fledged” trade war if policy continues on its current path, according to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. The exec also said issues related to Treasurys were his “biggest worry in the world today”. More from him here.
5. Google employees worldwide are staging walk outs in protest over sexual misconduct. It follows a bombshell New York Times report last week that named executives who had been accused of sexual misconduct, including Andy Rubin, the creator of the mobile operating system Android. Rubin denied any misconduct. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he supported the protests and was listening to his staff. “We are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate,” he said. Employees in New York, London, Tokyo, and Berlin are among those to have already taken part. Here’s a look.
6. It could take 6 months to figure out what caused Lion Air flight JT 610 to crash into the sea, killing all 189 people on board. Deep-sea divers found the Boeing 737 Max 8’s black boxes on Thursday that record data and could give clues why it crashed, but downloading its data and analysing it will take time.
7. Tesla owners will be able to drive their cars with their phones within weeks, according to CEO Elon Musk. “Car will drive to your phone location & follow you like a pet if you hold down summon button on Tesla app,” he said. “Also, you’ll be able to drive it from your phone remotely like a big RC car if in line of sight.”
8. Jacob Wohl is a 20-year-old conservative conspiracy theorist famous for his pro-Trump Twitter personality. He gained notoriety for running a hedge fund using money raised from people in his high school. That ended when he was banned from securities trading. On Tuesday, the special counsel Robert Mueller’s office released a statement saying they had learned of plans to pay off women to fabricate sexual misconduct accusations against Mueller. Wohl appears to be linked to the plans. Here’s everything we know about Wohl.
9. Heidi Klum won Halloween this year with her Shrek-inspired costume. The supermodel and TV presenter is famous for her legendary Halloween costumes, but this year she took things to a new level by working with a prosthetics company to make herself completely unrecognisable. And better yet — she documented the whole process on social media.
— Heidi Klum (@heidiklum) October 31, 2018
10. Summer might not be the only reason why you might want to start hitting the gym. A new study has found that people who are overweight get paid less. The research by LinkedIn found those who are overweight get paid about £1,940 ($AU3,500) less per year on average. More here.
And finally… Back in 2016, economist and founder of advisory firm Variant Perception Jonathan Tepper featured in an episode of Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes, predicting a housing crash based on easy credit and extremely high property prices in parts of Sydney. He was early with that dramatic call, but the events of this year have shown the basic thesis was right. Tepper has a new book coming out: The Myth of Capitalism, which has glowing endorsements from the likes of Ken Rogoff, Scott Galloway, and Kyle Bass. He joined us on this week’s episode of the Devils and Details podcast to talk through the book’s argument that capitalism is creating monopolies and oligopolies (obvious examples being airlines, Google, Facebook, and Amazon) that are suppressing wage growth, exacerbating inequality, and even driving populism. We think it’s a fascinating chat of anyone with an interest in current trends in business, policy, economics and society. Of course we start by asking if he still thinks the Australian housing market is on the brink of disaster. Answer: “Yes I do.” Search “Devils and Details” wherever you get your podcasts, listen online here, or tune in below.
BONUS ITEM: A Russian rocket failed with two people on board, and the moment was recorded on video. Here’s a look. (The crew had their space capsule ejected from the rocket and survived without injury.)
— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) November 1, 2018