Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets moved higher in overnight trading, with the Nikkei up 1.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite up 0.3 per cent. European markets are posting solid gains, with Spain up 1.7 per cent. Dow and S&P futures are flat.
- Moody’s refrained from downgrading Spain upon concluding its latest review, but warned that a multiple-notch downgrade into junk territory could be forthcoming if the Spanish situation deteriorates. Spain Is Having A Monster Day >
- IBM beat earnings estimates after the market close yesterday but missed sales estimates, sending the stock plummeting 3.4 per cent in pre-market trading. Intel topped both earnings and sales estimates, but is also down nearly 3 per cent in the pre-market.
- U.K. unemployment unexpectedly fell to 7.9 per cent from 8.1 per cent, a 15-month low. In related news, the Bank of England voted to leave the size of its current quantitative easing program unchanged.
- Barack Obama gave a strong performance in last night’s presidential debate against Mitt Romney, which could shift the momentum back in his direction going into the final weeks of the race. CNN POLL: Obama Wins 46-39 >
- Bank of America, PepsiCo, and Halliburton all report Q3 earnings before the opening bell. Consensus EPS estimates are for $0.05, $1.16, and $0.68, respectively. Click here for BofA’s earnings results >
- Housing starts blew by expectations in September, rising 15 per cent to an annualized rate of 872K. Economists had expected a 2.7 per cent rise.
- Iraq’s central bank chief has been suspended by the prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s cabinet in a move that is seen as a power grab by the prime minister. The central bank tightened its rules on dollar purchases in light of international sanctions on Syria and Iran, which has sent demand at dollar auctions in Iraq soaring.
- The CEO of leading iron-ore producer BHP Billiton said today that demand for steel in China has peaked and that growth in China would be slower over the next decade. He also said that further BHP investment in Australia, where mining is a key industry, is unlikely.
- Russia is cracking down on smoking with new legislation that could hurt sales in the world’s second-largest tobacco market. American tobacco company Phillip Morris is one of four international corporations that controls around 90 per cent of Russia’s market for cigarettes.
- Bonus: The verdict on Halle Berry’s custody battle could be delivered this week.