REUTERS/David GreyA female Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighter walks through a burnt area after trying to extinguish a small fire approaching homes near the Blue Mountains suburb of Blackheath, located around 70 km (43 miles) west of Sydney, October 23, 2013.
Good morning! Here’s what you nee t to know.
- Markets were mostly higher. Korea’s Kospi led in Asia at 0.54%. In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.45%. U.S. futures were up about 0.30%.
- China’s purchasing managers index for October printed a seven-month high 0f 50.9, beating expectations of 50.4. “This implies that China’s growth recovery is becoming consolidated into 4Q following the bottoming out in 3Q. This momentum is likely to continue in the coming months, creating favourable conditions for speeding up structural reforms,” HSBC chief China economist Hongbin Qu said.
- Europe is still growing, but it’s slowed down a bit. The Eurozone’s composite PMI declined to 51.5 from 52.2. “Although modest, the expansion is reassuringly broad-based across the region, reflecting signs of economic recoveries becoming more entrenched in the periphery as well as ongoing expansion in Germany and stabilisation in France,” Markit’s Chris Williamson said.
- India is now expected to see its GDP decline to the lowest level in more than a decade. Reuters polled 24 economists, who now see growth slowing to 4.7% — the same figure the World Bank recently came up with. “India’s ailing economy is likely to remain under pressure from weak domestic and foreign demand for some time, while uncertainty ahead of elections next year is expected to keep investors and businesses at bay,” Reuters’ Rahul Karunakar and Ashrith Rao Doddi write
- Institutional investors accounted for 14% of all sales in September according to RealtyTrac, up from 9% of all sales last month. “The housing market continues to skew in favour of investors, particularly deep-pocketed institutional investors, and other buyers paying with cash,” Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac said in a press release.
- This is the busiest earnings day of the year, with 358 different firms releasing their Q3 figures. Ford is already in: they beat earnings, missed sales estimates, and its shares are up 3.6% pre-market. Also before the bell we get, among others, 3M ($1.75/share expected), Altria ($0.64/share expected), Colgate ($0.73/share expected), Dunkin Doughnuts ($0.43/share expected), Southwest Airlines ($0.33/share expected), and Xerox ($0.25/share expected). Amazon ($-0.09/share expected) and Microsoft ($0.54/share expected) also report, after the bell.
- We’re also getting a raft of new economic data this morning. Weekly jobless claims missed expectations, while U.S. trade data widened less than expected. And flash PMI missed. Just before 9 am, October flash PMI prints, with a decline of 0.01 to 52.7 expected. Finally at 10 am, we get the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS).
- The Obama Administration appears ready to extend the open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance at least through March, Reuters’ David Morgan and Mark Felsenthal report. And pressure is now mounting from Democrats to make additional reforms to the Affordable Care Act’s centrepiece, the health insurance exchanges. “Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking House Democrat, criticised the website for forcing consumers to provide private information before deciding what kind of health insurance plan they want to buy. ‘I’ve talked to too many people who tell me before they ever get around to figuring out what it is they want to buy, they’re having to answer questions that they don’t feel they should be answering,’ Clyburn said.
- The CEO of British-based WPP, the world’s largest ad firm by revenue, told the Wall Street Journal that allegations the U.S. was spying on its own allies would damage both “brand America” as well as the ad industry, since it could lead to commercial data collection becoming more restrictive. “If Germany’s Chancellor is bugged — true or not — the bare suggestion of this is bad,” Mr. Sorrell said. “Imagine [CEO of rival Publicis Groupe SA Maurice Levy ] calling me to assure me that he wasn’t tapping my phone, or the other way round…It’s pretty serious stuff.”
- Bitcoin prices briefly hit $US230 overnight and remain above $US200 this morning on the Mt. Gox exchange, recalling the insane surge that occurred this spring and reflecting the resiliency of the digital currency.