Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day
Pedestrians walk near the NYSE. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day

(Bloomberg) --

U.S. stocks hit a record high, Singapore’s labor market seems to be struggling, and Apple launches new higher-end AirPods. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Markets Record

Stocks in Asia are set to advance after U.S. equities climbed to a record Tuesday, thanks to optimism for a trade deal, encouraging earnings and bets the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates. Treasuries slumped ahead of key central bank decisions. The S&P 500 took out its July record after President Donald Trump said the U.S. is ahead of schedule to sign part of the trade deal. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a six-week high, while Australian bond futures fell. The pound gained after the European Union agreed to a Brexit deadline extension, easing the risk of leaving the bloc without a deal on Oct. 31. Elsewhere, crude fell 1.6%  and gold steadied after sliding 0.8%.

Consumer Concerns

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon has trumpeted the strength of U.S. consumers, and Federal Reserve chief Jay Powell calls them a bright spot that is countering weakness in the manufacturing sector. But there are signs U.S. households are starting to feel stretched. Serious delinquencies on credit cards and auto debt have been creeping up in recent quarters, which has pushed some banks to set aside more money to cover bad loans and tighten lending standards. That’s especially concerning after an unexpected drop in retail sales in September, the first decline in seven months. So, considering the manufacturing sector slipped into a recession in the first half of the year and businesses broadly are cutting back on investments, there’s more room for worry.

Singapore Slows

In Singapore, retrenchments are rising, companies are more cautious raising wages, and it’s getting harder for those who lose their jobs to find new work. The city-state’s resilient labor market is starting to come under strain as the trade-reliant economy struggles in the face of global pressures. While the central bank is optimistic of some recovery in the economy in upcoming quarters, there are signs the employment outlook may continue to deteriorate. Analysts are closely watching Singapore’s net employment data, job vacancies, average monthly earnings, and unemployment rates. Here’s a look at what the labor-market gauges tell us.

Snap!

Now Boris Johnson is really stuck. The British Prime Minister failed in his bid to trigger a snap election, which means he can’t even break the deadlock that’s preventing him from getting his Brexit deal ratified through Parliament. It’s a huge blow after he secured the deal with his European counterparts during talks in Brussels. Yet the signs are that he won’t have long to wait before firing the starting gun on the country’s third general election campaign in a tumultuous four years. On Tuesday he will try again to get Parliament to allow an early election to take place, this time using an easier legal route. Here’s how members of Parliament voted on the bid for a pre-Christmas election. On a side note, thousands of 50-pence coins minted to commemorate Brexit on Oct. 31 will be melted down, after Johnson accepted a Brexit extension from the European Union, two people familiar with the matter said.

India’s Alibaba

Asia’s richest man is inching closer to creating an e-commerce giant for India. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani unveiled plans to set up a $24 billion digital-services holding company that will likely become the main vehicle in his ambition to dominate the country’s internet shopping space. Ambani’s Reliance Industries approved a proposal to plow 1.08 trillion rupees ($15 billion) into the fully owned subsidiary, which will in turn invest that amount in Reliance Jio Infocomm, the conglomerate’s telecommunications venture. The move is the latest sign of the group’s pivot toward data and digital services, as it builds an online platform that is set to take on the likes of Amazon.com and Walmart’s Flipkart in India. 

What We’ve Been Reading

This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours.

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