FirstFT: Today’s top news | Financial Times

FirstFT: Today’s top news | Financial Times

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Donald Trump’s campaign began October with just $63.1m cash-on-hand, a sign of its financial struggles in the final stretch of the US presidential race.

The cash-on-hand figure, detailed as part of a Federal Election Commission report, represents a 50 per cent drop from the $121.1m Mr Trump’s campaign had going into September.

Joe Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, began October with $177.3m on hand — or almost three times as much as the Trump campaign — having begun last month with $180.7m in the bank. The cash gap comes at a crucial time, and as the president’s re-election campaign was significantly outspent by Mr Biden’s in paid advertising across the country. (FT)

Follow our poll tracker to see where Mr Trump and Mr Biden stand in crucial swing states.

Coronavirus digest

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In the news

Trump hopes tough trade stance will help recapture Michigan For years, Nelson Westrick, an auto worker from Sterling, Michigan, voted Democrat. But by 2016 he’d had enough. “There were these bad trade deals. It was just hurting good, middle-class blue-collar jobs,” he said.
Mr Westrick switched to Donald Trump, and plans on sticking with the president next month. In Pennsylvania, Mr Trump is taking aim at Joe Biden’s energy policy. (FT)

Apollo to review Leon Black’s relationship with Epstein Apollo Global Management has hired an outside law firm to review the longstanding professional relationship between its billionaire founder Leon Black and Jeffrey Epstein. (FT)

Goldman Sachs subsidiary in Asia to plead guilty in US probe of 1MDB
One of the Asian subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs has agreed to plead guilty to US charges in the 1MDB money laundering and bribery scandal as part of a global regulatory settlement that includes more than $2bn in new penalties. (FT)

Will coronavirus break the UK? Covid-19 has already driven a greater wedge between the four nations. But could it push them even further apart? This story is part of a major Financial Times series Coronavirus: could the world have been spared?, investigating the global response to the crisis and whether the disaster could have been averted.

Berkshire’s $4.1m fine Berkshire Hathaway will pay $4.1m to settle alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran. (FT)

Google antitrust case The Department of Justice has accused the US tech group of suppressing competition, calling it “a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”. The lawsuit opens the most high-profile US antitrust case since the Microsoft battle of the 1990s. (FT)

Netflix growth slows, Snap surges The streaming boost from lockdown life has ended: Netflix added only 2.2m subscribers in the third quarter, well below the 16m and 10m added in the first and second, respectively. Snap posted record revenues, boosted by an advertisers’ boycott of Facebook. (FT)

Nigeria crackdown The city of Lagos declared a 24-hour curfew after violence marred mass protests against police brutality that have erupted across the country and brought Africa’s largest city to a standstill. (FT)

Witnesses at the scene reported multiple people were killed as security forces cracked down on peaceful protesters © AP

The day ahead

Earnings and data Tesla reports third-quarter figures after the market closes on Wednesday, having already confirmed production numbers. New York-based exchange Nasdaq, Biogen, Baker Hughes and Verizon also report, while UK inflation is expected to rebound. (elektrek, FT)

EU decides what’s meat MEPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to limit words such as “burger”, “sausage” and “steak” to branding for meat-only products, a contentious move backed by the region’s agriculture industry. (FT)


Burgers — or are they ‘discs’ — ready to be eaten at a stall during the Calais Vegan Festival © AFP/Getty Images

What else we’re reading

Long economic Covid-19 The pandemic is likely to leave the world not just with a deep recession, but years of debility, Martin Wolf writes. To meet the threat of a “long economic Covid”, policymakers must avoid the mistake of withdrawing support too soon, as they did after the 2008 crisis. (FT)

chart showing that sovereign debt has reached historic levels: general government debt as a % of GDP

Musk the miner Elon Musk’s plan to extract and refine lithium is unlikely to bear fruit for years, and is instead designed to put pressure on an industry dominated by five companies. There’s a paradox of lithium pricing — the metal is vital to the renewables drive but demand has yet to match up. (FT)

Investors opt for the ‘do nothing’ trade ahead of US election
As the days count down to a US presidential election that could alter the course of global markets, some investors have crafted an odd-sounding strategy for navigating the outcome: they plan to do nothing. (FT)

Biden bets on Catholic faith John F Kennedy was the first and only Catholic US president; Joe Biden could become the second. But the Biden team sees the candidate’s faith as an asset rather than a liability. There’s a case for Pope Francis to tacitly support the Democratic nominee. (FT)

Torlonia Marbles unveiled For 400 years, one of the world’s finest collections of ancient statues has been behind closed doors. At long last, 96 of the Torlonia Marbles will be shown at the David Chipperfield-renovated Palazzo Caffarelli in Rome. (HTSI)


The impressive body of 620 ancient Greek and Roman statues, sarcophagi, bas-reliefs and busts were acquired by the influential Torlonias, who administered the Vatican’s finances © Reuters

Retirement worries The coronavirus crisis has raised retirement insecurity for billions of people, who now face working longer or having less income in later life. They may even be forced to resort to loans from their children, Claer Barrett writes, as intergenerational finances become a two-way street. (FT)

EMBAs defy pandemic panic Coronavirus has severely hit human health and economic growth, but executive MBA alumni and courses emerged from the initial peak of the pandemic in robust shape, according to data from the FT’s latest survey. (FT)

Chart on post-pandemic recruitment

Wish I were there: California redwoods The mighty redwood is the tallest living tree on Earth. While less than 5 per cent of its ancient towering forests remain, one of the great natural wonders can still inspire, writes Hugh Carnegy. (FT)


A hiker in the Redwoods National Parks © Getty

With the pandemic disrupting travel, we asked writers to journey in their imaginations to a distant place they yearn to revisit.

Podcast: FT News Briefing

Snap Inc rises on advertising, DoJ takes on Google, big tech regulation
Snap posted record revenues and attracted the highest-ever number of advertisers to its platform in the third quarter, and the Department of Justice has accused Google of suppressing competition in internet search. Plus, the FT’s west coast editor, Richard Waters, explains how the US and Europe are handling the regulation of big tech in very different ways.