MF Global, a broker, filed for bankruptcy protection. With listed assets of $41 billion, it is the biggest failure of a financial company in America since 2008. Jon Corzine, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs and an ex-governor of New Jersey, has led the company since March 2010, building up its trading activities and overseeing the bets in Europe's sovereign debt market that eventually sunk it.
Both Sony and Panasonic partly blamed the appreciating yen for a reversal of fortunes in their businesses. The Japanese electronics giants now expect to have a loss for the year, mostly because of restructuring efforts at their TV factories, which are facing cheaper competition from South Korea and Taiwan. Sony also said the flooding in Thailand, which has upset its camera production lines, would hurt profits.
Investors reacted positively to Hewlett-Packard's decision not to sell its personal computing division, which accounts for around a third of its revenue. HP's about-face came a little over a month after it dismissed Leo Apotheker, who had wanted to spin off the PC business in order to focus on computing services, and appointed Meg Whitman as chief executive.
Qantas grounded its entire fleet of airliners around the world to counter a series of strikes by employees. It resumed flying after Australia's federal industrial relations tribunal interceded and told both sides to reach a settlement. Air France also faced down a walkout and succeeded in flying around 90 percent of its scheduled departures.
Saab was thrown a lifeline when a long-mooted deal to sell the troubled Swedish carmaker to Chinese buyers was signed. But the contract could still unravel as agreement is required from other parties, including General Motors, Saab's former owner.
GlaxoSmithKline, a British drug company, said it had reached a tentative agreement with prosecutors in America that will see it pay $3 billion to settle claims arising from its marketing practices and the methods it used to promote medicines to doctors.
Germany's finance ministry discovered an embarrassing accounting error at a nationalized "bad bank," which meant the country's debt had been overstated by $77 billion. The mistake affects Germany's overall indebtedness, which now drops from 84 percent to 81 percent of GDP. Ireland's finance ministry also uncovered a happy blunder. An accounting mistake at its housing agency means that Ireland's debt load is 2 percentage points lower than had been thought.Political economy
Japan made another effort to rein in the rise of its currency, by selling an estimated 7 trillion yen ($89.7 billion). The government's action to weaken the yen was much larger than a previous intervention in August.
The unemployment rate in the eurozone was 10.2 percent in September, the highest it has been since 1998. Unemployment rose in Germany for the first time since June 2009. Across the zone, the youth unemployment rate stood at 21.2 percent. It was a staggering 48 percent in Spain, and 43.5 percent in Greece.
The Paris offices of a satirical French weekly, Charlie Hebdo, were set afire by a gas bomb after it printed a cover cartoon of the prophet Muhammad. Politicians denounced the attack. The prime minister, Francois Fillon, declared that "freedom of expression is an inalienable value."
Russia and Georgia settled most of their remaining differences over Russian membership in the World Trade Organization, paving the way for Russia to join shortly.
The U.N. General Assembly voted 107-14, with 52 abstentions, to admit Palestine as a full member of UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural agency. The United States, which provides 22 percent of UNESCO's funds, and Israel, which provides 3 percent, said they would stop their contributions.
Pakistan's Cabinet voted to grant India most-favored-nation status, a carrot for the peace process that began in February. India had granted the same status to Pakistan in 1996, but the balance of trade has fallen heavily in India's favor since then.
Two Chinese spacecraft docked in orbit for the first time, when an unmanned craft was attached to the Tiangong-1 space laboratory.