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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
What Ails Pfizer
U.S.-based drug maker Pfizer’s efforts to acquire Ireland’s Allergan demonstrate that attempts in Washington, D.C., to stem so-called inversion deals have so far achieved little. The deal, which may be structured as an inversion, could be the biggest overseas takeover to lower U.S. corporate tax liability in a year that’s already on pace to be the busiest ever for mergers and acquisitions. Chief Executive Ian Read was unapologetic about his desire to reduce Pfizer’s tax rate which, he says, has put the company at a disadvantage compared with foreign rivals. While some inversions faltered following a regulatory crackdown last year, the pace is now nearly back to where it was. Lawmakers and candidates in both parties want to reduce the tax advantages of incorporating abroad, but they disagree on how to do it.
Arrested in Tehran
Iranian security forces have arrested an Iranian-American businessman, adding to signs that hard-liners in Tehran are trying to block foreign investors from entering the Islamic Republic in the wake of the historic nuclear deal. Siamak Namazi was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard’s intelligence arm, which reports to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the government. In the past few weeks, Iranian businessmen with links to foreign companies have been detained, interrogated and warned against wading into economic monopolies controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Such developments undermine President Hassan Rouhani’s claims that Iran has changed in the aftermath of the nuclear deal, and complicate the Obama administration’s ability to build better ties.
Value Unknown
Millions of Americans own a piece of the hottest private technology companies through their mutual funds. But no one knows what those investments are actually worth. While getting in early gives mutual funds a shot at a huge profit if a company takes off, many funds struggle just to put a value on their private-company shares. Our analysis of closely held technology startups worth at least $1 billion found 12 instances where the same company was valued differently by more than one mutual-fund manager on the same date. The share-price gap ranged from a few cents per share to more than twice the stock’s price. For individual investors, the risks are mushrooming, as mutual funds buy more startup stocks than ever.
Pricey Properties
From a room with Champagne-filled walls to race-car simulators, trophy homes in Bel Air boast it all. The only thing missing: a crowd of buyers who can afford to live in them. Price tags for ultra high-end homes in Los Angeles—many of them speculatively built—are topping the $100 million mark, fueled partly by wealthy international buyers. Real-estate experts note, however, that ultrahigh asking prices are seldom the sale prices. Stratospheric pricing is often more of a marketing ploy. One spec home under construction in Bel Air will hit the market when it’s completed next year with an unprecedented asking price of $500 million.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Illuminated Haunts
That Was Painless
Halloween displays have become more elaborate over the years, with some houses featuring thousands of lights choreographed to popular music.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

U.S. Growth Cools in Third Quarter

U.S. Senate Passes Budget Bill, Averting Risk of Default
WORLD

U.S. Backs Off Hard Line on Syrian President’s Future

China Bristles Over Dual Tests in South China Sea
BUSINESS

Valeant to Sever Ties With Philidor

LinkedIn Gets Boost From Mobile, Overseas Users
MARKETS

Deutsche Bank to Shrink Workforce by 35,000 in Broad Revamp

Exclusive Club: No High-Frequency Traders Allowed at Luminex
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$6.1 billion
Shell’s third-quarter loss, largely a result of its decision to walk away from exploring the Arctic for oil and exploiting Canada’s oil sands.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
For a second child, my answer is no, no, no. Doesn’t matter what the policy is.
Shanghai-based bank worker Li Shuning on her decision not to have a second child. China will abandon its one-child policy, but demographers warn that the move may be too little too late.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on American companies pursuing takeover deals to lessen their tax burdens? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
On yesterday’s question about the GOP presidential debate, Kim R. Cosco of Texas opined that “Mr. Bush self-immolated and Messrs. Kasich and Paul further proved themselves to be irrelevant, Messrs. Rubio, Cruz and Christie improved their domestic and international policy credibility, as did Mrs. Fiorina. Messrs. Trump and Carson remained two-dimensional, preferring the usual sound bites while eschewing the fray. The predictable and bellicose Mr. Trump did himself no harm, nor favors.” From Alaska, Ted Gianoutsos wrote that “Trump won by not losing and Bush lost by not winning. The puppies yipped and yapped, with Carly especially saying nothing of interest.” Jeff Templeton of Pennsylvania said he was “very disappointed in the questioning by the CNBC team. Had expected more from a business-focused organization. The viewers don’t want slanted questions -- just straight forward questions on the issues and then allow the candidates to answer how they would address them.” And Alan Dechovitz of South Carolina commented, “The farce of this excessively large field must end. There are only 5-6 people who realistically can become president or vice president. The rest may know how to fight, but Republicans need to win. Potential winners must be enabled to draw the difference between themselves and Clinton starting now! Not thrown into a series of cock-fight pits, wasting time and money.”
This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.
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