The U.S. has involved itself in the latest flare up of the islands dispute between Japan and China in the East China Sea by flying two unarmed B-52 bombers in the area without informing Beijing.
The U.S. moves comes after China included the islands - known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - in an Air Defense Identification Zone, and warned that it would take military action against airplanes flying in the region without notification.
Meanwhile, Japanese airlines have also defied Beijing and flown through the area without providing China with flight plans.
At stake in the row are fishing rights and access to up to 160B barrels of oil.
When the dispute first flared up a year ago, trade between China and Japan was badly hit, with the latter's car makers suffering in particular.
Automobile sales are forecast to have grown nicely in November from October's shutdown-influenced pace, according to the latest rash of industry predictions.
Estimates for November range from a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate of 15.7M (Edmunds.com) to 16.1M (JD Power) - up from October's 15.154M SAAR.
What to watch: Ford (F), General Motors (GM), and Chrysler (FIATY) are expected to have picked up market share during the month while Honda (HMC), Hyundai (HYMLF), and Volkswagen (VLKAY) are tapped to retreat a bit. The calendar kicks in an extra selling day which automakers won't highlight greatly. Inventory numbers and average transaction prices will be closely watched. If the former decreases and the latter improves, automobile stocks could rally.
The L.A. Auto Show hit full stride with global automakers tipping off plans to ramp up production and designs to take advantage of the North American demand boom.
Honda (HMC), Toyota (TM), and Hyundai (HYMLF) pounded home the commitment they will make to hydrogen fuel cells. This is no flux capacitor chatter. All three plan to invest to have fuel cell models on the U.S. market within two years, although details on charging station infrastructure are sketchy.
General Motors (GM) was the talk of the town as the Chevy Colorado truck impressed analysts mightily and looks set to give challengers from Nissan and Toyota a run for their money.
BMW (BAMXY), Porsche (VLKAY, POAHF), and Mercedes-Benz (DDAIF) all have big plans for the luxury market, while Kia enters the segment as a darkhorse with the K900. Kia?
On the zero-emission front, Honda was full of swagger by landing a major green award for the new hybrid Honda Accord on gaudy fuel economy ratings.
Automakers to watch: Subaru (FUJHY) and Chrysler (FIATY) look well-positioned for 2014 market share gains. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is off monitoring his latest Space X rocket, while the Tesla debate gets even livelier on SA.
Hyundai (HYMLF) will introduce a fuel cell-powered crossover in the U.S. next year as it backs hydrogen as a gas fuel alternative that can succeed.
Execs with the company say they can't turn a profit with battery EVs, while hydrogen offers a better future if future demand produces enough volume.
What to watch: Until charging infrastructure is built up in the U.S., hydrogen-powered cars will remain a novelty for major automakers such as Toyota (TM -0.5%) and Honda (HMC +0.4%) that favor the technology
WardsAuto pushes aside worries on capacity constraints to forecast Q4 car production in North America will reach a 14-year high of 4.02M units.
The automobile industry publication thinks Honda (HMC -0.4%), Nissan (NSANY -2.7%), and Toyota (TM -0.4%) will all set Q4 production records.
The forecast for the Big Three is just as promising. WardsAuto taps Ford (F -0.9%) to see its best Q4 N.A. production run since 2005, Chrysler's (FIATY) its highest tally since 2006, and General Motors (GM +0.6%) to top output for every year since 2007.