Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US jobs data, Egypt tension, Samsung earnings, self-adjusting earphones

July 5, 2013
July 5, 2013

What to watch for today

More tension in Egypt. The ousted Muslim Brotherhood has called for mass protests on Friday against a military coup that deposed president Mohamed Morsi, who himself appears to be in custody. The military is conducting a sweeping crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and arresting the party’s leadership. Anti-Brotherhood protesters remain jubilant and foreign governments are cautiously calling for the return of democracy.

Mixed signals on US jobs. Economists expect that the number of non-farm jobs rose by 155,000 in June, well below the six-month average of 194,000. That could give the US Federal Reserve the impetus to start tapering its bond purchases sooner. But the unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 7.5% from 7.6%. Canada will also release its jobs report.

China looks for a greater say in gold markets. The Shanghai Futures Exchange will start night trading hours for its gold and silver contracts. China believes the move will increase the international interest in its gold contracts and align domestic prices more closely with international rates.

Where’s German manufacturing going? Investors will be looking at May factory orders for an improvement on April’s surprisingly weak figures.

Britain debates an EU exit. Lawmakers will discuss and vote on a second reading of a bill that could commit the country to a 2017 referendum on its membership of the European Union.

While you were sleeping

Beijing reassured investors. The State Council promised to follow “prudent” monetary policy and maintain a steady supply of credit in the financial system in an attempt to bolster investors’ confidence after a shaky few weeks of tightening liquidity.

China and Russia went to sea. The two countries’ navies began a week-long joint exercise in the Sea of Japan that Beijing has called the largest ever with a foreign partner,. But China has been careful to emphasize it’s a non-aggressive operation.

Bolivia threatened to close its US embassy. An outraged President Evo Morales said that his country would be “better politically and democratically” without the US, after his plane was diverted on a return flight from Moscow because of a rumor that NSA leaker Edward Snowden may have been stowed away. He wasn’t.

Italy telecom talks fell apart. Telecom Italia and Hutchison Whampoa ended talks over a possible merger of their Italian mobile phone carrier activities because “there are not the elements necessary to start negotiations.”

Samsung’s record profits just weren’t enough. Even though operating profit was up 47% on last year to a record 9.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion), it still missed analyst expectations. The South Korean company hopes that sales of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone will speed up later this year from already-record highs, but investors may not be banking on it.

Rongsheng asked for help. China’s biggest non-state shipbuilder is seeking state and shareholder support after reporting losses. Shipbuilders across China saw a 23% year-on-year fall in May orders amid poor global demand—though Maersk did launch the world’s largest vessel in South Korea this week.

China went after drugs firms. Its top economic planning agency is investigating 60 pharmaceutical companies, including giants like GlaxoSmithKline and Merck, to evaluate costs and pricing. The probe will run parallel but separate to an anti-trust investigation into unfair pricing of infant formula.

Asia optimistic, Europe cautious. Markets across Asia continued gains on Friday (paywall), bolstered by statements Thursday from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England that rates would not only remain low, but do so for an “extended period of time.” European stocks were more cautious in advance of US jobs data.

Quartz obsession interlude

Steve LeVine on how the US has taken a step backwards in the fight against bribery: “Global transparency watchdogs are disputing the rationale for a US federal judge’s ruling that exempts American oil and mining companies from publicly divulging their payments to foreign states and their rulers. The reproach—from Oxfam and Global Witness, the UK-based transparency watchdog—stems from a July 2 ruling by US District Judge John Bates. In his decision, Bates sided with oil and business lobbyists who asserted that if American companies were compelled to publicly reveal such payments, they would be at a competitive disadvantage to state-owned extractive companies that can keep them secret.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Abandoning the single currency doesn’t have to be hellish. Let’s take Greece as an example (paywall).

Forcing down Evo Morales’ plane was an act of air piracy. Bolivia is not over-reacting.

Countries should be paid not to mine fossil fuels. Call it supply-side environmental policy.

Twitter is quietly changing India. It will play a small but important role in the next election.

Wrongdoing by Murdoch’s British newspapers was “next to nothing.” Says Murdoch.

What do you call Mohamed Morsi’s ouster? Some say it was a coupOthers disagree.

The US government uses surveillance like the mafia uses violence. The mere threat is enough to “extort” good behavior out of the masses.

Surprising discoveries

Auditory disconnect. A rare condition has a patient hearing people before they appear to speak, giving valuable scientific insight.

No more volume control. Apple has a patent on earphones that automatically adjust output based on how well they fit your ear.

There’s more to your flight number than just numbers. Here’s what each digit means.

A random stranger accidentally became a customer-service rep for Zynga, the online gaming service. With hilarious results.

How to find France’s intelligence headquarters. Hint: It’s the big building that’s blurred out on Google Maps.

It can pay to be a bully. Many workplace bullies get high ratings from bosses and do well in their careers.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, earphone innovations and Zynga customer service stories to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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