Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—China’s growth slows, Citigroup earnings, JK Rowling’s pseudonym, the cost of entrepreneurship

July 15, 2013
July 15, 2013

What to watch for today

US retail sales may rise for the third straight month. Analysts predict a 0.8% increase in sales in June, the biggest jump in four months. The Empire State manufacturing index for July and business inventories for May will also be reported.

Citigroup’s recovery to continue. Analysts expect the financial services firm’s second quarter profits to increase by 21% to $3.55 billion or $1.19 per share. Revenues are expected to rise to $19.76 billion from $18.64 billion in the corresponding quarter in 2012. Of special interest to investors are Citi’s outlook for emerging markets and the progress of its cost-cutting efforts.

“Fabulous Fab” goes to trial. A civil fraud case against former Goldman Sachs bond trader Fabrice Tourre begins. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Tourre of misleading investors in an ill-fated mortgage securities investment called Abacus 2007-AC1. To date, it’s the most high profile trial stemming from the SEC’s investigation of the events leading up to the 2008 crisis.

Over the weekend

China’s Q2 economic growth slipped to 7.5%. Investment, rather than consumption, continued to power China as policymakers in Beijing try reform the world’s second-largest economy with a minimum of short-term pain. On Sunday, the central bank pledged keep adequate liquidity in the banking system in an attempt to soothe market market fears.

Apple beefs up its iWatch design team. The company is reportedly on a hiring spree (paywall) to tackle design problems that are plaguing its wearable computing project. All major consumer electronics firms are working on smart watches, but they also have many hurdles to overcome.

Spain plans to create a fiscal watchdog. The new independent authority will be a crucial part of the government’s efforts to rein in deficits and improve fiscal management (paywall) yet critics argue that the agency won’t have the power to stand up to the government.

Good news for Boeing. British investigators said there’s no evidence that the 787 Dreamliner’s batteries caused the fire that damaged a parked Ethiopian Airlines aircraft at London’s Heathrow airport on Friday. Earlier this year, two separate incidents led to the grounding of all 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide.

Egypt’s temporary government takes shape. The interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tapped technocrats and liberals for senior cabinet posts. They’ll govern under a temporary constitution for six months until new elections take place. Meanwhile, Egypt’s public prosecutor froze the assets of 14 Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

George Zimmerman found not guilty. The neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was acquitted by a jury in Florida in a case that has ignited a national debate on racial profiling and civil rights. Pressure is growing on the US Justice Department to pursue federal criminal charges against Zimmerman.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why UBS is taking a big step back from investment banking. “Sources within UBS acknowledge that the investment bank’s glory days are over; the division is now considered second-class. Salaries for the company’s investment bankers have been low on an industry-wide basis during recent years. As we’ve previously reported, the bank has also scaled back its mergers and acquisitions team. Many high-profile investment bankers have departed.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US should suspend its aid to Egypt. The pressure may encourage Egypt to move towards a lasting democracy.

Chinese savers are hurting the consumer economy. On average, Chinese save more than a third of their disposable income and the government can’t get them to loosen their purse strings.

Enough with the standardized testing. Countries with the best education systems were not built with an emphasis on standardized tests  

Entrepreneurship comes with a price. Income inequality, social friction, and challenge to authority are just a few of the social costs of entrepreneurship.

Surprising discoveries

Mass extinction. By the year 2100, most land animals will not be able to evolve quickly enough to adapt to the dramatically warmer climate.

Google’s entertainment revolution. YouTube’s studios in Los Angeles is helping creators make better videos, for free.

It’s official—professional gaming is now a sport. Video gamers can now travel to the US on the same visas given to professional athletes.

JK Rowling’s secret life as a crime writer. The Harry Potter author wrote acclaimed detective novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith.

Men are leaning out too. By their mid-thirties, men start losing their desire to have jobs with more responsibility.

Events

3D printing, beyond the hype: What’s it actually good for?
Join Quartz and General Assembly on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:00 pm ET. Quartz technology correspondent Christopher Mims will host an evening of conversation about the present and future of the 3D technology. The panel includes individuals who are making mass 3D printing a reality and with those who are coming up with other creative uses. Read more here.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, sarcastic comments, quirky pseudonyms, and YouTube videos to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.

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