Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Obama’s econ policy push, SAC charges, Google’s surprise, results deluge

July 24, 2013
July 24, 2013

What to watch for today

US President Barack Obama’s economic policy push. His Midwestern campaign-like trip will begin in Galesburg, Illinois, and include a major economic agenda-setting speech.

Criminal charges against SAC. Federal prosecutors are preparing to announce charges as early as this week agains the hedge fund and several of its employees, but reportedly founder Steven Cohen will not be charged. No major financial firm has ever survived a criminal indictment.

Dell’s moment of reckoning. The PC maker’s shareholders will vote on the $24.4 billion buyout offer by a group led by the company’s founder, Michael Dell. Or at least they are scheduled to—the initial vote was postponed last week, and the saga has had no shortage of last-minute twists.

More earnings to dissect. GlaxoSmithKline’s numbers will likely be muted as the company addresses a growing China bribery probeFacebook, Ford and Boeing are optimistic about strong earnings, and PepsiCo’s performance will be of special interest after activist investor Nelson Peltz said the company should spin off its underperforming beverage business and buy Oreo cookie maker Mondelez.

Detroit bankruptcy hearing. The US federal judge overseeing the case will hold a hearing to determine whether lawsuits filed by retired public employees, workers and pension funds can block the biggest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in US history.

What does Google have up its sleeve? The tech giant has sent out a mysterious invite for a breakfast event with the head of its Android and Chrome units. Google watchers believe the company may unveil a second generation Nexus 7 tablet or Android 4.3 update.

While you were sleeping

Upbeat data from Europe, less so from China. Both Germany and France reported an unexpected expansion of manufacturing activity in July, boosting confidence in a recovery for the embattled euro zone. Chinese manufacturers didn’t do so well, as the sector slowed to an 11-month low in July, according to a preliminary survey from HSBC.

Demand for Japanese goods improved. Exports rose 7.4% last month from a year earlier, falling shy of estimates. A weakened yen and improved demand from the US and EU has helped sustain export growth, although Chinese demand is still tepid.

A good day for European transport. Daimler forecast a significant improvement in second half earnings on the basis that European demand had “bottomed out.” Volvo achieved a stronger than expected rise in sales during the second quarter of 2013, as demand on both sides of the Atlantic picks up. Budget airline EasyJet reported a 10.5% growth in revenue for the second quarter.

Less so for Asia. Japan’s Canon lowered its earnings outlook for 2013, slashing profit forecasts by 10% due to the weak yen. LG Electronics reported a second quarter profit drop of 8%—better than its first quarter losses, but still too early to say whether banking on its mobile division will reverse its fortunes. Huawei’s push into mobile is paying off as it reported 11% growth in first-half sales.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on why the biggest opportunity in mobile right now is not smartphones. “Rather, the big play for some companies, especially any that wish to expand into emerging markets, is on the “dumbphones”—aka non-smartphones, or in industry parlance, feature phones—that most people in rich countries have now left behind.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

India really needs more foreign investment, even if it doesn’t think so. The retreat of some big name investors is a worrying sign.

Chinese hospitals need bribes. The health system would struggle to function without illegal payments to poorly paid medical staff.

Britain’s young prince should enjoy his first few hours. The rest of his life will be ruined by the scrutiny of media drones.

Al Jazeera in Egypt: golden child to pariah. Once seen as an anti-Mubarak ally, now tainted by a serious distrust of Qatar.

Marketers are doing it wrong. Here’s how to raise prices with minimal backlash.

Surprising discoveries

The Prisoner’s Dilemma doesn’t work with actual prisoners. They were far more cooperative than you might expect.

Babe for your buck. The British royal birth cost around $15,000, compared to the average American delivery which is billed at $30,000.

Holy smoke. The Pope’s election tripled internet video streaming traffic.

Apple’s record cash haul could repay Detroit’s debt eight times over. But the company would rather borrow than spend it.

The NSA can search everyone’s emails but its own. “Antiquated and archaic” technology supposedly prevents the National Security Agency from fulfilling FOIA requests.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, digital Papal miracles and maternity discount codes to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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