Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Japanese data, Fed rescripting, pension fund power, Gangnam style

July 29, 2013
July 29, 2013

What to watch for today

Mixed data from Japan. Industrial output is expected to have fallen 1.8% month-over-month in June, as automakers cut production to manage excess inventories. But retail sales, household spending and unemployment figures are all expected to improve.

Bradley Manning faces the fire. Legal experts believe the US soldier accused of leaking more than 700,000 sensitive documents to WikiLeaks will be found guilty on at least some of 21 criminal counts. Whether he will be convicted of aiding the enemy, which carries a life sentence, is unclear.

India’s central bank holds on tight. The Reserve Bank is expected to leave the benchmark repo rate unchanged at 7.25% as it scrambles to prop up the falling rupee.

The Federal Reserve minces its words. The US Federal Open Market Committee is likely to announce continuing its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, although it may attempt some better messaging (paywall). Also scheduled for release: the S&P Case-Shiller home price index for May and the consumer confidence index for July.

Barclays to scrounge for fresh capital. The UK bank is reportedly looking to raise up to £5 billion ($7.68 billion) to boost its leverage ratio (paywall) from the current 2.5% to the required 3%. Barclays, along with Deutsche Bank, UBS and Banco Santander, will also report second quarter earnings.

A dejected BP. The energy giant’s second quarter earnings are likely to take a hit after the company forked over more compensation for damages related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. BP may have shirked some liability now that its US partner in the Gulf of Mexico oil well, Halliburton, has confessed to destroying evidence related to the disaster.

While you were sleeping

A pension fund got sassy. Canadian department store chain Hudson’s Bay agreed to acquire one of America’s best known luxury retailers, Saks, for $2.4 billion. Hudson’s bid was backed by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canada’s largest public retirement fund, a dealmaking powerhouse.

Two airlines came closer to world domination. Reports suggest American Airlines and US Airways will soon win EU approval to create the world’s largest carrier. The airlines had offered to surrender slots at Heathrow and Philadelphia airports to new entrants, after regulators made a stink about the deal stifling competition.

The Bank of Italy opened Pandora’s box. The central bank is inspecting the books of some of the country’s top lenders amid concerns over bad loans, which have increased for 27 consecutive months (paywall). Banks found to have insufficient capital buffers may be forced to sell assets.

Fabulous Fab’s lawyers doubled down. The legal counsel for former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre decided not to call any witnesses, in a possible signal of confidence in their case. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the defense rested their cases, setting the stage for jury deliberations to begin as early as Wednesday.

The pope unveiled more progressive views. Pope Francis said gay people should be integrated into society, not marginalized. “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” he said. The conciliatory tone proved yet again that Francis is not your average pope.

Quartz obsession interlude

Theo Francis on how people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates can make or lose billions when their companies report earnings. “Mark Zuckerberg made $5 billion last week, and Bill Gates lost $1.6 billion the week before. That’s all on paper, of course, and in percentage terms their gains and losses were the same as those of any other investor—it’s just that the two men hold big slugs of shares in the companies they founded.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Immigrants will account for almost all the growth in the US labor force through 2050. Cities that educate and integrate immigrants will set themselves up for success.

Middle class rage can only partially explain the global wave of protests. Protests have been erupting primarily against older regimes.

Raising the consumption tax while cutting corporate taxes will hurt Japan’s economy. Abenomics could hollow out the middle class and create a gulf between Japan’s rich and poor.

France is letting a crisis go to waste. While peripheral European countries have used the economic crisis to drive through tough economic reforms, France has ignored its problems.

Your boss is reading your text messages. As more employers add mobile messaging systems to workers’ phones, the practice of monitoring messages is on the rise.

Surprising discoveries

A plague upon NASA’s data. The US space agency admitted that its shift to the cloud left sensitive data at risk.

The Gangnam Style effect. Shares of a company founded by the father of South Korean rapper Psy surged 800% for no apparent reason.

Top US cities are drowning fast. Major parts of 1,700 cities and towns including Boston, New York and Miami will be below sea level by 2100.

Scientists want to tighten the definition of cancer. Some US doctors want to eliminate the word entirely from some common diagnoses to prevent patients from jumping into unnecessary treatments.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, confidential NASA data, climate change predictions  to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

 

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