Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Facebook earnings, Catalonian bailout, Mali’s whereabouts, the pill

January 30, 2013
January 30, 2013

Good morning Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Sumitomo Mitsui expects bumper results. Japan’s second-largest bank may see a net income of ¥500 billion ($5.5 billion) when it reports earnings for the final nine months of 2012, exceeding the same numbers from last year by almost 20%. Stocks of the bank closed 5.1% higher ahead of the release.

Boeing under more scrutiny—from investors this time. Executives will have to take hard questions from investors when the company reports earnings tomorrow. Its new Dreamliner aircraft remain grounded and under investigation for mechanical problems, and it’s still not clear when problems related to the plane’s lithium-ion batteries will be resolved. Today’s conference call will offer a great chance to look for more clues.

The BlackBerry 10 is unveiled, no surprises expected. After months of leaks, Research in Motion is expected to formally show off its attempt to enter the high-end smartphone market. Cue renewed debate about whether the company is in terminal decline: Some say no, while we say yes.

The Fed hands down its latest vision on monetary easing. Analysts expect the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) to continue its current, unlimited asset-buying program, the third round of “quantitative easing,” in its attempts to stimulate the economy. But we won’t know until Feb. 20, when minutes of the meeting are released, whether any FOMC members repeated the worries about the side effects of ultra-low interest rates that they aired at the December meeting.

Investors cross their fingers on Facebook. The social media giant reports earnings at 5pm New York time (10pm London time). Shares of FB have climbed more than 60% since September, but are still well below their IPO price, and whether the firm can make money off its mobile applications and its newly announced Graph Search remains to be seen.

While you were sleeping

Amazon continues to consider profits a secondary goal. Shares of AMZN jumped nearly 10% in after-hours trading, even though the company didn’t meet analysts’ expectations. The online retailer saw net sales increase by 22% in the fourth quarter, and managed to avoid losing money on its operating expenses, instead turning a $97 million operating profit—a mere 0.45% of revenue.

Australia kicks off election season early… Prime Minister Julia Gillard sprung a surprise by announcing polls nearly eight months in advance “in the interest of transparency“.

…while its stockmarket posts the biggest daily gain in eight years. Interest rate cuts, an improving outlook in China and rising business confidence have contributed to an exceptional bounce for equities.

Chesapeake’s boss to go on April 1. Aubrey McClendon, CEO of America’s second-largest natural gas producer, dubbed both “the greatest wildcatter of his generation” and “America’s most reckless billionaire“, has resigned after a long year of investigations into his personal investments in company wells. The news sent Chesapeake shares soaring, while chairman Archie Dunham reassured employees that the free-spending McClendon’s departure would not affect the company cafeterias and fitness center.

Dell wants to control Dell. Michael Dell hopes to win back majority control of the computer maker he founded by adding his own money to a buyout by Silver Lake Management.

Catalonia wants more money. It doesn’t like Madrid but it needs the cash—€9.1 billion of it. Catalonia, which will hold a referendum on independence from Spain in 2014, has requested the funds to help fulfill bond payments for 2013.

Quartz obsession interlude

David Yanofsky on why you should stop treating your cell phone like a pocket watch: “We have been so distracted by all of the features of smart phones that we failed to notice the absurdity of the way we use them. If anything, usage of the quintessential 21st century technology is more reminiscent of a distinctively obsolete 19th century device: the pocket watch. Perhaps, not for much longer.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The Fed is killing the US economy. The ultra-low interest-rate policies designed to stimulate the economy are actually standing in its way by creating the wrong incentives for businesses and individuals.

Headwinds for the EU financial sector? The worst may seem to be over, but uncertain progress on an EU banking supervisor and a lack of shorter-term bank recapitalizations leave the financial system at risk.

The Chinese government is a prisoner of its own propaganda. The country’s leaders once used anti-Japan sentiment to hold the country together. Have their plans backfired?

Should Mali be be considered part of the Middle East? It’s not an entirely academic debate.

Surprising discoveries

Murderous cats. Researchers found that cats in the US—both domesticated and feral—kill 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals per year.

Want an Oscar for best foreign film? Make a movie in French. It’s got the best chance of being nominated.

The pill didn’t cause the sexual revolution. Penicillin did.

Twenty-six Apple designs that didn’t make it. A historical look back at some of the iconic products you were destined never to have.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cat murder reports and pocket-watch rants to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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