Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Euro area GDP data for the fourth quarter. Keep an eye on how Germany fares. Until recently the monetary bloc’s largest economy had seemed to shrug off the worst of the European slump.
François Hollande visits India. Expect discussions of big defense contracts. France’s Dassault is in the midst of finalizing a delicate, $12-billion deal to sell India 126 fighter jets. David Cameron is expected to follow suit next week.
General Motors reports earnings. Expect strong sales in its profitable trucks segment, which has been bolstered by high farming incomes and rebounding US construction.
American Airlines and US Airways merge. The new entity, to be announced this morning after late-night board meetings, will save American from bankruptcy and allow US Airways to compete with the other big airlines. It will take American’s name and US Airways’ CEO.
While you were sleeping
Japan’s recession entered its third quarter. GDP shrank an annualized 0.4% in the last quarter of 2012. That will disappoint analysts, who expected Japan to emerge from its third recession in five years. But prime minister Shinzo Abe should be pleased: It supports his case for aggressive stimulus measures.
Finmeccanica got a new CEO. The Italian defense and aerospace giant appointed Alessandro Pansa as boss after CEO Giuseppe Orsi was arrested for corruption involving the sale of 12 helicopters to India. In India itself, the air chief, SP Tyagi, is now under scrutiny.
Time may sell off its choicest magazines. Time Warner may offload parts of its publishing arm, Time Inc., to Meredith Corporation. Though the company may keep flagship titles such as Time magazine itself, those likely to be sold include money-spinners such as People, which might seem baffling—but we can think of two explanations.
Nuclear inspectors returned to Iran and then swiftly left. A one-day meeting in Tehran ended with no deal despite Iran’s claims of progress. International Atomic Energy Agency officials want access to a military site in Parchin, south of Tehran, where some believe Iran has carried out tests on triggers for atomic weaponry. The two parties have agreed to meet again, without saying when.
US retail sales growth slowed in January. But at least there was growth; some feared the payroll tax hike in the Jan. 1 fiscal cliff deal was going to pinch spending.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gina Chon asks whether some companies just can’t be saved. “JC Penney at one point seemed to be adapting to a changing world. But now it increasingly looks like yet another desperate attempt to prolong a failing brand. To be fair, clothing stores in general are being hit by weak US retail sales, which rose by only 0.1% in January. And under Johnson’s vision, redesigned JC Penney outlets are doing better than older models. But the company’s decision last month to bring back coupons may be too late for customers who left and are not coming back.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Obama should start a hedge fund. His stock-market comments in early March 2009 nearly called the bottom of the market.
More college graduates = faster economic growth. The US government should help people get degrees.
Europe shouldn’t just hop into bed with the US in a free trade deal. It will be bad for Europe, and for global free-trade agreements in general.
Elected governments in countries facing sluggish growth should spend the cheap cash central banks are handing to them.
Taxes in emerging markets are too damn low.
The banks that sliced and diced mortgages into mortgage-backed securities lied to buyers about terrible those mortgages were. Yes, old story, we know—but now there is evidence.
Russia’s stock market fared far better than America’s for 50 years. The 50 years after the end of the US civil war in 1865.
Everyone wants to be Polish. Foreigners are lining up for citizenship.
There’s a one-man bank in the tiny southern German town of Gammesfeld.