Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Dell earnings, BP suit, towards eurobonds, 3D-printer alternatives

February 19, 2013
February 19, 2013

What to watch for today

Dude, you’re getting Dell’s earnings. Expect a rough earnings call with disappointing income from the company’s faltering personal computer business. It’s no wonder that founder Michael Dell is willing to sell his stock at a discount as part of his plan to take the company private and reorganize it.

Europe’s parliament tries to fix carbon-credit glut. Representatives will vote on a plan to delay issuing any new carbon emissions permits. Prices had collapsed, rendering the permits somewhat useless as a way to limit emissions.

François Hollande goes to Athens. A French president will go to Greece for the first time since the euro debt crisis blew up three years ago. Effigies of the president are not expected to be burnt.

In Rio, a look at retail sales. Analysts hope that Brazilian consumer spending picked up in December, signaling a stronger year of growth ahead after the economy barely expanded 1% in 2012.

Also reporting earnings: Troubled book retailer/e-reader manufacturer Barnes & Noble, French food conglomerate Danone, Spanish construction giant Ferrovial, and hoteliers Marriott International.

While you were sleeping

Nestlé fell victim to horsemeat. Europe’s food mislabeling scandal widened with the Swiss food giant taking “beef” pasta meals off shelves in Italy and Spain after it found traces of horse DNA.

South China Morning Post had a rollercoaster ride. Hong Kong’s investors were all over SCMP Group Ltd, driving its shares up 23% on speculation that its owner, Robert Kuok, was planning to buy it out. This morning it turned out he’s planning to buy or merge with another media group. The stock duly fell 9.8% before recovering somewhat later in the day. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Disneyland finally turned a profit.

BP will go to court. Chances of a settlement receded as BP failed to reach an agreement with the US Department of Justice about the extent of its liability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Prosecutors say BP’s bill could be up to $21 billion; its lawyers predict well below $5 billion.

The euro zone took another step towards eurobonds. The European Commission will look into whether a euro-area debt redemption fund could be practicable. Even such a feasibility study is significant considering Germany strongly opposes any such thing.

China’s largest property developer is investing in America. China Vanke is taking a 70% stake in a residential real-estate project in San Francisco, with the company’s chairman telling his internet followers: ”there is no point telling Chinese companies to mind their own domestic business.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Lily Kuo on the diamond industry’s troubled present and hopes for a sparkling future. “Since De Beers first started marketing diamonds in China in 1994, when few people were wealthy enough to afford them, they have become almost as much of a mainstay in marriages as they are in the United States. Four out of five couples in Beijing and Shanghai splurged on diamond engagement rings in 2012. In 2011, China became the world’s second-biggest consumer of diamonds after the United States and some predict the country will pass the US market in 2016.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Obama’s plan to eradicate global poverty is within reach. It’s precisely as far away as the moon.

Everything you know about 3-D printing is wrong. Maybe not everything, but it’s still more complicated than you think.

The other 99%: Yes, you can succeed with an MBA from a program that’s not in the top five.

“I still do not believe that the Chinese ‘recovery’ is for real.” Questioning the sustainability of China’s credit-driven growth.

Surprising discoveries

How do you recognise a neo-Nazi? Pull down his collar and look for the label of obscure German brand Thor Steinar.

A Chinese government official was offered 200,000 yuan (about $32,000) to swim in a river. The only catch? The river looks like this.

A plagiarism scandal rocks Europe’s premiere song contest. Did Germany’s Eurovision entrants rip off last year’s winning tune?

Russian businessman’s body found in a barrel of cement. Yes, they still settle scores the old way.

George Soros made $1 billion in three months betting Japan’s currency would tumble. Not necessarily surprising, but still.

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

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