Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Boston bomb investigation, Tesco’s American farewell, the race for Sprint

April 17, 2013
April 17, 2013

What to watch for today

Softbank woos Sprint. The Japanese firm still expects to beat a rival bid from Dish Networks—but will also book a $4 billion profit on hedges and break-up fees if its own deal falls through.

Brazil’s war on inflation. The central bank is set to announce an interest-rate hike at a two-day policy meeting. Voters are angry over the rising price of food staples.

Slovenia isn’t Cyprus. Or so Slovenia hopes to prove by auctioning €500 million ($652 million) in new treasury bills. The goal is to convince foreign lenders it can recapitalize its troubled banks without a bailout.

Canada isn’t perfect. It was seen as something of an economic miracle after the financial crisis, but the Bank of Canada is expected to lower its GDP growth forecast today. The IMF yesterday dropped its own forecast to 1.5% from 1.8%.

First quarter results party: Bank of America, Kinder Morgan, eBay, and Mattel all report earnings.

While you were sleeping

The Boston Marathon bombs were pressure cookers packed with gun powder and shrapnel. The simple design, built to maim as many people as possible, suggests either an amateur or a sophisticated bomber keen on covering his tracks. A female graduate student from China was identified as the third person killed in the attack.

Tesco bid farewell to America. The British supermarket confirmed its exit from the US, where it trades as Fresh & Easy, as after-tax profits fell 96% to £120 million ($184 million) due to write-downs—the first profit decline in 20 years.

Burberry regained its swagger. The fashion house revived growth in China and the broader Asia Pacific region.

Panasonic’s bosses halved their own pay. The CEO and president of the Japanese firm will take a 50% pay cut as a way of accepting responsibility for Panasonic’s troubles. Other top executives are expected to follow suit.

HCL Technologies eased fears about India’s tech sector. Net profit for the first quarter of 2013 jumped 73% at India’s fourth-largest software company, bringing problems at Infosys into sharp relief.

The Iron Lady is being laid to rest. Margaret Thatcher’s funeral got underway in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. Its cost to taxpayers is about £10 million—equivalent to 272 new teachers, or two pints of milk for everyone living in London.

BHP Billiton affirmed production targets. Iron ore and petroleum output were slightly lower than expected.

Glencore-Xstrata merger was finally approved by China. The deal’s final hurdle was cleared after Glencore agreed to sell its stake in Xstrata’s Peruvian copper mine to a buyer approved by Beijing.

Britain’s job boomlet sputtered out. The jobless rate rose to 7.9% from 7.5%.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on what’s wrong with Intel: “The unofficial motto of Intel, articulated by former CEO Andy Grove, is that “only the paranoid survive.” And yet so far Intel has mostly gone with business as usual, continuing its cycle of putting most of its development effort behind the ever more powerful chips that are only suitable for PCs and high-end servers.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Does high government debt hurt growth? New research casts doubt on an influential paper often cited by austerity fans, but perhaps we should have been more skeptical of the results in the first place. Here’s how to avoid the simple Excel error that tripped up the researchers.

The price of gold is plummeting because of bitcoin.

Cocaine caused the global financial crisis. “[I]rrational decisions as a result of megalomania brought on by cocaine usage.”

Indian politicians fighting on Twitter is a sign of progress.

There is such a thing as too much evidence. Investigators will piece together and examine every frame of the amateur photo and video footage being rounded up in Boston.

Surprising discoveries

You could be on a reality TV show on Mars. Really. A non-profit will be accepting applications in July for human colonists to send to the red planet by 2023.

Microsoft makes a lot of money from Android. Its patents reap an estimated $5 to $15 per handset. It signed a Foxconn patent deal today.

About two million people in Beijing are living in bomb shelters because of a real estate shortage.

America’s gourmet cupcake market is crashing. Quite frankly, people can bake cupcakes.

Chinese counterfeits make up almost 2% of global trade.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Excel boo-boos and reality-show applications to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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