What to watch for today
Tech titans report results. Analysts expect Microsoft to report a jump in first quarter revenue even though PC shipments are the lowest they’ve been in 19 years. Google’s revenues are expected to have hit $14.2 billion, up from $8.1 billion a year ago, and IBM is expected to report better sales in emerging markets.
Another Chinese solar giant might flare out. Photovoltaic manufacturer LDK will likely report a second year of losses. Earlier this week, it announced it had partially defaulted on $24 million in bonds, raising fears of another Chinese solar industry failure.
Italy’s stalemate might end. Italy’s parliament begins voting on a successor to president Giorgio Napolitano, who will have to broker between the deadlocked coalitions headed by Pier Luigi Bersani and Silvio Berlusconi. Reports suggest that Franco Marini, an 80-year-old former trade unionist, is the likely compromise candidate.
Other earnings to follow: Pepsi, Nestlé, SABMiller, Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Taiwan Semiconductor, L’Oreal, and América Móvil.
While you were sleeping
Boston Bomber spotted? US authorities have identified a suspect in Monday’s attack that killed three people and injured over 100. Investigators studied video footage of a man leaving a bag at the site of the explosions. Separately, police arrested a man suspected of sending letters containing ricin to the White House and the Senate.
Apple shares dropped below $400 for the first time in two years. The company is expected to announce underwhelming earnings next week.
Bad news on bird flu. China suspects the H7N9 virus, which has infected 82 people and killed 17, can be transmitted between humans.
Venezuela won’t have a recount. The country’s supreme court said there’s no basis for recounting votes from the close presidential election won by chavista Nicolás Maduro. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles called off a demonstration for fear it could turn violent.
Did Turkey and Kurdistan sign a secret oil deal? The agreement, reportedly reached last month, would get oil directly from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey in defiance of Baghdad.
Bank of America stood out. Reporting revenues slightly lower than what analysts expected, Bank of America became the first US bank to report less-than-stellar earnings this quarter.
Norway rescued China in Antarctica. A Norwegian vessel saved 97 crew members of a burning Chinese factory fishing ship.
Quartz obsession interlude
Anna Codrea-Rado on the evolution of business jargon: “Before the late 1990s, no one was using the phrase “business model.” Or at least, it hardly appeared in written form. The phrase has since morphed, subtly but quickly, from an abstract theoretical term to one with animate, even living connotations. This linguistic shape-shifter has the capacity to tell us something about the idiosyncrasies of business language.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Europe’s recovery could take a decade. German central banker Jens Weidmann says the worst of Europe’s debt crisis is not over (paywall).
Capitalism wouldn’t change North Korea, which is more likely to follow China’s model of economic and political reforms.
Psy’s second hit is really just a commercial. Mobile phone game Candy Crush Saga got several seconds of airtime in the Korean rapper’s new song “Gentleman,” along with several other product placements.
Reinhart and Rogoff’s defense doesn’t hold water. The economists’ rebuttal to a paper criticizing their claim that debt hurts growth is flimsy.
China’s president takes taxis. Xi Jinping chatted with Beijing cabbie Guo Lixin about smog and gave him 30 yuan ($4.85) for a 27 yuan fare.
A Thai soft drink brand is beating out Pepsi. In the largest soft drink market in Southeast Asia, Coke is still king but Est is no. 2 (video).
Painkillers can treat existential dread. A study found that Tylenol may alleviate fear and anxiety brought about by pondering the inevitability of death.
Whiz kids are dying out. Millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation, and the trend is accelerating.