Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Another top departure at JP Morgan. Co-chief operating officer Frank Bisignano is expected to announce as soon as today that he’s leaving the bank. Bisignano’s would be the latest in a string of high-level departures from CEO Jamie Dimon’s inner circle, and would come as JP Morgan wrestles with regulatory scrutiny. Matt Zames will likely be named sole COO, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Business-related appointments by the Obama administration. Michael Froman is expected to be named the new US trade representative, while Penny Pritzker looks to be the incoming commerce secretary—both pending Senate confirmation.
France unveils its five-year military strategy. The country—which ranks sixth in the world in terms of defense spending—is looking to trim costs amid budget pressures. International bases and manpower could be vulnerable to cuts, and France’s defense manufacturers fear the new five-year blueprint will signal leaner times for them.
And announces capital gains tax cuts. Seeking to forestall entrepreneur flight, President Francois Hollande will announce capital gains exemptions up to 85% for startup investors and owners.
Watchfest 2013. The largest annual watch show is underway in Basel, Switzerland. Swiss watchmakers had exports worth $23.5 billion last year, up nearly 11% from the year before. Here are some of the coolest watches at Baselworld, including one that’s liquid filled and has no watch hands.
Earnings reports expected: Fiat, Volkswagen, Aberdeen Asset Management, Erste Bank.
The Shanghai stock exchange is closed through Wednesday for the Labour Day holiday.
Over the weekend
Italy’s fragile coalition government took further shape. Prime minister Enrico Letta was sworn in Sunday, amid speculation that the broad coalition could still easily fall apart. The 46-year-old prime minister said his top priority was getting Italy’s economy back on track. Shots were fired, injuring two policemen, during the swearing-in ceremony.
Boeing’s 787 hit the skies again. Ethiopian Airlines made the first commercial flight of the plane (paywall) since its grounding in January because of battery fires. The flight—and a Sunday test flight by All Nippon Airways—went well, but Boeing still needs to convince passengers the Dreamliner is safe.
Iceland’s days of austerity appear numbered. Voters ousted the Social Democrats on Saturday, paving the way for a center-right coalition looking to bring an end to austerity measures and to push debt relief measures for consumers.
More bloodshed in the run-up to Pakistan’s election. The Taliban continued to wreak havoc, setting off fatal explosions outside the office of two candidates. Polls open May 11th, but if the militant violence is successful, it may keep many in the country from voting at all.
Quartz obsession interlude
Christopher Mims on how Amazon.com could do to enterprise cloud companies what it did to book stores: “Amazon web services has lowered prices 31 times since it launched in 2006, including seven price reductions so far in 2013. In a world in which consumers are grabbing more data from the internet than ever, the cloud services that many companies rely on are an ever larger part of their budgets. In that context, Amazon’s low price guarantee may be too compelling for even large enterprises to pass up.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Apple’s iTunes just celebrated its 10th birthday. But its once-innovative buy-and-own model is now an anachronism.
There are no Gandhis or Lincolns anymore. Salman Rushdie on why political courage is always more ambiguous these days.
Economics is nothing without psychology.
Europe’s expected interest rate cut this week isn’t going to make a difference.
Indo-Canuck relations. Why there’s a Canadian hockey anthem being sung in Punjabi.
The US, China, Ecuador and Madagascar all have the same relative income disparity between rich and poor.
Google searches predict market movements.
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