Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—The Fed rate, Seoul props up exporters, half the world takes the day off

May 1, 2013
May 1, 2013

What to watch for today

Many markets are closed for May Day. It’s international worker’s day, or labor day, depending on the country you’re in, and that means stock exchanges from Frankfurt to Shanghai will be closed. There will also be potentially contentious rallies in Venezuela, and protests across the US.

The Fed’s likely non-event. The federal open market committee wraps up a two-day meeting and issues an interest rate decision. No change is likely, and there may not be much to say about it.

London High Court probes spy murder. The MI6 secret intelligence service reportedly paid ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko $136,000 before his untimely death. Now maybe we’ll find out why.

Obama names an FCC chief. Tom Wheeler, a lobbyist and venture capitalist, is the most likely choice to lead America’s communications regulator.

Earnings ahoy! Merck, CBS, Chesapeake Energy, Facebook, GlaxoSmithKline, Tesoro, MasterCard, Visa and Yelp all report.

While you were sleeping

Manufacturing slowed in China and Australia. A government index of Chinese purchasing managers fell more than analysts expected, from 50.9 to 50.6, with anything under 50 indicating contraction. Australia’s index hit its lowest point since 2009. Britain’s manufacturing index edged up to 49.8.

Kodak may out of bankruptcy by July. It’s rebuilding itself as a business-to-business company.

South Korea sweetened the deal for exporters. Seoul will chuck in an extra $10 billion in loans to help small exporters deal with a weaker Japanese yen.

Britain cut aid to South Africa. “We don’t continue to give aid to countries that are raising their incomes, that have growing economies,” said foreign minister William Hague. South Africa, along with India, will lose British aid by 2015.

Venezuela is already falling apart. Punches were thrown and blood was shed in the National Assembly.

General Motors advertising glitch. Never a good idea to run a TV commercial full of racially insensitive caricatures that could alienate your biggest market.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on how bitcoin could become an untraceable parallel financial system. “What’s often missed about alternative currencies like bitcoin is that they weren’t just made for buying and selling things. Nor are they simply tools for financial speculation. Bitcoin is also a payment system, allowing anyone to transfer money anonymously, immediately, irreversibly—and, if you like, illicitly.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Should migration be restricted on economic grounds? Most definitely not: It’s the most effective anti-poverty program there is.

Baidu, the Google of China, is struggling because it failed to embrace mobile. Live by the desktop, die with the desktop.

BlackBerry’s right: There’s no future in tablets. At least if you want to make money on them.

Be gracious to get ahead in business. The little things are actually the big things.

Surprising discoveries

Online streaming video is a French strategic asset. Why else would regulators scupper the sale of Dailymotion to Yahoo?

Meta-outsourcing is a thing. Outsourcing giant Infosys is outsourcing its own jobs.

A large-screen iPhone 6 is coming, says analyst. We said Apple should do it, but it stretches believability to imagine they actually might.

Germans are drinking less beer. Because they’re old.

French fast food sales eclipsed regular restaurants. Possibly the worst thing to happen to France since that Economist cover.

Watch Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo go supersonic. Here comes 16 seconds of pure awesome.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and little acts of graciousness to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day. And you can join Quartz’s Google Hangout debating the merits of an MBA on May 1 at 2 p.m. EST. More details here.

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