Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Big IPOs in Hong Kong. Bankers start taking orders for the public offerings of brokerage China Galaxy Securities and the Sinopec Engineering unit of Asia’s largest oil refiner. Hong Kong IPO activity has been in a slump, and investors are looking for these deals valued together at $3.6 billion to jumpstart it. Shares in the two will start trading later this month.
The Middle East comes to China. Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu flies to China for a week of diplomacy aimed at getting firmer support in Syria and Iran. The Chinese still buy Iranian oil, and have held out for a negotiated solution to conflict in Syria. Syria Sunday accused Israel of airstrikes for the second time in three days—and there’s rising concern that the civil war there could spill out into broader regional conflict. Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas separately arrived in China Sunday, though no joint meetings are expected with Netanyahu.
Over the weekend
The ruling coalition won Malaysia’s election. Prime minister Najib Razak’s National Front coalition extended its 55-year rule, winning 112 seats in the 222-seat parliament, as votes were still being counted. (The opposition People’s Alliance has 58 seats so far.) Among Najib’s plans for the country are $444 billion in infrastructure investments by 2020. Malaysian markets will likely dive today, regardless of the continuity of the government.
The Oracle spoke. Investor Warren Buffett presided over Berkshire Hathaway’s annual 35,000-person shareholders’ meeting. Buffett swatted away questions from critic Doug Kass, and dodged speculation about the identity of his agreed-upon successor. In case you were wondering, Buffett said Berkshire hadn’t put any of its $49 billion in cash into bitcoin.
A good weekend for Team Merkel. Germany’s Free Democrat coalition gathered this weekend at a congress in preparation for elections in five months. The coalition with notoriously poor internal unity held it together: good news for Angela Merkel, who needs a united FDP to secure her next term. Meanwhile, Merkel’s conservative opponents slid in polls Sunday.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on Apple’s implicit bet that the US won’t roll back corporate taxes on repatriating overseas cash. “Like many tech companies with funds overseas, Apple has called for a holiday, or even better, an end, to that practice.The idea is under discussion in Washington, with lawmakers promising to give it their all and some Republicans speculating that tax reform could become a condition for raising the country’s borrowing limit in September. Which would be crazy—would you risk a global financial meltdown to close some loopholes?—but would certainly get the issue on the map.But the markets might give us better data about the prospects of reform than political rhetoric. Apple’s new debt is essentially a decision to sell tax reform short.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
A failed improv comic makes an inspiring graduation speaker. Perhaps when that comic is Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, speaking to the University of Michigan class of 2013. “Not only can you not plan the impact you’re going to have, you often won’t recognize it even while you’re having it,” said Costolo. Watch the 17-minute video here.
South Korea is a crummy market for asset managers. Goldman Sachs is just the latest foreign firm to exit the market.
Getting a good job isn’t very important. That’s according to 35% of US college presidents.
The US Supreme Court hasn’t been this pro-business since the 1940s. That’s even though its decisions overall are only slightly more conservative than earlier courts.
France’s first lady is taking it easy on taxpayers. The office of Valerie Trierweiler costs the state €19,742 a month, just one-third of the outlay for her predecessor Carla Bruni.
You can buy Neil Armstrong’s heartbeat. The US space commander’s electrocardiogram is among the items in a New Hampshire auction.
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