Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—UK manufacturing, Nokia in India, Tesla profits, monster rats

May 9, 2013
May 9, 2013

Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

Central bank action. The Bank of England is expected to keep rates steady. The Bank of Korea cut rates overnight, as South Korea’s export sector tries to fight off the impact of Abenomics in Japan. The Korean won has risen 24% in value against the yen in six months.

Come on, England. The UK’s manufacturing sector will report production numbers for March. February wasn’t as bad as expected, raising hopes that Blighty is shaking off some of its recent sluggishness.

Reading Europe’s tea leaves. The European Central Bank’s monthly bulletin is due. The last report from the bank suggested it was bracing itself for downside risks to the economy, setting the stage for its rate cut on May 2.

Nokia shows off something new in India. Probably an update to its successful Asha line of low-end smartphones.

Earnings reports are due from Sony, Priceline.com and NVIDIA, among others.

While you were sleeping 

Australian hiring picked up. The country’s jobless rate fell to 5.5% in April, as Australia’s economy added more than 50,00 jobs, about five times what was expected. The strong numbers lessen the likelihood of another central bank rate cut soon.

News Corp. posted pretty good earnings. Payments from cable providers for carrying the media company’s channels helped drive a 13.5% rise in quarterly sales. But the company’s UK phone-hacking scandal is still costing it tens of millions of dollars a quarter.

Tesla Motors turned its first profit in its 10-year history. The Silicon Valley maker of electric cars reported quarterly net income of $11.2 million as it ramps up production of its Model S luxury electric sports sedan.

Calorie count. Coca-Cola will slap calorie labels on its packaging in every country where it operates, and also reiterated its promise to stop marketing to kids under the age of 12, in an attempt to head off critics who say its products contribute to rising obesity.

Microsoft’s named Amy Hood its first female CFO. It also put women in charge of Windows for the first time. The software maker is separately reported to be offering $1 billion for the digital assets of its Nook Media e-book joint venture with Barnes & Noble.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why Slovenia is not the next Cyprus. “On the surface, it’s easy to compare Slovenia to Cyprus; both are small countries with problematic banking systems, and worrying about tiny economies bringing down the euro zone at the very least seems ridiculous. But their problems are quite distinct; Cyprus’s bloated financial system was closely tied to Greece, Greek sovereign debt, and investment in the Greek economy, and was crushed when the country defaulted. Slovenia’s problems look far more like the children of an asset bubble, particularly in construction.” Read more here

Matters of debate

Go to your happy place. Brazilians are happy despite the macro-level struggles of their economy. Why? Because the middle class is growing.

America runs on debt. So, in the short term it’s a good thing to see borrowing picking up (paywall).

The market doesn’t know everything. “All economists tend to imbue a set of values that tends to glorify the market and demonize public action.”

Ignore forecasts. They are nothing but professional-sounding predictions and guesses.

*Shrugs* The Dow is above 15,000 and it still doesn’t matter.

We should just call them bonds. US junk bonds—known euphemistically as “high-yield”—are now returning a ridiculously low sub-5% yield.

Surprising discoveries

The underside of the tracks. In India, some kids go to school under a railway bridge each day.

Merçi maman, good on ye. Europe is the best place for moms, along with Australia.

Attack of the monster rodents. Giant swamp rats are devouring Louisiana.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, and professional-sounding predictions to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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