Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Dell slips, Turkey rises, Mexico slows, black swans wane

May 17, 2013
May 17, 2013

What to watch for today

The state of the world’s largest shipping line. A.P. Moller-Maersk reports earnings as it gears up to launch the largest ships the world has ever seen. The company has been hit by sour shipping markets since the start of the financial crisis, but has been buying ships and retooling its strategy for what it hopes is a rebound in the next few years.

Signs of spending in America. The University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment is expected to rise again after hitting a three-month low in April. Companies reliant on consumer spending from fast-food to retail have complained about tough sales.

A pause in Mexico’s growth spurt. Forecasters expect a resurgent Mexican economy to report the worst quarterly growth since 2009 (paywall), perhaps even a reduction, but like the US manufacturing slump they blame it on, they hope it will be brief.

While you were sleeping

Dell’s profits fell 80%. Net income for the first quarter fell to $130 million from $635 million last year. The PC business took a big hit but other areas such as services and software are doing well, lending weight to Michael Dell’s argument that the company needs to shift focus.

Moody’s raised Turkey’s credit rating. It is now an investment grade economy for the first time in 20 years.

Iranian women can’t run for president. They can, however, still be parliamentarians.

Mining for drama. Glencore Xstrata’s chairman, Jon Bond, was voted out at the firm’s annual meeting, the first since the two companies merged just weeks ago. Bond handed over the reins, at least temporarily, to former BP CEO Tony Hayward, who might just have his life as a high-flying oil exec back.

Bill Gates can’t give it away fast enough. Gates, who has vowed to give his entire fortune to charity, once again found himself the richest man in the world as Microsoft stock hit a five-year high, displacing Mexico’s Carlos Slim, who isn’t giving away anything.

Qatar has given Syrian rebels $3 billion. The tiny state is the insurgents’ biggest supporter (paywall)—for now.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips argues that the US payroll tax increase hasn’t been that bad for consumers. “Lackluster sales at Wal-Mart look to some like evidence that the US’s payroll tax increase at the start of this year is, as predicted, pinching less-affluent Americans. And all else equal, raising taxes in a weak economy is probably not the best move. But we don’t think American consumption is going to collapse…The cash Uncle Sam is taking out of the wallets of consumers could be offset by other developments elsewhere in the economy, which isn’t as weak as it once was.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

President François Hollande’s wasted year in France. He doesn’t understand the republic he’s expected to run.

All the black swans are dead. celebration of the new normal.

Bringing pseudoscience to a disaster area near you. What we can learn from Homeopaths Without Borders.

Google’s maps are nosy but honest. The benefits of a map made from your private data.

It’s time to face death. The death-positive movement is a real thing.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists can clone human embryos. It’s the same technique used to produce Dolly the sheep, but don’t worry, they’re just using them to harvest stem cells.

Venezuela is 40 million rolls short of toilet paper. Maybe Brazil can roll some extras under the stall.

James is on Facebook, but he has no idea what Facebook is. Because James is a dog.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, private maps and spare toilet paper to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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