What to watch for today
Bernankean smoke signals. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before Congress the same day the Fed is scheduled to release minutes of its most recent meeting. Investors will be looking for more hints of how soon the Fed will scale back quantitative easing.
Osborne tries to avoid another IMF beating. An IMF mission reports on its two-week trip to the UK. Chancellor George Osborne has been lobbying IMF officials not to repeat their calls for Britain to ease anti-austerity measures.
Bank of Japan stays the course. The bank concludes its two-day meeting today and is expected to maintain its monetary easing policy, which has weakened the yen. That weak currency should also show up in Japanese exports, which are expected to be up again in April.
More bad news for PCs? Hewlett-Packard reports earnings today. US retailers Lowe’s and Target also report.
While you were sleeping
Jamie Dimon stayed whole. A shareholder vote to strip the JP Morgan CEO of his other title, board chairman, failed at the company’s annual meeting. But the bank’s shareholders were vocal in their criticism. The lead independent director hinted that there would be changes to the board’s structure.
The taxman cometh not for Apple. Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s tax strategy during testimony before the US Congress. The US Senate had accused Apple of using overseas operations to avoid $9 billion in taxes last year; Cook countered that US corporate tax needs reforming.
Iran barred likely winners from its elections. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a reformist former president, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a protege of incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, won’t be allowed to run in next month’s polls, clearing the field for a conservative close to the ruling clergy.
The search for survivors continued in Oklahoma. Rescue crews looked under piles of debris for victims of Monday’s tornado in the southern US state, after an initial death toll of over 50 was lowered to 24.
The Xbox One emerged. Microsoft unveiled its new gaming console in its continuing quest to become king of the living room. With more storage, a faster processor and more powerful graphics, the Xbox could be an Apple killer.
Quartz obsession interlude
Zachary Seward on Yahoo’s stroke of marketing genius. ”Yahoo put a lot of marketing behind the revamp of its long-neglected photography service Flickr, unveiling the new look yesterday at a glitzy press conference in midtown Manhattan attended by the mayor of New York and hordes of journalists lured there by Yahoo’s other big news of the day, its $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. Out in Times Square, 11 digital billboards were commandeered to advertise Flickr’s redesign with a cute tagline: “biggr, spectaculr, wherevr.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Anti-Americanism on the rise in Russia. The latest spy scandal is proof.
Myanmar’s leader impresses. Former general Thein Sein has initiated major reforms that should be praised.
Caterpillar’s boss is a spokesman for manufacturing. But is he the right man for the job?
Satirist Bassem Youssef is the most important man in Egypt.
Solar storms pack a punch. If they hit in just the right way, they could knock out power grids.
Pedal pubs are popular. Riding a quadracycle and drinking alcohol is the new new thing at bachelorette parties.
Clean your teeth, get a rush. Colgate-Palmolive applied for a patent that infuses caffeine into a patch attached to a toothbrush.
Dolphins training to find mines discovered a 19th century torpedo instead.