What to watch for today
A look at the size of GM’s wounds. The US auto giant announces earnings after an extraordinarily bad quarter that saw it recall millions more vehicles and issue a humbling report about flaws in its corporate culture. Only yesterday it recalled another 718,000 vehicles, bringing the year’s total to some 29 million worldwide.
More fat-free growth from Amazon. Analysts expect the retailer to make a small loss on a 23% increase in revenue, continuing its tradition of favoring growth over profit. It’ll be too early to see the effects of its first smartphone, the Fire Phone, which hits store shelves in the US by the end of this week, and last week’s quiet release of Kindle Unlimited, but there are high hopes for them.
Signs of weakness in South Korea. The central bank releases preliminary GDP figures for the second quarter. After a 0.9% expansion three months earlier, slow growth is expected in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, but the government plans to implement stimulus measures to boost the property market and public spending.
Signs of recovery in China. After manufacturing activity hit a six-month high in June and strong GDP data last week, this month’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index is expected to keep up its fast pace thanks to various stimulus measures, and hit a high for 2014.
Signs of gloom for the world. The International Monetary Fund gives an updated outlook for the global economy, and might trim its global growth forecast, previously 3.6% for 2014, because of weak investment.
While you were sleeping
A deadly plane crash in Taiwan. A TransAsia Airways flight crashed and lit several buildings on fire as the pilots attempted to land in a post-Typhoon Matmo thunderstorm, killing 47 people and injuring 11.
Israel and Hamas faced more pressure to stand down. US secretary of state John Kerry traveled to Israel, despite a Federal Aviation Authority flight ban, to push for a ceasefire, while the UN’s top human rights official slammed both sides, suggesting a strong possibility of war crimes (paywall).
Evidence built against Ukraine’s separatists. As the MH17 crash victims’ bodies finally arrived in the Netherlands, two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down (paywall) not too far from the crash site, and a Ukrainian rebel leader confirmed the rebels had a Russian BUK missile system of the type suspected in bringing down the Malaysian airliner.
Facebook stock hit a record high. The social media giant’s earnings and revenue beat estimates and sent its shares soaring. Its mobile business, which some used to doubt would ever make money, is exploding; it generated 62% of ad sales, up 41% from a year ago, and 399 million people now use Facebook only on mobile phones.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on the epic forthcoming battle in the music streaming industry. “With the exception of vinyl records, which are undergoing a surprising renaissance, online streaming is about the only part of the recorded music business that is growing at the moment. And growing it is. According to Nielsen, on-demand audio streaming revenue in the US was up 52% in the first six months of the year, while digital track downloads were down 13% and CD sales slumped nearly 20%.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Israel has lost, strategically. Killing a large number of Israelis isn’t vital for a Hamas victory (paywall).
Indonesia is not proof that “Muslim democracy” can work. The country’s thriving democracy has nothing to do with its faith, so it doesn’t hold any lessons for the Arab world.
The World Bank needs to update itself. It needs to start complementing, not competing with, the private sector.
Malaysia Airlines could rebrand. But it will need to earn the forgiveness of victims’ families to save itself.
Men with wide faces are better at negotiating. They tend to be more competitive (paywall).
Is it a cloud? Is it a rainstorm? No, it’s mayflies. Their mating swarms are so dense they can show up on weather radar.
The Gaza war hasn’t stopped Birthright trips to Israel. But the free 10-day trips for young Jewish adults are declining in popularity.
The Queen’s horse is on drugs. The prize-winning racehorse tested positive for morphine, probably from contaminated feed.
One in 22 New Yorkers is a millionaire. The city is fourth in the millionaire-per-capita rankings, after Monaco, Zurich and Geneva.
An Irish cafe has banned “loud American’s” (sic). The unwelcoming sign on the door didn’t impress other Irish, though.