Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—China’s growth slows, Citigroup earnings, JK Rowling’s secret life, the cost of entrepreneurship

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What to watch for today

US retail sales on a roll? Analysts predict a 0.8% increase in sales in June, the biggest jump in four months. The Empire State manufacturing index for July and business inventories for May will also be reported.

Citigroup’s recovery accelerates? Analysts expect the financial services firm’s second quarter profits to increase by 21% to $3.55 billion or $1.19 per share. Of special interest to investors are Citi’s outlook for emerging markets and the progress of its cost-cutting efforts.

“Fabulous Fab” goes to trial. The civil fraud case begins against former Goldman Sachs bond trader Fabrice Tourre, accused of misleading investors in an ill-fated mortgage securities investment. It’s the highest profile trial yet to stem from the SEC’s investigation of the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Will the Feds charge Zimmerman? The neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot  unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin was acquitted by a Florida jury on Friday, causing angry protests across the United States. Pressure is growing on President Obama and the US Justice Department to pursue federal criminal charges.

Over the weekend

China’s Q2 economic growth slipped to 7.5%. Investment rather than consumption continued to power China as policymakers in Beijing try reform the world’s second-largest economy with a minimum of short-term pain. Stocks rose in Asia and Europe on news that the slowdown was not as bad as some feared.

Indian inflation.  The wholesale price index rose 4.86%, a three-month high, though slightly less than most analysts expected, making it likely that the central bank will leave interest rates unchanged.

Apple beefed up its iWatch design team. The company is reportedly on a hiring spree (paywall) to tackle design problems that are plaguing its wearable computing project. All major consumer electronics firms are working on smart watches, but they also have many hurdles to overcome.

French nuclear plant security breach. Twenty Greenpeace activists infiltrated an EDF nuclear power plant in southern France, unfurling a banner demanding that President Francois Hollande close the plant down.

Good news for Boeing. British investigators said there’s no evidence that the 787 Dreamliner’s batteries caused the fire that damaged a parked Ethiopian Airlines aircraft at London’s Heathrow airport on Friday. Earlier this year, two separate battery incidents led to the grounding of all 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide.

Egypt’s temporary government takes shape. Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tapped technocrats and liberals for senior cabinet posts, where they’ll govern for six months until new elections take place. Meanwhile, Egypt’s public prosecutor froze the assets of 14 Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Controversial Chinese Ponzi execution. Zeng Chengjie, a once-lauded Hunan businessman who was convicted of fraud and illegal fund-raising activities, was killed by lethal injection without his family being notified, contrary to Chinese law.

Bangladesh war crimes conviction. The 91-year-old former chief of the opposition Islamist party was sentenced to 90 years in jail for crimes against humanity during the country’s 1971 independence war, risking violent confrontations between his supporters, who wanted him freed, and opponents, who wanted him executed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Simone Foxman on why UBS is taking a big step back from investment banking. “Sources within UBS acknowledge that the investment bank’s glory days are over; the division is now considered second-class. Salaries for the company’s investment bankers have been low on an industry-wide basis during recent years. As we’ve previously reported, the bank has also scaled back its mergers and acquisitions team. Many high-profile investment bankers have departed.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The US should suspend aid to Egypt. The pressure may encourage Egypt to move towards a lasting democracy.

Chinese savers are hurting the economy. On average they save more than a third of disposable income, and the government can’t get them to loosen the purse strings.

Enough with the testing. Countries with the best education systems were not built with an emphasis on standardized tests  

Free enterprise ain’t free. Income inequality, social friction, and challenges to authority are just a few of the social costs of entrepreneurship.

Surprising discoveries

The K-Street advantage is more than lobbying. It’s installing high-frequency trading computers closer to the source of US economic data.

Mass extinction. By the year 2100, most land animals will not be able to evolve quickly enough to adapt to the dramatically warmer climate.

Google’s entertainment revolution. YouTube’s studios in Los Angeles are helping creators make better videos, for free.

Professional gaming is now an official sport. Video gamers can now travel to the US on the same visas given to professional athletes.

JK Rowling’s secret life. The Harry Potter author wrote an acclaimed detective novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, under a pseudonym.

Men are leaning out too. By their mid-thirties, men start losing their desire to have jobs with more responsibility.


3D printing, beyond the hype: What’s it actually good for?
Join Quartz and General Assembly on Wednesday, July 16 at 7:00 pm ET. Quartz technology correspondent Christopher Mims will host an evening of conversation about the present and future of the 3D technology. The panel includes individuals who are making mass 3D printing a reality and with those who are coming up with other creative uses. Read more here.

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