Quartz Daily Brief—Asia edition—Dell delay, Bernanke calm, China warning, America’s ageless directors

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What to watch for today

The long-running Dell saga gets longer? Shareholders of Dell were originally scheduled to vote today on the $24.4 billion buyout offer by a group including company founder Michael Dell. But now the board is considering delaying the vote to win more support for the deal.

Mixed earnings for technology giants. Google and Microsoft are forecast to release healthy second-quarter numbers, thanks to online ad revenue at Google and enterprise software at Microsoft.  Recent acquisitions are expected to eat into profits (paywall) at German business software maker SAP. Other corporate earnings due out include Morgan Stanley, Nokia and Verizon Communications.

Germany to offer Greece support. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is expected to offer €100 million ($131 million) in aid. Meanwhile, the Greek government is expected to narrowly win support for a fresh round of austerity.

South Africa may not hike rates, for now. South Africa is facing anemic growth and high inflation, but economists expect the central bank to leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 5%, a four-decade low.

While you were sleeping

Ben Bernanke calmed fears of a hasty stimulus exit. The Federal Reserve chairman told the US Congress that there was no “preset course” for winding down the $85 billion-a-month bond buying program, and that the Fed could keep the stimulus going if the economy weakened. Bernanke returns to Capitol Hill again today to field more questions from lawmakers, this time in the Senate.

But the Bank of England voted against more stimulus. Minutes of the monetary policy meeting earlier this month showed that BoE policymakers voted 9-0 against further bond buying. The BoE plans to shift to giving investors more explicit ongoing guidance about its strategy.

The PC slump continued to weigh on Intel earnings. The US chip maker’s profits fell 29% during the second quarter.

IBM’s second-quarter earnings beat analyst estimates, cheering investors who were still smarting from the tech company’s first-quarter miss—its first in years. Shareholders also forgave its revenue miss since it boosted its 2013 outlook.

The International Monetary Fund urged China to reform itself. The IMF warned that even the current pace of growth will not be sustainable unless China enacts measures including relaxing rules governing interest rates and shifting the economy to a more consumption-led model.

The European Union pressed Google to better address antitrust concerns. Its competition commissioner said the tech giant must offer more concessions to rivals to avoid hefty fines. Google is accused of using its 90% market share of the online search market to promote its own services.

Standard & Poor’s defense in US lawsuit slammed. A Central District of California judge allowed the US government’s $5 billion lawsuit to proceed (paywall) and said the firm’s defense that no one should have believed its ratings were independent and objective was “deeply and unavoidably troubling.”

Quartz obsession interlude

Gina Chon and Simone Foxman on Morgan Stanley’s identity crisis: “It has long been known as an investment banking powerhouse, often going head to head with Goldman Sachs in several areas such as mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. But Morgan Stanley’s investment banking operations have faded a bit from the spotlight and its trading arm had been disappointing though is staging a comeback, while its wealth management arm is getting more attention—and seeing more success. Overall, Morgan Stanley hasn’t completely adjusted to the world after the financial crisis. In Wall Street’s map of the world, the bank is in something of a no-man’s land.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The European Central Bank must be overhauled to make it more efficient. The reforms should start with redrawing the boundaries of the central banks that constitute the ECB.

It’s difficult for regulations to make markets moral. Personal responsibility—knowing what you are investing in and buying—can play a bigger role.

India’s middle class is growing increasingly disenchanted with corruption and economic mismanagement. A new wave of brain drain may be imminent.

Vladimir Putin is putting Russia on a dangerous course of decay. Insufficient economic liberalization and greater authoritarianism is undermining Russia’s credibility and its president’s authority.

For women, it doesn’t pay to be one half of a power-couple. A study that tracked MBAs from University of Chicago showed that women who marry poor earn more than those with rich spouses.

Surprising discoveries

Marrying and divorcing foreigners who want to buy real estate is big business in China. Buyers are exploiting a provision that allows foreigners married to Chinese nationals to buy up to two homes.

Fighters from Down Under are fighting president Bashar al-Assad. Australians now make up the largest contingent from any developed nation in the Syrian rebel forces.

Onion prices could give India’s government sleepless nights. Prices have hit a two-and-a-half-year high and are likely to push inflation even higher in the coming months.

Nearly 30 public US companies have an outside director who has been on their board for at least 40 years. The longest-serving, William H. Waldorf, joined Griffon Corp.’s board 50 years ago.

A new surgical knife can sniff out cancer. The smart knife detects whether cells are cancerous or healthy by analyzing the smoke made as it cuts tissue. It will help surgeons remove all cancerous tissue during operations.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ECB overhaul proposals, and names of directors who have served at least 40 years at companies outside the US to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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