What to watch for today
Germany to offer Greece support. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble is expected to offer €100 million ($131 million) in aid, after the Greek parliament narrowly approved new austerity measures in a late night vote.
The Dell saga drags on. A shareholder vote on the $24.4 billion buyout offer by a group including company founder Michael Dell is scheduled to take place today but may be delayed to give him more time to win support. Billionaire shareholder Carl Icahn, who opposes the buyout, argued against the delay.
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.
South Africa: to hike or not to hike? Economists expect the central bank, battling anemic growth and high inflation, to leave its benchmark rate unchanged for now 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.
China barred a GlaxoSmithKline executive from leaving the country. British national Steve Nechelput, GSK’s vice-president for finance in China, has not been detained and is free to continue his role, but has been unable to leave China since the end of June as the company faces a wide-ranging bribery probe.
Supremo bribe scandal. Formula One boss Ernie Ecclestone, known as “Supremo” in racing circles, was indicted by a German court for bribery. Prosecutors say he paid a German banker $50 million for facilitating the sale of a stake in Formula One to a specific company and ignoring other potential options.
Panama sought UN help. It will open a seized North Korean ship to UN inspectors to establish whether the ship was breaching international sanctions when its crew attempted to sail the Panama Canal with a secret cargo of missile parts and two MiG-21 jet fighters, surrounded by bags of sugar. North Korea urged Panama to return its ship.
The US blamed China for a breakdown of talks. A group of 20 World Trade Organization members had been negotiating for months to eliminate tariffs on some consumer electronics goods, but the US said that “China’s current position makes progress impossible at this stage.”
The PC slump continued to weigh on Intel earnings. The US chip maker’s profits fell 29% during the second quarter and the company cut its full-year revenue forecast on poor PC sales and a sagging Chinese economy.
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.
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
A decisive victory for Shinzo Abe’s party in upcoming elections is a good thing. Japan has had 14 leaders in the past 20 years—it needs a strong one who can stick around for a while.
The US Department of Homeland Security should be axed. Terrorism is a smaller danger than it is often made out to be.
India’s free school lunch program should be saved, despite the deaths of 21 children this week.
Regulations can’t make markets moral. Taking personal responsibility—knowing what you are investing in and buying—is a must.
Lessons from babies in go-carts. It turns out a fear of heights is learned by moving ourselves around (though the babies weren’t driving).
The CIA wants to know how to control the climate. It is funding a study into geo-engineering—perhaps so it can send a lightning storm into Edward Snowden’s hotel room.
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.
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.
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