Quartz Daily Brief—Apple earnings, Europe won’t taper, China’s railway to a soft landing

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What to watch for

A tepid third quarter for Apple? Analysts expect the tech giant’s revenue to be flat compared with the same quarter last year, while earnings per share are projected to drop 22%. And there will inevitably be questions about whether Apple has any tricks left up its sleeve. That may explain the latest news that Apple is testing larger screens for future iPad tablets and iPhones.

Muted second quarter expectations. US carrier AT&T is likely to report a marginal increase in earnings in the second quarter, as the cost of acquiring new customers dents profits. The world’s biggest package delivery company, UPS, which cut its 2013 earnings forecast in July, is likely to report a drop in profits.

Reining in Wall Street. A US Senate subcommittee will hold a hearing on whether financial firms should continue to be allowed to control power plants, warehouses, and oil refineries. The hearing comes even as the Federal Reserve said on Friday that it is reviewing a 2003 decision that let deposit-taking banks trade physical commodities such as aluminum.

While you were sleeping

Europe won’t be tapering. European Central Bank policymaker Peter Praet told an Italian newspaper that “base interest rates could be lowered further” due to risks to the global economic recovery.

Telecoms deals galore. Spain’s Telefónica agreed to buy German mobile operator E-Plus from KPN for at least €5 billion ($6.5 billion) in cash and stock, and France’s Vivendi is in talks to sell its €4.2bn ($5.5 billion) Maroc Telecom stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat.

All aboard for China infrastructure spending. A report that Beijing will boost railway spending beyond the originally planned 650 billion yuan ($106 billion) sent Chinese stocks surging, on hopes that the government would take steps to avoid a hard landing for the slowing economy.

Nokia looks phabulous. The struggling handset maker unveiled a super-sized Lumia that is nearly as large as some tablets, calling it “a perfect example of how Nokia is delivering leading smartphone innovation.”

Al Qaeda broke out of Abu Ghraib. Around 500 senior members fled the infamous Iraqi prison during external assault involving suicide bombers and well-armed gunmen. Many of the escaped prisoners had received death sentences.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why Europe’s plan to cut debt by cutting spending is just not working. “Italy’s debt-to-GDP ratio hit 130% during the first quarter of 2013, a new record. Ireland’s continued to escalate, touching 125% at the end of March. Greece remains a basket case. Even after having defaulted on its debt twice over the last few years—which sharply cut the debt outstanding—it posted the highest overall debt-to-GDP ratio, 160%. But it also posted the highest quarter-over-quarter rise in the measure.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Quarterly reports come too late for investors. The antiquated practice is doing more harm than good in a digital age.

The Internet’s free trial has expired. Now that we’re hopelessly addicted, we have to come to terms with paying for it all.

The nerve center of African piracy is shifting from east to west. Global governments must offer development aid for coast guards and create a maritime task force to fight the growing menace.

Why so many Russian rockets have been failing. The crash of Proton-M on July 2 is another sign of the neglect and systemic issues in Russia’s space program.

Surprising discoveries

A light in the darkness. The Norwegian town of Rjukan is planning to put giant mirrors on surrounding mountains to concentrate the dull winter sun on its town square.

Google serves 25% of North American internet traffic. Bigger than Facebook, Netflix and Instagram combined.

Karl Marx once wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln. Karl told Abe that “the triumphant war cry of your re-election is Death to Slavery.”

340-month global warming streak. Anyone born after February 1985 has never experienced a month of below-average global temperature.

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