What to watch for today
The Fed minds its language. At its policy meeting the US central bank is expected to keep its bond-buying program going, but may tweak its statement to quash rumors of imminent interest-rate rises. Recent Fed pronouncements have confused economy-watchers, businesses, and even robots.
The US economy grows overnight. While second-quarter GDP is expected to have grown at just 0.9% year-on-year, a set of revisions to GDP going back to 1929 will make overall output look about 3% higher. It’s all about whether you count “Seinfeld” as economic activity, apparently.
Management consultants unite? Accenture is in talks to acquire smaller rival Booz & Co., the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ackman’s big bet. Activist investor William Ackman will make a $2 billion-plus investment in a “US-based industrial company,” his company’s biggest ever—perhaps hydrogen and semiconductor materials supplier Air Products and Chemicals.
Media earnings. Comcast, the biggest US pay-TV company, should show strong numbers on the back of price hikes that helped offset a drop in video subscribers. CBS, in a standoff over fees with Time Warner Cable, expects less impressive earnings due to the slowdown in ad spending.
Zimbabwe goes to the polls. Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai challenges Robert Mugabe for the presidency for the third time. Mugabe, who has been president since 1980, has vowed to step down if defeated, but Zimbabwe-watchers are not optimistic.
While you were sleeping
EADS is now Airbus. The European aerospace group once known as European Aeronautic, Defence and Space is changing its name and streamlining its clunky multinational ownership structure.
Earnings hits: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Japan’s biggest bank, posted a 40% gain in net profits and No. 3 Mizuho Financial reported up a 35% increase. Japanese banks have benefitted from rising stock prices and sales of financial products under Abenomics.
Earnings misses: BNP Paribas second-quarter profits shrank as it set aside funds to cover potential losses in Europe. Honda earnings rose by a lower-than-expected 5.1% because Japanese subsidies expired and US market share shrank. Diageo fell short of sales goals due to weakness in developing markets like China and Nigeria.
Mr. Cook went to Beijing. Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile carrier and the only Chinese mobile phone network that doesn’t offer iPhones.
Taiwan is resilient. Its economy beat estimates to grow 2.27% last quarter, even as China’s slowdown reduces demand for Taiwan’s exports.
Quartz obsession interlude
David Yanofsky on why traffic jams are a sign of a healthy economy. “Traffic is used as a proxy for economic activity because it measures people going to work and deliveries being made, according to INRIX. While the capacity of a road changes infrequently, the commerce that transits them fluctuates. Congestion on US roads was up 8.3% from last June, according to data released today.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Will homosexuality be illegal at the Olympics? The Russian sponsor of new anti-gay legislation says that if passed, it won’t be suspended for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Generation Y has a heart. Youth support for benefit cuts is not as great as some would have you believe.
The Manning verdict is bad news for Edward Snowden. The US will show no mercy if it gets its hands on the former NSA contractor.
Japan’s conservatives should get over the war. Dogmatic posturing will only spur angry nationalism in East Asia.
The US should suspend aid to Egypt now instead of letting American military contractors set its foreign policy.
An unexpected fan club for “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The erotic novels are favorites with prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.
Free food doesn’t buy loyalty. Despite having some of the best perks, Google’s staff are quitting at high rates.
The Bank of England helped sell Nazi gold. The central bank admitted that it helped Nazis sell gold plundered from Czechoslovakia just months before the Second World War.
Milking the “cronut” craze. It took less than two months for Dunkin’ Donuts to mass produce the lovechild of the croissant and the donut.
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