What to watch for today
US retail earnings under scrutiny. Muted earnings from Macy’s and Walmart last week dampened the outlook for the sector, and JC Penney, embroiled in a shareholder war over its leadership, is likely to add to the gloom. Best Buy is also expected to struggle in the face of growing competition from discounters and other online retailers, while Barnes & Noble, still reeling from the departure of its CEO a month ago, is likely to post a loss and a dip in revenue. However, Home Depot may report higher earnings thanks to the US housing recovery.
Mixed results from miners. Glencore Xstrata will probably report strong profits in its first results release since the completion of its $29 billion takeover of Xstrata in May. BHP Billiton is set to post a fall in earnings due to lower commodity prices.
Kodak to emerge, phoenix-like, from bankruptcy. A Manhattan court will review Kodak’s plan to pay off its creditors. The company has shed assets and operations, and now plans to focus (pdf) on its commercial-imaging business, which includes digital printers and motion-picture film.
India’s election campaign starts early. Four states run by the ruling Congress party will unveil an ambitious food-security scheme which the party hopes will give it a bump in next year’s polls, though the government has yet to drum up enough support for the bill in parliament.
Al-Jazeera America starts broadcasting. The Qatar-based news organization’s US affiliate has promised more hard news and documentaries than any other news channel. Perhaps a full-time ombudsman could gain it some credibility.
While you were sleeping
Hosni Mubarak is getting out of jail. In another sign that the old regime is back, Egypt’s former president, overthrown in 2011, is likely to be freed from detention within days, after a court ordered his release. Meanwhile violence continued, with at least 24 policemen killed in an ambush in the Sinai.
The Fed said its own rules aren’t enough. A study on stress tests by the US central bank suggested that the biggest banks should keep more than the required minimum (paywall) in capital to protect them in times of crisis.
Apple’s next trick: Launch two iPhones at once. Apple has reportedly asked its supplier, Foxconn, to start shipping both a new high-end and low-end iPhone (paywall). The combined launch, expected in September, will be an attempt to help Apple regain momentum. Oh, and one phone might well be gold-colored.
The Chinese Communist Party’s secret plan for retaining power. In a memo to cadres, the new leadership has called for the eradication of seven threats, including Western ideas of constitutional democracy and universal human rights.
Questions for the UK police. Politicians have asked the police to explain why the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been publishing leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was held for nine hours under anti-terrorism laws.
Climate scientists are getting more confident. A draft of the next big report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s 95-100% certain that humans are the main cause of global warming, and dismisses a recent slowdown in warming as a short-term thing.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on why investors are fleeing emerging markets. “As the rip-tide of liquidity pours out of a country, it drives the value of the currency lower. That makes imports of crucial foreign products—such as energy—costlier. The surge in spending on imports worsens the current account deficit. That prompts still more worries about investing, setting off a further outflow of investor cash. The decline of the currency gets deeper. A spiral can ensue until you hit something known as a “sudden stop,” which pushes a country into default.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Behind Egypt’s rage is a worsening lack of resources. Population explosion has made energy and food shortages worse.
China’s overcapacity needs competition, not regulation. The market, not the government, should decide which iron and steel plants to shut.
India’s current-account crisis could be an opportunity. Use the rupee weakness to boost garment exports and low interest rates to finance solar power.
Germany’s “third sex” is piecemeal progress. Recognizing babies born neither clearly male nor female is welcome, but it doesn’t solve all the problems intersex people have.
Don’t use your smartphone for day-trading. It makes investing into an obsession rather than a necessity, and it’s easier to do dumb things.
Europe’s forests may be reaching “carbon saturation.” That’ll make reducing overall carbon emissions a lot harder.
98% of American homes have access to high-speed broadband. But 20% of them don’t use the internet.
A beer with no hangover. Researchers have created a brew that rehydrates drinkers by adding electrolytes.
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