What to watch for today
JP Morgan gets punished for the “London Whale.” The bank’s board is meeting to approve a settlement with global regulators over the derivative trading errors that lead to a $6 billion loss in 2012. But symbolically more important than the estimated $700 million fine is the bank’s likely admission of wrongdoing.
The Fed debates tapering. The US central bank will debate when to start scaling back its $85 billion-a-month asset-purchase program, but won’t issue a decision until Wednesday. The fine print of the pace and size of the tapering could roil global markets.
A $250 million blockbuster is launched. Not the latest Hollywood movie, but Grand Theft Auto V, a long-awaited video game sequel expected to gross $1 billion in its first six months.
Inflation relief for the UK. Consumer price inflation likely eased to 2.7% year-on-year in August from 2.8% in July. Though it will be well over the official 2% target, the fall in inflation will add to the cheer surrounding the British economy. Inflation in the US is expected to have increased 1.8% in August.
A pre-election boost for Merkel. The economic sentiment index from German think-tank ZEW is expected to show a pickup in optimism. That could help the German chancellor’s chances in Sunday’s elections.
While you were sleeping
At least 13 people were killed in a shootout in a Washington DC. Gunman Aaron Alexis shot 12 victims to death and was himself killed in a mass shooting at a naval office building, not far from Capitol Hill and the White House.
Moderately sunnier skies for the Chinese economy. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for August rose 0.7%, after climbing 1.4% in July and 0.8% in June.
Danone’s latest China scandal. An investigation by state-run CCTV found that a Danone subsidiary paid doctors to encourage new mothers to use infant formula instead of breast feeding. Danone has already been fined for anti-competitive formula pricing in China.
Australia’s central bank waffles. The Reserve Bank of Australia left its options open to either raise interest rates or reduce them, depending on the timing and severity of the US central bank’s tapering plans.
The UN confirmed that Syria used chemical weapons. Inspectors concluded that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in the government’s Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus, but didn’t settle the question of who ordered their use. Meanwhile, Turkey shot down a Syrian helicopter that strayed across the border.
Iran unblocked Twitter and Facebook. The new administration renewed access to social media, four years after the services were blocked during nationwide protests.
Quartz obsession interlude
Christopher Mims on how Intel will bring a “good enough” tablet to the US market by Christmas. “For a manufacturer to create a $99 tablet, where much of the cost is in the touchscreen display, they’re probably going to have to use an older and cheaper Intel chip, perhaps the same one to make Motorola’s Razr i, which came out in October 2012 and was the first Android smartphone to be powered by an Intel chip.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The NSA’s view of the Internet looks a lot like China’s. The internet is a threat that warrants monitoring, even if it makes citizens uncomfortable.
The US’s Middle East policy is helping its enemies. By striking alliances of convenience, the US is worsening the conflict between Islamist and secular forces in Muslim countries.
German elections will be good for the euro zone. Regardless of who wins, Europe will see greater integration and pro-growth policies.
An IPO could ruin Twitter. Twitter will have no choice but to strive to maximize shareholder returns, and that may mean many more ads.
Economic growth is good for the environment. Countries above a certain level of income do more for biodiversity than poor and fast-growing economies.
A double gold medal for evictions. Kohei Jinno lost his home and business for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and will once again need to move to make way for the 2020 Games. Japan will also spend $4.5 billion to relocate the world’s largest fish market to a man-made island.
No marathon selfies in Hong Kong. Mobile phones could be banned for the February race because self-portraits during races are causing accidents.
The stock market has crashed and spiked 18,000 times since 2006. But the swings were so fast that humans didn’t even notice.
Turkey is hiring 6,000 Twitter warriors. The ruling party has formed a massive social media team to get its message out on the internet.
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