Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Merkel in Greece, Huawei, human free fall

GOOD MORNING QUARTZ READERS!

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR TODAY:

Euro Face-Off: Merkel, beware Greeks bearing grudges—or worse. The German Chancellor is in Athens for a state visit. She will express solidarity with economically suffering Greece, but no major news is expected. Citizens are expected to meet her with widespread protest. Some hold Merkel responsible for austerity policies imposed by Germany and other European countries as part of the Greek financial rescue. She will be grateful to Athens for organizing 7,000 police and other high-security measures to protect her.

More China stimulus excitement. The Beijing government has not quite announced the much-anticipated second round of crisis-busting stimulus spending. But China stocks are rising in anticipation of such a move. The World Bank has cut China’s growth forecast, spurring speculation Beijing will act soon. It remains uncertain what China will spend its potential new trove of printed money on this time around. The country hardly needs more city airports–thanks to high speed rail–or ghost towns.

BAE-EADS merger up against a deadline. The two defense giants, whose merger plan has been delayed by squabbling between European nations who have different ideas about the role governments should play in the combined business, reportedly will ask the UK’s takeover panel for more time to get the deal done. Their deadline expires tomorrow. Right now, all the military contractors are saying is that they will “decide the way forward.”

The US quarterly earnings season kicks off, with analysts predicting a 2.6% drop in profits from a year earlier for S&P 500 companies. Big aluminum maker Alcoa unofficially opens the season shortly after 4 p.m. ET, but recent history suggests its results aren’t strongly predictive for the rest of the S&P 500 US equity index.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:

The IMF cut global growth forecasts. That’s mainly because of the growing European debt crisis. It also downgraded Australia’s growth prospects, though that shouldn’t impact employment much. The European Central Bank may need to cut interest rates further to stave off deflation, the IMF said elsewhere in its World Economic Outlook report.

Chinese firm Huawei called US criticism “China-bashing.” After a US congressional investigation warned of national security threats from the Chinese telecom equipment giant, the firm unequivocally denied the charges. Huawei had requested the investigation in the first place to assuage such concerns. In its somewhat rambling statement, Huawei also pointed out the US has only been a world economic power for a couple of hundred years.

Iraq has been shipping oil to Syria. The discovery of oil trade between Iraq and the embattled Assad regime in Syria will raise uncomfortable questions about the legacy of the US invasion in 2003, but confirms the regime’s increasing hardship finding critical supplies while it fights a civil war.

MATTERS OF DEBATE:

What does “middle class” mean, anyway? Chinese business mag Caixin takes on the evolving concept.

Related: Are the Baby Boomer’s America’s worst generation? One man confronts his father to figure out the Boomers’ economic legacy.

Advice for Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung: Stop catering to xenophobes. Rating Hong Kong’s new leader after his first 100 days.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES:

Slime mold has a memory. It has a sense of direction and can find food. Goo figure.

An Austrian man will jump from a weather ballon 37 km in the air. If Felix Baumgartner’s attempt is successful, the attempt will set records for the highest and fastest free fall, and not boil his blood or explode his lungs.

Americans reproducing at record low rates. Cue sighs of relief from our global readers. 2011 saw the lowest US birthrates in history, with the recession getting the blame.

What a drought-stricken farm looks like. Not great.

Advancements in cloning and stem cell science win Nobel Prize. We’re still waiting on human-animal hybrids.

ALSO TODAY:

British industrial statistics and balance of trade. On this day in 2006, North Korea claimed to conduct its first successful underground nuclear test.

Our apologies for incorrectly implying in yesterday’s email that US equity markets were also closed for the Columbus Day holiday when just bond markets were closed.

Best wishes from Quartz for a productive day. Please send any news, queries, plans to sky-dive from great heights, and ideas for Beijing’s next round of stimulus spending to hi@qz.com.

Readers can sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search