Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—US blasts Germany, FX traders suspended, Japan holds steady, Sriracha shortage looms

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What to watch for today

European jobs. Recent signs of recovery such as Spain’s emergence from recession could bode well for the euro zone’s September employment data, but most expect the bloc’s jobless rate to remain unchanged at 12%.

Exxon Mobil earnings. The energy giant is expected to post a 15.6% profit decline from a year ago due to lower oil prices and difficulties replacing dwindling oil wells.

Franco-Russian diplomacy. French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault discusses trade and the Syrian crisis with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and will also broach the arrest of dozens of Greenpeace activists who were protesting Russia’s energy exploration in the Arctic.

Sriracha under fire. A Southern California judge considers a request to halt production of the famous hot sauce due to citizens’ complaints of noxious odors from its new factory, which could result in limited supplies and higher prices.

While you were sleeping

Bank of Japan holds the line. The central bank maintained its monetary stimulus program and said it was on track to reach 2% inflation within two years.

US blasted German trade policies. An Treasury department report blamed Germany’s export-driven economy and anemic domestic demand for the euro zone’s economic woes.

Sony struggled. Sony blamed a dismal performance at its Hollywood studio for a 19.3 billion yen ($197 million) quarterly loss, versus analyst expectations of a 14.8 billion yen profit, and slashed its full-year profit outlook by 40%. Separately, Japanese mobile phone operator Softbank profit rose 44% to 156.7 billion yen ($1.59 billion), boosted by sales of Apple’s iPhone.

Shell fell short. The oil giant’s adjusted quarterly earnings fell by nearly a third to $4.5 billion (2.8 billion pounds), below analyst expectations and a stark contrast to BP’s strong results. Shell shares fell 4.6 percent.

China flight bomb scare. With tensions high after the Tiananmen Square attack, a Beijing Capital Airlines plane was diverted from its Changsha to Hanzhou route after officials received a bomb threat (link in Chinese). All passengers were evacuated safely.

JP Morgan and Citibank suspended top FX traders.The banks both put their chief currency traders in London on leave amid a deepening probe of alleged market manipulation.

Indonesia trims growth view. Finance minister Chatib Basri told the Wall Street Journal that he expects the economy to grow by only 5.8% in 2013, down 0.2 percentage points from last week’s projection.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on messaging apps’ sky-high valuation: “If you thought Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram (which at the time had 16 employees) was an eyebrow-raiser, you might be shocked to hear that companies like Pinterest and Snapchat are now estimated to be worth four times as much.” Read more here

Matters of debate

Flipping burgers is worse than going freelance. The grimmest future for the American worker isn’t TaskRabbit—it’s becoming an unwilling part-timer at a restaurant or retailer.

The battle for the internet is upon us. The disruptive power of technology versus consolidated governmental and corporate feudalism.

Facebook should buy BlackBerry.The social network needs its own smartphone, and BlackBerry comes with patents, loyal customers and a messaging platform.

Flood insurance is a scam. Wealthy vacation-homeowners along valuable coastlines should pay for themselves, not rely on others.

Surprising discoveries

Yellowstone’s ticking time bomb. An underground reservoir of molten rock is 50 miles (80 km) long and 12 miles wide—at least two and a half times larger than previously thought.

Just hearing the words “Wall Street” makes you selfish. Researchers found that college students were much more likely to act selfishly during an experiment when they were told it was called “Wall Street Game” rather than “Community Game.”

Icelanders believe in elves. The creatures are so embedded in Iceland’s folklore that a majority of the population believes in their existence.

Earth-like planet found, but you wouldn’t want to live there. Kepler-78b is the same size and density as Earth but orbits extremely close to its host star, resulting in molten surface temperatures.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Sriracha stockpiles and Earth-like planet discoveries to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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