What to watch for today
India launches its Mars mission. If successful, the mission will give India a leg up on Japan and China in the Asian space race—and raise the potential for the weaponization of space. The launch is set for 2:46 p.m. India time from an island in the Bay of Bengal.
Tesla revs up earnings. The electric-car firm is expected to post a $13.4 million profit on revenues of $534.6 million—a sevenfold increase from a year ago. Sales of the Model S sedan will show whether the company is on track for CEO Elon Musk’s target of more than 21,000 units this year. Separately, Toyota is expected to report record half-year profits thanks to the weaker yen, and BMW releases earnings, as well.
New York City picks a mayor. Bill de Blasio is expected to become the first Democratic mayor in nearly a quarter-century as Michael Bloomberg’s three terms come to a close. De Blasio has a commanding a 41-percentage-point lead over Republican Joe Lhota.
The troika returns to Greece. Representatives from the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund will meet government officials in Athens to discuss progress on the country’s reforms. Some feared they wouldn’t come at all because Greece hasn’t met debt-cutting targets.
While you were sleeping
BlackBerry ran out of juice. BlackBerry abandoned its efforts to find a buyer, sending its shares down by more than 12%. Instead, the Canadian company announced a $1 billion capital infusion from a group of investors and a new chief executive, former Sybase boss John Chen.
Australia kept its benchmark rate at a record low. The bank’s governor said the Australian dollar is still “uncomfortably high,” and a weaker currency is necessary for growth.
Treasury’s top international official is leaving. Lael Brainard, who has led a US push for China and Europe to alter their economies, is expected to be nominated to the Federal Reserve Board.
China needs 7.2% annual growth to keep unemployment in check, according to premier Li Keqiang—a rare instance in which a top official outlined a minimum level of expansion. The country needs to create at least a net of 10 million jobs per year.
Apple is opening a plant in Arizona. The tech giant will team up with a mineral crystal specialist on a manufacturing facility expected to produce sapphire material for Apple’s screens.
SAC Capital agreed to a record fine. The $15 billion hedge fund run by Steve Cohen pleaded guilty to insider-trading charges and agreed to pay $1.8 billion in fines—the largest penalty ever assessed by the US government for insider trading. Cohen will still end up as the US’s 59th-richest person, and the firm angered prosecutors with a less-than-contrite press release.
Quartz obsession interlude
Zachary M. Seward on what Twitter’s IPO really means. “People will call it a bubble, but they’re generally talking finance, as in the reason Pinterest and Snapchat are now worth $4 billion apiece. What I see is a social bubble, the collective delusion that Twitter’s IPO is a celebratory event, even if you’re not one of the few actually holding a stake in the company.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
If it looks like a bank, regulate it like a bank. Regulators shouldn’t be struggling to deal with the trillions of dollars in banking activity outside of traditional banks. The same rules should apply.
Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t work in Russia. The program’s failure reveals some profound cultural differences between Russians and Americans.
Polymaths are more interesting than specialists. The greatest innovations come from people who can draw from a variety of fields.
Businesses have put too much faith in Excel. Microsoft’s spreadsheet software is a tool of choice—but it leaves extensive room for error (paywall).
John Muir’s favorite tree is dying. So scientists cloned the naturalist’s beloved, 130-year-old, 75-foot-tall giant sequoia.
An artificial pancreas for diabetics. The device, which has been tested in hospitals and is almost ready for personal use, allows type 1 diabetics to receive automated insulin delivery.
Viagra made from kangaroo testicles. It exists, and Chinese investors are hopping to it.
The auntie demographic. Marketers are targeting PANKs—professional aunt, no kids—who dote on their nieces, nephews and god-children.
Starbucks reinvents the teacup. In its newly launched chain of tea rooms, the coffee giant also has a paper cup made specially for tea.