Skip to navigationSkip to content
STAR WARS

Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Renewed Iran nuclear talks, US inflation, Japan’s trade deficit, workplace tooth brushing

By Quartz Staff

Iran nuclear talks restart. Global powers including the US, Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany meet in Geneva to try yet again to secure a deal with Iran to halt its nuclear program. President Obama, meanwhile, has appealed to senators to delay seeking sanctions against the country while the negotiations are ongoing.

Inflation falls in the US. Analysts expect headline inflation in the US fell to around 1% during October in yet another soft reading for the consumer price index. Lower inflation takes the US Federal Reserve further away from its plans to wind down its stimulus of the US economy.

Rupert Murdoch nears divorce. The media mogul and his third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, are expected to appear in a Manhattan court this morning for a divorce hearing. Although they signed three nuptial agreements, the couple still ran into issues over custody of their daughters and dividing their residences.

JC Penney’s profit progress. A few weeks ago, troubled US retailer JC Penney released a progress report on its turnaround, saying same-store sales rose in October—but this was mainly due to leftover inventory that the retailer sold on the cheap. Investors will be watching JC Penney’s profits to see if the company really is returning to health.

Deere’s drop in sales. The US farm machinery maker is set to post a drop in revenue for its fourth quarter on the back of fewer orders of its tractors, due in part to weak prices for corn, soybeans and other agricultural commodities. Full-year profits, however, are forecast by analysts to rise some 15% from last year to $3.47 billion.

Marriage equality in Illinois. When Governor Pat Quinn signs the same-sex marriage bill into law today, Illinois will become the 15th US state to legalize gay marriage. The law doesn’t come into effect until June 2014, by which time more than one-third of Americans will live where same-sex marriage is legal.

While you were sleeping

Japan’s trade deficit widened, nearly doubling in October as higher exports were outpaced by soaring costs for imported oil and natural gas, which the country needs following its nuclear industry shutdown.

China’s relief supplies arrived in the Philippines. A cargo plane carrying Beijing’s first shipment of goods, including blankets and tents, touched down in the central Philippines. China drew fire for initially pledging just $100,000 in assistance following Typhoon Haiyan, though it later boosted that amount to $1.64 million.

Nissan is increasing production of Leafs in the US. The automaker’s Smyrna, Tennessee plant will build more of its all-electric cars due to increased demand following price cuts.

US-Afghanistan security pact in doubt. The Afghan government wants a letter from President Obama apologizing for American mistakes, which the US says is “not on the table.”

JP Morgan’s settlement was finalized. The giant US bank agreed to hand over $13 billion in fines for making “serious misrepresentations to the public” during the housing crisis, in a landmark settlement with the US Department of Justice. Around $4 billion of the total will go directly to homeowners affected by JP Morgan’s actions.

Johnson & Johnson is forking out, too. The company agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle some 8,000 lawsuits by people claiming injuries from its artificial hip implants, which it pulled from the market in 2010. That’s a payout of about $250,000 to each claimant.

Quartz obsession interlude

Todd Woody on the delay to America’s plans to run its cars on biofuels. “So what happened? The short answer is that making biofuels, particularly the cellulosic sort, is proving to be much harder than entrepreneurs, investors, and not least of all, the government expected. Engineering enzymes to break down tough plant fiber into feedstock that can be used to make substitutes for gasoline and jet fuel has been slow going, and investors burned by the Great Recession have been reluctant to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into building biofuel refineries.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s not sanctions that have brought Iran to the negotiating table. Tehran offered similar measures in 2005, when it wasn’t under crippling embargoes (paywall).

DropBox’s reported $8 billion valuation is problematic. It’s too easy for consumers to switch to the online storage startup’s competitors.

Brushing your teeth at work has benefits that go way beyond dental health. But don’t do it right after eating, and hunt around for an empty bathroom.

Surprising discoveries

Vancouver is banning doorknobs. The city’s new building code means the old fashioned devices are being phased out in favor of easier-to-use levers.

Our bodies know when we’re supposed to wake up. When we sleep according to regular schedules, our bodies create stress hormones that begin rousing us ahead of our alarms.

Most money is unaccounted for. The Federal Reserve knows where only 15% of dollars in circulation are—the bulk of the rest are likely outside the US.

You can IPO yourself. Several programs give you a cash injection now in return for a proportion of your future earnings.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, workplace dental hygiene tips, and self-IPO proposals to

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.