What to watch for today
Germany GDP data. Analysts expect 2013 GDP growth of about 0.5%, but the government is projecting 2014 will be much stronger, at about 1.7%.
Thailand protesters set a deadline. Hardline anti-government demonstrators threaten to blockade the Bangkok stock market and air traffic control authority if prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra does not step down by 8 pm local time.
India’s “stubbornly high” inflation eases. December rates are expected to decline from November’s record 11.24%, and could fall as far as 9.92% due to lower vegetable prices.
Good news from Bank of America. US banks JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are doing great, so analysts expect more good news from BofA, whose stock is already up 45% in the past year even though investment banking and home loans are in the doldrums.
While you were sleeping
China lending drops. Banks lent out a much lower-than-expected 482.5 billion yuan ($79.9 billion) in December, well below the previous month’s 624.6 billion yuan, as the central bank hit the brakes on credit expansion.
Growth waxes, austerity wanes. The World Bank raised its forecast for global economic growth to 3.2% for 2014, up from 3%, due to wealthier countries shift their emphasis toward spending.
Huawei sales gain. The Chinese telecom equipment maker said 2013 sales were between 238 billion yuan ($39.4 billion) and 240 billion yuan, up about 8%, as it expanded into smartphones and sold more 4G mobile wireless gear.
More battery woes for Boeing? Japan Airlines grounded a 787 Dreamliner after a smoking, leaking battery was spotted. Last year, problems with the most flammable battery on the market grounded the world’s entire Dreamliner fleet.
Horse-trading on Iran sanctions. As US president Barack Obama fought his own party in order to stop harsh new sanctions on Iran, Russia could be undermining negotiations by trading goods for oil equal to 50% of Iran’s current output.
A dagger in the internet’s heart. A US appeals court struck down a central internet tenet: everyone’s data should travel at equal speeds. Verizon claimed the ruling will make service better, but most pundits believe it will enable Verizon to make more money while reducing consumer choice.
Cars are too expensive, says Ford. The company will sell Americans smaller, cheaper vehicles that do well outside the US, partly in a bid to reverse the trend of younger people driving less than ever.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on the hazards of getting high on marijuana stocks. “The sudden explosion of interest in weed stocks even prompted FINRA, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, to last week warn investors about the potential for scams and frauds. It noted that some marijuana companies—though it didn’t name them—had been employing well-known tricks used in stock scams, like frequently changing their names and business focus.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Black & Decker’s new logo is a master class in compromise.Picking apart a new logo reveals surprising design tradeoffs.
The French care more about sex scandals than they let on. Media reaction to president François Hollande’s reported affair with an actress belies a survey showing that 77% of voters think it should stay private.
Stop pretending your email address is private. Google+ now makes it easier for strangers to email you, but email stopped being “personal” a long time ago.
Bananas are actually horrible for monkeys. A Scottish zoo announces that it won’t allow primates to gorge themselves on the unhealthy treats any longer.
Medicare overpaid for penis pumps. The US government pays double for each device.
Would you let the internet name your daughter? These parents are. The current leading name is Cthulhu All-Spark McLaughlin.