Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Twitter results, Akamai’s future, Puerto Rico’s downgradem, Quaaludes

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What to watch for today

Twitter lifts the veil. Twitter unveils its first earnings report since listing on the New York Stock Exchange in November, and analysts expect a fourth-quarter loss of $0.02 per share on revenues of $217.8 million. They’ll be watching for how Twitter is building its ad revenue and growing its active users.

A truce in Ukraine. President Viktor Yanukovych’s supporters and opposition MPs have until Wednesday morning local time to agree on Ukraine’s political make-up. Anti-government protestors are calling for a return to the 2004 constitution, moving some powers back from the president to parliament. 

Akamai’s dependence on Apple. Apple is thought to be one of Akamai’s biggest customers for content delivery services (i.e., piping videos, music and apps to people). But Apple is renegotiating its contract and said to be building its own delivery network. That shouldn’t hit this quarter’s earnings too hard, though.

Indonesia’s slowing growth story. After a tough year for Indonesia, with inflation doubling to 8.4% and the rupiah sinking to fresh lows, analysts expect that the economy will have expanded by around 5.3% in 2013, down from 6.2% the year before. However, a string of impressive recent data suggests all is not lost. 

While you were sleeping

Microsoft named a boss. After a five-month search, Satya Nadella, a 22-year company veteran, was anointed its third CEO, a sign Microsoft is gearing up for battle with Apple and Google’s cloud services. Bill Gates will be more involved too. Meanwhile, spare a thought for the ones who didn’t get the job.

The US got its deficit in ever better shape. The hole in the US budget will shrink to a seven-year low in 2014: 3% of the country’s GDP, and in 2015 it will reach just 2.6% (paywall). It’s a far cry from the 9.8% gap in 2009, a 35-year record.

BP slipped. Following Exxon’s weak results last week, BP posted fourth-quarter earnings that were down 24% from the previous year (paywall), and lower revenue too. The company cited difficulties in its refining business, its shrinking asset base (BP sold $22 billion worth of business last year) and costs from the 2010 oil spill—currently at $42.7 billion

Puerto Rico got junked. Recent austerity measures by lawmakers weren’t enough to prevent Standard & Poor’s cutting the island’s credit rating to the “speculative” (i.e. junk) grade of BB+, and signaling possible further cuts. Moody’s and Fitch are also contemplating downgrades.

Russian oligarchs squared off. Kicking off the biggest oligarch legal battle the US has seen, Leonid Lebedev filed a $2 billion lawsuit (paywall) against Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, claiming a right to some of the $13.8 billion profit they made last year by selling their stake in BP-TNK to Russian state oil giant Rosneft.

Libya became a weapons-free zone. Libya’s full cache of chemical weapons has been destroyed, according to the country’s foreign minister—a symbol of riddance to Gaddafi’s reign. Ten years ago, Libya had 25 tonnes of sulfur mustard, 1,400 tonnes of chemicals and thousands of unfilled aerial bombs.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on how the sell-off in emerging markets could hurt their banks. “Because emerging-market companies have been able to borrow so cheaply from foreign lenders, domestic banks had to find other customers. In other words, they had to lower their lending standards. A sharp run up in interest rates—which happens when central banks try to fight the currency slump by raising interest rates—could expose just how weak some of those borrowers were.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’s time to lose the “emerging markets” category. It makes no sense to band struggling nations like Turkey and strong countries such as Hungary in the same bracket.

Lego isn’t just a kids’ toy. The bricks are just as creative, competitive and calming for adults, too.

Saving for retirement just isn’t feasible. You’d have to save for 110 years to get a comfortable nest egg.

Technology is undercutting the case for immigration reform. If robots take over the low-skilled jobs, where does that leave immigrant workers?

We won’t be able to protect everyone from climate change. Policymakers must prioritize: “Town or country, front rooms or farmland?”

Surprising discoveries

Online searches for Quaaludes have spiked. That’s the power of The Wolf of Wall Street.

The S&P 500 will have 501 members. Just temporarily, due to Google’s stock split (paywall).

The US exonerated a record number of convicted criminals last year. In a third of those cases, the crime wasn’t even committed.

There are only four emotions. Not the previously accepted six; gone are the distinctions between anger and disgust, and fear and surprise.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Quaaludes, and new emotional shadings to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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