What to watch for today
A moment of truth for the ECB. Given euro-zone inflation just fell to 0.7%, the European Central Bank could cut its main lending rate today, but that would take it to zero—uncharted territory. It might also cut the deposit rate, already at zero, making it the first major central bank to dabble in negative interest rates.
LinkedIn’s continued growth. LinkedIn is set to report impressive fourth-quarter revenue growth of 44% to $438.3 million, as the networking site continues to increase both its number of users and its revenue per user. Earnings per share should inch up too.
AOL’s video success. AOL is the internet’s top display-ad company, and investors will look at how well it’s now monetizing video; this is the company’s first earnings report since it acquired Adap.tv and sold some of its less profitable assets. Earnings per share are predicted to rise.
General Motors steers to Asia. Analysts expect a big increase in GM’s fourth-quarter profit, on revenues of $41 billion, thanks to strong sales of upgraded models in the US and China. Key will be GM’s plans to minimize its losses in Europe and grow in Asia’s luxury market.
Get your hands on the pope’s metal. Pope Francis’s motorbike goes up on the Bonhams auction block today, where it is expected to fetch $21,000 for charity. OK, so His Holiness might not have actually ridden the Harley Davidson, but his signature is on the gas tank.
While you were sleeping
Google pacified antitrust complaints. Google avoided a $5 billion fine by agreeing to change the way it displays competitors’ links in search results. That ends a three-year spat with EU regulators, triggered when companies including Microsoft claimed Google was unfairly promoting its own business.
Mexico got a Moody’s upgrade. The ratings agency boosted Mexico’s sovereign debt to A3, citing recent reforms. That makes Mexico and Chile the only two Latin American countries to hold an A-class rating. (A3 is still six levels below Moody’s top grade, Aaa.)
The probe into rate-rigging deepened. New York’s financial watchdog has reportedly jumped into the global investigation into exchange-rate manipulation, demanding documents from over a dozen large banks. Here’s a rundown on the scandal so far, which the UK’s financial regulator has called “every bit as bad” as the Libor affair.
Twitter’s first-ever earnings were a mixed bag. The bad news: The social network’s user growth has stalled and those who do use it are using it less often. The good: It’s making more money per user, and 75% of it on mobile, which is even better than Facebook.
Coca-Cola wants a Coke machine in every home. It’s buying 10% of Green Mountain Coffee, which makes the Keurig coffee machine and is developing the Keurig Cold, a device that will churn out cold beverages using one-off pods like an espresso maker.
A big drugstore ditched tobacco. Come October 1, CVS will be the first US drugstore chain to take tobacco products off its shelves. Its CEO called cigarettes “inconsistent” with CVS’s objectives as a health store—but it probably has as much to do with tobacco becoming less profitable.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on the wider repercussions of China’s housing downturn. “A slowdown would mean that real estate developers, many of whom borrow through shadow finance channels, would struggle to pay back retail investors who effectively loaned to them via wealth management products (more on those here). A lot of that investment has flowed one way or another through China’s shadow banking system, the unregulated credit that allows banks to shunt loans to dodgy borrowers. But the threat to China’s financial system is much broader than that.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Cupertino could be the next Detroit. Like Detroit and cars, the Californian city leans too heavily on one industry.
Microsoft’s new CEO is not deserving of India’s national pride. Satya Nadulla has scaled America’s corporate ranks, but other South Asians are doing much more for society.
It’s just a matter of time before US companies stop making PCs. They’ll move to higher-margin products, leaving Asian manufacturers to their locally-sourced PC parts.
Emotions are a useful bargaining tool. They’re crucial in knowing yourself and empathizing with your opposition (paywall).
South Korea is running a kimchi deficit. Imports outweighed exports by $28 million last year.
Silicon Valley is a boys’ zone. Over 43% of its top companies don’t have any female directors.
The key to being popular on Facebook. Never post about politics.
Mrs Murdoch’s secret crush. Murdoch’s ex-wife, Wendi Deng, had a thing for Tony Blair.
The town that takes its sleep seriously. Germany’s Bad Kissingen wants to base its daily routine around its citizens’ natural sleep patterns.