Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—ECB’s uncharted territory, GM in Asia, Twitter’s maiden results, Sochi toothpaste threat

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What to watch for today

A moment of truth for the ECB. Euro-zone inflation has fallen to 0.7%, so the European Central Bank may cut its main lending rate today to zero—also know as uncharted territory. It might also cut the deposit rate below zero, making it the first major central bank to dabble in negative interest rates.

Toyota wage negotiations.  The carmaker is set to strike a deal with its labor union on pay, after posting a surge in profits due to the weakened yen. Japan’s inflation-adjusted wages have been falling steadily, hurting efforts to boost consumer spending.

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 and sold some of its less profitable assets.

General Motors steers to Asia. Analysts expect a big increase in GM’s fourth-quarter profit 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 expand in Asia’s luxury markets.

While you were sleeping

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.

Exchange-rate-gate is the new Libor affair. 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 scandal.

Google nabbed a mistrial. A federal judge declared a mistrial in Intellectual Ventures’s lawsuit over three Google smartphone patents, after jurors were unable agree on a verdict. Intellectual Ventures said it will retry the case.

A Coke machine in every home. Coca-Cola is 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 disposable pods.

A big drugstore ditched tobacco. CVS will be the first US chain to take tobacco products off its shelves, saying cigarettes were “inconsistent” with its health-focused mission. Not coincidentally, tobacco has become less profitable.

A scary Dreamliner emergency. An Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi was diverted to Kuala Lumpur after all three of its navigation systems failed.

Toothpaste became a threat in Sochi. The US issued a warning to airlines and the Russian government about the risk of bomb materials being smuggled into the Winter Olympics in toothpaste tubes.

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 the Motor City, it’s a one-industry town.

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.

Quora is the new press release. The platform allows an evolving narrative that can also be controlled.

Emotions are a useful bargaining tool. They’re crucial in knowing yourself and empathizing with your opposition (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

Gitmo’s torture music bill. A Canadian band has invoiced the Pentagon for $666,000.

How the Target hackers broke in: Through the refrigeration guy.

South Korea is running a kimchi deficit. Imports outweighed exports by $28 million last year.

The NYPD is beta-testing Google Glass. Stop, frisk and smile.

The key to being popular on Facebook: Never post about politics.

McNuggets come in four standard shapes. The ball, the bell, the boot, and the bow tie.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, spare kimchi, and torture playlists to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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