What to watch for today
More violent protests in Ukraine, Thailand, and Venezuela. Protesters in Kiev are mounting “scorched earth tactics” to fend off police. Protesters outside of Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s temporary offices may create another flashpoint for gun battles with police. And Venezuelan demonstrators hope the arrest of their leader, Leopoldo Lopez, will galvanize the anti-government movement.
More jobs in the UK, but what kind? The unemployment rate will be subject to extra scrutiny, after falling recently to 7.1%, forcing the Bank of England to reassess its interest rate target. But a lot of those newly employed people are actually underemployed or underpaid (paywall).
Tesla’s supply and demand. The electric car company has already pre-announced stellar fourth-quarter sales, so investors will be looking for details about a new battery factory and second production line to ensure Tesla can keep up with surging orders.
Why the Fed voted for further tapering. The US central bank releases minutes from its January meeting, which should show how the emerging market selloff factored into the decision to cut another $10 billion from its bond-buying program.
The meeting of the Three Amigos. The American, Canadian and Mexican presidents meet in Toluca, Mexico to discuss trade, security, and the $5.4 billion US-Canadian Keystone pipeline.
While you were sleeping
China is playing hardball with Qualcomm. The US technology firm is facing a Chinese antitrust investigation (paywall) that could result in hefty fines unless it agrees to relax pricing for 4G mobile phone networking equipment.
Samsung’s possible break with Android. The company will reportedly announce a new version of its maligned Galaxy Gear smartwatch without Google’s free operating system, using an open-source alternative.
The US minimum wage dilemma. Raising the minimum hourly salary to keep up with inflation would result in fewer poor working families—but also fewer jobs overall.
China is training for a “short, sharp” war against Japan. The US Navy says Chinese forces are practicing amphibious assaults in case of hostilities over disputed islands.
Herbalife raised forecasts. The direct-sales nutrition firm’s sales in China more than doubled, so it raised its earnings projections—despite a looming Chinese investigation into the industry.
Coca Cola’s profits lacked fizz. The soft drinks giant posted a 8.4% profit decline in the fourth quarter, dragged down by weak sales in North America, where people are turning away from sugary drinks.
Nestle’s Hot Pocket recall. An unknown number of ”Philly Steak” and “Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese” microwaveable meals may have been tainted by a US beef supplier accused of processing diseased and unhealthy animals.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on how a wave of buy-outs could save India’s ungainly telecoms market. “[E]ven with 886 million subscribers between them, Indian mobile network operators struggle to turn a profit… There are many reasons for this, among them the fact that most Indian subscribers are poor and spend on little apart from voice calls and texts. But the biggest culprit is competition: Far too many mobile operators compete in diverse areas of the country for scraps of the market. Few telcos can boast all-India coverage. And while this is great for consumers, it’s unsustainable for the industry.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Abenomics is off-target. The central bank’s 2% inflation goal is virtually unreachable, since the value of the yen isn’t falling fast enough.
Cyprus’s bailout didn’t solve its money laundering problems. The island is still a destination for rich Russians trying to hide their cash.
We’re underestimating the cost of climate change. The economic models are flawed, just like the ones that failed to foresee the 2008 financial crisis (paywall).
It’s a good time to be a dictator. Despite knowing more than ever about human-rights abuses, the world is too apathetic and weary to act.
Financial markets love breakfast. Prices for commodities such as coffee, oats, bacon and orange juice are rising.
India has racist crayons. A man is suing Hindustan Pencils for marketing a peach-colored crayon as “skin color.”
What goes on behind closed doors at a Wall Street secret society. Basically everything you’d expect.
Google Maps missed a spot. As far as the internet is concerned, Cranberry, Pennsylvania, doesn’t exist.