Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—JP Morgan profits, China’s inflation, Obamacare resignation, hearable computing

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What to watch for today

Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras return to the US. The journalists will be stateside for the first time since they broke the story about NSA leaker Edward Snowden, in order to receive a Polk Award. Some in Congress have called for Greenwald to be prosecuted for his role in the Snowden affair.

The euro zone gets its only female central bank boss. Chrystalla Georghadji takes over as chief of Cyprus’ central bank (paywall), after her predecessor resigned following criticisms that he bungled the country’s international bailout. Georghadji faces the daunting task of restoring confidence in the island’s beleaguered banks and guiding the economy out of a severe recession.

JP Morgan’s profits fall… CEO Jamie Dimon has warned that fixed-income trading revenues could drop by 15% this quarter, prompting analysts to lower their earning estimates for the entire banking sector. Investors will be scrutinizing expenses from legal proceedings, and how JP Morgan plans to deal with rising interest rates and new regulations.

…While Wells Fargo’s rise. Wells Fargo’s earnings should suffer a smaller hit than JP Morgan’s, as less of its business relies on investment banking and trading. Analysts predict a 5% year-on-year increase in first-quarter earnings, despite a 3% revenue drop, and will be watching for how the mortgage specialist is faring in the wake of Fed “tapering.”

Finance ministers descend on DC. The IMF and World Bank’s spring meetings kick off in Washington, DC. High on the agenda will be international aid to Ukraine, China’s economic slowdown, and the Fed taper.

While you were sleeping

China has consumer inflation and producer deflation. The 2.4% year-on-year increase in consumer prices—which was higher than a 2% rise in February but still well below the government’s target of 3.5%—was driven by a rise in food costs. Producer prices fell by 2%, the 25th straight month of declines. Separately, People’s Bank of China vice governor Yi Gang said the government ought to be “very cautious” about introducing new stimulus measures.

Etihad wooed Alitalia. The Abu Dhabi-based airline met with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi to discuss buying 49% of the struggling Italian carrier, which has been kept afloat by a government bailout.

VW sales grew 7.6% in March. The year-on-year boost was driven by rising demand in Europe and China, which offset declines in the US and Brazil.

Sony’s laptops may catch fire. The company said VAIO laptop batteries are at risk of overheating and bursting into flames, and asked consumers to stop using the Sony Vaio Fit 11A convertible laptop—it has sold 26,000 of them.

Heartbleed was found in hard-to-reach places. The security bug affecting much of the internet is also present in networking equipment (paywall) from Cisco and Juniper Networks. While websites can easily tweak security software, flawed hardware might need to be replaced altogether.

Scotch fears independence. Scotland’s whisky industry, worth $7.2 billion in exports, came out against secession from the UK, saying it would make it harder to promote sales abroad if Scotland goes it alone.

The Philippines and Vietnam scheduled a playdate. The countries’ navies said they will meet up on a disputed island for beer and volleyball, in a sign of cooperation due to growing fears over China’s ambitions in the South China Sea.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on how the Heartbleed bug shows the weakness of a volunteer-run internet. “This software ‘is as close to a public good that you have,’ [Cloudflare CEO Matthew] Prince says. It’s open-source code managed by a foundation. While that has plenty of advantages, it also means the software is comparatively under-invested in by experts in the field and not as efficiently maintained—Prince describes it as a ‘spaghetti nest of code.’ It received less than $1 million in income from donations and consulting work last year.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

GM’s biggest problem isn’t recalls—it’s China. The country accounts for some 60% of the carmaker’s free cash flow, which is a bit of a worry if the economy keeps slowing down.

We read too much about productivity, and don’t actually do enough about it (nevertheless, read this first).

Today’s newborns may never drive a car. Within 20 years, self-driving cars will be the norm.

Jamie Dimon is getting rich off failure. What doesn’t kill JP Morgan makes the CEO’s bank account stronger.

Surprising discoveries

Actually, France didn’t ban post-6pm work emails. No law was passed, and only select workers with irregular schedules will be affected.

Sriracha hot sauce has been ruled a public nuisance. The city of Irwindale is giving its manufacturer 90 days to clear up its factory’s odor.

A papyrus mentioning Jesus’ wife has been deemed authentic. But the 1,000-year-old artifact doesn’t mean Jesus was actually married.

Caffeine boosts your sporting abilities. And it won’t get you busted for substance abuse.

The new new thing in wearable computing is hearable computing. Smart earbuds could be a $5 billion industry by 2018.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Heartbleed bug reports, and ”Save Sriracha” campaigns to—but s’il vous plait, no later than 6pm! You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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