What to watch for today
Another jab in the ribs for the ECB. New data from the euro zone will likely show that inflation has slowed to its lowest point in four years, supporting arguments that the European Central Bank needs to adopt more radical stimulus measures.
UK living standards turn around. Average weekly earnings are expected to rise 1.8% in the three months to the end of February, which would mean wages are rising faster than inflation for the first time in six years.
Russia and Georgia make nice. The two countries hold talks on the possibility of normalizing diplomatic ties, six years after Russian troops invaded the country. Russia is wants to forestall an accord Georgia and the EU are due to sign in June.
Economic tales from around the US. The US Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book, an anecdotal portrait of the US economy. Housing starts and industrial production are also due.
The end of tech’s slide. Google and IBM report first-quarter earnings that investors hope will staunch the recent, brutal tech stock sell-off that has only just started to ease. American Express, Tata Consultancy, and BHP Billiton also post results.
While you were sleeping
Chinese growth slowed. First quarter GDP rose 7.4%, compared with a 7.7% year-on-year rise in the previous quarter, due in part to a slowdown in the property market. The results beat expectations of a 7.3% rise, but added pressure on the government, which has forecast 7.5% growth for the full year.
A South Korean ferry ran aground. The vessel, carrying mostly high school students among its 476 passengers, was on its way to a resort island. A rescue effort is underway; one person has died and about 150 have been rescued so far.
Yahoo and Intel both had some good news. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, of which Yahoo owns 24%, reported a 66% jump in revenue. That suggests a $100 billion valuation may be justified when Alibaba goes public this year. Intel also reported decent earnings, as PC sales stabilized.
Twitter bought a data company. The social network paid an undisclosed sum for Gnip, which specializes in analyzing large data sets from social media companies such as Twitter, Reddit, and Foursquare. News of the deal, along with the hiring of a prominent Google executive, drove Twitter’s stock price up by 11%.
Coca-Cola got a pop. The soda company reported surprisingly good earnings, with help from sales in emerging markets, especially China, that are making up for declining US soda consumption.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on how more Americans may be moving to cities, hastening the death of shopping malls and logo clothing. “Cities have become more attractive places to live. Weakness in the economy could be prompting young families to delay a move to the suburbs. Regardless, the city renaissance could be having knock-on effects across the economy. And in retail, it might already be happening.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Starbucks defines urbanity. In China at least, it can indicate how developed a city is.
The emerging middle class is at risk. A global slowdown and rising inequality could push up to a billion people back below the poverty line (paywall).
Aircraft black boxes should be designed to float. They do on military planes, so why not civilian ones?
Parental involvement in education is overrated. Setting expectations matters more than helping with homework.
Infants cry to keep their parents from having sex. A new theory posits that crying forestalls the creation of an attention-stealing sibling.
What do you call a drone selfie? How about a “dronie”?
Parrots name their young. Chicks are assigned unique combinations of chirps and peeps that they use throughout their lives.
The most famous Thai food is Chinese. There is only one Thai ingredient in pad thai, which was popularized as part of a nation-building campaign.
Your veins are as unique as your fingerprint. They may be a more secure way of paying for things, because you don’t leave veinprints on everything you touch.