Quartz Daily Brief—Europe edition—Raising the Sewol, goodnight Nokia, Japan inflation, floppy disk Warhols

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What to watch for today

The attempt to raise the SewolSalvage experts will try to raise the ferry that sank last week off the coast of South Korea. At least 150 people lost their lives in the disaster and 100 others still missing and presumed dead.

The end of an era for Nokia. The $7.2 billion sale of Nokia’s handset business to Microsoft closes, but the company will still be forced to make phones in India for up to another 12 months.

Obama says sayonara. The US president will depart Japan, where his visit seems to have failed to push trade talks forward. He’s on to South Korea, where the neighbors to the north are doing a bit of sword-rattling.

Global news on automobiles. Honda, Ford and Kia all announce quarterly earnings. Analysts will be eager to hear details about a reported leadership transition at Ford, where rescue-whiz Alan Mulally is expected to retire.

A test of nerve for the Banco de México. Economists expect the central bank to hold interest rates steady despite signs of an economic slowdown, which have pushed down the peso.

It’s shopping time in America. The final reading of US consumer sentiment in April from the University of Michigan will shed light on whether the mood is warming up after a brutal winter. Preliminary readings suggested spending could continue to improve.

While you were sleeping

Japan inflation grew at the fastest for 22 years… Consumer prices rose 2.7% in April from a year earlier, the largest rise since 1992. The tax increase is named as one reason for the price increase, as well as a year of unprecedented stimulus.

… while its stimulus helped ASEAN nations, not its own. Businesses in Japan don’t need the new money flooding the economy from the Bank of Japan, one HSBC economist says. Instead, the money is being used to invest in ASEAN economies instead (paywall).

Bank of America may have to pay out $13 billion. US prosecutors are seeking damages for the lender’s sale of bonds backed by home loans in the pre-2008 period. The payout would come on top of a recent $9.5 billion payout the bank made to resolve Federal Housing Finance Agency claims.

Carlos Slim’s conglomerate’s profits rose. Grupo Carso, which spans construction, real estate, retail, oil, and more, reported a 21% rise in profits despite a 4.5% dip in revenue for the first quarter this year. Profits to March rose to $128 million. Slim’s biggest business, America Movil phone company, will report results next week.

John Paulson declared Puerto Rico the Singapore of Caribbean. The billionaire hedge fund manager is looking at building high end developments for other billionaires hoping to benefit from tax laws. Paulson and Co. plans to invest $1 billion in Puerto Rico.

OAO Gazprombank readies itself for sanctions. The bank is a potential target for US sanctions if Russia does not show evidence it is trying to deescalate the Ukraine crisis. Vnesheconombank, another major lender, could also be hit.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jason Karaian on how pessimism is the secret to German success. “German executives are almost always less confident in the future than they are in the present. Since 2004, the index for future conditions has been lower than the one for current conditions nearly three-quarters of the time. In recent history, only during the darkest days of the global financial crisis did German managers think that conditions tomorrow would be better than today. Pessimism about the future looks like an ingrained personality trait.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Dove thinks women are stupid. The latest advertising campaign is patronizing and manipulative.

More video games should embrace “permadeath.” If the game ends when you die, it encourages caution and patience.

Larry Page is the Steve Jobs of Google. But Google’s investors were right to ignore him early on.

China’s telecom giant doesn’t need the US. Being shut out from a the world’s largest economy hasn’t really hurt Huawei’s bottom line or growth prospects.

Se necesita médicos. The US needs more Hispanic medical students to help serve the country’s largest minority group.

Surprising discoveries

You will eat your powdered peas. Big food is going gangbusters for plant protein.

The internet is a “CIA project.” That’s what Vladimir Putin thinks anyway.

Don’t throw away those old floppy disks. Researchers have extracted some undiscovered Andy Warhol works from a floppy disk from 1985.

Vietnam is Apple’s hottest market. Sales in the communist Southeast Asian state tripled during the first half of Apple’s fiscal year.

It gets better with time. Men hold on to underwear for an average of seven years.

Speed-reading apps are great for speed. For reading comprehension, not so much.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dusty floppies, and pea  soup recipes to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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