What to watch for today
Sony’s profits plunge. Following three profit warnings in six months, Sony is set to post an annual profit drop of 90% (paywall) to 26 billion yen ($255 million), dragged down by weak sales, increasing competition in Asia, and costs from selling off its loss-making PC unit.
Britain’s jobs scene gets slightly less grim. Analysts expect the UK’s unemployment rate to drop from 6.9% to 6.8% for the three months to March, although there may not be much change for the 19.1% of jobless youth. Average earnings, which have been tightening for years, are set to have grown 2% in March (paywall).
The latest on Europe’s deflation risk. The Bank of England inflation report for May could shed light on when the central bank will raise interest rates, after UK inflation fell to 1.6% in March. French and Spanish inflation are set to inch up, although they’ll still be well below target.
Las Vegas bets on Japan. Gambling magnates descend on Tokyo for a three-day conference about the legalization of casinos in Japan, one of the world’s last untapped gaming markets, worth an estimated $40 billion in annual revenues.
Ukraine holds its first National Dialogue roundtable. The Ukrainian parliament opened the conversation about its current political crisis to “everybody who has legitimate political aims” and “those who don’t have blood on their hands.”
Mark Zuckerberg turns 30. The Facebook CEO is currently the world’s 22nd richest person according to Forbes. (He founded it when he was 20.)
While you were sleeping
Internet users got redacting power. The EU’s highest court ruled that Google must comply with people’s requests to remove personal information from searches, in a move that could change the information game and perception of privacy in the internet age.
Coca-Cola guzzled more coffee. The drinks giant will become the largest shareholder in Keurig Green Mountain, maker of the one-cup coffee pod machines, after it increases its stake from 10% to 16%. Coke hopes the investment will offset declining soda sales across the US.
US stocks reached record highs. Coca Cola’s shopping plans and other merger talks sent the S&P 500 through the 1,900 barrier for the first time. The Dow also closed at an all-time high of 16,716. Earlier on, Indian exit polls had boosted the Sensex to fresh highs too.
The Ukraine conflict went into space. In retaliation for sanctions over its annexation of Crimea, Russia said it would reject US requests to keep the International Space Station flying after the previously-agreed 2020, and banned the US from using Russian rocket engines for military satellite launches.
Brazil backpedaled on taxing soccer fans. Following pressure from large beverage companies, the government said its plan to raise taxes on beer and soft drinks by 2.25% won’t kick in until after the World Cup. It was due to take effect on June 1.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on why AT&T wants to get into the satellite TV business. “AT&T’s potential bid for the company is really about the US. It could bundle DirecTV’s video product (including the popular NFL Sunday Ticket packages) in with its mobile subscriptions and/or landline broadband access. Bundling is a strategy telecoms and other subscription-based businesses use to hold on to customers—it’s harder to end a relationship with a company when you are getting multiple services from it—as well as to drive growth. Yet prominent analysts have questioned the rationale behind this rumored transaction.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The Bank of England is in a bit of a pickle. It’s damned if it raises interest rates and damned if it doesn’t.
Hollywood is making distinctly average superhero movies on purpose. Growing budgets and shrinking audiences are making studios rely on adaptations and sequels.
Facebook’s shopping spree will turn it into a GE-like conglomerate. It’s part of the company’s—and Mark Zuckerberg’s—maturation.
The Indian elections are just like “Game of Thrones.” We’re talking strong personalities and ruling family dramas. No dragons or beheadings, though.
“So” is to Silicon Valley what “like” is to teenage girls. Putting the word at the beginning of a sentence communicates interest and evokes prior conversations.
London is Europe’s second most expensive place to buy housing. Following Monaco, after home prices rose some 18% in the year to February.
Apple likes to make announcements on a Tuesday. The reason is simple enough: the weekly review and planning meeting happens on Monday.
France is no longer the world’s biggest wine market. The US now is—although the average French consumer still drinks six times as much wine as an American.