What to watch for today
Mario Draghi leaps into action. With the prospect of deflation looming and unemployment stubbornly high, the hawkish European Central Bank is expected to turn dove by adopting a negative-interest rate policy.
Hollande and Obama have a tête-à-tête. As the US considers a $10 billion fine for BNP Paribas, the French president will have a private dinner with his US counterpart to commemorate the anniversary of the D-Day landing. BNP is suspected of breaking US embargoes on trade with Iran.
…But avoid a ménage à trois with Putin. François Hollande better skip dessert—he has another D-Day dinner two hours later with the Russian president, making him the first Western leader to meet individually with Putin since the Ukraine crisis began. France has been more cautious than other NATO members about sanctioning Russia.
More US jobs data. The latest tally of unemployment benefit recipients will lay the groundwork for Friday’s official measure of US employment. Here’s what to look for.
While you were sleeping
Sprint and T-Mobile dialed in on a merger. The companies are close to a deal that would have Sprint pay up to $32 billion in cash and stock for the fourth-largest US mobile carrier. Softbank, Sprint’s controlling shareholder, will also have to convince skeptical US regulators that the deal won’t hurt wireless competition.
Softbank unveiled a humanoid robot named Pepper. Taking a break from T-Mobile dealmaking, Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said the robot’s ability to read human emotions would make it useful in customer service and caring for the elderly.
Let’s just agree there’s a UK housing bubble. House prices rose an astonishing 3.9% in May, according to mortgage lender Halifax. Analysts expected a rise of just 0.7%.
WhatsApp called US growth “a challenge.” Co-founder Brian Acton, in his first public comments since his messaging company was acquired by Facebook, said WhatsApp could also “have been more successful with a little bit more effort” in Japan and Taiwan.
Ritz-Carlton defied the China downturn… The company is building 20 hotels across the country, as it wagers that the luxury market will withstand both a slowing economy and a government crackdown on corruption.
…And Rémy Cointreau toasted a hopefully better future. The cognac maker’s profits fell by half last year in the wake of China’s anti-corruption drive, but it expects growth to return after it reduces inventory levels.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on how Time Magazine’s ludicrous corporate history explains the US economy. “Those transactions also reflect some of the epoch-defining trends in both the media business (the rise and fall of print, the internet) and the financial industry (M&A fever, the dot-com boom and bust, conglomerate empire building, and subsequent value-driven breakups) since then. Friday’s return also means that, for at least the next few months, there will be three Time-related companies trading in the US equity markets, no doubt leading to great confusion for casual observers of the stock market.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China needs more do-gooders. If you find yourself in trouble, good samaritans are in short supply.
Walmart is bad for moms. The retailer’s low salaries and erratic salaries take a disproportionate toll on working women.
Better healthcare means reviving the house call. Sending doctors to patients could prevent costly hospital admissions.
High-skilled immigrants create jobs for Americans. Cities with the most foreign tech workers created the most new tech jobs for natives.
Judging a book by its human-skin cover. “Anthropodermic bibliopegy” was common in the 16th century.
China is bulldozing its mountains. Flattening out China creates more land for development, but also massive environmental problems.
108 countries do a better job vaccinating against measles than the US, including Bangladesh and Uzbekistan.
Corporations rely on North Korean gold. Hewlett-Packard and Ralph Lauren indirectly use precious metal smelted by Kim Jong-un’s central bank.
Pickle jars are the wrong shape for human hands. At least, that’s the excuse you can use.