What to watch for today
Amazon unveils a 3D smartphone. The smartphone will be sold by AT&T in the US and will display 3D images without the need for glasses. But don’t be fooled; just like the Kindle, this isn’t about the hardware—it’s about giving Amazon a new channel to sell its services.
H&M reports a positive quarter. Hennes & Mauritz suffered tepid sales growth over the past year, but had a 19% increase in sales in May—investors will be looking for better profit margins as it announces its second quarter results.
Japan weighs the merits of gambling. Discussions begin on a bill to legalize casinos, which was submitted to parliament in December. Proponents believe it will boost tourism and bring in billions of investment dollars, but there are worries about crime and addiction.
GM’s boss takes the hot seat. General Motors CEO Mary Barra faces her second congressional hearing about the automaker’s slew of recalls—44 this year, covering 20 million cars (more than double its previous yearly record). Since Barra’s first appearance, GM has released a “deeply troubling” internal investigation report about the issue.
The Federal Reserve winds down its stimulus another notch. The US central bank is widely expected to knock a further $10 billion off its monthly bond purchases, following strong jobs data earlier this month.
Markit prices its IPO. The financial data company could raise up to $1.14 billion when it lists on the Nasdaq, selling shares at $23 to $25. That could give Markit a valuation of $4.47 billion.
World Cupdate. Australia v Netherlands (5pm BST), Spain v Chile (8pm), Cameroon v Croatia (11pm).
While you were sleeping
China’s property prices cooled in May. New home prices in 70 cities across the country rose an average of 5.6% in the year to May, the slowest growth in 13 months. On a monthly basis, prices rose in only 15 cities in May compared with 44 cities a month earlier. Beijing is trying to encourage banks to approve more mortgages.
Japan’s exports fell. Exports fell for the first time in more than a year in May by 2.7% on the year—a sharp drop in imports reduced the damage done to the country’s trade deficit though, which has been consistent for the past 23 consecutive months. The trade deficit in May stood at ¥909 billion ($8.9 billion), less than the forecast ¥1.17 trillion.
Adobe’s cloud investment paid off. The software company’s second quarter profits rose 16% on the year to $88.5 million, as more customers shifted to its cloud offering, which asks customers to pay a subscription fee to use Adobe’s creative software like Photoshop. In the second quarter 464,000 customers signed up, bringing the total number of subscribers to 2.3 million.
Putin and Poroshenko talked ceasefires. The presidents of Russia and Ukraine discussed the possibility of a ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine after a fire hit a gas pipeline between the two countries and a Russian journalist died in Ukraine. Ukraine’s government blamed “terrorism” for the second pipeline fire in six weeks.
Citigroup bought a Hong Kong office tower. The bank paid a record HK$5.4 billion ($697 million) for the largest-ever office transaction in Hong Kong—a 512,000 square foot skyscraper to bring most of its 5,000 staff under one roof. The purchase is a boon for Hong Kong, which is fighting against Singapore and recently Shanghai as the preferred place to do business in Asia.
An attack on World Cup fans in Nigeria. A suicide attack targeting football fans in the town of Damaturu, in Nigeria’s north east, caused several fatalities and “truckloads” of injuries. A second bomb is feared.
Fake antibiotics are fueling superbugs. Counterfeit antibiotics use is growing in almost every region of the world, increasing superbugs’ resistance to antibiotic drugs, a report from the World Health Organization states. Antibiotic drugs that do not fully kill bugs will eventually make them resistant to treatment.
Quartz obsession interlude
John McDuling on the troubling evolution of online piracy. ”Just as the entertainment industry thought it had figured out how to convince people to pay for content (basically, simple pricing structures and easy, well-designed interfaces), along comes a new wave of illicit file-sharing services designed to look like they are legal. These services are ‘a big switch from the past where there were popups, spammy, risqué looking sites,’ BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says in an email. ‘These look and feel legit.'” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Don’t ever call something ”disruptive” again. The word is completely over-used, and it doesn’t mean what everyone thinks it means.
“Obscene pay” at charities needs to stop. Either trim executives’ high pay, or revoke the organization’s tax-exempt status.
The US needs Iran to stabilize Iraq. And it shouldn’t get squeamish about allying with an “enemy” either.
We are in the golden age of attack tactics in soccer. That’s why more goals have been scored at this stage in the tournament than in any previous World Cup.
Net neutrality is a core part of what the internet stands for. Allowing companies to buy “fast lanes” for their traffic would stifle innovation and turn the internet into a feudal system.
It’s no surprise that Colombia’s left voted right. President Juan Manuel Santos stands for peace; his far-right militaristic opponent did not.
The UK housing market’s real crisis is hysteria. Prices are booming: everyone panic! Prices are falling: everyone panic!
Amazon’s secret gadget lab is working on a lot more than just 3D phones. But a thinner Kindle may be the coolest item.
Retirees are cooking meth. A California man used his room in his retirement home to make drugs.
The World Cup nabs criminals. A Mexican drug lord was arrested on his way to the tournament, after buying a ticket in his own name.
The most disgruntled bankers live in the Middle East. More than half of finance professionals in the region want to move jobs, compared to 43% in the US and 34% in Hong Kong.
Astronauts will have real coffee. The International Space Station is getting an espresso machine, the ISSpresso.
Last year’s must-have crafts product was rubber bands. What, you don’t have a Rainbow Loom bracelet yet?