What to watch for today
Argentina’s last gasp. Latin America’s third-largest economy will almost certainly default on its debt at the close of the business day, potentially wiping out its foreign reserves. Argentine economy minister Axel Kicillof has joined last-ditch negotiations in New York.
The US interest rate debate picks up again. The Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting is unlikely to alter rates, but investors will be looking for clues about future tightening. Keep an eye on the price of gold.
Will Sprint find a second wind? The fourth-largest US wireless carrier lost 2.5 million subscribers in the last 15 months, and investors will be hoping to see a turnaround (paywall) as it announces its quarterly results.
Synchrony Financial pulls in the big bucks. General Electric’s North American consumer finance arm is expected to raise over $3 billion, making it the biggest US debut this year. There are 25 companies going public in the US this week—the most in 14 years.
While you were sleeping
Ebola fears went global. Health authorities in the UK and Hong Kong quarantined passengers exhibiting possible symptoms of the virus after traveling from Asia, though they were later given the all-clear. A US citizen died of the deadly virus in the crowded Nigerian megacity of Lagos last week after taking two international flights.
A UN refuge was bombed in Gaza. The UN said an Israeli tank attack on one of its schools killed at least 15 Palestinians, after Gaza residents were told to seek safety there. Israel has accused Hamas of using schools as bases to launch rockets.
Businesses shrugged off Russian sanctions. Bank of Moscow said the latest round of penalties has had no impact on its business. Separately, Mastercard and Visa both reported that their businesses in Russia are operating normally.
Barclays’ results were less awful than expected. Second quarter profit fell 8% from the same period a year ago, but beat analyst estimates due to smaller declines in investment banking. The company is still struggling with the effects of scandals involving rate rigging and improperly sold loan insurance.
Amazon said it will pump $2 billion into India. The announcement came one day after Indian e-commerce start-up FlipKart, founded by former Amazon executives, raised $1 billion in fresh funding. Indian e-commerce is poised to take off as smartphone users get used to shopping online.
The UK poured cold water on ”the right to be forgotten.” An influential group in the House of Lords said allowing citizens to have information deleted from internet searches was ”wrong in principle.” Separately, former Formula One boss Max Mosley is suing Google for publishing photos of him cavorting with prostitutes (link SFW).
Nintendo slipped deeper into the red. The videogame giant reported a 9.9 billion yen ($97.1 million) quarterly net loss—a sharp reversal from an 8.6 billion yen profit in the same period last year. The company blamed weak demand for its Wii U console but said it would return to profitability later this year.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on how the Family Dollar/Dollar Tree merger embodies everything wrong with American capitalism. “The fact that these poor Americans—and the retailers that serve them—are doing so badly attracted the attention of some of the richest and best-connected investors in the world. Funds associated with the activist investors Nelson Peltz and Carl Icahn have snapped up significant chunks of Family Dollar in recent months—as has the hedge fund manager John Paulson.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
A three-day work week would make the poor poorer. The real issue is not time off, but a living wage.
A solar flare is the biggest threat to humanity. The electromagnetic pulse would be worse than an asteroid or nuclear war.
Israel’s strategic position can only get worse. But it is unlikely to negotiate from a position of strength in Gaza.
Modinomics is off to a bad start. The Indian prime minister’s attempt to stop a trade deal isn’t helping the economy.
Chocolate divides the world into beggars and gluttons. Most poor cacao farmers have never tasted the end product (video).
Insect larvae can make jewelry. An artist got caddis flies to build shells out of gold flakes.
The EU is underwriting Al Qaeda. The group operates a $66 million-a-year kidnapping business (paywall).
Preventing lion attacks? There’s an app for that. Smartphones and solar lighting are keeping predators at bay in Kenya.
Intergenerational trauma might be passed on by smell. That’s the result of a study involving a lot of scared mice.
The next hot group fitness class is inspired by Dutch speed-skaters. It has all the signs (paywall) of becoming the next Zumba.