What to watch for today
JPMorgan kicks off Wall Street’s earnings season. America’s largest bank by assets reports results for its year-end quarter. Investors will be curious to know how much longer JPMorgan will be dogged by legal issues, most recently related to foreign-exchange trading. Wells Fargo also reports quarterly earnings.
Economic data from the US. The Federal Reserve publishes its beige book, providing a collection of notes on the US economy that is expected to confirm its general return to economic health. The US Commerce Department will also report retail sales for December, which were likely flat due to cheap gas.
A shortage of pork at Chipotle. A third of the restaurant’s outlets will have no carnitas, after the company discovered violations at one of its suppliers, mainly concerning the proper housing of pigs. Chipotle doesn’t yet know when it can put the meat back on its menu.
While you were sleeping
The EU moved towards quantitative easing. The European Court of Justice issued a ruling that affirms the European Central Bank’s ability to buy unlimited amounts of government debt—provided that certain criteria are met (paywall). Central bank president Mario Draghi vowed to implement an “expansive monetary policy,” fueling market speculation that quantitative easing could be be announced next week.
French inflation fell almost to zero, and Italy went all the way. French consumer prices rose a scant 0.1% in December from a year earlier, though even that was higher than expected. Italy’s inflation rate fell to nil in December, from 0.2% in November.
Big tech settled an antitrust lawsuit. Google, Apple, Adobe, and Intel agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to end a lawsuit that accused the companies of illegally agreeing not to poach workers from each other. A judge had earlier rejected a $324.5 million settlement for being too low.
Charlie Hebdo’s new edition hit newsstands. The magazine is printing 3 million copies the week after Islamists shot and killed 12 people at its offices. The front cover features an image of the prophet Muhammad weeping, and is available in English, Arabic, and Spanish, in addition to its normal run of around 60,000 copies in French.
Etsy is planning an IPO… The online crafts and vintage shopping platform plans to raise $300 million when it lists its shares as early as this quarter, sources told Bloomberg. That would be the biggest IPO of a New York-based tech company since 1999.
…And so is a Chinese railroad giant. China Railway Signal and Communications, the country’s largest builder of rail traffic systems, plans to raise $2 billion when it lists in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg. China’s premier Li Keqiang has been touting the nation’s rail-building capabilities, and funding for projects at home is generous, ensuring healthy near-term profits for the state-owned enterprise.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve LeVine on the story of the year. “The key new conclusion that market analysts are reaching is that this oil price plunge is unlike previous ones. For one thing, it could last a lot longer, they say, because shale oil differs fundamentally from conventionally drilled petroleum. When an oil company drills offshore, for instance, there can be a five-year to a decade-long time lag between exploration and actual production. But with shale oil, the time lag can be just 12 months.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Chris Christie sounds like he’s running for president. The New Jersey governor aimed his state address at a national audience.
Libya will be the West’s next major problem. It’s just 300 miles from Europe, ISIL is there, and no one is paying attention.
To be American is no longer to be envied. Citizens from other countries are often dumbfounded by US shortcomings.
David Cameron’s internet policies are Putin-esque. And he has no idea what he’s talking about.
The New York subway doesn’t want you to dance or clip your fingernails. It is rolling out more posters dictating ideal behavior.
A record 97 skyscrapers were built in 2014. More than half of them are in China.
Glitter mail is the best revenge. An Australian company offers to ship it to your enemies.
You can play “Choose Your Own Adventure” on Twitter. The update to the popular children’s series is surprisingly cool.