What to watch for today
S&P reaches another settlement. The ratings agency that issued AAA ratings to securities backed by dodgy mortgages will pay $125 million to the California Public Employees Retirement System, the US’s largest pension fund, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).
Italy swears in a new president. Sergio Mattarella, age 73, is replacing 89-year-old Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned last month because of his age. Mattarella, who was nominated by prime minister Matteo Renzi, is known for putting the screws on organized crime after his older brother was killed by the Mafia.
A large helping of earnings. Companies reporting quarterly results include BP, Disney, Banco Santander, Chipotle, and LVMH.
While you were sleeping
Uber and Google crossed swords. Uber is moving into Google’s turf by starting an autonomous car research project with Carnegie Mellon University. Meanwhile Google, an investor in Uber, is entering the ride-sharing market with a test offering of its own, according to Bloomberg.
Australia cut interest rates. The Reserve Bank of Australia reduced its benchmark interest rate to 2.25%, matching an all-time low. It expects unemployment to rise as commodity prices fall, and domestic demand remains sluggish.
Lenovo beat expectations. The Chinese electronics maker reported a quarterly net income of $253 million, well above analyst expectations of $200 million. The acquisition of Motorola doubled Lenovo’s smartphone sales, which now make up a quarter of the company’s total revenue.
RadioShack’s future hangs in the balance. The American electronics retailer may sell half its stores to the US wireless operator Sprint and close the rest as a part of a bankruptcy deal, according to Bloomberg.
Obama’s budget rejected “mindless austerity.” The nearly $4 trillion budget request for fiscal year 2016 includes tax hikes for the wealthy and increases in military, education, child-care, and infrastructure spending. It also has an incentive plan for corporations to bring back billions from overseas tax shelters.
Quartz obsession interlude
Leo Mirani on the end of the Western world’s love affair with cars. “The majority of the world’s population now lives in cities. And young people are increasingly willing to stay there, unlike their parents, who flocked to the suburbs as their families grew. Nearly two-thirds of American ‘millennials,’ or people born after 1984, live in cities today and some 40% say they’re not leaving.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Work is so over. So many jobs will soon be automated that we should just pay people to do whatever they want.
Obama’s Israel strategy is backfiring. The US president is only bolstering Binyamin Netanyahu’s lead.
Motorcycles are a threat to public health. They pose a bigger threat to developing economies than malaria or AIDS.
Creditors should forgive Greece’s debt—for the children. The unemployed youth can’t pay it back.
America’s founding fathers wouldn’t approve of anti-vaxxers. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first to vaccinate Americans.
YouTube can teach robots to cook. Researchers had them watch videos and imitate what they saw.
The father of Star Wars doesn’t like modern sci-fi. George Lucas says today’s movies are “more circus than substance.”
The Queen of England is done with corgis. The world’s oldest monarch is afraid she’ll trip over a dog and hurt herself.
Previously-owned power plant for sale, free shipping included. German utilities offer tempting terms to offload their old plants.