What to watch for today
Volkswagen addresses its leadership crisis. The automaker’s board is meeting to formulate a plan after chairman and patriarch Ferdinand Piech escalated a power struggle over the weekend, telling German media that he had distanced himself from CEO Martin Winterkorn.
The penultimate UK election debate. Prime minister David Cameron won’t be taking part, but Labour party leader Ed Miliband will face off against four other candidates. The final debate (paywall) will take place on April 30, before the UK heads to the polls on May 7.
Virtu Financial goes public. The electronic trading company postponed its planned IPO last year after the Michael Lewis book “Flash Boys” raised questions about high-frequency trading. The IPO is expected to raise $314 million, valuing the company at $2.6 billion.
US earnings season continues. Companies posting their financial results include American Express, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Philip Morris International, and Mattel.
While you were sleeping
Ben Bernanke found the revolving door. The former Federal Reserve chairman scored a job at Wall Street hedge fund giant Citadel, where he will offer analysis of financial trends and meet with investors. Bernanke defended his new gig by noting that Citadel is not regulated by the Fed, and promised not to do “lobbying of any sort.”
McDonald’s Japan forecast sharp losses. The 49%-owned subsidiary expects an operating loss of 25 billion yen ($210 million) this year after a damaging series of food safety scandals, a costly french fry shortage, and fierce competition in the coffee sector. The company expects to return to profitability in 2016.
Indian companies dropped out of Facebook’s Internet.org. A group of prominent tech and media firms, including the owner of the Times of India, have curtailed their involvement in Facebook’s initiative to provide free access to certain websites in the developing world. Critics have accused Internet.org of violating net neutrality principles, which are currently under review by India’s telecom regulator.
Diageo fell short… Weakness in Asia-Pacific and Latin America triggered a 0.7% decline in the Smirnoff owner’s fiscal third-quarter organic net sales, versus an expected 2% rise. Diageo blamed inventory issues, corruption crackdowns, and currency fluctuations as it missed sales expectations in each of its regional businesses.
…While Unilever enjoyed an emerging-market rebound. Underlying sales at the owner of Dove soap and Lipton tea rose 2.8% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, as the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate managed to raise prices in emerging markets (paywall), and benefitted from a cheap euro and low oil prices.
iPhone sales helped Taiwan Semiconductor beat estimates. The company, a major supplier of chips to Apple, reported a 65% rise in first-quarter profit from a year earlier to T$79 billion ($2.5 billion). Taiwan Semiconductor also reported rising demand for devices connected to the internet of things.
GM received protection from ignition switch court cases. A New York judge saved the auto maker billions in potential payouts by ruling that plaintiffs could not sue the company for at least 84 deaths caused by an ignition fault because they predate its 2009 bankruptcy. Victims and their families argued that the company had known about the fault since 2001.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford talks China with ex-US Treasury secretary Hank Paulson. “It’s hard to think of a major challenge in the world today—whether it’s sustaining economic growth, dealing with climate change, maintaining peace and stability—that isn’t going to be easier if we’ve got the US and China working together, and that isn’t going to be more difficult if we have the US and China working at cross-purposes.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Google fell afoul of European values. The EU’s antitrust action is a reminder it protects competitors, not competition.
Humankind only gets one shot at civilization. Post-apocalyptic societies wouldn’t have enough fossil fuels for an industrial revolution.
Women need to leave Silicon Valley. Forget trying to fix a toxic work environment—go start your own thing.
Russia and the US aren’t always enemies. They’re working together quite nicely—for the most part—in the Middle East.
China’s economy is weaker than it looks. It claimed 7% first-quarter GDP growth, but other figures paint a gloomier picture.
Karl Lagerfeld has a nicer Apple Watch than you. Apple gave the designer an Apple Watch Edition with a custom gold band.
We are one step closer to the Terminator 2 robot. Chinese scientists created a shape-shifting liquid metal.
Hillary Clinton didn’t tip at Chipotle. Her staff left nothing in the jar during her meal in Iowa.
The Earth gives off a hum. Deep-sea ocean waves vibrate the Earth’s mantle, which gives off a constant low-pitched sound.
Future telescopes could be made of glitter. Clouds of reflective particles in space could act as lenses for looking at distant planets.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, post-apocalyptic rebuilding scenarios, and low-pitched Earth noises to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.