What to watch for today
Comcast and Time Warner try to save their merger. The cable behemoths will meet with Justice Department antitrust officials who are reportedly planning to block the $42.5 billion deal, which would combine the two biggest US cable and internet service companies. If the deal is thwarted, there are more twists and turns ahead.
Petrobras comes clean. Brazil’s state-owned oil company will publish audited financial results for 2014 and disclose write-downs from its massive corruption scandal, which has already toppled senior management and sent shockwaves through Brazil.
Two Al-Jazeera journalists are back in Egyptian court. Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed stand accused of spreading lies to aid the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood leader who served briefly as Egyptian president, was jailed for 20 years.
A big day of earnings. AT&T, Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, McDonald’s, and Qualcomm are among the companies reporting quarterly results.
While you were sleeping
Yahoo fell flat. The internet company’s first-quarter net income fell 93% to $21.2 million from a year earlier, falling well short of estimates as the cost of attracting traffic wiped out revenue gains. CEO Marissa Mayer vowed to return Yahoo to being a “guide to the internet,” and said the company was considering selling its lucrative stake in Yahoo Japan.
Yum Brands’ China troubles began to ease. The owner of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut projected a strong rise in full-year earnings after its first-quarter like-for-like China sales showed evidence of bottoming out. Sales fell by a less-than-expected 12% from a year earlier.
Chipotle beat expectations despite a pork shortage. The burrito chain’s first-quarter net income rose 48% from a year earlier to $122.6 million, despite having to take pork shoulder off the menu at a third of its 1,800 stores. But same-store sales growth failed to meet expectations and the company warned of further damage to sales until it can bring back carnitas.
A UK man was arrested over the 2010 “Flash Crash.” High-frequency trader Navinder Singh Sarao was arrested in London for using an automated program to generate bogus sell orders that wiped out $1 trillion in value from US stock markets, netting Sarao $40 million in profit when prices recovered.
Japan posted its first trade surplus in three years. Imports fell by 14.5% and exports increased 8.5%, as a recovery in the US and the low price of oil helped boost foreign sales of Japanese cars and machinery.
Australia reported healthy inflation. Consumer prices in the first quarter increased by 1.3% (paywall) compared with a year earlier, and 0.2% on a quarterly basis, which was slightly higher than expected.
Kentucky police busted a ring of bourbon thieves. Nine distillery workers and their accomplices were indicted for stealing more than $100,00 worth of pricey booze, including highly sought-after Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.
Quartz obsession interlude
Grace Dobush on a ceremony that celebrates Germany’s fear of snooping. “Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards ‘prizes’ to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
John Deere is destroying the concept of ownership. The company claims customers only have an “implied license” to operate its tractors.
Elon Musk should see if Google still wants to buy Tesla. The electric car company may not reach profitability without Google’s help.
Pornography can be consumed ethically. But only if you pay for it.
Some 1.5 million American black men are missing. There is a staggering toll from imprisonment and early death.
One-way streets are bad for everything but speeding cars. They lead to more traffic accidents, higher crime, and lower property values.
There is a secret apartment in the Eiffel Tower. Architect Gustave Eiffel hosted friends including Thomas Edison in the sky above Paris.
Mecca will soon have a halal sex shop. Sensual oils and other items are designed to improve marital relations according to Islamic law.
Champagne used to be sweeter. Bottles from a 170-year-old shipwreck had three times as much sugar as today’s bubbly.
Foot cream may treat multiple sclerosis. Off-the-shelf anti-fungals promote cell growth in the myelin sheath that is damaged by MS.