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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Disney earnings, Shanghai’s correction, Goldberg’s death, abusive emoji

By Richard Macauley
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Greece keeps sweet-talking Europe… Government ministers are meeting European officials in Frankfurt and Brussels to continue discussing an interim deal between the country and its creditors. You can follow live updates of the meetings here.

…and Europe sweet-talks China. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, visits Beijing to begin a diplomatic push to bolster China-EU ties. China has been pretty successful at drawing in European countries to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a World Bank rival designed to undercut US influence.

Europe’s spring forecasts are here. The European Commission’s projections, an important indicator of the bloc’s economic health,  will include all 28 EU members as well as candidate countries and trading partners. Everyone is looking good, except perhaps Greece.

Kellogg and Disney earnings. Analysts expect the cereal maker to post a year-on-year drop in revenue and earnings. Disney’s earnings report was moved to Tuesday so that employees could attend the Monday funeral of SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg. His wife, Sheryl Sandberg, is on Disney’s board.

John Kerry in Djibouti. He will be the first US secretary of state to visit the east African country, where he will see a military base and discuss evacuating civilians from Yemen. Kerry was in Kenya on Monday, where he pledged new aid for the country and support in its fight against terrorism.

While you were sleeping

UBS’ profit surged… The bank’s first-quarter net profit rose 88% to 2 billion francs ($2 billion), well above an expected 1.1 billion francs, on a strong performance from its wealth management unit. Switzerland’s biggest bank also lowered the amount of cash set aside for fines as it nears a deal with US authorities over alleged foreign-exchange manipulation.

…and HSBC’s profit grew modestly. First-quarter pre-tax profit at Europe’s biggest bank rose 4% from a year earlier to $7.1 billion, on higher revenue from its markets operations. The profit increase comes despite a rise in regulatory and compliance costs (paywall).

Adidas beat expectations. The German sportswear company’s first-quarter operating profit rose 12% from a year earlier to €345 million ($384 million), higher than an expected €321 million, as outgoing CEO Herbert Hainer’s turnaround strategy started to take effect. 

Australia cut its interest rate to a new low. The central bank put its base rate at 2%, down from a record low of 2.25% earlier, after recent inflation data came in far below the bank’s target.

Russia’s manufacturing sector shrank. HSBC’s purchasing managers’ index was 48.9 in April, higher than March’s 48.1 but still below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Western sanctions and low oil prices are likely to cause a recession this year, but some confidence has returned as investors believe inflation may have peaked.

Chinese stocks took a dive. The Shanghai Composite index fell 4.1%, in a correction that was long overdue, after having risen by 120% in the past year. A recent sharp rise in margin purchases—using borrowed money to buy stocks—could pose a problem (paywall) if the market declines further.

Dave Goldberg’s tragic cause of death was disclosed. The Silicon Valley executive and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg suffered a fatal accident on vacation in Mexico last weekend. According to a spokesman for the local prosecutor’s office, the 47-year-old “fell off the treadmill” while exercising, dying of head trauma and blood loss.

Senegal pledged troops to support Saudi Arabi’s Yemen campaign. Foreign minister Mankeur Ndiaye said the country would send 2,100 troops to secure the Saudi border with Yemen, as Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of forces against Houthi rebels that have seized the Yemeni capital.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani asks whether Europe hates America—or just hates Google. “There is no doubt, whether in Brussels, Washington D.C., or Mountain View, California, that the Google antitrust case has taken on a political hue. But accusations of anti-Americanism in the context of this case would appear to be unfounded.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Politcial primaries

The US presidential primaries are a useless delusion. It makes no sense to allow the public to choose a presidential contender.

Kate and Will’s baby photos are dangerous propaganda. They simultaneously mask wealth inequality and reinforce the class system.

China’s migrant miracle is coming to an end. The country is at a crucial tipping point (paywall) that will lead to much higher wages.

Stop comparing Pamela Geller to Charlie Hebdo. Unlike the satirical French magazine, Geller deals in hate, not critique.

The “smart” gadget bubble is about to burst. There’s simply no need for smart forks, frying pans, and fart detectors (paywall).

Surprising discoveries

You can now listen to Thomas Edison’s talking dolls from 1890. They’re absolutely frightening (paywall).

Someone turned into a reminder of all the people she laid off. The presidential hopeful cut 30,000 staff during her time as head of HP.

Cambodia’s prime minister refuses to pay up on his Pacquiao bet. Hun Sen doesn’t agree (paywall) with the boxing match’s result.

Boring old vans are selling like hotcakes. Ford and other US manufacturers are benefitting from higher small-business confidence.

There’s a lake of bubbling lava on one of Jupiter’s moons. That makes Io the most active volcanic body in our solar system.

Microsoft has introduced a middle-finger emoji. It is the only company brave enough to support the symbol.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, even more insulting emoji, and ”Je Suis Pamela” T-shirts to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates throughout the day.

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