What to watch for today
Britain votes. Against the background of a slowing economy, the Conservative Party is likely to edge out Labour. But the Tories may not hold on to power: With no party expected to win an outright majority, it all depends who can cobble together a workable coalition. The anti-immigrant UKIP is likely to get thumped.
Alibaba earnings could be ugly. The Chinese e-commerce company reports quarterly results amid a slowdown in growth which has driven shares below their September IPO levels and cost investors $70 billion. CEO Jack Ma has instituted a hiring freeze and admitted that the company grew ”too quickly.“
The US Senate votes on Iran. Republicans expect that a bill that lets Congress review any nuclear deal will to pass resoundingly, despite sings signs last week that it might get torpedoed (inadvertently, by even more zealous Republicans).
While you were sleeping
Tesla’s quarterly loss widened. The electric car company reported a first-quarter net loss of $154.2 million, from a loss of $49.8 million a year earlier, but beat expectations on an earnings-per-share basis. CEO Elon Musk touted high demand for its recently-unveiled home batteries, which he described as having “gone super-viral,” and said the company’s cash flow should turn positive later this year.
Japan’s service sector rebounded. The Markit purchasing managers’ index returned to growth in April, rising to 51.3 from 48.4 in March. That puts the service sector back in expansionary mode, a welcome relief for a government trying to boost inflation and consumer spending.
Australia’s jobless rate rose. The number of employed people dropped by 2,900 in April, against expectations of a 4,000-person rise, despite the central bank lowering its base rate to a record-low 2%. The jobless rate rose to 6.2%, from 6.1% earlier.
Yemen called on the UN for ground support. The country’s ambassador to the UN cited a case in which Houthi rebels killed at least 32 people trying to flee Aden. The rebels, who have forced the president into exile, appear to be advancing on key sites despite Saudi Arabia-led airstrikes.
Binyamin Netanyahu formed a government in the nick of time. Six weeks after the election and an hour before the deadline, Israel’s prime minister managed to forge a coalition with last-minute support from the Jewish Home party. With just 61 of 120 Knesset seats, the heavily right-leaning government could be unstable and prone to clashes with the US and Europe.
Quartz obsession interlude
Shelly Banjo on a company that believes millennials will break America’s addiction to credit cards. “Affirm is a new type of online lender that lets shoppers buy things like televisions and mattresses from online retailers at the point of sale and pay for them over time through a set payment plan. Unlike with layaway programs, shoppers receive their goods right away.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Europe should open up to migrants. Open doors tend to be revolving ones (paywall) that supply economies with fresh labor.
China’s labor slowdown doesn’t spell the end. Productivity in the countryside can finally increase (paywall).
Don’t believe the hype about NASA’s warp drive. Interstellar travel is still too good to be true.
The “Africa rising” narrative isn’t very convincing. A lot of investors are lukewarm on the idea.
Academic peer review may do more harm than good. The slow, flawed process can undermine good science.
Millions of non-Brits can vote in today’s election. Legal UK residents from the Commonwealth or Ireland are welcome to participate.
A woman used a Pizza Hut app to end a hostage situation. She told her threatening boyfriend she was only ordering pizza.
Saudi Arabia has a secret speed metal band. Al Namrood members risk 100 lashes if they are found playing ”the devil’s music.”
It’s not only dictators who rule forever. Some US CEOs have been in their jobs for decades. (paywall).
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