What to watch for today
A space mission comes down to earth. Three astronauts who were stuck at the International Space Station for an extra month due to a rocket failure will return home by way of a parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan.
US retail sales. Analysts expect a 1.1% rise in May, which would bolster signs of an economic uptick after last week’s strong jobs report.
Carrerfour explains its global strategy. Shareholders at its annual meeting will want to know exactly how the France-based supermarket chain plans to deal with the rising trend for ultra-cheap retail, as perfected by rivals Lidl and Audi.
While you were sleeping
Jawbone took Fitbit to court, again. The fitness-tracker maker alleged that rival Fitbit infringed on its patents (paywall), and is calling for a halt to sales. It might also approach the International Trade Commission to prevent exports by Fitbit, which plans to IPO as soon as next week.
Barack Obama confirmed extra troops in Iraq. The US president said 450 military advisors will be sent to train Iraqi forces to better fight ISIL militants, at Iraqi prime minister Haider Al-Abadi’s request. The troops will base in Anbar province, the capital of which is controlled by Islamic State militants.
Delta agreed to buy 60 Boeing aircraft. The US airline put in an order for 40 737-900ERs and 20 Embraer E190s, both single-aisle planes. The latest agreement brings Delta’s Boeing order book to 140, and will allow the airline to replace planes for the next four years.
South Korea cut its interest rate to a record low… The central bank reduced the base rate to 1.5% amid fears that the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome could damage its economy. Nine have died from the disease so far, and some countries have introduced travel warnings advising citizens not to take unnecessary trips to the nation.
…As New Zealand cut its rate for the first time in four years. Central bank governor Graeme Wheeler unexpectedly reduced the base rate to 3.25%, from an earlier 3.5%, in an attempt to raise inflation levels. Wheeler said further easing could be possible as the bank tries to bring inflation to its 2% target; some analysts foresee a second and third rate cut this year alone.
Australian unemployment fell to a 12-month low. Government figures showed 42,000 jobs were created in May, beating expectations of 15,000 jobs and bringing the unemployment rate down to 6% (paywall). That’s good news for those worried about the impact of a declining mining sector.
Quartz obsession interlude
Melvin Backman on tectonic shifts in the energy sector: “Thanks to controversial fracking techniques and massive investments in shale, the US has raised its oil output dramatically. It now produces more of the stuff than Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1991—a fact that gives an extra edge to the two countries’ battle for energy supremacy.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Electricity is just about everything in Africa. Former UK prime minister Tony Blair argues it is the precondition for success.
All entrepreneurship is “social entrepreneurship.” Stop demonizing capitalism, all business provides a social good.
It’s time for central banks to abandon 0% interest rates. The strategy has outlived its usefulness.
We need a standardized “best before” system for our food. Far too much edible food is thrown out due to freshness confusion.
Children from poorer families are more altruistic. There are signs that this may make them healthier too.
The CEO of JPMorgan wants to mansplain banking to Elizabeth Warren. Jamie Dimon doesn’t think the ex-Harvard professor ”fully understands the global banking system.”
More than 5,000 streets in Russia are named after Lenin. Only one bears the name of Vladimir Putin.
US-Cuban diplomatic relations are trickling into fashion. Fidel look-alikes are showing up in magazine spreads.