What to watch for today
Facebook’s shareholders are unlikely to “like” its annual meeting. Frustrated investors are pressing for a “one share, one vote” policy. But with two classes of shares, CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have to answer to them.
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 rise of 1.1% 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 French supermarket chain plans to deal with the rising trend for ultra-cheap retail, as perfected by rivals Lidl and Aldi.
While you were sleeping
Mulberry’s profit collapsed. The British maker of $1,500-plus handbags reported a 74% drop in pre-tax profits for the year to March, to £4.5 million ($7 million) on an ill-fated decision to raise its prices. That’s still slightly ahead of expectations of £4 million profit, and Mulberry says that a CEO change and its sub-$1,500 range of bags is bringing customers back.
Greek bailout talks began to sound constructive. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s government will apply ”higher intensity“ to its co-operation with international creditors after German chancellor Angela Merkel praised the Greek government’s intentions. Greek stocks jumped almost 6% in the morning, their biggest rise in four months.
China’s industrial output got a boost. Industrial production rose 6.1% in May from a year earlier, higher than the April increase and better than expectations. But analysts don’t see the government easing up on its stimulus measures this year.
Google unveiled an urban management company. CEO Larry Page said Sidewalk Labs will improve issues such as the cost of living, energy use, and transportation. Former Bloomberg CEO Dan Doctoroff, who is heading the company, explained that the business’s remit is wide open, encompassing technology through infrastructure.
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 Korea is subject to travel warnings from other countries.
…and 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 3.5%, in an attempt to raise inflation levels. Wheeler said further easing could be on the cards as the bank tries to bring inflation to its 2% target; some analysts foresee a second and third rate cut this year alone.
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.
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.
We need a standardized “best before” system for our food. Far too much edible food is thrown out due to freshness confusion.
Science labs should be segregated. We should bar old men from entering.
Lawsuits against governments are getting out of hand. Too many corporations are abusing the system.
Children from poorer families are more altruistic. There are signs that this may make them healthier, too.
The LA Dodgers got their name from Brooklyn street cars. When the team was based in New York, electric trolleys were quite deadly.
A company made an augmented reality flying machine. It lets you soar through virtual skies, like Superman.
More than 5,000 streets in Russia are named after Lenin. Only one bears the name of Vladimir Putin.
The thaw in US-Cuban relations is trickling into fashion. Fidel Castro lookalikes are showing up in magazine spreads.
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