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Quartz Daily Brief—Americas edition—Facebook reports, Windows 10 launches, Barclays earnings, Japanese moss viewing

What to watch for today

Global markets await the Fed. The US central bank ends its two-day meeting and will release a message that investors will pore over for clues of when it might begin raising the cost of borrowing. Rates have been near zero since December 2008.

David Cameron in Vietnam. The British prime minister’s swing through Southeast Asia is focused on expanding trade ties in a region where British companies do relatively little business. Cameron will also visit Malaysia in the midst of a deepening corruption scandal involving prime minister Najib Razak.

Facebook reports earnings. Bullish investors expect CEO Mark Zuckerberg to announce solid second-quarter growth, after a steep stock-market climb that has made his company more valuable than GE and Walmart. Revenue is expected to climb 38% to $4 billion due to stronger mobile and video ads.

Microsoft launches Windows 10. The operating system, released as a free upgrade, is winning largely positive reviews. Just for fun, the update includes a new version of the popular game Minecraft.

More earnings. Anthem, Booz Allen, Fidelity, Hilton, Humana, Marriott, MasterCard, Metlife, and PG&E are due to report results.

While you were sleeping

Barclays beat expectations despite higher fines. The British bank reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £1.85 billion for the second quarter, up 12% from a year earlier. Chairman John McFarlane promised to speed up the bank’s cost cuts, including shedding non-core assets, and scrapped its dividend target in the interests of retaining capital (paywall).

SpiceJet is mulling India’s largest plane purchase. The budget carrier is holding discussions with both Boeing and Airbus over an order for “more than 100” single-aisle jets, worth around $11 billion. SpiceJet currently owns Boeing aircraft but leases two Airbus models—any deal would be its first purchase from the European plane maker.

Japan’s retail sales dropped again. Sales fell 0.8% in June, marking the third fall this year and adding to manufacturers’ problems caused by soft demand for exports. Some analysts now expect that Japan’s economy contracted in the second quarter.

Tate & Lyle met its meager expectations. The British food ingredients company announced its fiscal first-quarter trading puts it on track to meet its full-year target of £224 million in pre-tax profit. The figure is in line with its last year’s performance, but that’s hardly great news; profit last year was down 30% (paywall) compared with the year earlier, on increasing competition.

Indonesia’s consumer confidence hit a three-year low. A MasterCard survey found the export-heavy nation’s consumer confidence fell 25.8 points to 64.3 in the first half of the year, the biggest drop among 17 regional markets. Analysts have pointed to frustrations over the slow pace at which president Joko Widodo is improving the ease of doing business.

The US said it wouldn’t bail out Puerto Rico. Treasury secretary Jack Lew argued for changes to bankruptcy law (paywall) that would allow the US territory to restructure its debts to avoid a “costly” and disorganized battle with creditors. Lew added that no federal money will be spent to assist Puerto Rico, after it claimed it cannot afford to repay its $72 billion debts.

Quartz obsession interlude

Richard Macauley on how Japan’s companies are beating China’s in overseas M&A. “According to Dealogic data, between 2005 and 2015 year-to-date, companies in Japan and China spent $590.3 billion and $568 billion, respectively, either merging with or acquiring international companies. These figures include Hong Kong companies in the China category—if they were stripped out, China’s overseas acquisitions would fall even farther short of Japan’s.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

It’d be more worrying if robots weren’t taking your job. That would signal a stagnation in general productivity.

Stop capitalizing the word “internet.” It’s technically a proper noun, but nobody thinks of it that way.

We have reached peak vinyl—again. The format’s unlikely resurgence has gone too far, and a downturn is imminent.

David Cameron’s call for transparency is hypocritical. The UK’s parliament is horribly corrupt.

Turkey’s Syria policy is a disaster. Airstrikes against ISIL and the Kurds are proof of its failure.

Surprising discoveries

Ukraine has blacklisted Gerard Depardieu. The French actor, who holds a Russian passport, championed Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The internet is using Yelp to attack Walter Palmer. The dentist who hunted Zimbabwe’s beloved lion is facing inventive negative reviews.

Conformity is the secret to ants’ heavy lifting. Scientists figured it out by watching the insects carry Cheerios.

The Vikings settled Greenland in search of ivory. Walrus tusks, not farmland, were the priority for the Nordic invaders.

Japan’s latest craze is moss viewing. The key to appreciating moss is getting down to its level.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, walrus tusks, and Yanis Varoufakis’s suggestions for bailing out Puerto Rico to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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