What to watch for today
Warren Buffett’s biggest deal ever. Berkshire Hathaway is expected to announce that it’s buying Precision Castparts (paywall), which makes airplane parts and other industrial components, for more than $30 billion. The deal checks off all the boxes for a classic Buffett acquisition.
The trial of a journalist held in Iran nears its end. The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian, who’s been detained for over a year on charges of espionage, may soon learn his fate. According to the Post, a final hearing is to take place today, but it’s not certain how long it will take the court to reach a verdict.
Hertz reports a tough quarter. The car rental giant is expected to detail a drop in second-quarter revenues, due to a fall in the number of tourists traveling to the US (many are turned off by the strong dollar). Analysts will be looking for whether the company alters its full-year forecast.
Will Greece seal a bailout deal? A Greek official told Reuters he believes negotiations over a much-needed bailout could be finished as early as tonight; a senior German official wasn’t so sure.
Earnings in the food industry. Kraft Heinz will announce its first earnings since the two companies completed their merger last month. Sysco, the world’s largest food services and distribution company, will also report, as well as Shake Shack.
Over the weekend
Shots were fired as Ferguson remembered the killing of Michael Brown. Police shot a young man who they say opened fire on another member of the public and the police, near a protest to remember the police killing of an unarmed black teenager a year ago. That protest also became violent later in the evening, and tear gas was used to disperse crowds.
Turkey was hit with a wave of attacks. A bomb went off in Istanbul, and two men opened fire outside the US consulate in the Turkish capital. Four police were also killed by a road bomb in the Sirnak province, and gunmen gunmen killed one soldier when they opened fire on a military helicopter.
Gazprom reported a sound profit. The Russian energy giant’s fiscal first-quarter profit rose to 382 billion rubles ($5.9 billion), up 71% from a year earlier. Gazprom benefitted from a cheap ruble, which offset the low price of gas; the company said it may reduce its production to a record low this year.
More problems for China’s manufacturing industry. China’s producer price index fell 5.4% in July from a year earlier, the biggest fall in six years and the 40th consecutive month of price declines. The drop, following an 8.3% fall in demand for exports, will add yet more pressure to the central bank to increase stimulus measures.
HTC’s market cap hit a dangerous low. The Taiwanese smartphone maker’s market capitalization fell to NT$47 billion ($1.5 billion) in early trading, less than the $NT47.2 billion cash it holds in its accounts. That suggests the company is perceived to be basically worthless by investors, as competition from Samsung and Chinese brands squeeze the company out of the smartphone market; it ended the day with a market cap of NT$47.6 billion.
Japanese consumer confidence took a tumble. Shoppers’ outlook fell to 40.3 in July, from 41.7 in June, signalling a potentially slow start to the third quarter. That could add pressure on the central bank to increase its stimulus, aimed at raising inflation to 2%.
A typhoon killed 14 in southeastern China. Typhoon Soudelor cut across the Fujian and Zhejiang provinces on Saturday, after causing seven deaths in Taiwan. Xinhua reported that more than 180,000 people were evacuated from their homes to avoid flash floods.
A suicide bomber attacked Kabul airport. The target of the blast was a convoy of armored cars; local media reports that casualties are expected, but officials are yet to publish any details. The attack comes after more than 35 people were killed in separate bombings across the capital in the past few days.
Quartz obsession interlude
Matt Phillips on Germany’s ascendant economy. “German capitalism traditionally commingled elements that seem impossibly antithetical to outsiders: muscular unions and corporate efficiency; high-cost workers who can compete in global manufacturing; generous unemployment benefits and low levels of unemployment; and a fragmented base of independent small-and-medium manufacturers—the Mittelstand—able to compete on the highest levels of productivity and efficiency.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Stores should ditch “men’s” and “women’s” sections. Clothing should be genderless.
South Korea’s economy is a hostage to family feuds. President Park Geun Hye has failed to curb the influence of massive family-run conglomerates.
Violence is inherently human. To prevent it, we need to better understand the human motivations behind violent acts.
We have nothing to show for a year of fighting ISIL. The unofficial war has been a tragic waste, and has no end in sight.
There’s simply too much television to watch. So says John Landgraf, head of FX Networks.
Astronauts are about to eat the first food grown in space. On the menu: a type of red romaine lettuce, called “Outredgeous.”
Famous Instagrammers are using subliminal product placements. You can buy the items featured in their glamorous lives.
Baidu wants to build a medical robot. The Chinese search company hopes it will one day live in the doctor’s office.
Orange wine is the new rosé. It has the body of red wine and the refreshment of white—but contains no oranges.
Shakespeare may have been a fan of weed. Cannabis was found in tobacco pipes dug up from the playwright’s garden.
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