Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Alibaba earnings, yuan devaluation ripples, vaporized cocktails

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What to watch for today

Alibaba reports earnings. Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant is aggressively seeking business outside of China, and is having a harder time generating revenue domestically. Profits are expected to decline by more than 50% as the company invests in mobile internet and offline businesses.

Macy’s reports earnings. The biggest US clothing retailer is expected to post slightly lower revenues, due in part to lower handbag sales. Investors will also be looking for any potential moves involving the company’s massive real estate holdings.

New Delhi considers selling some of Coal India. The government may offload a 5% to 10% ownership stake in the state-owned firm. It sold 10% in January, for Rs 22,557 crore ($3.5 billion), and still owns 80 percent of the company.

The US delivers data on oil stockpiles. The weekly report on crude inventory could nudge prices back up, after benchmarks tumbled Tuesday in the wake of China’s yuan devaluation.

While you were sleeping

China’s currency kept on falling… The central bank lowered the yuan rate once more by 1.6% to 6.33 yuan to the dollar. Some accused China of devaluing its currency for a second time; it’s actually an example of the central bank following its more “market oriented” peg for the yuan (paywall).

…And luxury brands felt the pain. Shares of Burberry, Ferragamo, and LVMH, among several others, all slid after Beijing’s unexpected move to weaken the yuan, which will make imported luxury goods more expensive. Apple and Yum Brands are also expected to take a serious hit (paywall).

GE sold off another piece of its finance business. The conglomerate agreed to a $9 billion sale of its healthcare finance unit Catapult to the credit card company Capital One. The deal includes around $8.5 billion in loans, and helps GE in its target of shedding $100 billion in finance assets this year.

Turkey hinted at the use of ground troops in Syria. Prime minster Ahmet Davutoglu told the BBC he would like to see a no-fly zone over certain parts of Syria and didn’t rule out sending troops to end the violence. He also criticized the UN security council for not stopping the atrocities in Syria.

Japanese producer prices took a dive. Producer price inflation for July fell by 3% from a year earlier (paywall), its biggest tumble since 2009 and worse than expected. That came as export prices fell sharply and import prices crashed by over 10% compared with a year earlier, adding pressure on a central bank tasked with achieving 2% inflation.

Quartz obsession interlude

Nikhil Sonnad on Apple’s taste in music. “Apple is like your friend who’s really into music but not the one who’s really crazy. The top tracks on Beats 1 tend to either pair relatively obscure artists with musical celebrity like Drake or Kanye West, or they are indie stars with increasing mainstream appeal, like The Weeknd or Jamie XX.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Faith in science can become another form of religion. Both ends of the spectrum can lead to irrational extremism.

Foreign real estate buyers aren’t ruining your city. They’re only buying a small amount of property, and you’ll miss them when they sell.

Press releases can be more valuable than gold. Early access to market-moving information is the best way to insider trade.

Europe’s human rights ideals are paper-thin. The tenants it holds dear don’t apply to migrants.

The worst thing about life in Russia is dill. The national herb taints every plate of food.

Surprising discoveries

The universe is dying. New research indicates that all the stars in the universe are dimming, slowly but surely.

Londoners can now get drunk without drinking. A pop-up bar has a humidifier that lets patrons breathe in booze.

Google is helping the fight against ISIS. The company’s software is essential to coordination between US forces and Kurdish militias.

Venting just makes you angrier. Angry emails are particularly unhelpful, no matter who receives them.

Correction: In yesterday’s brief we erroneously mentioned that corruption in Nigeria was believed to have cost $150 million over 10 years; it is actually believed to have cost $150 billion.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, vaporized cocktails, and dill-heavy recipes to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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