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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Global banks, Federal Reserves, and Facebook

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

A big day for economic data. Taiwan and Russia report GDP data, Japanese weigh in on industrial production, and how many Germans are jobless again?

A big day for banks too. Japan’s Mizuho and Softbank, Spain’s Banco Santander, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank all report earnings.

Not such a big day for Royal Dutch Shell. High oil prices haven’t done much to offset the high costs of producing crude oil, which are likely to hold back the profits the oil giant reports in its earnings release.

How UPS is faring without TNT Express. The parcels firm reports earnings and gives its latest read on how it will try to break into emerging markets. This marks the first results since the European Commission blocked UPS’s bid to take over Dutch delivery company TNT Express (a decision that has just been formally confirmed). Then again, a strong holiday season could bring the company record earnings for 2012.

BlackBerry spurns US, embraces UK. Research in Motion has announced that it is officially changing its name to BlackBerry and its stock symbol to BBRY in the US and BB in Canada. Today, the first phone in its BlackBerry 10 line—the Z10—will go on sale to customers in the UK, and in the Middle East and Canada in two weeks, but those in the US will have to wait until March. Check out what the Z10 looks like, and what we think it will do for RIM’s—sorry, BlackBerry’s—prospects.

While you were sleeping

Saipem stumbles. Shares of Italian energy-services company Saipem tumbled nearly 35% after the company chopped expectations for earnings and revenue in half, to investors’ fury. Energy-services stocks have been declining in general, raising questions about what was once seen as a strong industry.

US GDP shrank shockingly… Although the American economy grew by 2.2% in 2012, it looks like the last quarter was a doozy. Some investors blamed the bad number on cuts to defense spending, businesses’ preparations for the fiscal cliff, and Superstorm Sandy, but no US investor wants to be reminded of the last time the country’s economy shrank: the financial crisis in 2009.

… and the Fed said it would keep helping. The sudden slowdown no doubt prompted the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) to say that it will continue buying $85 billion a month in mortgage-backed securities and Treasurys, which it had promised to do until the economy improves.

Facebook brings in more money. Although the company’s profit dipped in the fourth quarter, the social media giant’s revenue rose from $1.13 billion to $1.59 billion and earnings per share came in higher than expected. Shares of the company slowly rallied in after-hours trading.

Quartz obsession interlude

Christopher Mims on BlackBerry’s bet to hang onto its business clientele: “The BlackBerry 10 operating system has a handful of core features that are highly evolved, business-centric re-conceptions of features that barely exist in iOS (the operating system for iPhones) and Android. Watching them in action, it seems credible that the company is delivering on its goal to make phones into little computers rather than simply ‘mobile devices.'” Read more here.

Matters of debate

“Regulators are idiots.” A London-based derivatives trader explains what most people don’t know about trading, the financial sector, and regulations.

Goldman braces for bond market bubble. Goldman’s two top executives warn that the end of the bubble is nigh.

Then again… Someone is always warning that a bond bubble is nigh. (And OK, they might even be right this time.)

The EU could use a little kick up the backside. British prime minister David Cameron’s half-baked threat to leave the union at least prompted a much-needed discussion.

Surprising discoveries

How a sex scandal brought Twitter to Germany. And spawned the meme #aufschrei.

Beer might help treat diabetes or cancer. It’s all about the hops.

The Kraken is real. An increase in sightings of mythically-proportioned squid might be an ecological warning sign.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, hashtag translations, and beer miracle cures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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