Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Sour beer, Hagel’s hassles, Indian gold rush, House of Cards

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Good morning, Quartz readers!

What to watch for today

It’s PMI day! The latest data on the state of manufacturing in 23 economies around the globe—specifically, purchasing managers’ indices (PMI) for manufacturers—hit the wires throughout the day. Check out the release schedule here.

All eyes on oil. American oil companies ExxonMobil, Chevron, and oil engineering firm National Oilwell Varco; Russian oil giant Rosneft; and Canada’s Imperial Oil (which is controlled by Exxon) all report earnings.

Brazilian metals and mining powerhouse Vale gives a read on the Chinese consumer. The success of the world’s largest iron-ore producer and second largest nickel producer has a lot to do with the economic climate of the world’s largest commodities importer, China. We’ll get our latest read on the Chinese economy—and Vale—when the company reports earnings.

Another data deluge in the US. Changes in non-farm payrolls, unemployment, construction spending, and consumer confidence, and auto sales for January 2013.

Netflix builds a House of Cards. Netflix, which built its business on delivering other people’s content, takes a gamble with the release today of its  first own show: House of Cards, a $100-million TV series starring Kevin Spacey. In another gamble, it will simultaneously release all 13 episodes to its 30 million subscribers in 40 countries.

While you were sleeping

UK banks will shell out. The UK’s financial regulator says that Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland will start compensating customers for losses on interest-rate swaps they were “missold”—i.e., duped into buying under misleading pretenses.

America took the froth out of InBev deal. The US Justice Department filed a surprise lawsuit to halt Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $20.1 billion buyout of Grupo Modelo, a Mexican beer maker. The suit, a signal that the department won’t go soft on antitrust during Barack Obama’s second term, claimed that the merged group would have too much power over America’s beer market, raise prices, diminish innovation, and generally leave a bad taste in the mouth. 

ICICI Bank posted record earnings. Fourth-quarter profits at India’s largest non-state lender grew 30% year-on-year to $423 million, comfortably beating analyst estimates. Loans grew at 16%, the industry average.

Obama’s pick for secretary of defense was grilled by the US Senate. Chuck Hagel, a former senator and putative defense secretary, appeared before a skeptical Senate committee for his confirmation hearing. Senators spent eight hours questioning Hagel on his voting record and views on everything from the Pentagon’s budget to Iran’s support of his nomination. If cleared by the committee, Hagel will still have to be confirmed by a vote in the Senate.

An explosion rocked Mexico City. At least 15 people were killed and more than 100 injured after a blast at an administrative building adjacent to the 54-storey headquarters of Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company. No official cause has yet been given.

Quartz obsession interlude

Facebook showdown! Two of Quartz’s writers offer opposing views on the social network’s business prospects:

Christopher Mims on how Facebook will never be profitable: “Facebook is a large, inefficient engine for transforming electricity and programmers into a down-market place to sell low-value advertising.” Read more here.

Simone Foxman on why Facebook is a goldmine: ”Facebook’s competitive strategy—to get more users in more places before working out how to make money from them—will give it a virtual monopoly over social media across the globe…Once the company has this monopoly, it can and will capitalize on it.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

How to invest when everyone’s investing. The way to cautiously enter the bull market.

East Asian tinderbox. “A maritime Balkans of the 21st century?

This could be China’s last soft landing. Without deep reforms, the next downturn will be a hard one.

Surprising discoveries

Doctor does daring surgery to rescue a baby born with his face split in halfA feel-good story.

Gold mania is disastrous for India’s economy. How a love for the shiny metal is driving the Indian government deeper and deeper into debt.

Blaer is rare. Iceland finally allows an off-menu name.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, gold addiction diagnoses, and offbeat names to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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