Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The most important projections of US growth and spending for 2013. The US Congressional Budget Office will release its annual Budget and Economic Outlook to a chorus of cheers and jeers from pretty much everyone. Tune in from 2pm to 3pm EST for all the gritty details.
Dell gets bought, maybe. The board of the world’s third-largest PC maker apparently met last night to agree to a price target of between $13.50 and $13.75 a share. An announcement on the deal, valued at about $24 billion, is expected this morning. The stock went down on the news—meaning founder Michael Dell and the other buyers may have to sweeten the deal for other shareholders.
Lots of chat about immigration. President Obama discusses immigration with labor unions, civil rights groups and later a dozen CEOs, including Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer.
Safer Internet Day comes just in time to help you avoid Chinese hackers. Today is the tenth annual Safer Internet Day, which is usually marked by teeth-gnashing about how Facebook is stealing our privacy. This year, however, with hacking alarms sounding, you might want to check out Google’s “Good to Know” site to learn how to protect yourself online.
While you were sleeping
Asia slid after Europe. Following abrupt drops yesterday on European stock markets and climbs in Spanish and Italian bond yields—signals of a host of renewed worries about the euro zone’s prospects—Asian shares declined too, despite some fairly promising data from China’s services industry. Japan’s governor Masaaki Shirakawa has offered to step down early, a move that could speed up monetary easing pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Yum! looked glum. The parent brand of fast-food giants such as KFC and Pizza Hut revised earnings downwards as business failed to pick up after a food safety scare in China late last year. Yum! is widely seen as a model for how to work complex emerging markets.
UBS was hit hard. The Swiss bank posted a Q4 loss of $2.08 billion, including a $1.5 billion fine for rigging London interbank loan rates. To cut costs, UBS is taking 10,000 people off its payrolls and has restructured its bonus scheme in line with European Commission recommendations. It will now pay out in the form of bonds. Meanwhile, Barclays is setting aside another $1.6 billion to pay back customers it missold financial products. That means the bank expects a total bill of more than $5.4 billion in compensation charges.
Diageo made progress in India. India’s securities regulator cleared the liquor giant’s $1 billion open offer to public shareholders for 26% of United Spirits, India’s largest spirits company. The move brings Diageo a step closer to completing its purchase of a majority stake in the firm. This will no doubt cheer owner Vijay Mallya, whose Kingfisher airlines today announced a $142 million loss for the last quarter of 2012.
More good news for Toyota. Days after retaking its crown as the world’s largest auto maker and helped by a weakening yen, Toyota raised its profit forecast for the year to $9.3 billion from $8.4 billion.
Quartz obsession interlude
China stakes a strategic claim in the far north. Gwynn Guilford highlights a $2.35 billion deal Greenland’s government did with Chinese steelmakers to give them access to iron ore and, perhaps more importantly, rare earths: “China controls around 97% of the world’s supply of these strategically key metals, which are used in the batteries for cell phones and hybrid cars, as well as in weapons, medical devices and many other things. After China began limiting its rare earth exports in 2011, prices for the elements have spiked. Greenland is thought to have some of the largest deposits of rare earth elements—one southern Greenland deposit may yield more than one-tenth of the world’s current deposit volume.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
China’s not manipulating its currency anymore. And it hasn’t been for a while.
Greece could save itself by selling a few islands. Not the inhabited ones—just the ones it isn’t really using anyway.
Achieving balance in China. This is how the middle kingdom should rebalance its economy.
Is the US lying about whom it targets with drone strikes? It appears the “no women and children rule” has exceptions.
European soccer is about as real as American pro wrestling. Three hundred and eighty European soccer matches are suspected of having been thrown to satisfy the whims of international crime syndicates, and another 300 matches outside Europe are also questionable.
Recreational investing is dead. Americans used to belong to investing clubs, but losing money to the pros isn’t as much fun as it used to be.
As long as they don’t call it Osamaland. A $30 million amusement park is planned for the outskirts of Abbottabad, the Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden spent his last years in hiding.
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