Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The PlayStation 4? Rumors abound that Sony will announce the successor to its 77-million selling PlayStation 3 video game console. The 3 is seven years old; a new model would face much more competition, from Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo Wii as well as games for smartphones and tablets.
The FCC votes on making wi-fi faster, better. There is a lot of spectrum sitting around doing nothing and the FCC wants to use it to add some 35% to existing wi-fi capacity. The boost would decongest public wi-fi and make networks more robust. “It’s the Autobahn of spectrum in a two-lane highway world,” according to one observer.
Bulgaria’s prime minister will resign. Demonstrations in the streets over energy prices have prompted Boyko Borissov to offer his resignation. Borissov said he “won’t be part of government in which the police is fighting with the people.”
Other announcements today include US price level stats and minutes from the Federal Reserve as well as earnings from the Dish Network and—fun times—Tesla Motors, which has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
While you were sleeping
FDI into China fell again. Foreign direct investment into China fell to $9.3 billion in January , down 7.3% from last year and $1.4 billion from December. A commerce ministry official admitted the rate of decline, China’s fastest in three years, was “not small.”
Crédit Agricole posted a record loss. The French bank lost €6.5 billion ($8.7 billion) in 2012, nearly €4 billion of which came from the fourth quarter alone. Much of the loss was due to write downs and the sale of its business in Greece. The bank will issue no dividends for a second year running.
Bad numbers from BHP Billiton as its boss stepped down. The Australian firm reported an expected 43% fall in half-year profits due to declining metals prices, and wrote down about $3 billion in its aluminium business. Andrew Mackenzie will take over as chief executive when Marius Kloppers resigns, one of more than 20 mining CEOs to quit or retire in the last two years.
Britain’s 4G auction raised £1.2 billion less than expected. In the biggest selloff of British airwaves, five British carriers paid £2.3 billion ($3.6 billion) for 4G spectrum, well short of the £3.5 billion already budgeted for in government accounts. How embarrassing.
Japan posted its largest ever trade deficit. Even as exports are up on the back of a weakening yen, imports are up faster, mainly due to energy. Japan’s trade deficit in January widened to ¥1.6 trillion ($17 billion), 6.4% up from a year earlier. The weakening yen has other downsides too: LVMH, a French luxury conglomerate, raised prices in Japan by about 12%.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on how not to launch a Google for China. “On [Kai-fu Lee, the former head of Google China and current venture capitalist]‘s Sina Weibo microblog, which has 30 million followers, he wondered, among other things, why taxpayer money was being invested in developing a search engine and why the Communist Party had appointed its head. “If back in the day America’s Democratic Party had appointed [Olympic swimmer] Michael Phelps to be the CEO of Google, could Google have beaten Yahoo and become the leading search engine?” wrote Lee, according to Fei Chang Dao, a blog that monitors free-speech issues in China.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Will Twitter file for a secret IPO? It might help the company avoid the disappointment of Facebook or Groupon, but it could backfire too.
Can the US economy survive the sequester? It would be better not to know.
China’s new leader needs to get a grip on North Korea. We’ve had crazy neighbors before, too. It’s tough.
US corporate profits in Bermuda are more than 1000% of the country’s GDP. That’s surprising, right?
You can tattoo fruit. Yes, they’ve already put an Apple logo on an apple.
Big Brother really is watching. A woman caught her fiancé cheating via Russia’s local equivalent of Google Maps.
It took jewel thieves just 5 minutes to steal $50 million. Now that’s productivity!
How do Valley folk buy pot? They go to San Jose and make their choice on iPads, of course.
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