Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Square floats, Lyft’s poor performance, Big Mac sushi

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What to watch for today

Square provides a litmus test for tech IPOs. The mobile payments company begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange with shares priced at an underwhelming $9. Square’s performance will be used to gauge the IPO value of other “unicorn” tech startups.

Barack Obama sits down with Justin Trudeau. The US and Canadian leaders will discuss energy, security, and Syria in their first meeting since Trudeau took office. Canada is also considering joining the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

South Africa’s interest rate decision could go either way. Policymakers are uneasy about increasing rates in the face of a weak economy, but are also worried about the potential for inflation if rates are left unchanged.

Earnings: Best Buy, Gap, the JM Smucker Company, and Williams-Sonoma are among those scheduled to report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

Leaked documents highlighted Lyft’s troubles. The ride-hailing service, and Uber’s largest competitor in the US, has repeatedly failed to meet its own performance indicators and is losing more money than it forecast, according to Bloomberg. In the first half of this year, Lyft made a loss of $127 million, on a revenue of $46.7 million.

China confirmed that ISIL executed one of its citizens. The foreign ministry condemned what is believed to be the terror group’s first killing of a Chinese national, and said the government would “hold the perpetrators accountable.” ISIL also claimed it executed a Norwegian hostage; the Norwegian government has not confirmed this.

The US Federal Reserve is on for a December rate hike. ”While no decision had been made, it may well become appropriate” to raise interest rates next month, the Fed said in the minutes of its latest meeting.

Pfizer offered $150 billion for Allergan. The US pharmaceutical company bid up to $380 per share for its Irish peer, well above yesterday’s $310.8 closing price. The deal could be complicated by proposed US Treasury rules (paywall) to deter businesses from moving their headquarters to legally escape US taxes.

Keurig handily beat expectations. The US coffee pod and brewing machine maker’s shares shot up by as much as 20% in after-hours trading to $48.70, after reporting better-than-expected earnings in its fourth quarter. But Keurig estimated sales would be flat next year, due to currency swings.

Japan decided against ramping up its stimulus. The central bank kept the rate of its bond buying program steady, despite the economy officially entering a recession. Separately, imports plummeted beyond expectations in October; exports dipped in line with estimates (paywall).

Quartz markets haiku

Looks like December

So what! Rates will still be low

Just get on with it!

Quartz obsession interlude

Ian Kar on a VC investment in a bitcoin startup. “Moving money across borders is expensive, time consuming, and subject to regulatory costs. By incorporating blockchain and bitcoin, new entrants are betting they can make the process cheaper and faster, opening up a profitable niche of their own.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

ISIL is more European than Europe. It has created an international network of operators, while the EU can’t even unify its police forces.

Don’t leave any money to your kids, give it to charity. It’ll ensure a legacy and make you happier in life.

We can’t comprehend the extent to which we’re being surveilled. Because of public-private partnerships, pushing back is almost impossible, too.

Surprising discoveries

Lego invented slippers to prevent foot injuries. Stepping on a plastic block will no longer cause agonizing pain.

The Statue of Liberty was initially Muslim. Frederic Auguste Bartholdi first planned to make his statue a peasant woman guarding the Suez Canal.

Standing desks at work make you lazier at home. It is very difficult to change our sedentary lifestyle.

A master sushi chef turned a Big Mac into a roll. The burger makes a fetching veggie-and-beef combo.

A new robot will do the unpleasant task of weeding for you. It could eliminate the need for herbicides.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, robot weeders, and Big Mac sushi to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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