Quartz Daily Brief—Europe and Africa edition—Netflix surprises, IBM disappoints, Ziggy Stardust’s constellation

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What to watch for today

Davos enters full swing. The 46th annual World Economic Forum returns to the Swiss Alps. Today’s speakers include US vice president Joe Biden, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

Will the Canadian central bank lower the cost of borrowing? Analysts are divided on whether the bank will keep its benchmark rate at 0.5% or halve it to a record low of 0.25%.

Royal Dutch Shell details an awful 2015. The oil major kicks off Big Oil’s quarterly results; analysts estimate fourth-quarter profit fell 39% from the year previous. Investors will also want to know about Shell’s $48 billion purchase of BG Group—a deal criticized for being too expensive during an oil slump.

Barack Obama takes a victory lap at the Detroit auto show. The US president is expected to tout his administration’s role in bailing out the American auto industry in 2009.

While you were sleeping

Asian stocks followed oil off a cliff. Stock markets in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China were all down in morning trading, and Japan officially entered a bear market. That follows oil prices dipping below $28 for the first time since 2003; this morning, they edged closer to $27.

Netflix’s global growth surged. The video-streaming service added 5.6 million subscribers in its fourth quarter, 4 million of which are from outside the US. That handily beat expectations for total and international growth, sending the company’s high-flying stock shot up by 9% in after-hours trading.

IBM’s profit disappointed. The IT giant reported a fourth-quarter net income of $4.5 billion, down from $5.5 billion a year earlier, partially because the strong dollar hurt its revenue. Its share price fell on the news, which was accompanied by a warning over 2016 profitability.

Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump for US president. The highly divisive onetime Republican vice-presidential candidate said there would be “no more pussyfooting around” if the billionaire won the presidency. Separately, news broke that her son has been arrested over a domestic violence incident.

ISIL acknowledged that “Jihadi John” is dead. Mohammed Emwazi, the British executioner for the Islamic State, was likely killed by a US airstrike in November. The terror organization confirmed Emwazi’s death in an issue of its in-house magazine.

Australia’s consumer confidence turned negative. The Westpac consumer sentiment index fell to 97.3 in January (paywall), from 100.8 in December, crossing the line into pessimist territory. That could spur the central bank to lower borrowing costs next month, from an already historic low.

Quartz obsession interlude

Jenny Anderson on ADHD in girls. “Girls are closing one gender gap we don’t want: diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Between 2003 and 2011, parents reported an increase of ADHD diagnoses of 55% for girls, compared to 40% for boys, according to a 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. And yet girls continue to be misdiagnosed in spades, with alarming consequences.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Hillary Clinton isn’t telling voters what they want to hear. And it’s hurting her in the Democratic primary.

Facebook could do more stop hate speech. It has rules against racist language, but is outsourcing enforcement.

Humanity will only survive by colonizing other planets. Think of it as insurance against a “near certain” doomsday, says Stephen Hawking.

Surprising discoveries

The British Navy runs “Windows for Submarines.” Its nuclear-armed Trident vessels are vulnerable to malware and bugs.

The average US home has dozens of insect species. They’re very good at hiding, and tend to be very small.

Can you name a CEO—any CEO? If so, you’re in the minority.

Ziggy Stardust got an interstellar tribute. An astronomy observatory registered a new constellation in David Bowie’s name.

Ikea thinks the developed world has hit “peak stuff.” The company’s head of sustainability wants to introduce repair and recycling services to its stores.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, insect hiding places, and submarine spam protection to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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