Quartz Daily Brief–Asia edition—China trade, activist investors, workplace coffee

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What to watch for today

Data today are expected to show US employers added 165,000 people to payrolls in February and unemployment stayed at 7.9%.

China releases trade data that could show exports and imports posted double-digit growth for the first two months of the year.

Chavez laid to rest. Venezuela lays former president Hugo Chavez to rest. US-Venezuelan relations might already be on the mend now; an American delegation of lawmakers and State Department officials will be attending. His body will reportedly be kept on permanent display in a glass coffin.

Results in Kenya’s presidential election. The country’s election commission has until March 11 to declare a new president, but may make its announcement today. So far deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been charged with crimes against humanity, is in the lead.

While you were sleeping

Most US banks would do okay in a recession. The results of bank stress tests showed that 17 of the 18 biggest US banks could weather a recession, with only Ally Financial, an auto lender, failing to meet the regulatory minimum.

The ECB did nothing to help the euro area’s worries. The European Central Bank kept its target rate unchanged at 0.75%.

The London Stock Exchange gets closer to buying LCH.Clearnet. The stock exchange agreed to an offer of €328 million ($426 million) for the clearing house. The deal should help LSE bolster its clearing and risk management business.

Investor activism is targeting bigger companies, as Carl Icahn’s opposition to the Dell buyout illustrates. About 34% of activists’ US targets so far this year have market capitalizations of over $1 billion.

Quartz obsession interlude

Anna Codrea-Rado on why managers should keep their employees caffeinated. “Whether you’re a prince of the church or a cubicle-dwelling drone, there seems to be an unbreakable bond between work and coffee: The boss provides the java and the java fuels the workers, keeping them revved up, connected, and toiling away at their given tasks.” Read Quartz’s complete guide to coffee in the workplace here.

Matters of debate

Did the CIA give Chavez cancer? Probably not but that hasn’t stopped a wave of conspiracy theories over America’s involvement in his death. 

Small businesses in Italy and Spain bear the brunt of the euro zone’s problems.

Market highs aren’t everything. Three reasons why you shouldn’t get so excited about market index zeniths.

The US brought down the British Empire. Dollar diplomacy was the real reason for British imperial collapse.

Surprising discoveries

Some plants’ nectar contains caffeine that helps entice bees to come back. The caffeine concentration is similar to a cup of instant coffee.

There are 83 billionaires among the delegates to China’s parliament this year, according to the Hurun Global Rich List. That likely makes the communist country’s legislature the wealthiest in the world.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and coffee trivia to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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