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Quartz Daily Brief—Twitter goes splat, Yellen’s sweet talk, China raids Brazil

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

A huge discovery could reaffirm Einstein’s genius. A team of US physicists is expected to announce their discovery of clear, unambiguous evidence of gravitational waves, after decades of searching by scientists and 100 years after Albert Einstein first predicted their existence in his theory of general relativity. The team’s work at the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) could earn them a Nobel Prize if it holds up.

The anti-ISIL coalition meets in Brussels. Defense ministers from 66 countries will meet at NATO headquarters to discuss the conflict in Syria. US secretary of defense Ash Carter is expected to share plans to retake parts of Syria and Iraq from the Islamic State, and call upon other nations to play a bigger role against the militant Islamist group.

Earnings: PepsiCo, Kellogg, Pandora, L’Oreal, and Nokia are among the companies reporting earnings.

While you were sleeping

Twitter fell flat. The company desperately needed to impress investors with fourth-quarter growth, but instead it actually lost users in the last three months of 2015, sending its shares plummeting in after-hours trading. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey vowed to fix the “confusing parts” of the service that are scaring away new users.

Tesla’s losses deepened. The electric car company posted an unexpected quarterly loss and fell short of revenue targets, but predicted it would deliver up to 90,000 Model S and Model X vehicles to buyers this year. Investors cared more about the shipments than the red ink, driving shares up by about 5%.

Janet Yellen sweet-talked the markets. The Federal Reserve chief’s optimism about the US economy’s ability to withstand global financial turmoil boosted US stocks. Yellen said it was premature to discuss lowering interest rates, adding that negative rates might not even be legal.

Asahi bid for Peroni and Grolsch. The Japanese brewer put in a $2.9 billion offer for the two European beers, the latest in a series of acquisitions by Japanese brands looking for growth overseas. Peroni and Grolsch are owned by the Belgian brewer SABMiller, which is shedding some of its brands in order to secure regulatory approval of its $108 billion acquisition by AB InBev.

The Bataclan concert hall announced it will reopen. The owners of the iconic Parisian concert hall where 90 people were killed by ISIL last November said they will renovate the venue and reopen it toward the end of the year. The hall has become the site of a memorial commemorating the victims.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on what would happen if Donald Trump became the US president. “In a word, chaos. In two, expensive chaos… But here’s the surprise: While most of his proposals are sheer lunacy, some of his economic proposals are grounded in a surprisingly well-developed worldview—one that could arguably help American workers, though not without enormous disruption.” Read more here.

Markets haiku

Look, Janet Yellen

Has apparently noticed

Those ugly markets

Matters of debate

A basic pillar of finance—repaying loans with interest—is crumbling. Negative interest rates in Japan and Europe have turned financial logic upside-down.

The world’s richest countries are a ticking demographic time bomb. The year 2040 is looking scary.

There’s a microcephaly-causing virus even scarier than Zika. Cytomegalovirus is already just about everywhere.

Surprising discoveries

China is reshaping soccer. Taking advantage of Brazil’s economic downturn, Chinese clubs have been signing some of the country’s top players.

Marijuana is now a billion-dollar legal industry in Colorado. The 40% increase in revenue helped the state collect more than $135 million in taxes.

French ski resorts have been exaggerating the lengths of their pistes. A German expert spent hundreds of hours measuring the slopes to make sure.

More twins are being born in developed countries. An increase in older women giving birth is the likely cause.

Indian police want to use slingshots loaded with chili powder balls. It’s a crowd control measure supposedly safer than plastic bullets.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, non-lethal chili powder, and gravity wave theories to on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

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