Quartz Daily Brief—Europe & Africa edition—Syrian “ceasefire,” the Pope in Mexico, Kanye sneaker investments

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

What to watch for today

How Asia’s market meltdown affects Europe and Africa. Korea’s Kosdaq index was halted by a circuit breaker after it dropped 8.2% (paywall) in morning trading. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 was down 5.2% before the lunchtime break, as the yen strengthened.

Pope Francis arrives in Mexico. The pontiff will spend six days with the world’s second-largest Catholic population. He will meet president Enrique Peña Nieto and visit Ciudad Juarez, a notorious border town and drug hub.

A look at the US consumer. The University of Michigan releases its preliminary consumer sentiment index for February; expectations are that it will rise to 92.5, from 92 in January. Separately, US retail sales are expected to have increased 0.2% last month.

Rolls-Royce details a difficult year. Analysts expect the engineering giant will forecast a 43% decline in 2016 profits, compared to the year just past. Investor sentiment is already tanking after the company issued five profit warnings in two years.

While you were sleeping

World powers agreed on a Syrian ceasefire, sort of. US secretary of state John Kerry, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, and the leaders of Ukraine and Jordan said that they would end “hostilities” in the country “in one week’s time.” But the agreement didn’t include deadly terror groups operating in Syria, and Russia hasn’t ruled out further airstrikes.

Jamie Dimon put his money where his mouth is. The JPMorgan Chase CEO spent $26 million on 500,000 shares of the bank’s stock, to encourage other investors. The bank’s shares have lost 20% of their value this year, amid a global selloff in banks.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated again. The US Democratic presidential candidates fought over support for minorities, ahead of votes in Nevada and South Carolina. The Vermont senator highlighted plans for economic fairness; Clinton aligned herself with president Barack Obama’s leadership.

A Mexico prison riot turned deadly. At least 52 people were killed and 12 injured when violence broke out between members of rival drug cartels at Topo Chico prison near Monterrey. Authorities have struggled to manage correctional facilities in Mexico, some of which are “self-run” by inmates.

The “Oregon militia” standoff ended. Four protesters turned themselves over to the FBI after occupying a government building for 41 days. Most of the group had already left.

Quartz obsession interlude

Quartz’s Thomas Page McBee on why men fight. “Men have to fight someone or something at some point, don’t they? For my entire life, and certainly for the four years since I began injecting testosterone, I’ve been fighting, whether it’s myself, the world or my place in it. Masculinity and aggression seem so inextricably entwined. But why?” Read more here.

Markets haiku

A bear approaches
Pauses, sniffs, plays with its prey
Just bite already

Matters of debate

Kanye West’s sneakers are the new gold. They’re a better investment than any other asset class.

Europe’s future may hinge on the fate of Aleppo. If the city falls to Assad, it will weaken NATO and embolden Russia.

Smartphones are killing fashion shows. Consumers are being exposed to trends too quickly.

Surprising discoveries

Some whales have Caribbean accents. Scientists say their culture explains their unique vocal patterns.

Childhood vaccinations are a huge bargain. Every dollar spent saves $44 in future healthcare costs.

Tampons are a luxury in the US. Forty states tax them as luxury items.

A parasite may make chimpanzees unafraid of leopards. Toxoplasma gondii travels from the primates’ brains to feline tummies (paywall), where it reproduces.

A college degree is more expensive for women than men. That’s because they pay off their debts more slowly.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Caribbean whales, and fear-eliminating parasites to You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief here, tailored for morning delivery in Asia, Europe & Africa, and the Americas.