What to watch for today
Cyprus continues to dominate the headlines. Cyprus’s parliament will vote on the controversial proposal to impose levies on every bank account to help bail out the country’s banks, though smaller depositors may be exempt. A former governor of the central bank warned that if parliament rejects the bill, “Cyprus will turn into Libya.” The banks will remain closed until Thursday to prevent what might otherwise be a massive bank run.
Episode IV: A new Pope. In a galaxy far, far away—otherwise known as the Vatican—Pope Francis will be inaugurated and hold his first mass. Guests will include US Vice President Joe Biden and—why not?—Robert Mugabe.
Is America building yet? Data on new construction in the US (housing starts) will be released—last month saw a drop of 8.5%.
India’s Central Bank leaps into action. After the weakest economic growth in a decade, the Reserve Bank of India will probably cut rates by 25 basis points.
While you were sleeping
Citi settled a massive class-action suit. Citigroup agreed to pay $730 million to shareholders and creditors affected by the bank’s precarious position during the financial crisis. They accused the bank of lying about the value of its mortgage-bond portfolio, which pushed its share price down.
SAC’s record fine isn’t the end of the affair. Last week hedge fund SAC Capital agreed to pay $616 million to settle claims it engaged in the most-lucrative insider-trading scheme ever seen. Today the company’s president had to tell investors that scrutiny from the SEC isn’t over.
Lego to build its first-ever factory in China. Looks like “made in China” is about to mean machining little plastic bricks down to tolerances of as little as 10 micrometers—at least for the city of Jiaxing.
SimCity boss kicked out. John Riccitiello, head of games company Electronic Arts, says his resignation is all about “my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year.” Continued glitches in EA’s multiplayer version of its flagship SimCity game may just have been the last straw.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gina Chon on how bankers will deal with pay cuts: Get a more normal life. ”A managing director at one bank said he’ll use the pay cuts as an excuse to work less and spend more time with his family. He traveled more than 310 days last year, which paid off in business, and his bank was on a lot of deals in his sector. But because of problems with other parts of the bank, his compensation was still cut, so now he questions whether it’s worth it. “We’re not getting rewarded for the work we do,” he said. “Instead, we’re actually being punished. So what’s the point in killing myself for my job?”” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Now is the time to buy US stocks. One-time bear Meredith Whitney declares herself the most bullish she has ever been in her career.
Is de-extinction a good idea? When we wipe out species, we’re only human, but when we try to revive them, are we playing God?
Even German austerity hawks think the Cyprus bailout was a mistake. Bankruptcy is one thing, but taking money from grandmothers doesn’t satisfy even the staunchest critics of bailouts.
The new way to commute in Rio de Janeiro. Just plummet between the buildings.
Fairness is in our genes. Monkeys reject food from humans who behave selfishly, suggesting the desire to ostracize cheaters goes back millions of years.