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Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Bulls in US housing recovery, Bulls in Cyprus’s china shop, Bernanke’s tale of woe

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

Earnings for a raft of bellwether companies. Nike is expected to halt or reduce its slide in China, where it’s been having trouble. H&M and British high-street fashion retailer Next will take the temperature of consumer sentiment in Europe and North America. Hermès tells us something about how the price-immune global rich are doing. And Foxconn, maker of all of Apple’s iPhones and iPads, will be a window into the workings of both Apple and the overall market for mobile devices. (In January Foxconn reported a net loss.)

Will Obama mention the peace process? Some are calling the US president’s trip to Israel “Operation Desert Schmooze”. His first speech was one of rousing support for Israel. He may have been softening the ground for today’s speech, before a group of students, where he may bring up the touchy subject of peace with the Palestinians.

Housing as a guide to America’s recovery. Economists polled by Bloomberg are expecting the home price index to rise 0.7% from last month, and existing home sales to increase 1.6% month over month, to 5 million.

While you were sleeping

Cyprus turmoil continued. Banks remain closed until at least next week. All possible solutions to the problem—including an emergency bond sale and the nationalization of pensions—are “dreadful” and the country is “running out of options.” Russia’s prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, said the EU bloc is behaving like a “bull in a China shop.” But US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said he doesn’t see a major risk from Cyprus and neither, apparently, does investment management company BlackRock.

Britain hunkers down for more austerity. Businesses will see a 1% tax cut to 20%, but that’s about it in terms of stimulus. Chancellor George Osborne cut growth forecasts in half, but said he’s confident his plan is working, even though it’s missed the targets he set.

The Fed left rates unchanged. It admitted the economy is doing a little better, but until improvement in the labor markets looks stable, Bernanke said he won’t slow the central bank’s $85 billion per month in asset purchases.

The US government decided not to shut down. The US Senate voted 73-26 to fund the US government through Sept. 30, but the bill keeps in place the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that have the potential to become America’s experiment in austerity.

Quartz obsession interlude

Zach Seward on why stationery firm Moleskine is planning a high-priced IPO. “The higher margins are being used by Moleskine’s bankers to justify a valuation between 22 and 29.1 times the company’s earnings last year, which is higher than brands like Burberry and Richemont. But is Moleskine best compared to all these luxury brands, which sell clothing and accessories, or companies that actually make, you know, paper? An illuminating chart from the company’s IPO prospectus makes the case that Moleskine is actually the opposite of a stationery company.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The European Union was set up all wrong. The drafters of the Maastricht treaty learned nothing from history.

What Obama should do in Israel. It’s now or never for peace. (We’ve heard that one before.)

The drones are coming. And regulators had better learn to live with it.

The truth behind Cyprus’s bank catastrophe. Cypriot banks are really Greek banks in disguise.

Surprising discoveries

Smartphones could get 3D screens. Yes, the Nintendo 3DS has managed this trick for some time, but researchers at HP claim their glasses-free HD has such a wide viewing angle that a person can see more of a “3D” object just by tilting their phone.

Ben Bernanke’s childhood home is in foreclosure. And one of his relatives is unemployed, he revealed at today’s meeting of the Fed.

The US just granted the first license to sell 3D-printed guns. Defense Distributed is a Maker’s nightmare and a Second Amendment fan’s dream.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Plan Cs for Cyprus and CAD files suitable for our in-office 3D printer to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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