Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Abenomic indicators. Labor and household spending reports in Japan could show whether prime minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus plans are starting to make a difference, while manufacturing and industrial production numbers will show whether the intentionally feeble yen is helping Japanese manufacturers.
Made in Korea, sold… where? That same weak yen is a real challenge for Korea’s exporters. Industrial production numbers will show just by how much. (They’ve been soft lately.)
US consumer checkup. Updates on personal income and consumer confidence are due.
Good Friday. Newly installed Pope Francis will lead services at the Vatican. Financial markets will be closed in Europe and the US.
While you were sleeping
Nothing happened in Italy. More specifically, the center-left coalition couldn’t form a government. Now it’s up to president Giorgio Napolitano to figure out another option, which could include naming an outsider to run a technocratic government similar to that of previous prime minister Mario Monti.
Cypriot banks reopened. There were long lines, but relatively few overt signs of panic.
The S&P 500 hit a new record. It beat the closing high set in 2007, even though its most important stock,Apple, has been a real slacker lately.
Nelson Mandela was hospitalized. But it appears he’s responding positively to treatment.
Questions remain about Boris Berezovsky’s death. Police in London said another person’s involvement in the death of the Russian oligarch turned Kremlin critic “cannot be completely eliminated, as tests remain outstanding.”
BackBerry?The troubled smartphone maker posted a profit inits fiscal fourth quarter=.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve LeVine on why Russia and OPEC could be looking at a tough next decade if oil demand craters as much as some expect. “The result of this for the countries would be intensified Arab Spring-style political volatility, as governments cut back on social spending and other sweeteners to the population. As for industry, some smaller oil companies currently living off the fat of the land would vanish, and Big Oil at best would seriously shrink. Countries like gas-rich Qatar would be winners; Saudi Arabia, reliant on oil, would be in trouble.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Seriously Cyprus, get out of there. Why the island nation should leave the euro zone immediately. And let’s face it: The Cyprus “crisis” was phony.
Somebody should make a video game out of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.
Bitcoin bugs. The 21st-century cousins of gold bugs are proliferating, as some argue that the electronic currency is the world’s last safe haven.
The short view. Looking for a market to bet against? May we direct your attention to France.
It’s unbelievable that Jamie Dimon didn’t know more about the London Whale. But if it’s true, he should be replaced by someone who’d pay closer attention.
Here’s the way to save US banking. First rip every bank in two.
Wei up. The number of Chinese government Weibo accounts was up 250% in 2012.
Synergies. Wal-Mart apparently wants its customers to deliver packages to other customers.
The Nazis’ had absurd rules for jazz musicians. For instance, “Plucking of the strings is prohibited, since it is damaging to the instrument and detrimental to Aryan musicality.”
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