Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—Tesla surprise, Cyprus stocks, Venezuela’s presidential campaign

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This article has been corrected.

What to watch for today

A surprise from Tesla. The electric car-maker says it will be profitable in the first quarter of 2013, and CEO Elon Musk promises a surprise announcement today. We think other automakers should pay attention.

Wanted: successor to Hugo Chávez. Must be divinely ordained. Campaigning opens tomorrow for Venezuela’s presidential election, which will be on April 14. Most observers expect vice president Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s hand-picked successor, to win. Let’s go to Maduro for a comment: ”All of the prophecies of Hugo Chávez, the prophet of Christ on this earth, have come true.” OK, then.

Cyprus’ stock exchange re-opens. For the first time in two weeks, traders will go to work at Cyprus’ stock exchange, although capital controls will make it tough to get any earnings off the island.

Asian markets wait for Australia’s interest rate decision. The country’s central bank is expected to keep interest rates at historic lows.

Also today: Germany takes in its latest inflation measure, and the euro zone reports unemployment and manufacturing data.

While you were sleeping

India says no to Novartis. The country’s highest court denied the Swiss drugmaker patent protection for Gleevec, a cancer drug. Now American pharma execs fear the country’s “protectionist intellectual property regime.”

All eyes on slowing PMI. US stocks fell after factory managers reported the slowest growth in the last three months, part of a global trend. Is this the spring slowdown some economists expect?

China got Apple to apologize for bad customer service. Another thing Steve Jobs never would have done.

America’s largest town ever to go broke. Stockton, California, accumulated $1 billion in debt during the US housing bubble. Now a judge has cleared the way for it to file for bankruptcy so it can shed some of its debts.

The Korean stand-off continued. The United States stationed an anti-missile ship of the coast, while South Korea’s president promised to retaliate against any North Korean attacks. One hopeful sign? The Kaesong industrial zone in North Korea operated by both countries hasn’t closed yet.

Argentina’s stand-off continued too. Markets fretted about a possible default and sent bond prices falling after the country appeared to defy a US court.

Quartz obsession interlude

Tim Fernholz on what Cyprus’ failed banks have in common with the rest of the world: A lack of capital. “‘Here is a sort of “stress test” I would like to run: Can the banks raise new equity? Let them go to the market and see whether investors will give them money in exchange for new shares, not at a price that the banks like, but any price,’ [Stanford University economist Anat] Admati says.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

Drop your BRICs. The emerging markets are submerging, so it’s time for a new global investment strategy.

Should China keep standing by rogue North Korea? An influential Chinese journalist was suspended for suggesting as much.

Capitalism can only exist in a government framework. Wait, we’re really debating this?

London is still the world’s financial capital. But Hong Kong and Singapore (paywall) are putting pressure on The City and second-place New York.

Maybe SAC, the high-flying but frequently-investigated hedge fund, should just shut down. Only 30% of the firm’s assets are from outside investors, so owner Steve Cohen could avoid scrutiny by becoming a “family office” investing only his own funds.

Surprising discoveries

A French newspaper plans drone-based delivery. Nope, it’s not an April Fools joke. It’s just a regular joke.

US colleges save $6.2 billion over four years by not paying student athletes. No one ever paid $770 million to watch me play basketball.

William Shakespeare would fit in on Wall Street today. He dodged taxes and stockpiled grain to sell at inflated prices.

The world’s largest tub of ice cream… in Iran? We don’t think this one’s an April Fool 

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Elizabethan commodity speculation strategies and pictures of Sean Parker’s wedding duds to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named Tesla Motors chief executive Elon Musk as the company’s founding CEO. The founding CEO was Martin Eberhard.