What to watch for today
The Apple of investors’ eyes. Tech giant Apple is expected to report a drop in profit for the first time in ten years. Can its share price recover its luster?
Is US housing still reviving? Markets will be watching for latest numbers on new home sales, after Monday’s slightly disappointing reading on existing home sales. FactSet reports a consensus expectation of 430,000 new home sales for March.
French parliament votes on gay marriage, amid ruckus. There have been major protests against the measure, and on Monday, one lawmaker was sent an envelope filled with gunpowder. The bill is expected to pass.
How funky is Yum’s chicken? When KFC owner Yum! Brands reports second quarter earnings, investors will be looking to see how badly the outbreak of bird flu in China has set the company back. Other earnings include DuPont, AT&T and Lockheed Martin.
While you were sleeping
China’s manufacturing index fell way short of expectations. The China flash PMI calculated by HSBC was only 50.5, barely above the level that designates economic expansion. In Europe, a surprise decline in German PMI overshadowed an improvement in France.
Revenues at Associated British Foods surged 10%. The diversified group’s revenues rose to £6.3 billion ($9.6 billion) thanks largely to the success of its cheap-fashion retail Primark.
Japan and China renewed their dispute over a pile of rocks. Because there hasn’t been enough tension in the world since North Korea quieted down, Chinese patrol boats faced off against a Japanese flotilla near the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.
A car bomb exploded outside the French embassy in Libya. Two guards were wounded and the reception area completely destroyed.
Southeast Asia M&A is heating up. Dhanin Chearavanont, Thailand’s richest man, is buying cash-and-carry wholesaler Siam Makro for $6.6 billion.
Matt Phillips on why Pimco’s Bill Gross no longer thinks UK bonds are “nitroglycerine.” “As long as countries have a central bank with the ability to print money and support domestic bond markets and economic growth (see the US, Japan, and the UK), investors see that as a strength, not a weakness. It’s when countries don’t have the flexibility—see Ireland, Italy, Spain, Greece, which are all in the euro—that excessive debt starts troubling the markets.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
The culprit behind China’s deadly earthquake? Maybe a giant dam.
Greece is going to be ok. No, really.
Ten ways to lower crime without taking away guns. A uniquely American perspective.
North Korea: We’ll nuke America, but we wouldn’t bomb a marathon.
Proof the internet doesn’t help dictators. There are no good examples of countries with rapidly growing internet populations and increasingly authoritarian governments.
Emirati bikini ban. The UAE put signs on some public beaches warning that bathers who wore skimpy attire—i.e. bikinis and briefs—could be fined.
Retail politics, Uganda style. President Yoweri Museveni handed out an actual sack of cash filled with the equivalent of $100,000 to a local youth group.
Space trash crash! A study suggests that satellite orbits will become far more perilous. “Catastrophic collisions” could occur every 5-9 years.
McDonald’s Japan is suffering a disastrous drought of “amazing ideas.” Although this french fry caddy does look pretty cool.
A Chinese woman is suing the US Federal Reserve for issuing too much money, after the real value of her dollar deposits fell.