Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—Aussie inflation wanes, Apple declines, glum Yum

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What to watch for today

Is Germany joining the recession party? The Ifo Institute gives its latest read on the German business climate today. The country’s composite PMI sank to 48.8 on Tuesday, suggesting a decline in business activity in the eurozone’s biggest economy.

Say hello to the sequester. Durable goods orders in the US are expected to show a 3% decline in March. Most of the fall will probably be due to defense spending cuts, with fewer orders for commercial jets and military equipment. Excluding transportation, economists project durable goods orders will rise 0.6%.

Tensions rise between China and Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants to rewrite his country’s constitution to make it less pacifist, told the Diet that if China lands on disputed islands, “then of course we will forcibly expel them.”  Meanwhile China is building new aircraft carriers.

Massive day for earnings: Credit Suisse, Barclays, Daimler, Procter & Gamble,  Iberdrola, Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing, Vale, Qualcomm, France Telecom, and Eli Lilly & Co. are all set to report quarterly results.

While you were sleeping

A false AP tweet briefly crashed the market (which recovered). The Syrian Electronic Army is claiming responsibility for a cyberattack that made a tweet appear on the Associated Press account saying there had been explosions at the White House and President Barack Obama had been injured. The Dow fell 144 points before bouncing quickly back as the hack was revealed. We wonder if this was a money-making scheme á la bitcoin.

Apple reported its first year-on-year profit decline since 2003, suggesting the company desperately needs a new hit device. A share buyback plan saved their share price from falling further.

Yum looked glum. First-quarter profits at KFC and Pizza Hut’s parent company fell 26% due to of food-safety fears in China.

Aussie inflation came in lower than expected. Prices rose 2.5% for the year and 0.4% for the quarter, preserving a decent chance of further rate cuts by the country’s central bank.

Lloyds Bank’s sale of 630 bank branches fell apart. The deal with the Co-Op, worth some £750 million ($1.15 billion), would have allowed Lloyds to fulfill its bail-out-era commitment to sell the branches.

Another setback for Novartis. American authorities filed a lawsuit against the Swiss drugmaker for kickbacks to pharmacists. The case comes just weeks after an Indian court rejected a patent for Gleevec, an anti-cancer drug made by the firm.

Quartz obsession interlude

Leo Mirani on the unofficial Apple store in Kabul, Afghanistan: “Where do people in Kabul go when they want to buy an iPhone? The same place as everybody else: an Apple Store. But one thing separates the Apple Store in, say, New York, from the one in Kabul: Apple either doesn’t know it exists, or doesn’t care.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The internet has to make a living. Bye bye, free stuff!

Goldman Sachs suggests you stop shorting gold. Time for a turnaround?

Criminals are better at customer service. And other surprises when you make Big Data handle human resources.

An African economic miracle? Almost every indicator in most African countries shows life getting better.

Bloomberg Black: could it disrupt the financial disrupters?

Surprising discoveries

Bill Gates’s handshake: weird or downright rude?

The answer to a lazy eye could be Tetris.

It’s OK to feel sorry for robots. Your brain can be tricked into thinking they have feelings.

When life gives you diseased pig carcasses, it may be a business opportunity.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, Tetris regimens, and adorable robot pictures to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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