What to watch for today
The anti-austerity trend strengthens. “Europe’s policy of austerity is no longer sufficient,” says new Italian prime minister Enrico Letta.
Looking for some new debt? Buy Rwandan! The African country will price $400 million in 10-year bonds on the open markets today. Investors believe that it could yield less than 7%, a level Spanish bond yields surpassed last year.
More Brazilians out of work. March unemployment data comes out today; the level has been slowly rising for the past few months, hitting 5.6% in February. But even in Brazil’s sluggish economy that’s still enough low to push up inflation.
A Frenchman in Beijing. François Hollande is the first western head of state to visit China since the new government took over. As the Chinese state news agency puts it, his “appearance will surely boost mutual political trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation between China and France.“
Another big day for earnings: Exxon, Dow Chemical, Gazprom, UPS, Baidu, and Amazon all report today.
While you were sleeping
Could it be? Britain avoided a triple-dip recession. The headline figure was 0.3% growth quarter-on-quarter, comfortably beating forecasts of 0.1% growth, and a robust (for Britain) 0.6% on the same period last year, the country’s strongest showing since the end of 2011.
Unemployment in Spain hit a new high. The number of people out of work rose to 6.2 million in the first three months of the year, for a staggering unemployment rate of 27.2%. Figures from France later today are expected to be similarly dire.
A bit of a comeback for South Korea. First quarter GDP was up 0.9% on the previous three months and a solid 1.5% on the same period last year, a two-year high that exceeded expectations and surprised the central bank.
Beer lost its fizz. Revenues for the first quarter rose 8% at Heineken to €4.1 billion ($5.4 billion) but fell below consensus as Europeans and Nigerians drank less beer.
A $100 billion Verizon Wireless bid? Verizon Communications is reportedly preparing to buy Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless.
Thai billionaire face-off. Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is looking for funding to trump Dhanin Chearavanont’s $6.6 billion offer for wholesaler Siam Makro.
Earnings deluge. Some good news and some not so good as Volvo saw orders for trucks rise 30% but Q1 earning dropped 92%, drug- and chemical-maker Bayer missed expectations with pre-tax income of €2.45 billion ($3.2 billion), net profit at Japan Tobacco declined 10% to $806 million, and was down 26% to €1.2 billion at Banco Santander, while consumer goods giant Unilever reported slowing growth.
Quartz obsession interlude
Todd Woody on how California’s dream to be the Saudi Arabia of solar is drying up in the desert. “So why are big solar thermal projects in the desert fizzling, while installations of rooftop photovoltaic panels in cities and suburbs continue to set records? It’s all about money, technology and location, location, location.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
A “stealth war” to export deflation. Will victory bring back growth?
George Osborne has a bone to pick with Reinhart and Rogoff. Who should take the blame for losing the UK’s triple A rating?
3D printing chocolate sounds tasty. But does it deserve a patent?
21st century superheros: central bankers.
Life on Earth may be older than Earth itself.
Virgin America promotes “mile-high flirting.” As if flying wasn’t stressful enough.
Pig Latins of other languages. It’s not just English that can be made to sound like nonsense.
Do you feel sheepish about your tweets? Imagine what this guy goes through.
The roundest object in the world. What exactly is a kilogram, anyway?
Quartz has a loyal readership in Ecuador. ¡Buenos días, Academia Cotopaxi!
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