Quartz Daily Brief—Asia Edition—BoJ moves, Tesla promises, Norwegian activism, no end of oil

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What to watch for today

Another bomb from the Bank of Japan? After that whole $1.4-trillion-in-stimulus shocker, observers are keen to see if any further monetary easing will be announced at the BoJ’s Friday meeting. Japanese media are already reporting that the bank will raise its inflation forecast for fiscal year 2014-15 to 1.5% from 0.9%.

Day two of all the South Korea indicators that matter. Samsung will announce earnings today, and has pre-announced that operating profits are up a stunning 50% year over year, thanks mostly to smartphones. As if to celebrate, Samsung will release its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, in Korea. Yesterday, Hyundai announced earnings—a 15% drop year over year. And Korea’s GDP figures came out, indicating modest growth of 0.9% from a year ago. (The country’s long-term demographics, though, are in bad shape.)

Tesla will announce a new strategy. “Tesla owners will like this,” tweeted Tesla founder Elon Musk. No one seems to have any idea what he’s hinting at. The last time he promised exciting news it was a big let-down.

More earnings:  Alcatel Lucent, American Electric Power, Burger King, Chevron, Kia, Siemens, TransCanada, Union Steel, Weyerhaeuser—plus Air China, Baidu, China Telecom and a whole raft of Chinese state-owned firms.

While you were sleeping

Reportedly dead man invests in reportedly dying company. George Soros, reports of whose death last week were greatly exaggerated, has a 7.9% stake in faltering retailer JC Penney—probably not because he believes in it.

Verizon preparing $100 billion bid for Verizon Wireless. Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, and Verizon would like that half of the business as well.

One of the biggest investors on the planet turned activist. Norway’s $720 billion oil fund is nothing to sneeze at—and it’s about to start using that clout to pick directors (paywall) on the companies in which it has stakes.

Unemployment in Spain and France hit record levels. The usual papers are blaming the usual suspects—austerity. Meanwhile, Angela Merkel and officials at the IMF and the World Bank clashed over where interest rates should be, and whether they’re to blame.

China’s bird flu could be “one of the most lethal influenza viruses the world has seen.” Australia is racing to create a vaccine.

Earnings and more earnings. Amazon, 3M, Dow, UPS, Exxon, and others collectively sent the S&P 500 to a near-record high.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why Apple is the new Microsoft. In chart form, the case that Apple’s stock may never regain the momentum it once had, despite the company’s attempts to placate investors. Read more here.

Matters of debate

Are we too emotionally attached to the war against breast cancer? Screenings haven’t done much to help fight the disease and, in some cases, they are putting women at risk.

Do tips make up for a $2.13 hourly waitressing wage? Some US states seem to think so.

Does it help if a big brand tweets its sympathies during a tragedy? It might be time to stop with the platitudes.

The end of the end of oil. New technologies mean we might never run out. But the energy transition might have to happen anyway.

Surprising discoveries

You could have made a 326% profit in seven years by investing using Google Search. As long as you watched the volume of finance-related search trends.

Legal pharmaceuticals may kill more Americans than illegal narcotics. And that’s not counting deliberate pharmaceutical overdoses.

Even Wikipedia is sexist. Wikipedians insist on categorizing women writers as “women novelists,” and not novelists.

This woman bought a print for £60… and now she owns a Banksy. Here’s her first-hand account of how it happened.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, JC Penney investing advice and unidentified Banksy prints to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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