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Quartz Daily Brief—Europe Edition—ECB interest rate, ADB summit, PMI release

By Leo Mirani
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

What to watch for today

The European Central Bank announces its latest interest rate call. Most analysts suspect the ECB will cut rates from their current 0.75% level, already the target the bank has ever set. But behind the scenes many are expecting even more, such as a measure to help small businesses access credit more cheaply.

Asian Development Bank’s annual meeting is the Davos of Greater Noida. From all over the world they come, 4,400 delegates to the four-day confab just outside New Delhi, to discuss sustainable development throughout Asia. A report released by the ADB emphasized the importance of getting off fossil fuels, and the bank is announcing investments that put its money where its mouth is.

Cheap oil probably reduced the US trade deficit. As in February, it’s also likely that exports are up.

The top US securities regulator may discuss plans for money-market mutual funds. These funds are entirely unregulated, and newly sworn-in SEC chair Mary Jo White will have to explain why.

It’s PMI day. A flood of countries—and the Eurozone—will release results of the April purchasing manufacturers index, a survey that points to an economy’s health.

Earnings : General Motors, AIG, BSkyB, Kellogg, BMW, Bharti Airtel, Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell, Lufthansa

While you were sleeping

North Korea sentenced an American to 15 year of hard labour. Kenneth Bae was found guilty of crimes against the state. It is unclear what exactly he did.

The EU is considering action against Bangladesh. The South Asian nation, still reeling from the Rana Plaza building collapse, may lose its preferential trade benefits unless it improves working conditions.

Three men were arrested for helping Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They allegedly chucked the accused bomber’s laptop and other evidence from his dorm room into a dumpster after he sent them the following text: “LOL.”

Facebook finally boosted mobile revenue, but its operating margin fell. The US internet company reported a 38% rise in sales during the first quarter from a year earlier, but increasing expenses concerned some investors.

Coda Automotive’s made-in-China electric car reached the end of the road. Bankruptcy will likely spell the end of this “unique California-China electric car collaboration.”

Copper is cheap, which means manufacturing is down. Great news if you want to finally commission that bronze statue of yourself, not so great if you’re funding it with the proceeds of your business empire.

Quartz obsession interlude

Sverre Rørvik Nilsen on how one of the best-performing, least-known hedge funds in the world trades entirely on models of human behavior. “Our hypothesis is that most of what happens in the markets during a single day is noise created by orders, rumors and other temporary influences and that there is no informational value in this. Unlike our other funds, we do not try to separate the signal from the noise but accept it for being just noise.…Time is instead spent on creating mathematical and statistical models meant to uncover short-term human behavior.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

UBS should stop trying to be a major investment bank. It would be better off slimming down further and behaving like a boutique.

Clothing company reactions to the Bangladesh building collapse are all over the map. Including, naturally, a lot of denial.

Videogame pirates don’t get irony. A game development company released a pirated version of its own game, which is about a game development company, and in the pirated version your business is destroyed by piracy. Users complained.

Altering our environment is essential to human survival. Not to be cavalier about environmental destruction, but “nature” hasn’t existed for a few thousand years now.

Netflix purged 1,800 movies and no one seems to care. So much for customers of the US video subscription service clamoring for the “long tail.”

There was no way to predict the housing bubble. Everyone was being “rational” in the market.

Do law school rankings matter now that the law isn’t that attractive? Here, young graduate, are the 50 best law schools in the USif you dare.

Surprising discoveries

Britons and French would like to fire their governments. A new poll says François Hollande would lose to Marine Le Pen if the election were tomorrow, and David Cameron’s Conservatives are about to lose big in local elections.

The pope gets a papal neighbor. Benedict returns to the Vatican.

With a monopoly on human space flight, Russia acts like monopolist. Want to fly to space? That will be an additional $5 million a seat, please.

IBM made a stop-motion film with individual atoms. This is astonishing.

There is a confab in Mexico for plutocrats and their sons.“There is nothing mysterious about it,” insists the world’s second-wealthiest man.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and housewarming ideas for a two-pope household to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.


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