What to watch for today
Brussels gives some countries a break. The European Commission is expected to grant France, Spain, and the Netherlands (paywall) waivers on bringing their deficits within the EU limit of 3%.
Canadian and Thai central bank decisions. Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney is expected to keep Canada’s benchmark interest rate at 1%. Analysts expect Thailand to cut interest rates in order to handle an economic slowdown.
Tim Cook gets personal. Apple’s CEO gives his first non-financial interview of the year at a conference in California at 6pm on Tuesday local time (9am on Wednesday, Hong Kong time). Analysts will be listening for hints about the “amazing” new products Cook mentioned in the company’s last earnings call.
Results round-up. Russia’s Sberbank and Bank of Nova Scotia release first quarter earnings. Brewin Dolphin, Bumi plc, and Tata Motors also report earnings. Meanwhile, Poland, Croatia, and Brazil report first-quarter GDP data.
While you were sleeping
Not another housing bubble—yet. The Case-Shiller index measuring US housing prices jumped 10.9% in March, but they’re still far from hitting pre-financial crisis peaks.
Russia and the EU could escalate things in Syria. After the EU announced it would end its embargo on arming Syrian rebels, Russia said it would send anti-aircraft missiles to help president Bashar Assad.
South Africa slowed down. Africa’s largest economy grew only 0.9% in the first quarter, its slowest pace since 2009, as a result of lower manufacturing activity.
Tesla sped up. Investors sent the electric car-maker’s share price shooting up (it closed at over $110) in response to the weekend bankruptcy filing by its rival Better Place, whose battery-switching model was seen as a competitor to Tesla’s charging-station approach.
Shinzo Abe helped Tiffany & Co. The jeweler’s sales jumped 9.3% over the first three months of the year in part because of rising sales in Japan, where monetary stimulus is inspiring Japanese shoppers.
Quartz obsession interlude
Tim Fernholz on US authorities shutting down payment network Liberty Reserve. “The Manhattan US Attorney is alleging that Liberty Reserve is a $6 billion money laundering scheme and has been authorized to seize its outstanding funds. In the indictment, prosecutors call Liberty Reserve ‘the bank of choice for the criminal underworld.’ By simply providing an e-mail address, Liberty Reserve customers could convert euros or US dollars into Liberty Reserve Dollars or Liberty Reserve Euros and transfer those funds to other real and digital financial institutions without a paper trail.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Chinese? Spanish? Arabic? Forget it. The second language your kids need is a computer language.
Do what you love is the wrong piece of advice (paywall) for soon-to-be university graduates.
How hackers crack passwords. Know your enemy.
The US oil boom won’t affect global crude prices because if the US drills more, Saudi Arabia will just drill less.
Argentina’s lost decade. Ten years of the Kirchners.
But who was Joe? The origin of the common American slang name for coffee.
Australia is not the world’s happiest country. Contrary to what you may have read in the news.
Get rich by singing about getting drunk. How the song “Margaritaville” spawned a business empire.
Harvard graduates are losing interest in finance. In 2007, 47% of graduating seniors took jobs in finance. This year, just 15% say they will. (Still, last year it was only 9%.)
Kenya is a model for green energy. Even if the whole country just went dark.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, advice for Harvard graduates, and odd names for coffee to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.