Quartz Daily Brief—Americas Edition—Interpreting the Fed, Dish hangs up on Sprint, Tesla recall, billion-year-old water

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What to watch for today

Reading the Fed’s tea leaves. The Federal Reserve is not expected to announce any change in policy, but investors will hang on every word from Chairman Ben Bernanke on his $85 billion monthly bond-buying program. Bernanke may have one more trick up his sleeve.

Giving peace a chance. The Taliban begins talks with US and Afghan officials to discuss ways to end the 12-year long war in Afghanistan. However, Afghan President Hamid Karzai suspended separate talks on a security pact with the United States, citing Washington’s “inconsistent statements and actions in regard to the peace process.”

Giving fewer nukes a chance. US President Barack Obama will call for reducing American and Russian nuclear arsenals by one-third during a foreign policy speech in Berlin.

Britain’s plan to sell off banks.  UK chancellor George Osborne is expected to outline a roadmap for selling the government’s stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, which it took over at the height of the financial crisis. Osborne will also face questions on whether he forced RBS CEO Stephen Hester to step down.

Will FedEx deliver? The shipping and freight giant is expected to report a 4% rise in revenues (paywall), though income is expected to drop 1%. The company is working on a multi-year plan to modernize its fleet and cut costs.

While you were sleeping 

Out of fashion. Swedish budget retailer Hennes & Mauritz’s quarterly results fell short of analyst expectations. H&M blamed the strong krona and investments in technology, including a planned roll-out of online sales in the United States in August—more than a year after it was first promised.

Investing in bling. Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin splashed out £320 million ($501 million) for a 92% stake in British yacht maker Sunseeker, and announced a £700 million development project in London to build Western Europe’s tallest hotel and residential tower.

Dish hangs up on Sprint. The satellite firm said it won’t raise its offer for Sprint, clearing the way for Softbank’s acquisition to go forward. But Dish is still contesting Sprint’s attempt to consolidate control of Clearwire.

Tesla’s partial recall. CEO Elon Musk announced the recall of about 800 Model S vehicles manufactured in May and June due to a potentially weak bracket holding the left rear seat. To ease the blow, Tesla will pick up the cars and provide a loaner for a few hours while they’re fixed.

Quartz obsession interlude

Gwynn Guilford on what will happen to global growth if China’s economy tanks. “Slowing China’s export engine wouldn’t likely destroy the global economy. If annual GDP growth slowed to 3-4%, it might hurt a tiny handful of countries like South Korea that run a trade surplus with China, and some commodity prices would drop. But companies that compete with China overseas would suddenly be more competitive.” Read more here. 

Matters of debate

Immigration reform isn’t compassion. It’s the economic reform we’ve all been waiting for.

US healthcare could be cheaper. All we have to do is tell people how much it costs.

Forgive and forget. The careers of the deviant Canadian mayors aren’t necessarily over.

Microsoft overpriced the Xbox One. The lessons it should have learned from Gillette and Facebook.

Surprising discoveries

There’s rat poison in your milk. But don’t worry, “toxic” is all relative anyway.

Scientists found billion-year-old water in Canada. It tastes terrible.

Dessert technology. Hyperspectral imaging, once used to trace Osama bin Laden, is being used to make a better cake.

Clapping is contagious. It has very little to do with how much we actually like something.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, billion-year-old water samples and sincere applause to You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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