What to watch for today
Action from Australia’s central bank. A slowdown in China is denting demand for raw materials. But if the bank pushes rates below a record low of 2.75%, it could play a crucial role in Australia’s upcoming election.
US auto sales. Carmakers are projected to finish the first half of 2013 on a strong note, selling more cars last month than any previous June since 2007. Factory orders for May will also be released.
America’s biggest alcohol company reports. Constellation Brands is expected to post a 1% rise in per-share earnings and a 6% increase in revenue. A $4.5 billion deal with Grupo Modelo, which took Constellation to number one, was closed at the very end of the quarter.
Mozilla out-Googles Google. The first smartphones running on Mozilla’s new mobile operating system, based on the Firefox web browser, will go on sale in Spain. It’s a step ahead of what Google’s doing, but Google probably doesn’t care.
While you were sleeping
Edward Snowden can stay in Russia. President Vladimir Putin said the NSA whistleblower’s request for asylum would be granted if he would “stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.” Snowden blasted the Obama administration for making him “a stateless person.”
An ultimatum from Egypt’s generals. President Mohamed Morsi dismissed the army’s threat to intervene if he fails to defuse Egypt’s biggest ever street protests within 48 hours. If he is ousted it might not be another victory for the people, but for the military.
How Britain got its groove back. UK business confidence is the highest since 2007, according to a quarterly Chamber of Commerce survey, thanks in part to booming exports.
Rothschild to advise on RBS split. The British government is set to appoint the investment bank to divide the Royal Bank of Scotland into “good” and “bad” banks—raising eyebrows since a key Treasury official worked at Rothschild until a year ago.
Onyx is attracting more interested parties. Pfizer and Novartis may bid for the biotech company after Amgen’s offer was rejected. Onyx shares soared 51% on expectations of a bidding war.
The Winklevii are forming a bitcoin ETF. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss filed for a public listing of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust at a proposed valuation of $20 million. But investing will carry some unusual risks—like losing the fund’s bitcoins, or having bitcoins declared illegal.
Zynga’s CEO stepped down. To the surprise of some who expected more obstinacy, Marc Pincus is giving up the reins at the social gaming company to Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division. Pincus will stay on as chairman.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on why seven of the ten least affordable cities in the world are in China. ”Policies to curb housing inflation aren’t working. That’s worrying news for the government; housing prices are a major source of public resentment. The danger isn’t just the threat of popular unrest, though: It’s that soaring property prices make people feel less wealthy and less inclined to consume. And that’s exactly what the government needs them to do in order to wean the economy off its dependency on exports and credit-driven investment. Read more here.
Matters of debate
We aren’t growing enough food to feed the world. Expect big problems by 2050.
The biggest threat to Hong Kong’s AAA rating is China. It is becoming increasingly exposed to the mainland’s ill health.
Big data is overrated. Correlations and statistics are great, but sometimes gut instinct is too.
The losing battle to keep the internet free and open. It’s becoming more accountable to corporate shareholders than citizens.
Apple needs the iWatch more than you do. The gadget could help Apple arrest its stock’s fall.
Human head transplants are now possible, thanks to advances in reconnecting severed spinal cords.
Babies know when a cuddle is coming. They tense up to prepare.
A mere 75 people dominate Bitcoin. Most owners barely trade at all.
Ecuador’s flower growers get Snowden shock. After Ecuador toyed with offering the NSA leaker asylum, the US delayed eliminating tariffs on imports of roses worth about $250 million a year.
The forthcoming cheap iPhone is hideous. Or lovely, if you like candy-colored smartphones.
Hitler had 15 food tasters. One recalls how good the food was and how terrified they all were.