Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
Amazon, Microsoft, and Intel report earnings. Investors are looking to see whether Amazon can continue to grow, after the company announced last week it had reached 100 million Prime members. Microsoft is expected to report continued strength in its cloud-computing service, Azure. Facebook’s blockbuster earnings yesterday set the tone for the sector.
Starbucks faces uncomfortable questions. The coffee chain will report sales and revenues amid a PR crisis. Two black men were recently arrested at a Philadelphia store because they refused to leave at the request of a store manager. First-quarter revenues, which happened before the incident, are expected to be strong but reputational issues could come up during the conference call.
The European Central Bank delivers its policy decision. With the euro-zone economy seeing slower-than expected-growth in the first quarter, the central bank will likely keep interest rates unchanged, and strike a more cautious tone than it did last month. Markets will look for ECB president Mario Draghi’s take on the soft numbers.
While you were sleeping
Jeff Sessions talked Russia with Congress. Senate Democrats took the opportunity to grill the US attorney general about the probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sessions would not say if he would resign if Trump fired Robert Mueller, the former FBI director leading the investigation.
Nintendo named a new CEO. The gaming group announced that Tatsumi Kimishima will step down in June, to be replaced by current managing executive office Shuntaro Furukawa. On Kimishima’s watch, the firm prospered due to the success of the Switch—69 million Switch consoles have been sold since its release in March 2017.
Officials may have found the Golden State Killer. In California, the use of cutting-edge DNA technology led to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former policeman, in a case that’s been open for four decades. He is suspected of killing 12 people, raping at least 45 victims, and robbing more than 100 homes.
European banks had a bad quarter. Barclays’ quarter was dragged down by £2 billion ($2.8 billion) worth of legal costs and charges, mostly related to a settlement with US regulators. Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank posted an 80% profit drop and plans to cut jobs. The Swiss National Bank also reported a quarterly loss of 7 billion Swiss francs ($7.1 billion), on currency volatility.
European oil companies had a great quarter. With oil prices soaring, both Total and Shell reported higher-than-expected profits. Total’s first-quarter income of almost $3 billion was driven by record production produced of more than 2.7 million barrels per day (paywall). Shell’s profits came in 42% higher than last year.
Quartz obsession interlude
Marc Bain on the two garment factory fires a century apart that show how globalization has sapped labor’s power. “The aftermath of Rana Plaza [a factory that collapsed in Bangladesh] represents an unprecedented effort by international brands to reform an entire industry—a new role for clothing companies. Historically, governments move to regulate, or private owners are forced to act after pressure from the workers themselves.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Music industry upswings don’t necessarily help musicians. It’s labels, not artists, that still pocket most of the cash.
Cash isn’t dead. Eliminating a way to anonymously exchange funds may decrease crime, but it also assumes government regulations will always be morally sound.
Reddit needs to do more than just clean house. Banishing violently misogynist threads like r/incels may only push their users deeper into the web.
Pig brains can be kept alive outside the body. The discovery could allow scientists to study healthy, functioning brain cells.
Kim Jong-un travels with a personal toilet. The North Korean leader’s excretions contain sensitive information about his health (paywall).
An English dog got its own Windsor Castle. The lhasa apso’s owner, a lottery winner and huge royal-wedding fan, spent thousands on a replica kennel.
A loud noise knocked out the servers of stock exchanges in northern Europe. It came from an errant fire-prevention system and was as loud as a rock concert.
Alexa can teach your kids how to say “please.” The new Echo Dot Kids Edition is undoubtedly the first wave of AI for kids.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, lavish kennels, and magic words to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Dan Kopf and edited by Lianna Brinded.