Walmart’s numbers, Tencent on a tear, tweeting nuns

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What to watch for today

Another NAFTA deadline. The Republican-controlled Congress must be notified today of the revised deal to allow lawmakers a chance to approve it before November’s midterm elections. Otherwise the next Congress, in which Democrats could wield more power, will review it.

Will JC Penney follow Macy’s lead? Yesterday, Macy’s cheered investors with positive quarterly results, but analysts expect JC Penney’s earnings today to reflect the department store’s decreasing store traffic amid tough online competition.

While you were sleeping

Walmart overcame nasty weather to turn in solid quarterly earnings. The retail giant posted profit and revenue that beat analyst expectations, posting strong same-store sales and e-commerce growth after a disappointing holiday quarter.

Tencent smashed its quarterly profit record. The Chinese tech giant, which owns messaging platform WeChat, China’s biggest social network, posted a 60% leap in profits in the quarter ending March. Tencent’s gaming business (it owns the insanely popular “Honor of Kings”) boosted revenues by 26%.

Tesla struck a lithium deal with Australia. The e-car firm signed a three-year supply agreement with lithium miner (paywall) Kidman Resources for the essential battery raw material. Carmakers are racing to secure their lithium supplies as they ramp up electric car production—Goldman Sachs predicts demand will quadruple by 2025.

YouTube Music geared up for a relaunch. The Google-owned company said its subscription service will go live on May 22 in the US, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will include a “reimagined” mobile app, and the ad-free Premium membership will cost $9.99 a month.

Rovio Entertainment looked chirpy. Things improved in the last quarter for the Finnish company that makes the “Angry Birds” game and movie, as it doubled operating profit from the same quarter a year ago to €10 million ($11.8 million). Rovio has been struggling since it went public last September.

Japan is planning $400 million worth of retaliatory tariffs against the US. The duties would reportedly be in response to the steel and aluminum tariffs the Trump administration announced earlier this year. Japan is the only major US ally that didn’t receive exemptions from those duties.

Quartz Obsession interlude

Dan Kopf on how American baby names sound the same these days. “We live in the age of names ending in ‘n.’ Logan, Benjamin, Mason, Ethan, Aiden, and Jackson are all among the 20 most common boy names. The share of girl names ending in n has also risen, but not quite to the same degree.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

The way scientists set climate goals has given the world a false sense of hope. Politicians hear only that it’s feasible to mitigate climate change and ignore how much must be done to get there.

House flippers can be good for the US. If Wall Street buys their loans, it means they can improve neighborhoods more quickly.

Taking a break is part of your job. True work lies in the balance between effort and ease, and downtime should be mandatory.

Surprising discoveries

Scientists detected a mysterious rise in ozone-destroying CFCs in east Asia. The source of the banned chemical needs to be found, as its puts the recovery of the earth’s protective layer in severe danger.

Most Uber drivers could make more flipping burgers. After expenses, their hourly wages add up to less than the legal minimum in many major US cities.

Hippos poop too much. The mammals defecate in impressive amounts, and it’s killing fish by the thousands in African rivers.

The Vatican wants nuns to cool it on social media. Facebook and Twitter are allowed, but they should be used “with discretion and sobriety.”

The Wodehouse Prize won’t be awarded this year. Sixty-two comic novelists failed to make the judges chuckle.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, pooper scoopers, and fixer-uppers to 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 Jill Petzinger and edited by Lianna Brinded.