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What to watch for today
Corporate earnings season begins. US firms start reporting their first-quarter results, beginning with Alcoa after the close of trading on Monday. Overall, earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to contract for the first time since 2009. Weak US economic data are also anticipated this week.
Portgual seeks to cut more than €1 billion. The government held emergency meetings over the weekend after Portugal’s constitutional court on Friday rejected proposed cuts to public workers’ pay. Prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Sunday night that he would slash health and education spending to hit budget deficit targets imposed by the EU, ECB, and IMF.
American immigration reform advances. Lawmakers say they will finally introduce a bill this week to revamp the nation’s immigration policies by attempting to integrate guest workers and undocumented immigrants into the US labor economy.
Blackstone pays Dell a visit. It looks increasingly likely that the group will beat Michael Dell’s own $24.4 billion buyout offer, but the company’s drama isn’t over yet as it deals with billionaire Carl Icahn’s proxy fight (paywall).
China’s movie theater giant eyes Europe. Dalian Wanda, which bought US-based AMC Entertainment and its 5,000 screens last year, is now in talks to buy one of Europe’s large players (paywall) in the business.
A new Chairman for the Bank of China? Citic executive Tian Guoli may fill the position, left vacant after Xiao Gang was promoted in late March. Vetting is likely to start soon for the successor, who will have to continue Gang’s legacy of improving the bank’s domestic presence.
Over the weekend
China took a quiet stance toward North Korea. While South Koreans fear their northern enemies could launch a provocation this week, the whole thing may just be sabre-rattling to get American, Chinese, and Russian attention.
Abenomics earned some approval. The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, noted the recent success of Japan’s monetary policy. But there’s still more to come (paywall) in Shinzo Abe’s economic makeover.
Venezuela heated up, with one week until election day. Henrique Capriles, who will face Chavez supporter Nicolas Maduro, brought hordes of supporters to the streets of Caracas. Maduro swore one day earlier that a curse would befall those who don’t vote for him.
Quartz obsession interlude
Steve Le Vine on what happens to the shale industry if fracking fails: “A US industry-environmental coalition says it has established a gold standard for safety and transparency in shale gas drilling, which has triggered public protests on both sides of the Atlantic….Only, it hasn’t. While the initiative, announced Mar. 21, goes some distance toward easing worries about hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking,” as it’s commonly known), the method used to drill shale gas and oil, it misses what should be the key point: transparency.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Don’t thank speculators for a stronger Chinese yuan. Thank the nation’s central bank.
At Michelin, it’s not cute to have a spare tire. The company can make you pay for being too fat (paywall).
Blame Paul Krugman for bitcoin: It all goes back to his 1998 column.
Beyond the 1%. The biggest economic question America faces is still the difference between labor classes and corporate profits.
Terminator is coming. His name is PETMAN, he’s a robot, and he wears camo.
An intelligent wardrobe could replace retirement homes.
Throw pillows: the best way to save JC Penney.
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