Quartz Daily Brief—Google earnings, Isreali elections, Japan’s reflation, asteroid mining

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What to watch for today

Google posts fourth quarter earnings… The search giant is expected to report profits of $10.57 a share for the fourth quarter, a healthy increase on the previous three-month period. But analysts will be focused on how well Google is doing capturing revenues from mobile searches. As Quartz has noted before, Google has struggled to sell advertising to be displayed on mobile devices, as the smaller screens offer marketers less real estate.

…As does IBM, which is expected to post a decent 6.5% gain in quarterly net income on the back of increased sales of higher-margin software and services, and less reliance on the moribund computer chip market.

Bibi Netanyahu heads for another term. Israel’s prime minister led polls going into today’s election, and is likely to put together a more right-wing coalition that opposes further peace talks with the Palestinians. Then again, peace talks had all but vanished from the center-left’s political platform too.

A new asteroid-mining venture is unveiled. A company called Deep Space Industries will unveil plans to mine valuable minerals from asteroids.  The California-based company says it will build a fleet of spacecraft. Last year, another company, Planetary Resources, backed by Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, announced similarly far-fetched plans.

While you were sleeping

The Bank of Japan gets aggressive on inflation. Under intense pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the central bank unveiled an ambitious new 2% inflation target aimed at jolting the Japanese economy out of its decades-long malaise. Expectations the BoJ would get behind “Abenomics”, the new leader’s scheme to kickstart the economy by aggressively printing money, have made the yen weaken markedly in recent weeks

German investors’ gloom lifts. The closely-watched ZEW German investor sentiment index showed a marked improvement in confidence, albeit from a low base. The European Central Bank recently predicted that the Euro area, Germany’s biggest export market, would exit recession this year.

Indian court hears plea to move rape trial. A defense lawyer for one of five men accused of a gruesome rape will ask the Indian Supreme Court to move the trial out of the capital, Delhi. Mukesh Singh says a fair trial won’t be possible in Delhi for last month’s rape of a 23-year-old woman who later died of her injuries. The five men face the death penalty if convicted.

Algeria now thinks more hostages died in last week’s attack. The government said that at least 37 hostages died during the four-day standoff with Islamic militants at a natural gas facility in the Sahara Desert; previous estimates said 29 people had died. Five hostages are still missing. About 29 militants were also killed and three were captured.

A coup attempt fails in Eritrea. The government managed to foil a coup attempt in Eritrea. The attempt to oust President Isaias Afwerki, who has ruled for 20 years, was mounted by disgruntled soldiers who took over state-run television.

Quartz obsession interlude

Matt Phillips on why sales are declining in China for Richemont, maker of Cartier wristwatches: ”The combination of the recent Chinese leadership transition, along with an appropriate amount of outrage from Chinese bloggers about the ridiculously expensive wristwatches worn by officials who are supposed to be earning modest salaries, has been poison for sales of extravagant watches. And they’re not alone: Other lubricants of the Chinese government apparatus—such as the one-time tipple of choice for government officials, a sorghum liquor once described as a “liquid razorblades”—have also declined.” Read more here.

Matters of debate

To recover from your next financial crisis, follow these 10 simple guidelines.

Obama is too inward looking for America’s allies. America’s strength in the world rests on its economy recovering, so allies may have to count on less support in the future.

Science is the best reason to attend Davos, though most business people fail to notice this.

China may end the one-child policy. 

Lance Armstrong is being called “Bernie Madoff on a bike“ (though the doping scandal cyclist has not been charged with any crime.)

Always be skeptical about claims of “lost generations.”

The EU is paying farmers too much for green initiatives. New rules may see the EU handing farmers double subsidies to protect the environment.

Surprising discoveries

Tweeting about trying to lose weight is an effective way of actually shedding fat.

While obese drivers are more likely to die in car crashes. Not because they distract themselves by eating at the wheel, but because their additional bulk prevents seat-belts working as well as they should.

Before Barack Obama’s speech on Monday, no American president had used the word “gay” in an inaugural address.

New York is a better place for tech start-ups than San Francisco

A startup is attempting to “bioprint” raw meat with a kind of 3D printer.

Not all DNA is in a double helix. Scientists say they’ve found four-stranded, square-shaped DNA in naturally occurring cells.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, and asteroid-mining plans to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter here for updates during the day.

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