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What to watch for today
The European Central Bank does its best not to spook anyone. The ECB is expected to announce that euro-zone interest rates will remain at a record low of 0.75%, but there are jitters going into its meetings. Berlusconi is back, and France and Germany disagree on how strong the euro should be.
We find out how much US consumers borrowed in December. November saw the biggest jump in ten years; was consumer confidence sustained?
What works in Swiss banking? Analysts will be closely watching Credit Suisse’s earnings today to compare against its close rival UBS, which reported losses on Feb. 5. The two banks have followed markedly opposing strategies since the financial crisis, with UBS winding down its riskier fixed-income business while Credit Suisse has kept its going.
Impress your colleagues by celebrating e day. If you’ve ever calculated compound interest, you’ve used Euler’s Number. And now it has its own day.
While you were sleeping
The Libor scandal got really entertaining. After Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay British and American authorities some $610 million to settle charges over manipulation of the London InterBank Offered Rate, a trove of emails between traders scheming to distort Libor was released, and the media pounced. Our favorite part? How they used emoticons.
Japan’s stock market is exploding. One analyst thinks the market, which yesterday hit a 52-month high, could climb 10% in the next three months; but it all depends on who becomes the new Bank of Japan governor, which could happen by mid-February.
Most successful tech company: One you use but may never have heard of. ARM Holdings might not be that big, but it designs the microchips probably used in your smartphone as well as many other things, has seen 20% growth every quarter for years, and is set to become the de facto standard for computing devices the world over.
Boeing is fixing its battery problem. The aircraft maker thinks it has a temporary way to stop the batteries in the 787 Dreamliner from catching fire, so the planes, 50 of which are currently grounded, can fly again while a better design is found.
Quartz obsession interlude
Ritchie King on the drug company that doesn’t worry about patents. “GSK’s Advair inhaler (called Seretide in most of Europe and India)—used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—lost its patent at the end of 2010. Ordinarily, a cheaper, generic version of a patented drug comes out shortly after the patent expires… The reason Advair has been immune to a takeover of generics is that, unlike a basic chemical pill, it’s extremely difficult to mimic.” Read more here.
Matters of debate
Is China is trying to end a conflict in Myanmar so it’s no longer beholden to the US Navy? The Strait of Malacca is the choke point for 80% of China’s imported oil, but if Beijing can just end the standoff between the government and rebels in Myanmar, it can get that oil via a pipeline.
Is it time to puncture the mystique of banking? Regulators treat banks as if they’re special, but they’re just like any other business, argue Anat Admati & Martin Hellwig.
The solution to climate change is European-style vacations. Well, maybe not the flying-off-to-Ibiza part, just the part where everyone works less.
The real threat to your online accounts isn’t Chinese hackers. It’s your significant other.
One third of Indonesians sleep fewer than four hours a night. And a third of Russians don’t watch television, reveals a new poll.
China is wrestling with gay marriage, but not the kind you’re thinking of. A rising tide of “fake” marriages between women and gay Chinese men has led to a lively debate.
The most common job for women in the US is the same one it was in 1950. Back then they were called secretaries—today, administrative assistants.
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