Big earnings day in Europe, war games in the Yellow Sea, space surgery

Good morning, Quartz readers!

WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY

European companies worth more than $3 trillion report results. In an unusually hectic earnings day—a “day from hell,” as one analyst put it—a wide range of heavyweights will open their books. Among them: Nestle, Danone, Orange, Kering, Bayer, Airbus, Telefonica, Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank, Roche Holding, Fiat Chrysler, Royal Dutch Shell, and Anheuser-Busch InBev.

China closes off part of the Yellow Sea for military maneuvers.It’s holding large-scale war games for two days in an area off the coast of Qingdao measuring 40,000 sq km (15,444 sq miles). The exercises come ahead of next week’s 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.

The US Commerce Department releases economic data for June. Analysts expect factory orders to snap back, rising about 3% after disappointing results in May. Also due are advance wholesale and retail inventories, excluding autos.

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING

China’s industrial firms notched a strong June. Their earningssurged over 19% from a year earlier, reported the National Bureau of Statistics. Makers of autos, electronics, and steel had particularly good showings. The results suggested economic momentum remains solid, though worries persist about the rising cost of borrowing.

Facebook’s earnings got a boost. The social media giant beat analyst expectations for the 17th straight quarter, with revenue up 45% from a year ago to $9.32 billion and net income rising 71% to $3.89 billion. Still, most signs point toward Facebook being unable to keep up the pace of revenue growth it’s set over the past few years.

The US Fed held steady. The central bank left interest rates unchanged, noting that inflation is well below its 2% target. Separately, Brazil reduced interest rates below 10% for the first time since 2013 in hopes of jumpstarting the economy after a devastating recession.

Slack Technologies is eyeing a $5 billion valuation. The messaging startup is raising $250 million in a new funding round being led by Japan’s SoftBank Group and venture capital firm Accel, according to Bloomberg. The company, which sells software for workers to communicate with colleagues, was valued at $3.8 billion in its last funding round in April 2016.

QUARTZ OBSESSION INTERLUDE

Max de Haldevang on how the family of Vladimir Putin’s US-sanctioned ally uses British companies to burnish its reputation. “Yakunin reportedly lives in a palatial mansion outside Moscow, with an Olympic-size indoor pool and one room solely dedicated to storing fur coats. After the reported fur coat room began trending on Russian social media, Yakunin denied that he’d ever worn a fur coat.” Read more here.

MARKETS HAIKU

Fed assets for sale / All for the low, low price of / $4.5 trillion

MATTERS OF DEBATE

Publishers need to stop pivoting on command. Facebook’s self-interested whims suck up resources while fostering media’sunhealthy dependence.

To get ahead at work, be polarizing. As long as you’re a mensch in your personal interactions, there’s value to bringing divisive ideas to the table.

Sanctions won’t work on Putin. Economic penalties have a long history of failure (paywall), especially when targeting a powerful country.

QUARTZ ANNOUNCEMENT

China is building an army of robot friends for its elderly population. With over a quarter of the world’s old people, China is turning to artificial intelligence in what could be the world’s biggest experiment in robot companionship. Watch how one grandma interacts with her “care bot” in our new series, Machines with Brains.

SURPRISING DISCOVERIES

Guantanamo Bay has a video-game library. Prisoners have long been able to borrow board games and books, but now the offerings include DVDs and PS3 games.

In zero gravity, blood forms a dome around a womb or incision. That’s just one reason space is a terrible place to perform surgery.

A mysterious mega-swan once ruled New Zealand. The Poūwa swan, which went extinct around 1450 AD, was up to 30% larger than modern swans and semi-flightless.

Sperm counts are plunging in rich countries. Exposure to chemicals may be to blame for the 60% drop over the last four decades.

Archaeologists discovered the world’s oldest 🙂. It’s painted on a 3,700-year-old jug unearthed on the Turkish-Syrian border.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, ancient emoji, and mega-swans to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or download our apps for iPhone and Android.

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