Finance officials meet and Alibaba buys into smartphones — 5 things to know today
Good morning friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street futures are declining this morning following a fall in European markets. European shares slid sharply after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to find an end to austerity before negotiating with creditors, defying EU entreaties not to do so. Weak Chinese trade data are also a concern for investors.
President Obama is set for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later today to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. G20 convenes in Istanbul.
The top finance officials from the world’s top 20 nations gather today in Turkey’s capital city. The group is likely to reject a proposal to set country-specific investment targets, which were intended to spur the global economy that appears to be increasingly beholden to the U.S. for growth. Global leaders will face a host of pressing issues, including Greece’s faltering economy, cheap oil’s impact on inflation and growth forecasts and a how a strengthening U.S. dollar threatens emerging economies.
2. Hasbro’s banking on Frozen.
Hasbro (HAS) said Monday it saw higher revenue and earnings in its fourth quarter, but missed analysts’ estimates for the quarter. The toymaker is hoping that sales of Frozen toys will help lift its struggling bottom line. The second-largest toy company has reported surprise negative earnings in three of the last four quarters and an average earnings surprise of -3.74%. Hasbro received the rights to produce products for the Disney Princess and Frozen lines in September, and it’s counting on a little Frozen magic to bring in the sales.
3. China executes former mining tycoon.
Chinese officials executed Liu Han, the former chairman of Hanlong Group with connections to the eldest son of China’s retired domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is also under investigation for corruption. Liu was sentenced to death last May on charges of murder and running what state media called a “mafia-style” gang. He was once China’s 230th richest man.
4. Alibaba buys its way into the smartphone market.
Alibaba (BABA) has put $590 million down to buy a stake in an obscure domestic smartphone maker. The investment, which gives Alibaba a minority stake in Meizu Technology, extends the retailing giant’s reach into hardware and will help expand the reach of its mobile OS, which currently has a market share of less than 1%. Meizu only has a small slice of the Chinese smartphone market, though — analysts estimate it to be below 2%. It’s dwarfed by larger domestic leaders Xiaomi, Huawei Technologies and Lenovo Group.
5. Samsung’s new TVs are listening to you.