Do you enjoy knowing things? Well, you are in luck: Science has recently discovered that you only need to know seven and a half things per day to live a balanced, fulfilling lifestyle. No more, no less. Don't fight it. It's science. Here are your seven and a half things for today:
Thing One: Speak, Bernanke! Beloved American folk-singer and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will appear before Congress later this morning to sing songs about workin' on the railroad and also explain why the economy needs more of the sweet, sweet monetary stimulus and maybe just a teensy bit less of the deficit-cutting right at the moment, reports the AP. After several hours of grilling by such austerity enthusiasts as Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other members of Congress, he will then spend the rest of the afternoon weeping softly. Or that's what I'd be doing if I were him.
Thing Two: Who's Jobless This Time? First thing in the morning, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department cranks up its printing press to let us know how many Americans schlepped to the unemployment office last week to get a check. Economists think 375,000 people applied last week, down from 377,000 the prior week, according to Briefing.com. That sounds like a lot, but we're actually down to the lowest level of claims since the summer of 2008, when the Great Recession was just an angry toddler. A decent report will help set the tone for Friday's yooge January jobs report, which is expected to be not-terrible.
Thing Three: Facebook = Yooge. Officially yooge, now that it has filed the necessary paperwork to sell you $5 billion or more in stock. There are lots and lots of numbers in that paperwork you will want to spout to your friends in order to look informed and fancy: 845 million members, $3.7 billion in revenue, $1 billion in profit, etc. HuffPost role model Bianca Bosker last night forewent sleeping and eating, apparently, to cull these numbers from the Facebook IPO and arrange them just so for your amazement and delight. She also took a trip down memory lane, from the days when Mark Zuckerberg barely knew where his next hooded sweatshirt was coming from to the days, now, when he can buy enough hooded sweatshirts to build a ladder to the sun. More science!
Thing Four: Stocks Defy Doubters. A combination of somewhat better economic data, hopes of more Fed stimulus and the fact that all living humans have abandoned the stock market to the trading robots has driven a weeks-long stock-market rally that yesterday brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average within sneezing distance of a four-year high, writes The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Cheng. The market is starting to turn skeptics into believers, notes Bloomberg, which is just about the time when it all goes kablooey.
Thing Five: Greece Remains the Word: The market is rallying despite the fact that Europe continues to be a giant nightmare waiting to spew itself all over your portfolio. Deutsche Bank this morning reported ghastly quarterly results, thanks to Europe's sovereign-debt crisis, and said 2012 wasn't looking so hot, either. Interminable negotiations between Greece and its private creditors and a reluctant European Central Bank drag on again today.
Thing Six: Wall Street Hearts Romney: After rather surprisingly playing ball with then-candidate Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2008, Wall Street is this year taking its ball and going home. By "ball," of course, we mean "money," and by "home," we mean "to the Republicans," reports Ben Hallman, who says Wall Street cash is going to Republicans over Obama now by a ratio of more than five to one, with most of that money going to one Mittens Romney.
Thing Seven: More Mortgage Meltdown: Speaking of POTUS vs. the GOP, the president on Wednesday unveiled yet another plan to help homeowners with their mortgages. But said plan appears to be DIW after John Boehner questioned: Are there no prisons? And the union workhouses, are they still in operation? Yes, I just quoted from Dickens.
Thing Seven and One-Half: Patriots to Beat Giants, Says Math: Quantitative analysts, who only helped bring down the entire global financial system with their alchemy, have declared that the New England Patriots will beat the New York Giants in Sunday's Super Bowl, Bloomberg reports. Please feel free to bet your retirement money on synthetic derivatives leveraged to cash in on this prediction.