You probably don't need to know your Klout number, but you probably do need to know these seven and a half things:
Thing One: Big, Bad Banks: As a parent of five-year-olds, I know first-hand the often breathtakingly petty competitiveness of the demographic. It's a trait apparently shared by large banks, only with far less balancing cuteness.
The Financial Times reports that ginormous banks in the U.S. are stomping mad about a feature of the recently signed JOBS Act that lets banks issue research reports on small companies they're helping take public. It was only about a decade ago, you may recall, these big banks were put in a permanent time-out from this sort of activity because they tended to abuse it, writing glowing research reports about CrapStock.com with one keyboard while telling their co-workers the same stock was a giant money-loser with another.
No fair! yell the big banks from their time-out chairs, in response to the JOBS Act, which may not apply to them. If the little banks can write research reports on CrapStock.com, then we can, too. They're pressing their regulators to let them out of time-out, at least on the smallish companies covered by the JOBS Act. And of course the regulators will stoically resist. Ha, no, just kidding, the regulators will probably cave, like they do. But just in case they don't, then the big banks will use all of their powers and all of their skills to keep the little banks from enjoying their new privilege, single-handedly thwarting the will of Congress.
There may be just a touch of petty competitiveness in a Wall Street Journal op-ed bylittle-bank CEO Warren Stephens, who argues in that it's time to break up the banks. But few would disagree with him.
Thing Two: Going To China: China-U.S. relations will be in the spotlight all week as the two countries talk trade and geopolitics all while trying to dance around the delicate subject of the dissident Chen Guangcheng, who might or might not be hiding out at the U.S. embassy, writes Reuters. At least tensions with Iran are potentially cooling down a bit, writes The New York Times, but that still can't make the U.S. happy with the news, reported by Reuters, that China might give sovereign guarantees to its ships carrying Iranian oil.
Thing Three: More Pain In Spain: Standard & Poor's downgraded the credit ratings of several Spanish banks this morning -- not a shock after the rating agency belatedly downgraded Spain itself, but still not a welcome development for the banks. Spanish officials are considering creating "bad banks" to take on bad debts from the Spanish banking system, the Financial Times writes. There could be more of those coming, as Spain fell into recession in the first quarter, notes Reuters.
Thing Four: Soaring Soya: Oil and gasoline prices might have cooled a bit lately, but food prices haven't been as merciful, raising worries about global food inflation, writes the Financial Times. A combination of higher Chinese demand and lower production due to bad weather have driven soyabean prices back toward their record levels in 2007-08.
Thing Five: Not-So-Soaring Stocks: Less hot is the U.S. stock market, write Tom Lauricella and Jonathan Cheng of the Wall Street Journal: "After a strong start to the year for stocks, slowing earnings growth and fresh worries that the Federal Reserve might be less willing to pump new cash into the financial markets are taming the bulls." The Dow is already up about 8 percent this year. We might not get much more the rest of the year, they warn.
Thing Six: Labor Lost: If you think the job market is sketchy in the U.S., then you should see the rest of the world. A group called the International Labour Organization warns that the global job market is still in "alarming" shape, thanks in part to austerity measures and bad reforms: "In advanced countries, especially in Europe, employment is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels of 2008 until the end of 2016 -- two years later than it previously predicted -- in line with a slowdown in production," Reuters writes.
Thing Seven: Watch These Women: In better news, the Wall Street Journal has spotted ten women rising through the ranks of Corporate America, who will possibly soon fill out the thin ranks of female CEOs. It's part of what might be a broader trend of women gaining greater power in the boardroom.
Thing Seven And A Half: Comedy Hour: If you've got about 40 minutes to kill, you could always check out the comedy stylings of President Obama and Jimmy Kimmel at this weekend's White House Correspondents Dinner.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Personal income and spending for March
9:45 a.m. ET: Chicago PMI for April
Before market open:
After market close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@ReformedBroker: Bank of England considering Goldman's Jim O'Neill for a post. This as a part of London's new "3 Riots a Month" initiative
@carlquintanilla: Call me a business-news nerd, but it's quietly thrilling running into Paul Volcker at the grocery store. #whoneedsWHCD
@colsonwhitehead: Rejected colors for the new NYC taxis: Hipster's Infected Piercing Red, Subway Platform Vomit Orange, Decomposing Rat Gray
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.
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