Thing One: Lost Weekend: This weekend is going to be as awkward as one of those forced get-togethers of the Real Housewives of Whatever.
Leaders of the Group of Eight nations gather in Camp David starting to today to talk about, oh, you know, crisis stuff. The other seven countries all totally hate Germany, which is being a total jerk about making everybody slash spending during a recession, the Washington Post notes, but what can you do? Germany has the potato salad, and all the money. And money is kind of a necessary thing, what with Europe teetering on the brink of collapse, writes Paul Krugman.
Not attending will be Greece, which itself is teetering on the brink of leaving the euro zone. The other countries are all like, fine, just go, we can handle it, writes Binyamin Appelbaum of The New York Times. But WaPo sees disaster ensuing from a Greek exit. And Greece's leftist leader Alexis Tsipras tells the Wall Street Journal he thinks Europe will chicken out and give it bailout money to keep it from leaving the euro zone, no matter what. Meanwhile, Moody's last night downgraded Spain's banks, and Spain's third-largest bank, Bankia, may or may not be in the middle of a run. Enjoy the potato salad, everybody.
Thing Two: Finally, Facebook: We've been talking about the Facebook IPO for more than a year now, and it's finally here. The social network last night priced its ballyhooed IPO at $38 a share, valuing the company at $104 billion, and the shares start trading on the Nasdaq this morning at 11:00. In addition to keeping financial journalists employed, the IPO will also be a boon to the economies of Silicon Valley and California. Let the Tech Bubble Death Watch begin.
Thing Three: Joltin' Jamie: One guy definitely glad for the distraction of the Facebook IPO is Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, one of of Facebook's underwriters. He is the subject of a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal running through the events leading up to the bank's revelation of its $3 billion (and counting) loss on bad trades in credit derivatives. The story is mostly hagiography, showing a concerned and shouty CEO in action, but it also highlights how he wasn't paying attention while the trading desk responsible for the loss built up big, dangerous positions. Dimon has agreed to testify in a Senate hearing about the loss. And Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner last night suggested that it might not be a great idea any more to have bankers like Dimon on the board of the New York Fed.
Thing Four: Hewlett's Slaughter: Struggling computer maker Hewlett-Packard plans to cut up to 30,000 jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force, the Wall Street Journal writes. It will be one of the biggest mass layoffs since the financial crisis. HP's latest CEO, Meg Whitman, is trying to cut costs amid slumping profit and revenue and near-constant turmoil in the company's executive suite.
Thing Five: Low Interest: This is ominous: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has fallen to a record low, the Wall Street Journal writes, a sign the bond market sees bad news ahead. Yields are lower than they were last fall, when Europe was blowing up and people were worried about a double-dip recession. The stock market, meanwhile, continues to retreat, too, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 11 days out of the past 12 - the worst such streak since 2002, the WSJ notes.
Thing Six: Wal-Mart's Warning: Wal-Mart reported better than expected quarterly profit last night, but also warned its bribery worries might extend beyond Mexico, The New York Times writes: "And while Wal-Mart said in December that it did not expect the bribery accusations and their fallout to hurt the company, it backed away from that assertion on Thursday."
Thing Seven: Panel Pugilism: The U.S. government slapped ginormous tariffs on Chinese solar panels yesterday, ratcheting up a trade battle between the two nations, Reuters writes: "The size of the tariffs is larger than Chinese companies had expected and some analysts said it might prompt them to manufacture elsewhere or look for alternative markets."
Thing Seven And One Half: R.I.P. Donna Summer.
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Calendar Du Jour:
Not much to speak of.
Heard On The Tweets:
@LaMonicaBuzz: Twitter should file to go public tomorrow and cite huge # of tweets about $FB IPO as reason why it's doing so. #meta #theothersocialnetwork
@zerohedge: You are a Morgan Stanley MD. The market is imploding. The world's most important IPO is tomorrow. Do you pull a "Market Conditions"?
@jfahmy: Facebook to IPO 421M shares, 1 share for each relationship the company has ruined :)
@ObsoleteDogma: BREAKING: Greece changing its name to "Facebook".
@m_delamerced: If you're a company not named Facebook, you should probably put out all your bad news right now.
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.