Thing One: Unlucky Seven: Seven is an unlucky number for Spain, and for the rest of the world.
The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds nearly hit 7 percent this morning, a record high during the euro era, after Moody's cut Spain's debt rating to nearly junk. Staying at or above 7 percent for very long is sort of like being in the Death Zone on Mount Everest. Oxygen is scarce. Your body begins to slowly eat itself. Hitting 7 percent has been a harbinger of doom for European countries that have already needed bailouts, like Greece and Portugal. Those were relatively cheap, though, compared to the bigger economy of Spain -- which just got a promised 100-billion-euro bank bailout less than a week ago, apparently not nearly enough.
Italy's economy is even bigger, and it is slowly climbing up the mountain toward 7 percent, too. It saw its borrowing costs jump in another bond auction this morning, and this morning its 10-year note yields about 6.3 percent. What could tip both Italy and Spain into the Death Zone quickly is the Greek election coming up on Sunday. Greek bank deposits are flying out the door as customers brace for a messy euro exit. European leaders meet soon in Mexico, but there is little hope their summit will produce any solutions, with European leaders now just bickering openly. France wants quick action. Germany doesn't. The outlook for the global economy hangs in the balance, but the chances of a rescue look bleak right now.
Thing Two: Crazy, Dimon: Most of the headlines about JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's testimony in front of the Senate Banking Committee yesterday focused on his contrition, how he said he was sorry his bank had bungled a trade in credit derivatives and lost $30 billion-plus in trading and stock-price losses. But if you watched the whole thing, you got the clear sense he wasn't sorry at all. In fact, by the end of the hearing, with Dimon's feathers barely ruffled by a mostly obsequious Senate panel, the focus had turned to the Dodd-Frank financial reforms that Dimon hates. How can we get rid of these pesky regulations that bother you so much, Mr. Dimon, was the main message of the day. Fortunately for financial journalists, that means there will be many more big-bank losses! Unfortunately, none of us might have jobs as a result.
Thing Three: Nokia Loses Users, Jobs: Finnish mobile-phone maker Nokia said this morning it plans to cut 10,000 jobs globally, after a weaker-than-expected second quarter, Reuters writes: "Once the world's dominant mobile phone provider, Nokia was wrongfooted by the rise of smartphones and is struggling to keep up with Apple, Samsumg and Google. It is also losing market share in cheaper, more basic phones."
Thing Four: Only Five Months To Election Day: President Obama has a big speech on the economy planned today in Ohio, where he will try to make the case that his opponent, Willard Mittens Romney IV, has no economic plan other than exhuming the failed policies of the Bush administration. Which happens to be true, but that message is harder to sell while the world is blowing up, like it's doing. Romney is of course taking advantage of the world blowing up to blame it all on Obama, but his message is harder to sell because Republican governors in swing states keep talking about all the new jobs they've created, the Wall Street Journal writes.
Thing Five: Our Pain, Oil's Pain, Our Gain: If there's a silver lining to the poortastical economy, it is that commodity prices are falling, because nobody has any money to buy them, The New York Times writes. Hooray. This makes OPEC unhappy, and it is wrestling with maybe cutting off some of the world's flow of oil to prop up prices, the Washington Post writes.
Thing Six: Gupta's Fate In Jury's Hands: The judge in Rajat Gupta's insider-trading trial handed the case off to the jury yesterday, with the former Goldman Sachs director facing up to 25 years in prison if convicted. The Huffington Post's D.M. Levine writes that class may play a role in the jury's decision: "One potential challenge for the defense inside the jury deliberation room may be Gupta's elite status, said Michael S. Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who chairs the white collar defense practice at the law firm Cole Schotz. ... 'You want people who are of the same mindset that the defendant is -- a businessman or an executive.' Most jurors in this case are not of that mindset, he said."
Thing Seven: Glass Ceiling For Banker Bonuses: Bankers in the European Union are bracing for what can only be described as Bonuspocalypse: EU policy makers are about to pass a law putting limits on their bonuses, the Financial Times writes: "Some banks still hope to increase the proposed ratio from 1:1 to 2:1 or beyond, while others are trying to limit the restriction to upfront cash bonuses, excluding deferred payouts. But many bankers now accept the principle of a ratio as inevitable."
Thing Seven And One Half: Happy birthday, U.S. Army, born 1775.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Initial Jobless Claims for the week of June 9
8:30 a.m. ET: CPI for May
Before market open:
Heard On The Tweets:
@JoeBelBruno: Jamie Dimon did more than just woo senators today. Investors also have a crush. Bank stocks way up.
@TMFHousel: Congress congratulates Jamie Dimon for being "one the best CEOs in the country." Cumulative shareholder returns under his tenure are -21%.''
@moorehn: Thought: This testimony is less a bank hearing than a wake for Dodd-Frank.
@ddayen: Merkley takes bright side on Dimon hearing: "While it wasn’t his intention, Jamie Dimon today made the case for a strong Volcker Rule.”
@ReformedBroker: Spain Downgraded 3 Notches to Farcelona $$
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.
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