Thing One: Get It Together: The eurozone is like a bad marriage that has to stay together for the sake of the children. In this case, the children are, how do you say, all the rest of planet Earth.
Leaders of the 20 most-awesome nations in the world are gathered in Mexico this week for some sun, fun, margaritas and guilt-tripping Europe's dysfunctional family into forming a tighter fiscal union. And Europe has responded with some vague promises to get its act together. But Europe will not be hurried! Do not hurry Europe, even though Spain is at the moment red-faced, gripping its neck and struggling to breathe, with its borrowing costs at unsustainable levels. And if Spain keels over, then it threatens to take the rest of Europe, and the global economy, with it.
The Greek election over the weekend was supposed to buy Europe some more precious time to get its act finally together, but the market returns from such short-term fixes have diminished to nada. In fact, the Greek vote seems to have paradoxically made matters worse, The New York Times points out, by lowering the sense of urgency and making Germany feel like maybe its hard-line stance with Greece was justified, making it less inclined to give up any of the ground necessary to pull Europe together and stop the crisis once and for all. "The clock is ticking down," Peter Tchir of TF Market Advisors wrote in an email. "Europe is burning."
Thing Two: House Rules: America's greatest hero, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, returns to Capitol Hill today for questioning by the House Financial Services Committee about his bank's multi-billion-dollar loss in credit derivatives. Apparently this session will involve slightly less fellatio and foot-rubbing than his embarrassingly cozy visit with the bought-and-paid-for Senate Banking Committee, the Wall Street Journal writes. It will also involve people who call themselves "regulators," who are supposed to keep track of what this big honking goose of a bank is doing. To the chagrin of Dimon and probably several lawmakers on the bank payroll, momentum may be building in Washington for some measures to limit the size of banks, or maybe to kick bankers off the board of the New York Federal Reserve, Bloomberg writes. We'll believe it when we see it!
Thing Three: Fed Up: Meanwhile, Fed policy makers settle in for a two-day meeting to try to figure out how little they can possibly get away with doing to help the economy, The New York Times writes. This despite the fact that the economy, already stumbling amid Europe's eternal crisis, is now starting to be affected by worries about the "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts looming at the end of the year, Bloomberg writes. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's Jon Hilsenrath says the Fed is worried that most of the economy is not able to take advantage of its super-low interest rates.
Thing Four: FedEx To Deliver Message: One key economic indicator today will be the earnings results of shipping giant FedEx, notes Spencer Jakab of the Wall Street Journal: "While unlikely to be a harbinger of doom, FedEx's results may provide another sign of economic choppiness ahead."
Thing Five: On The Surface: Microsoft yesterday introduced the world to the Surface, its wanna-be iPad, the first computer thingy it has ever made by itself (not counting the XBox or the Zune). That might annoy its usual hardware partners, writes Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal, but what are you gonna do? Microsoft's got to try to keep up with Apple.
Thing Six: No Overtime For You! In these troubled times, at least one proud institution is standing up tall for beleaguered Corporate-Americans: The John Roberts Supreme Court. Yesterday it ruled that drug companies did not have to pay their representatives overtime, by declaring them not technically "employees," saving the industry billions of precious dollars, the Washington Post writes.
Thing Seven: Gupta Will Totally Buy The Next Round: Here's a little schadenfreude with your morning whatever: Goldman Sachs is on the hook for the legal costs -- $30 million and counting -- of former director Rajat Gupta, who was recently convicted of insider trading, Peter Lattman of The New York Times writes. Because he's been convicted, Gupta may have to pay Goldman back one of these days, but Goldman will have to cover his legal costs through the appeals process, which could take years.
Thing Seven And One Half: Happy Juneteenth: On this day in 1862, Congress outlawed slavery in the U.S. territories. On the same day three years later, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, and told slaves there for the first time of the Emancipation Proclamation that Abraham Lincoln had signed in September of 1862. As a result, June 19 is still celebrated throughout the country as "Juneteenth". Also on this day in 1870, the Confederate States of America officially breathed their last breath, as the southern states rejoined the U.S.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Housing Starts for May
Before Market Open:
Barnes & Noble
Time Not Specified:
After Market Close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@BCAppelbaum: Congratulations everyone. Instead of a new crisis, we're going to keep on having the same one.
@conorsen: Well, kids, judging by the VIX today this edition of the European crisis is over. Can't wait for its return in 3-5 months.
@LaMonicaBuzz: Dimon back on Capitol Hill tomw. Can't wait for him to not say how large hedging/trading loss is & complain about Volcker rule again. $JPM
@ReformedBroker: Someone explain to me why $JCP needs a head of marketing? It's very simple: "Penneys - It's where you mom got that vest."
@zerohedge: JCP's generous shareholders just paid the departing President $10mm. In exchange for that, the stock is now at 52 week lows
@wyattnyt: Error on DOJ -- Roger Clemens acquitted on all perjury counts. Plans celebration w/ John Edwards, Bear Stearns hedge fund managers
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja