Thing One: Don't Go Changin': If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then America's banks are out of their minds.
Take JPMorgan Chase. Please! Actually, don't take that bank away from us. It is supposedly one of our best. And yet, it is responding to the multi-billion-dollar loss at its chief investment office by telling that office to go ahead and basically keep doing what it's been doing, according to a story by Greg Zuckerman and Dan Fitzpatrick in the Wall Street Journal. Oh, sure, the bank's CIO isn't going to buy any more of the risky credit derivatives that blew up in its face. That would be crazy! But it is going to buy other, totally risky stuff, like troubled corporate debt, the WSJ writes. And it's going to keep buying more of this stuff than its rivals do, according to the story, "suggesting that the future operations of the J.P. Morgan group will in many ways resemble those in the past." Because what could possibly go wrong? Again?
In fact, a new report by the Bank for International Settlements says banks the world over are still taking the same crazy risks they always have. And the main reason banks take these crazy risks is that those mansions and private jets aren't just going to buy themselves. Bankers get paid big bucks when their big bets pay off, and only slightly less bucks when the bets don't pay off. Which is why last year, a year when their stock prices and profits tumbled, and just a few years after they caused the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the average pay for top U.S. and European bankers rose nearly 12 percent, according to the Financial Times. Did you get a 12 percent raise last year? Obviously you just weren't losing enough money for your shareholders, or taxpayers.
Thing Two: Another European Summit To End All Summits: Speaking of insanity, Europe. Spain this morning formally asked for that bailout money the rest of Europe promised it. It will probably need to ask for more soon, unless European leaders can somehow come up with a long-term fix to their economic problems at their highly anticipated summit later this week. Survey says, no. No, they won't. They're all still far apart, and everybody hates Germany, which has all the money. Policy makers in Europe and the U.S. are being dangerously irresponsible, Paul Krugman writes. Both economies risk falling into Lost Decades of slow growth, just like Japan, Reuters warns.
Thing Three: Take One Down, Pass It Around: If we're going to have lost decades in the U.S. and Europe, then many people are going to need to drink heavily for long periods of time. That's one possible explanation for why Euro-American beer giant AB InBev is working on a deal to buy the rest of Mexican beer maker Grupo Modelo that it doesn't already own for about $12 billion, Bloomberg reports, in one of the bigger mergers of the year.
Thing Four: Sino The Times: Economic slowdown is not just for Europe, America or Japan. China's in on the act, too, likely missing its centrally planned growth targets this year, writes Reuters. In fact, some thing China's growth could tumble to just 7 percent this year, Reuters writes, which sounds like a lot, except when you consider that a healthy China should be growing at more like 10 percent per year.
Thing Five: Cities For Sale: Flat-busted U.S. cities are considering selling advertisements on everything that's not nailed down, including fire trucks and police cars, the New York Times writes. House on fire? Call the fire department. And while you're waiting head to KFC for some Fiery Grilled Wings!
Thing Six: Merkin Pie: Hedge-fund manager Ezra Merkin, who steered his clients to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, has agreed to give more than $400 million back to those clients as part of a settlement with the New York attorney general's office. The U.S. bankruptcy trustee, who also has sued Merkin, is not pleased and will challenge the settlement in court, the NYT writes.
Thing Seven: Balance Of Power In The Balance: This week's decisions by the Supreme Court on President Obama's health-care law and Arizona's bonkers immigration law will set the standard for the division of power between the state and federal governments in regulating commerce "for decades to come," writes the Wall Street Journal.
Thing Seven And One Half: Photo Phinish: You would think that, in the long history of U.S. involvement in the Olympics, this would have come up before, but apparently it hadn't: In Olympic trials for the 100-meter race, two runners tied for third place, the cutoff for going to the Olympics, and the team had no set rule for breaking the tie. They're still not sure how they're going to break it, The New York Times writes.
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Calendar Du Jour:
10:00 a.m. ET: New Home Sales for May
After Market Close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@SallieKrawcheck: Lots of talk that Moody's bank ratings cuts ignore capital improvements; assumes prior ratings were accurate, wh/ they clearly weren't
@geraldcelente: CNBC: Banks Will Have Hard Time Recovering From Downgrade. GC: BS. They'll find plenty of ways 2 keep stealing from us & cooking the books
@brianbeutler: Keep your friends close and your enemies chairing the Federal Reserve so they can destroy your presidency.
@Queen_UK: Well, that's Italy's chances of a financial bailout well and truly vetoed. #eng
@zerohedge: Hey, there is always EURO2016. Can practice penalty kicks for the next 4 years
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.
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