Thing One: Not So Great Expectations: Europe's leaders are like co-pilots squabbling about how to fly the plane while it's heading straight for a mountain. And all the rest of us are packed in coach, helpless.
On the bright side, at least, we are maybe learning to temper our expectations. Yet another summit of European dysfunction approaches at the end of the week, which in the past might have inspired financial markets to bet everything on black, in hopes of a grand solution to Europe's problems. After two years of this foolishness we are apparently starting to know better. U.S. stocks tumbled Monday as summit expectations were curbed to match reality, writes the Wall Street Journal. Spain formally asked for bailout money for its banks, and Cyprus said, what the heck, we want a bailout too. Everybody's doing it!
Oh, and the Greek finance minister resigned due to health problems -- presumably after his first look at the country's books, went the standard Twitter joke. This morning, Spanish and Italian borrowing costs jumped as both countries borrowed more money. European leaders have a plan for a tighter fiscal pact, which sounds like a fine first step, except they still keep bumping up against the same old German resistance. Angela Merkel for the umpteenth time this morning resisted the notion of joint European debt, which might solve a lot of Europe's problems. And Germany insists Spain pay back its latest bailout loan before it pays anything else back, which makes the bond market angry. Or angrier, rather.
All the while, the mountain looms ever larger in the windshield.
Thing Two: Somebody's Watching You: A couple of stories this morning to feed your paranoia about the Internet: The Wall Street Journal writes that Orbitz is pushing higher-priced hotel options on Mac users because they seem to have more money to blow than sad PC users. And The New York Times writes about how parents are all up in their kids' online business, watching their texts.
Thing Three: Late Spring For Housing? The Commerce Department said yesterday that new-home sales jumped in May to their highest level in two years, as a tight inventory of foreclosed homes for sale pushed buyers into new homes. Only about 4.7 months' worth of new homes were available for sale in May, the tightest inventory in nearly seven years, Peter Boockvar wrote at The Big Picture, and a good sign for future sales. Can't have much of a recovery without housing coming back -- although on the flip side, the recent slowdown in the economy won't help housing.
Thing Four: Oil Slick: Here's a little more good news: Oil prices are way down, and may go way-downer. the Financial Times writes that big oil customers -- airlines, trucking companies, etc. -- are making market bets that oil prices are going to keep falling. Nymex crude oil recently tumbled below $80 a barrel. This is good news for consumers -- although it is also a sign that global economy is slowing down, which is not so good.
Thing Five: Ladies Can Do Stuff Now, Facebook Says: Sheryl Sandberg has finally been admitted to the formerly all-boys' club of Facebook's board of directors, the Huffington Post's Bianca Bosker writes: "The company's decision to add an eighth member, Sandberg, comes after months of criticism by investors and women's advocacy groups over the lack of diversity among Facebook's directors."
Thing Six: Let's Make A (Small, Incremental) Deal: The market for mergers and acquisitions is downright barren, but small deals are happening here and there, especially in tech. Microsoft paid $1.2 billion to buy business social-networking company Yammer, and Dell is in talks to buy business software maker Quest Software, Reuters reports.
Thing Seven: What The World Needs: Two News Corps: News Corp. is considering splitting into two companies, the Wall Street Journal reports, one for its publishing empire and the other for its TV and cable and film properties. This will make shareholders happy, apparently. Rupert Murdoch will continue to hold dominion over both, groans the Murdoch-owned WSJ.
Thing Seven And One Half: The Coney Island Cyclone is now as old as it is tall. Today is the 85th birthday of the 85-foot-tall Cyclone, the wooden roller coaster that Charles Lindbergh once declared to be more exciting than flying solo across the Atlantic. It's still pretty terrifying, and it's considered by roller-coaster historians to be the first "modern" coaster.
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Calendar Du Jour:
9:00 a.m. ET: Case-Shiller 20-city Home-Price Index for April
10:00 a.m. ET: Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for June
After Market Close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@mattyglesias: Great to see a woman on Facebook board, but adding another insider hardly alleviates concerns about its weak corporate governance.
@EddyElfenbein: The bar has been set rather low for the EU summit. It's actually buried several feet below the earth's surface.
@TheStalwart: Europe is in a crisis for precisely the same reason that brilliant elites like Soros don't have the ability to move the policy dial.
@AlbertBrooks: Concerned now that Thursday's SCOTUS ruling will allow cops to pull you over if you look sick.
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.