Thing One: Forza Italia: It's been a bad 24 hours for Germany and great for Italy, on the soccer pitch and in the euro-zone crisis.
In the Euro 2012 soccer tournament, Italy knocked off Germany, which had been otherwise cruising toward the final, by a score of 2-1. Meanwhile, at the bazillionth euro-zone debt crisis Summit To End All Summits, Until The Next Summit, Germany also retreated, while Italy advanced, Bloomberg writes. At the end of a nearly 14-hour marathon talking session, Europe's leaders agreed to hurry up their plans for a single European banking supervisor. They agreed to make bailout money available to Italy and Spain, and maybe even Ireland, under relaxed conditions. They took a big step toward direct bailouts of European banks. And they agreed to drop a condition that loans from Europe's bailout funds be paid back before any other loans, a bug of the Spanish bank bailout that had given bond investors agita. There was even a hint of, some day, joint European bond issuance, the Wall Street Journal writes.
Much of this stuff represented retreats by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and much of it had been pushed by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. The market loves it all, with the euro and European stocks and European sovereign bonds rallying hard this morning. As usual, though, many of the details have been left to be sketched in future summits, meaning the rally could be short-lived.
"We doubt these questions will be addressed any time soon," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, wrote in an email, "so for now, we’re left with the same sense of fleeting optimism that was felt after each of the last few summits."
Thing Two: Health-Care Hoedown: So as you might have heard, the socialist Chief Justice John Roberts turned America into Canada yesterday. Our Huffington Post political writers were all over the non-business aspects of that like Black Friday shoppers going after a $20 DVD player. On the business front, The New York Times points out how health-care investors reacted (hospitals good, insurance companies bad). HuffPost's Ben Hallman wrote about what kind of tax people might have to pay if they refuse insurance. Yours truly made fun of CNBC and Fox Business News for declaring the Supreme Court ruling would destroy the economy. And Jeffrey Young wrote about the impact on, you know, real people.
Thing Three: Bankers On The Brink: Everywhere you look these days, bankers are in hot water! Here in the States, regulators are giving JPMorgan Chase's risk management the stinkeye after its big trading loss in credit derivatives, the Wall Street Journal writes. JPMorgan is quietly pushing back against reports that its loss has reached $9 billion. The number it would rather you believe is $4 billion to $6 billion, which is only two or three times as big as it first reported. Across the pond, Barclays chief Bob Diamond, who shares Jamie Dimon's distaste for political meddling in his affairs, is suddenly in the political hot seat after his bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle charges it manipulated an important interest-rate market. RBS could be the next bank to get hit with fines in the sprawling investigation that nailed Barclays, according to news reports.
Thing Four: RIM In The Toilet: Once upon a time there was a great Canadian company that made a revolutionary electronic device that everybody wanted to own. That company was Research In Motion, and we are now watching its death throes. The company's share price collapsed, more than usual, yesterday after the company reported a quarterly loss and said a new line of BlackBerries would be delayed until next year.
Thing Five: Nagging Nasdaq: The Securities and Exchange Commission might force the Nasdaq stock exchange to upgrade its system in the wake of the debacle of the Facebook IPO, the Wall Street Journal reports: "A regulatory request to improve its systems would be a rebuke for Nasdaq, a company that has long cultivated an image as a leader in exchange technology. It also could add to the exchange's costs."
Thing Six: Reassurin' Rupert: Rupert Murdoch hit the publicity circuit yesterday to reassure the world that the soon-to-be-jettisoned publishing division of News Corp., which includes the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, was really an awesome company and not in any way a giant hole into which money is sucked. He also said he might change the WSJ's name to "WSJ." And he said the future of his papers was "digital."
Thing Seven: Penny Stockton: Stockton, Calif., population 300,000, yesterday became the largest U.S. city ever to go bankrupt. It was a victim of the housing boom and bust, Reuters writes: "The housing boom transformed the farming city into a distant bedroom community of the San Francisco Bay area, and the bust put it at, or near, the top of national foreclosure rankings in recent years."
Thing Seven And One Half: Avoid Me Elmo: I missed this one yesterday, but this is just too bizarre not to mention: The one about the man in the Elmo costume in Central Park who occasionally goes on anti-Semitic rants and was chased out of Cambodia for running a sketchy porn site. As if you needed another reason to avoid any and all creepy costumed people in New York City.
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Calendar Du Jour:
8:30 a.m. ET: Personal Income and Spending for May
9:45 a.m. ET: Chicago PMI for June
8:30 a.m. ET: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment - Final for June
Before Market Open:
Heard On The Tweets:
@cschweitz: Dear everyone tweeting about things non #scotus: no one cares. #thanks
@mattyglesias: With this outcome, everyone gets what they want—health care for the uninsured, something to be angry about for the right.
@RubinReport: Only in America would so many overweight, diabetic people with heart disease be upset that they're gonna have healthcare. #SCOTUS #Obamacare
@kelkulus: If you're furious about Obamacare, you should totally just pick up and move to Canada. Illegal immigrants don't get healthcare there either.
@danprimack: What we've learned today: Legal experts are as lousy at predicting the future as economic experts.
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.