Thing One: Broken Diamond: See, now, this is how banking scandals should go down.
For the second time in as many days, an executive at the very tippy top of Barclays has tossed himself out the window over a rate-rigging scandal that really only got going five days ago, when the bank agreed to pay about $450 million to settle charges that it manipulated a key short-term interest rate to make some extra cash and look healthier during the financial crisis. Today's defenestratee is Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, hot on the heels of Chairman Marcus Agius, who chucked himself just yesterday.
Yeesh, slow down, British bankers, don't you know you're supposed to cling to your job for months and months until lawmakers, regulators and investors lose interest and wander off in search of shinier objects? Go ask Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon how it's done. Fortunately, there will be plenty more banks implicated in this scandal yet, so other top bankers will get a chance to try a little harder to keep their jobs. And apparently the evidence suggests Diamond and other top executives may have had direct knowledge of the rate-rigging, according to The New York Times. That means the bloodshed might not be over at Barclays.
Thing Two: JPMorgan's Muppet Show: Speaking of Jamie Dimon, his bank just got yet another Chipotle-sized PR-disaster burrito slapped on its plate. Right on the front page, The New York Times writes that JPMorgan pushed mutual-fund clients into its own funds, even when they underperformed or were more expensive than competing funds. And then it had the gall to charge fees for these funds. JPMorgan paid $373 million just last year to settle an arbitration case over this same behavior, the NYT writes. JPMorgan argues that it would never mistreat its muppets. They're so cuddly! And they have money.
Thing Three: Wall Street Still Hearts Obama: Jamie Dimon and other bankers habitually cry like they got their hand slammed in the car door because of how President Obama hurts their feelings with his mild rebukes over their world-killing malfeasance. They're giving all their money to Mitt Romney, that will show him. Except they're not giving all their money to Romney: The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is still having little trouble getting campaign cash out of Wall Street.
Thing Four: Governor, Heal Thyself: If any political party is at odds with an industry right now, it's the Republicans and the health-care industry. A bunch of Republican governors, led by Florida Governor Rick "Bat Boy" Scott, claim they are going to refuse to take any dad-blamed gubmint money under socialist Obamacare. That gives the hospital industry in particular severe agita, writes the Huffington Post's Jeffrey Young. And we're no political experts, but we think that industry has been known to write some campaign checks, too.
Thing Five: Recession Watch! The European debt crisis may be on temporary hiatus, but its economic effects are still being felt around the world, with factory activity slowing as exports to a recessionary Europe grind to a halt. The phenomenon hit U.S. shores yesterday, with the worst ISM factory reading in three years. That raised a lot of recession worries here, though economists rushed to reassure everybody the economy wasn't in recession yet. Though, when the economy feels this bad, there's not much difference, is there?
Thing Six: Glaxo's Big Fine: In the biggest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history, GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion to settle charges that it pushed Wellbutrin on people to treat ailments the drug wasn't approved to treat. It also pushed Paxil on kids under 18, when the drug was not approved for use in kids. And it also hid safety issues with the diabetes drug Avandia. And to think drug companies are unpopular for some reason!
Thing Seven: Microsoft, The Goofus Of Tech: Microsoft announced it was taking a charge of more than $6 billion to account for the failure of the deal it made in 2007 to buy Web-advertising company aQuantive. The charge will wipe out Microsoft's quarterly profit. The New York Times cruelly points out that rival Google, the Gallant of tech, bought another Web-ad firm, DoubleClick, just a month before the aQuantive deal, a transaction that "has been highly profitable for Google." Cue sad trombone.
Thing Seven And A Half: Are You There, God Particle? Scientists at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab say they have found evidence of the existence of the Higgs boson, also known as the God Particle, which theoretically confers mass to atoms. They just fell short of proving the particle's existence, though scientists think the proof could come some time this year, maybe even this week, in other accelerator experiments. Hey, that's weird -- there's a creepy mist rolling in.
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Calendar Du Jour:
10:00 a.m. ET: Factory Orders for May
All day: Auto and truck sales for June
Heard On The Tweets:
@TheStalwart: If the German constitutional court rules against the ESM, that will make the Roberts/SCOTUS story look like effin' Judge Wopner.
@BCAppelbaum: Wow. Investors are really loving the TomKat breakup.
@moorehn: People of the fixed-income world: I hate you for taking vacations this week. Does LIBOR mean nothing to you
@Makro_Trader: The more I read about the summit I realize their only intention was to talk down yields and no action will be taken (again)
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.
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