Thing One: Unhappy Anniversary: It's getting to be late summer, and you know what that means: Lazy days at the beach, back-to-school sales, and face-ripping global financial meltdowns.
Yes, it's been about a year now since the early-August 2011 downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, which followed Congress's petty debt-ceiling fight, which happened to coincide with a crescendo of magnificent stupid in Europe, all of which led global financial markets to collapse and ruined everybody's summer, hooray. Markets have recovered somewhat, but investor faith in the world's policy makers remains, shall we say, non-existent, writes Tom Lauricella of the Wall Street Journal.
And, lo and behold, here we go again with yet another "make-or-break" time for Europe's debt crisis, according to Reuters, with decisions needing to be made very soon on rescuing Spain and Italy. The market cheered a seeming promise by European Central Bank chief Mario Drahi last week to buy up bonds of those troubled countries. But now he must deliver on that promise at an ECB policy meeting this week, the New York Times notes. Meanwhile, recession is threatening even Europe's paymaster, Germany, and euro-area economic confidence is still falling. Everybody take your Dramamine.
Thing Two: Victims Question Victim-Less-Ness Of Libor Crimes: Whenever people defend banks' manipulation of Libor during the crisis, they insist that we shouldn't care about it, that maybe we should even welcome it, because the banks kept that key interest rate low, helping us all get mortgages and stuff. It's a victimless crime, in other words. Or, crime paid, for all of us. Except it was not a victimless crime -- a whole bunch of municipalities suffered because they had interest-rate swaps with the manipulatin' banks. And apparently some small lenders thought they suffered, too, by getting paid too little for loans they made. One small lender, Berkshire Bank in New York, is suing bigger banks for what it says are billions in damages. The Wall Street Journal writes that the suit "could be used as a template for similar suits by banks, credit unions and other lenders in other U.S. states." This is getting uglier by the day for the Libor-setting banks.
Thing Three: We're Not Too Big, Just Big-Boned: Bank of America, which is shrinking and selling off parts as quickly as it possibly can, got on the phone with people at the Wall Street Journal to tell them that, sure, it briefly considered breaking itself up a couple of years ago, but then decided it was much, much better to be big and complicated. This is just the latest in a series of pushbacks by too-big-to-fail banks against Sandy Weill, the author of Too Big To Fail, who recently renounced his big-bank religion.
Thing Four: HSBC's Braces For Pain: Large British bank HSBC is setting aside $2 billion to dole out to various regulators and what-not because it has been so terrible at stopping money-laundering and for its practices selling insurance and rate-hedging products, Reuters writes. Oh, and HSBC is also wrapped up in the Libor probe. Here's where having so many business lines really pays off for a big bank.
Thing Five: Profit Streak Under Threat: U.S. companies have reported profit growth for 10 straight quarters, a streak now under threat because of a slowing global economy, the Wall Street Journal writes: "Until Friday, the outlook had been for further growth in earnings. But forecasts are now turning negative amid a number of profit warnings from companies like Starbucks Corp. and Illinois Tool Works Inc."
Thing Six: Pipe Slowly: Oh, noes, everyone: We might not be able to drill for shale oil quite as quickly as we'd hoped, Reuters warns. Thats because we're pulling so much oil out of the ground so quickly that North American oil pipelines, which all have to move in a different direction now, can't keep up.
Thing Seven: Patent Wars, Episode Four: A New Boredom: Apple and Samsung take their endless, crushingly dull feud over smartphone patents to court today, with the start of a patent trial that even the New York Times can't help but call boring, right up in the lede paragraph: "Patent trials are part bombast, part boredom." Let's get ready to take a naaaaaap! But the outcome could "shape the competitive landscape" of the smartphone market. So: important, then.
Thing Seven And One Half: Anyway, We Delivered The Bomb: On this day in 1945, the USS Indianapolis was sunk by Japanese torpedoes just after it delivered parts of the nuclear bomb that would later be used on Hiroshima. About 900 of the ship's crew of roughly 1,200 survived the sinking and ended up floating in the water, waiting for rescue. But no rescue efforts began for nearly four days. During the delay, nearly 600 of the men died, many due to shark attack, in the deadliest single incident in the Navy's history. It was immortalized in Capt. Quint's speech in Jaws.
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Calendar Du Jour:
After Market Close:
Heard On The Tweets:
@PIMCO: Gross: Centrl bank week ahead. First Fed then ECB shud make investrs temp happy, but policies have neg consequences too. Don’t take the bait
@zerohedge: Spiegel: "Are you saying [Mr. Juncker] that as a finance minister you cannot tell people the truth?" Juncker: "I do not have a ready answer"
@Mctaguej: Understand that any gold medal won by the Greeks will be melted down and mailed to ECB.
-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.