Mark Gongloff is off the newsletter this morning, so today's 7.5 Things are brought to you by Jillian Berman.
Thing One: All Eyes On Jackson Hole: The kids will all be waiting with bated breath this morning as Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke takes the stage in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to deliver a speech that will likely not give any clues about anything. Investors will be parsing Bernanke’s speech at the central bank’s annual retreat for hints that the Fed will provide more easy money with another round of quantitative easing or some other kind of stimulus. Still, they shouldn’t expect much, as Bernanke will likely “simply repeat recent official Fed communications,” JPMorgan Chase economist Michael Feroli told Reuters.
But if you listen to what Jon Hilsenrath -- a man my colleague Mark Gongloff has dubbed “the fed scribe” -- has to say in the Wall Street Journal on the issue, Bernanke’s talk is about much more than the Fed’s next moves.
“Long after his term as chairman ends in 17 months, will he be remembered as the Fed chief who did too little to combat high unemployment or the one who did too much and unleashed inflation and financial instability with the actions he took?” Hilsenrath asks in a dramatic fashion.
Thing Two: Romney's A Business Man. Man: After Clint Eastwood talked to a chair, Mitt Romney accepted the Republican party’s nomination for president, calling President Obama a “disappointment” and emphasizing his experience as a Business Man. He promised to turn the economy around in a way Obama couldn’t, saying he would “restore America’s promise,” according to the Wall Street Journal. In addition, Romney touted his experience at Bain, countering his image as a private equity executive that broke up struggling companies and laid off workers, saying that he was “in the business of helping other businesses.”
Still, Romney’s business career won’t escape criticism. He accepted the nomination for president at convention using the them “We Built It” -- a nod to the ability of the private sector to build businesses without the government’s help. As it turns out, Romney had a little bit of help building a business with a government bailout.
Thing Three: Europe Not Quite Blowing Up, But Looking For Savior: European policy makers are mulling the latest surefire way to bail the eurozone out of crisis. The European Commission has drawn up a plan that would give the European Central Bank power over 6,000 eurozone banks, taking authority away from each country’s banking supervisors to shut down or restructure their own banks, the Financial Times reports. The plan faces opposition from the ECB itself as well as Germany, which want to take slower steps to creating a “banking union.”
As per usual, people are hanging on hopes that a meeting will help to solve Europe’s problems, according to the Wall Street Journal. The ECB meets Thursday and investors and government officials -- particularly in Spain, where the crisis is becoming unsustainable -- are watching to see if the bank helps as promised.
Thing Four: U.S. Of Low-Wage America: Welcome to the United States of Low Wage America. The majority of jobs added during the recovery have been low-wage, according to a new report from the National Employment Law Project cited by The New York Times. In addition, those middle wage jobs like construction or and manufacturing have been disappearing; they accounted for 60 percent of job losses between 2008 and 2010. And since job growth has started ticking up, low-wage jobs have accounted for 58 percent of the gains with retail sales growing the fastest.
Thing Five: Apple And Google Meet In Secrecy: In case you had any doubt about whether Apple and Google ruled the world, here’s your proof. The companies’ CEOs have been having private talks about intellectual property matters, Reuters reports. And while the high-level executives have been chatting, their underlings were waging an epic battle in court. Apple just won a huge patent lawsuit against Samsung, which uses Google’s Android software, netting a more than $1 billion fine and the possibility that some of Samsung’s products will be banned.
Thing Six: JPMorgan Thinks Other Companies Are Too Risky: A few months after losing billions of dollars on a risky trade, JPMorgan officials are deciding that some other financial firms just may be too risky to deal with. The bank is reviewing its relationship with brokerages that use JPMorgan in clearing and settlement deals -- a role that puts JPMorgan between the securities firms and their buyers to manage and back huge transactions -- according to the Wall Street Journal. The clearing and settlement business is one of the major ways Wall Street fills its coffers, but after brokerage blowups like MF Global’s bankruptcy last year and Knight Capital’s costly glitch earlier this summer, JPMorgan may be taking a step back.
Thing Seven: Another Win For Wall Street: In the latest news of Wall Street escaping blame, a judge dismissed shareholder lawsuits accusing big banks of defrauding investors by misleading them about Fannie Mae’s exposure to risky home loans in the lead up to the 2008 housing bust, according to Reuters. The decision comes shortly after a judge let the Securities and Exchange Commission continue with its civil suit against former Fannie Mae executives accusing them of misleading investors about the lender’s exposure to subprime and other risky loans.
Thing Seven And One Half: No More Fist-Pumping: Soon GTL and The Situation’s drunken ab shows will be a thing of the past only to be seen in reruns. That’s right friends, the cultural phenomenon known as the “The Jersey Shore,” will be ending after its sixth season airs in October. Don’t worry, there’s sure to be a spinoff once Snooki’s baby is old enough to take tequila shots.
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Calendar Du Jour:
9:45 a.m. ET: Chicago PMI for August
9:55 a.m. ET: University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index for August
10:00 a.m. ET: Factory Orders for July
10:00 a.m. ET: Ben Bernanke Jackson Hole speech
Heard On The Tweets:
@BGrueskin: If you want to break your computer so you can justify a new one, Google 'Mitt Romney' and 'biggest speech of his life'
@AdamSerwer: Randsplaining: Like mansplaining, but with rich people telling non-rich people why they're not as good.
@mattyglesias: Our next Treasury Secretary Erskine Bowles has the growth/debt relationship 180 degrees backwards: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/08/29/is-the-deficit-urgent-or-a-distraction/we-need-growth-and-growth-requires-reform
@EddyElfenbein: Mark Zuckerberg's stake in $FB is worth just slightly more than one point on the S&P 500.
@drgrist: It is slightly surreal that we now have journalists AND fact-checkers. Somehow they've become two separate species.