It’s been a pretty quiet weekend and our futures are up about a quarter point as the EU session daws to a close.
The DAX gave up half it’s gains into the close and the CAC never could get going while the FTSE is closed today. Asia was pretty flat, except the Shanghai, which fell 2.4% steeply into the close. Our futures were up about half a point but gave up half of that in what is, of course, thin to non-existent trading. 12 of Spain’s 45 banks are in merger talks as they scramble to become too big to fail and Trichet made some nice noises this morning.
In the best commentary yet on the global situation, the 6 month-old "Best Party," which is headed by a comedian, won the Reykjavik elections, after campaigning with the catch slogan "Whatever Works." The Best Party promises to get a polar bear for the zoo and preaches the benefits of "anarcho-surrealism." While the Best Party’s critics implored its team of comedians, actors and musicians to end their campaign, soon to be-mayor Jon Gnarr insisted he would follow through to the end. It was the best way to expose the "ridiculous" state of traditional politics, he said. Gnarr also promised free towels, to lobby for a Disney Iceland, getting Parliament drug-free by 2020 and to cut down on the number of Santas at Christmas. Heck, sounds good to me!
I love this video from Barry Ritholts’ site: "The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us"
Another good catch from Barry is Alan Abelson’s Barron’s article that notes that insiders have been outnumbering buying during May at a rate of 77:1, a worsening situation we’ve been tracking all year in Ilene’s "Insider Zone." Insiders aren’t supposed to sell based on specific events they know about but they can be a good indicator of long-term economic problems that are currently being sugar-coated, even in their own outlooks.
One of the big ones I’m seeing and have been talking about for some time is margin pressures, brought about by persistently high commodity and labor prices in the face of slowing consumer spending. Deflation rears its ugly head this weekend as Wal-Mart is slashing prices pushing the cost of 32 essential grocery items like Coke and ketchup down by 30%. In fact, Wal-Mart is bearing the cost of some of the deep price…