Bloomberg News

Miss the European Debt Crisis? Today Is for You: Opening Line

July 10, 2014

Banco Espirito Santo

Banco Espirito Santo’s shares fell as much as 14 percent today, and yields on Portugal’s 10-year bonds rose 13.5 basis points to 3.91 percent. Photographer: Mario Proenca/Bloomberg

There’s a bad vibe in markets this morning over missed payments on commercial paper issued by the parent company of Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo.

Markets in Europe are down 1 percent or more and U.S. futures are following them after investors suddenly question the standing of the lender and the vulnerability of banks at risk to contagion in the euro zone.

Banco Espirito Santo’s shares fell as much as 14 percent today, and yields on Portugal’s 10-year bonds rose 13.5 basis points to 3.91 percent.

“Should the Portuguese situation continue to deteriorate, risk aversion contagion could quickly spread to other euro zone member states’ bonds and other asset classes,” Adrian Miller, director of fixed-income strategy at GMP Securities in New York, wrote in a note to clients.

The Bank of Portugal is offering assurances of containment, but for the moment they’re not soothing everyone.

If you read Neil Irwin’s post on the New York Times’ “The Upshot” blog on Monday, which questions the valuation of pretty much everything, including “European countries that were the nexus of the European debt crisis,” what you’re seeing this morning is going to resonate.

***

Today’s economic indicators include initial jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Bloomberg consumer comfort at 9:45 a.m., and wholesale inventories at 10 a.m.

Family Dollar (FDO:US) reports earnings before the bell, and might have something to say about Carl Icahn’s activism.

The BOE’s Monetary Policy Committee announces its rate decision at 7 a.m. EDT. No change is expected.

Overnight, China said exports increased 7.2 percent in June, trailing economists’ forecasts.

***

+ U.S. economic growth is forecast to have its first nine-month period of expansion greater than 3 percent since 2004-2006, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. + U.K. public-sector workers are holding a one-day strike for more pay. + Israel has 20,000 soldiers ready to invade the Gaza Strip, with 20,000 more ready to be mobilized. At least 60 have been killed in Gaza since Israeli air strikes began on Tuesday, including 13 children and 9 women, NBC News reports. + Puerto Rico’s credit rating was lowered deeper into junk by Fitch. + Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. + Ewald Nowotny, ECB Governing Council member, delivers the keynote address at the annual summer party of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum in London. That must be some party. + Andrew Bailey, the BOE’s top banking supervisor, speaks at the Bloomberg auditorium in London. He wasn’t invited to the party? + Emmy nominations will be announced at 8:35 a.m. EDT. + Justin Bieber was sentenced to two years’ probation for misdemeanor vandalism after egging his neighbor’s house. Is he really Canadian? + No, Senator, there are no coal mines on Mars. + A Pamplona bull gored the author of a book on how to avoid getting gored.

***

If you think Uber’s been fighting its way into markets already, the situation it faces in Moscow may be the most difficult yet.

It probably stands to reason in a land where decades of communism created black markets so pervasive they were almost legitimized that ride-sharing would be a natural outgrowth of social needs. Especially dating from when cars were a rare luxury.

So who needs Uber when all you have to do is flag down any old car and make the driver an offer, as Ilya Khrennikov describes today. Moreover, there are already a couple Uber-like operations well installed over there, even though the payment for order flow, to borrow a term, works a little differently. Yandex.Taxi and GetTaxi have been rolling for a couple years, and their fleets far outnumber Uber’s, which are just getting their tires wet.

And if you’re an oligarch, Uber’s attempt to stake out the high ground with luxury autos like a Mercedes S-Class won’t do much because these cats already have an S-Class and a driver to go with it.

But who knows. Maybe capitalism will take hold in Russia one day.

***

Congress is going to try to undo the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision by writing a law mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives at for-profit companies.

Well, not “Congress.” Senate Democrats will try. Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado will bring up a measure as soon as next week, and it will pass in the chamber where they hold the majority. Then it will go nowhere in the other chamber, where they don’t have the majority.

Democracy.

***

For such a big country, America is developing an odd fascination with diminutive things. Remember when mobile phones, before they got smart, were getting littler every year? There’s the Smart Car (which, honestly, should have been named Clown Car), and yesterday you read about tiny houses.

Continuing in this microcosm is a look today at the trend toward wee apartments with big fringe benefits. As the size of apartments in new buildings shrinks, the rents are rising. Which defies common sense, but whatever.

The median size of those flats decreased last year to 1,043 square feet, the smallest since 2002, while the average U.S. rent per square foot rose to $1.25 in May, the highest since at least 1996, Prashant Gopal writes.

With these matchboxes that hold your clothes, you’re going to find perks are an increasing part of the bargain -- pools, gyms, Wi-Fi, etc. -- which is a good draw for the kids in their mid-20s.

But one day they’ll grow up and buy a tiny house.

***

You’re a guy in your early 50s, with five children from your wife of 17 years. You make a pretty good living at one of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, buying what you want when you want it, but, as we all know, you’re still not satisfied.

Because men your age aren’t like they used to be. Age and maturity stretch and bend now into different dimensions than when our dads or granddads were that age. Those successful enough to rise to the top at relatively young ages tend to stay younger. They’re fitter and more playful, and they often emerge from a social scene where impetuousness brought delight and moral strictures were diluted by a modern mindset.

So if you’ve got a yacht in Santa Cruz to which you can squire a high-end call girl, why not? These games and pleasures are your secret rewards for your achievements and they keep you young. You don’t do this all the time, and it’s not like you don’t love your wife and kids. It’s just that there’s a side of you that, while it will never die, you still have to keep alive.

You’ve seen this professional before and trust her, and tonight she’s lookin’ alright-alright. You could probably do without the tattoos and dark eyes/gothy thing, but she’s probably not especially set on fire by your well-fed midsection, khaki Dockers and the job they did on you at the Hair Cuttery either.

Doesn’t matter. You’re here to party, you’re comfortable with each other, and tonight she’s brought a little bit of fun in her purse. You probably won’t get far into it -- a few grams of smack is more than you’re in shape for, but one or two hits always make the rest of the proceedings feel so...pleasurable.

As usual, she’ll do the fixin’s and the work for you, and the first rush -- it’s always a thrill, but this time it feels different. You dissolve into the comfy swivel chair down in the yacht’s galley and wait for the stardust to start falling softly, but this time it’s coming fast, and now you’re a little short of breath.

Was that --- ? What was. What.

You were already asleep and producing unpleasant bodily functions when she threw back the last gulp of wine, set a few things right and hopped off the boat. It wasn’t how you expected to go out, and you wouldn’t know how to explain it to those waiting at home for some word of your whereabouts, who relied on you, but it was an accident, an honest mistake, and there’s just a side to you your wife and kids will never know:

The victim of a second-degree murder.

***

Does the Amaury Sport Organisation think the Tour de France needs to be dangerous to be interesting? These guys are doing insanely superhuman things anyway. What’s next, sharks?

Trying to squeeze 198 racing bike riders into ribbon-thin French (or English or Belgian) country lanes is going to result in accidents no matter what, but you’d think owner and organizer of the tour would have looked back at the carnage of 2013’s race before deciding to run yesterday’s stage through 15 kilometers worth of cobblestones. On those bikes, it’s like playing hockey on figure skates.

The result? Defending champion Chris Froome withdrew after his second and third crashes in two days. Typically you don’t want the star attractions to your sporting event to be knocked out by injury, and already star sprinter Mark Cavendish had crashed out in the first stage.

Joining Froome on the floor yesterday was a collection of A-list riders, including the yellow jersey, Vincenzo Nibali; Andrew Talansky; Tejay van Garderen; Alejandro Valverde; and Marcel Kittel, who won three of the first four stages.

“It is a nice show for television, but it has a pretty big risk,” former winner/doper Alberto Contador said, according to Velo News. “I’m sorry for Froome and for the race, because it would have been a great spectacle in the mountains.”

Van Garderen, a rising American star of the sport, is also a critic.

“You guys got your drama, but that takes the race down a notch when you got your top favorite (Froome) out,” he said. “In theory, it could make the race less exciting toward the end. I think ASO need to rethink having days like this in the race.”

Lars Boom of the Netherlands won the stage, and Nibali remains in yellow. Today’s Stage 6 runs 194 kilometers/121 miles from Arras to Reims.

Over burning coals.

***

That’s more like it -- two straight hours of soccer with no scoring.

Argentina will meet Germany for the World Cup final on Sunday after beating the Netherlands in penalty kicks, 4-2. It’s the teams’ third meeting in the finals, with Argentina the winner in 1986 and Germany the winner in 1990.

The bookies like Germany, however, and how can you not? Guess you can’t feel too bad about the U.S. team’s loss to Germany. At least it wasn’t a blowout.

***

Well, it looks like Carmelo Anthony might not be calling the movers after all. The New York Daily News has him staying with the Knicks, which, if true, must redeem some of beginning of the Phil Jackson administration.

Meanwhile in Cleveland, the Cavaliers engineered one of those only-in-the-NBA, three-team-Monte trades that gives them salary-cap headroom should they need it to return LeBron James, their native son, to the team he led for seven years.

Of course it could all be hooey, a point forcefully and hilariously made yesterday afternoon by Bloomberg View’s Kavitha Davidson.

Which got us to thinking: Is there any other major North American sport in which the individual player’s decision is the fodder for such theater? Sure, you’ll hear about a couple of teams in Major League Baseball in the running for a highly prized player at the trading deadline as teams shuffled the decks before the pennant races. You’ll read about an NFL free agent visiting this team or that.

But only in the NBA is the focus trained on the individual and his “decision,” which seems to diminish the notion of the sport being played by a team and more about a collection of celebrities in high-tops.

***

Speaking of sport-lebrities, Johnny Manziel is in the news again, and it’s not for playing football, again, and you’ve got wonder if training camp can start soon enough to keep this kid from getting into real trouble, if he isn’t today.

Here you’ll see a photo of a man purported to be Johnny Cleveland taking U.S. currency and apparently converting the note into a tightly coiled, cylindrical shape, as if to use it as a conveyance tool for some other substance.

The link takes you to a USA Today sports blog, which only shows the one photo. We can’t link you to where the story originated, a website called Busted Coverage, because it has pictures of pretty girls on it and we can’t have that on the Bloomberg.

Anyway, at Busted Coverage you get more photos from the same night, and the guy rolling up the Jackson (it’s impossible to tell what the denomination is, to be honest) in the men’s room of a bar in Austin, Texas, is wearing the same clothes and has the same haircut as the man in the other photos, and that man is Johnny Manziel.

Dude, Johnny: You ever heard of a guy named Art Schlichter?

To contact the reporter on this story: C. Thompson in Wilmington at cthompson1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marty Schenker at mschenker@bloomberg.net


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