Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: $2 billion bad quarter for JP Morgan and a pinstripe hoodie for Mark Zuckerberg


(L-R) Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Company, John Mack, former CEO of Morgan Stanley and Brian Moynihan, CEO and president of the Bank of America Corporation during the first public hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. The commission was formed to investigate the causes of the financial crisis.


Tim Sloan

Need to Know:

Two bits of bad news for China: both export growth and import growth slowed way down in April, suggesting China’s economy may be losing more steam than the world realizes.

Europe’s troubles zapped demand for Chinese exports, which people had been expecting. But the slowdown in imports was a surprise from the country that has been the largest single contributor to the world’s recent economic growth.

China’s economy is growing at its slowest pace in years, partly by design, but there are signs of trouble emerging in real estate and credit markets. 

Want to know:

Today is probably a really bad day for Jamie Dimon.

His JP Morgan Chase & Co. came clean Thursday and revealed that it made a $2 billion screw up. 

JP Morgan made some really bad trades with a hedging strategy was "flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored," Dimon said in a surprise conference call Thursday

The Twitterverse sums it up well:

Dull but important:

The US actually made money in April for the first month in nearly four years. Of course, it’s partly a function of how the Treasury paid the bills and all the taxes people paid.

The government reported a $59 billion surplus, which is the first ever since the Obama administration took over and way more than a lot of people were expecting. The government still will come in about $1.2 trillion in the red this year.

The US government has been running deficits for four consecutive years. It will come close to hitting the debt ceiling that caused it so much drama last summer later this year.

With any luck, there’ll be a little less drama next time around.

Strange but true:

In case you haven’t been keeping up, Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie is so popular it now has its own Twitter handle. But some Wall Streeters just don’t like it.

They think Zuck looks immature for not wearing suits like theirs. Zuckerberg only dresses up for heads of state. But soon he’ll be able to keep the hoodie and give Wall Street the pinstripes it wants.

Betabrands has an “executive pinstripe hoodie” coming out in June. The $148 Merino wool hoodie is fitted, features a couple of pockets and boasts a “luxuriously lined hood.” It’s also dry clean only and seems tailor made for Zuckerberg.

No word yet on whether he's placed an order, but if he decides he wants to kiss up to Wall Street, at least he'll have something to wear. 

Just because:

Europe is making it easier to move about the continent without busting your cell phone budget.

Europe is planning to cap cell phone roaming rates at a fraction of what they are now.Starting July 1, phone companies in the European Union will be able to charge customers a maximum of 41 cents per minute and maximum of about $1.16 per megabyte of data.

Prices are scheduled to keep falling, and by 2014 a megabyte of data should cost about 65 cents and a minute of voice calling will drop to 31 cents.