Business, Economics and Jobs

Macro chatter: ECB cuts off Greek banks, Pinterest is worth more than Instagram


People walk outside an Alpha bank branch in Athens on April 19, 2012. Greek banks have been coming under increased pressure this week as consumers have been draining their accounts.



Need to know:
A tough week is getting tougher for Greece’s banks. The ECB has cut off Greek banks it doesn’t consider solvent, Reuters reported

The European Central Bank isn’t the only one who has lost faith in Greece’s financial institutions. Greeks have been draining their accounts and pulled nearly $900 million out of the country’s banks in the past 10 days. 

Greece has been struggling to form coalition government after it elected new leaders earlier this month. A new election is planned for June.

Meanwhile, World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned a Grexit could become really ugly for Spain and Italy as well. A Greek departure from the euro is believed to have the potential to trigger a ripple effect reminiscent of the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Reuters said customers in Spain have already started pulling euros out of their accounts at Bankia, Spain’s fourth largest bank and the recent recipient of a Spanish government bailout. Spain also has officially slipped into a recession.

Want to know:
is the latest billion dollar baby to emerge out of Silicon Valley.

The fast-growing social networking site has raised an additional $100 million from investors and now has an estimated value of $1.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal said. Pinterest allows users to collect and share images and links using virtual pinboards.

In less than a year, Pinterest has gone from being a site of one million users to a site of 20 million users and one of the fastest-growing stand-alone websites comScore has ever tracked. 

Pinterest can be so addicting that a pinboard titled Pinterest Addiction already has more than 5,000 followers.

Dull but important:
The Fed on Wednesday gave the world a peek inside its top policymakers’ heads, or at least into what they were thinking when they last met a few weeks ago.

At its most recent policy meeting in April, “several” members of the Fed’s policy-setting committee were thinking the central bank might have to do more to get US out of its growth slump. That’s up from a “couple” in March and is intensifying speculation over whether the Fed will launch another round of bond buying.

A Reuters poll said 30 percent of economists now expect the Fed could embark on another of quantitative easing.

Key interest rates are already as low as the Fed can taken them, and the US Federal Reserve is keen on keeping them there into 2014.

Just because:
As if the trouble it has gotten itself into with the Feds isn’t enough
, JPMorgan’s got more trouble, this time with its shareholders.

JP Morgan shareholders have filed two lawsuits for taking excessive risk against the bank. JPMorgan last week revealed it had loss at least $2 billion making trades on its own behalf this quarter.

The FBI, SEC, DOJ, the Federal Reserve and Congress already are investigating and a handful of highly paid people are out of jobs so far

Strange but true:
It turns out a pair of rather unattractive shoes endorsed by Kim Kardashian really can’t work miracles on your legs and butt.

Skechers marketed its Shape-ups as a way to lose weight and tone muscle, but the Federal Trade Commission said the company has been misleading customers. Sketchers will have to pay $40 million to settle the case, and customers can request refunds.