Need to know:
Spanish consumers may be taking the austerity message to heart.
Spanish retail sales dropped by a record 9.8 percent on an annualized basis in April, according to the latest data from the Spanish government. The decline marks the 22nd consecutive month that Spanish consumers have trimmed spending.
Spain is in its second recession in three years, and things aren’t looking up.
The Bank of Spain is expecting the Spanish economy will continue shrinking for the rest of the year. Spanish borrowing costs are rising, stock prices are falling and the Wall Street Journal reports the European Central Bank is against Spain’s plan to recapitalize one of its largest banks.
Want to know:
Facebook is down about one Morgan Stanley since it became a public company earlier this month.
Facebook’s market value has slid by about $25 billion, the equivalent of the market value of Morgan Stanley, Reuters pointed out. Morgan Stanley, oddly enough, was the lead underwriter on what’s become a very messy Facebook IPO.
Investors are questioning just how much revenue potential the world’s largest social network has and how the plans to make money from the mobile platforms users are increasingly using to access Facebook.
Facebook shares have slid about 10 percent in the past two weeks.
Dull but important:
Spain made some big time budget cuts this year, but the European Commission wants more.
The European Commission said Spain will have to implement more tax increases and budget cuts in order to meet its fiscal targets.
The EU's stance is a sign that talk about measures to spur growth are just that — talk. The EU remains focused on austerity as it continues meandering through a years-old debt crisis, the Financial Times said.
China’s slowdown is dragging down sales of luxury goods in Hong Kong.
Fewer mainland tourists have been venturing to Hong Kong for luxury shopping sprees and sales of local art and real estate also have been falling, the Wall Street Journal reported. For Hong Kong, it is a particularly onerous problem: nearly four times as many people visit the city from mainland China each year than live in Hong Kong.
Of course, it isn’t all about the money. While some Chinese shoppers are cutting back on Louis Vuitton, others are simply choosing to buy their bags elsewhere, the Journal said.
Strange but true:
The world may now have a little more insight into why AOL was never able to win the search wars. It took AOL two months to sniff out an employee living at its offices in Northern California.
Eric Simons moved into AOL’s space, lived on office leftovers, showered at the office gym and managed to save enough money to get the startup of his dreams off the ground. Simons, 20, launched ClassConnect, an online space for sharing lesson plans. The company now is on the verge of securing $500,000 in investor funding, CNN reported.
And AOL is taking it well. "It was always our intention to facilitate entrepreneurialism in the Palo Alto office -- we just didn't expect it to work so well," AOL’s David Temkin said in a statement provided to CNN.