US economy stands to gain in Europe's financial 'endgame'

Commentary: Will it be bailout or dominoes?

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The most important economic news each month, by far, is the early-month count of jobs created or lost in the prior month.

All markets were poised for better figures in this morning’s report for June, but the actual was jaw-dropping: only 18,000 jobs gained, April-May revised down 44,000, and hourly earnings fell 0.1 percent. The one surprising reaction: the Dow is off only 110 points. Stunned, drunk, or both.

Enough of that. Find some entertainment in deals cooking all over the place.

My take:

  • We’re going to get a National Football League labor deal, maybe this weekend, which is a great thing for those of us stuck in a market with a losing Major League Baseball team. Even if the area’s NFL team is just as bad, at least we won’t have to face it until September. It’s sort of like the stock market.
  • We’re going to get a federal budget deal before the Aug. 2 deadline — messy, half-baked, but a deal and real progress toward repaired U.S. finances.
  • There’s no deal, yet, but the first sensible Fannie-Freddie legislation is in Congress, to preserve and combine them as a public utility like Ginnie Mae, no more "public-private partnership" with stockholders and management running off with the store.
  • Iceland sold $2 billion in bonds in the open market this week at low interest rates. Back in business less than three years after its banks defaulted on $85 billion in debt, and only three months after telling the United Kingdom and Holland to go fish with their claim for $5.8 billion in their citizens’ losses on deposits in failed offshore Icelandic banks. There is life after default and devaluation!