Barclays Profit Falls On Payouts Over Complaints (MarketWatch)
Barclays aid Tuesday its first-half pretax profit fell 33% as it set aside GBP1 billion to compensate customers who bought faulty insurance products and amid a sharp decline in revenue at its key investment banking unit. The U.K.-based bank posted pretax profit for the six months to June 30 of GBP2.64 billion, compared with GBP3.95 billion a year earlier. Net profit was GBP1.50 billion, down from GBP2.43 billion. However, the bank's bad debts fell and costs were kept in check, with impairment charges falling to GBP1.83 billion, from GBP3.08 billion a year earlier, while the group's adjusted cost-to-income ratio improved to 64%.
Putin Says US Is 'Parasite' On Global Economy (Reuters)
"They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy," Putin told the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi while touring its lakeside summer camp some five hours drive north of Moscow. "They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar," Putin said at the open-air meeting with admiring young Russians in what looked like early campaigning before parliamentary and presidential polls.
Debt Deal Puts US On Austerity Path As Economy Falters (Bloomberg)
A deal struck over the weekend to cut $2.4 trillion or more off budget deficits over a decade marks the beginning of a prolonged effort to put the government’s finances into better shape. While the immediate economic impact from the agreement is likely to be small, it will add to a reduction in growth next year of 1.5 percentage points coming from the expiration of past stimulus programs, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank Securities. “Over the next 10 years, there will be further spending cuts and higher taxes, and that’s not good for economic growth,” said Paul Dales, senior economist for Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto. “It is the start of a meaningful move toward fiscal consolidation.”
Fed May Weigh More Stimulus on Flagging Recovery (Bloomberg)
“At a minimum, the FOMC will have a serious debate about the policy options -- what they should do, and what they expect to get from it,” said Roberto Perli, a former associate director in the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs, referring to the Federal Open Market Committee. “Growth in the first half was dangerously close to zero,” said Perli, director of policy research at International Strategy & Investment Group.
In this dire economy, even the Tooth Fairy is pinching pennies (CNN)
A recent survey found that the national going rate has seen a 40-cent decline this year: From $3 to $2.60. What's worse? A full 10% of kids are reaching under their pillows ... and coming up empty. Compare that to last year when just 6% of kids found no reason to flash that toothless grin. "It's a cardinal sin not to (pay)," said Rakshanda Liaqat, a mother of two in Phoenix. "It's about a child losing a part of her and the warm belief that the tooth fairy will take care of her precious tooth." "Now, on the other hand, counting the number of teeth your kid loses. And that, too, multiple times in a year? And that, too, having two kids? I can understand the economic recession the Tooth Fairy goes through in terms of her salary." Liaqat tried to leave $10 for every tooth her son lost -- "but my son didn't lose much of his teeth after the recession hit." "He lost it right on time. Before the debt crisis," she said. "Amen to that!!"
Goldman Sachs: Debt Consolidation Can Work But It Will Hurt (CNBC)
Amid signs that the European debt crisis — which already has seen Greece, Ireland and Portugal seek aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund — is now spreading to Italy, analysts at Goldman Sachs are predicting that while painful, debt consolidation will succeed as soaring borrowing costs force governments to act.
Marc Faber: The Bear Market Is Starting (CNBC)
"The bear market is starting. When you compare equities to bonds and cash I don't think equities are very positive," Faber said in an interview. "The Treasury market is telling you that the economy is in recession," said Faber. "So if the bond market is telling you that the economies of the Western world are weakening, but at the same time the stock market is still relatively high, I think the stock market is vulnerable."
Bank Customers Denied Their Day In Court (WSJ)
Some small and regional U.S. banks are prohibiting unhappy customers from taking their complaints to court or joining class-action lawsuits, instead requiring them to resolve disputes through arbitration. The banks are emboldened by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in April that said state laws can't supersede private contracts that require customers to present their complaints individually to an arbitrator.
Alcohol Math: Who Gets Drunk And Why (WSJ)
Weight matters more than height, Dr. Zakhari says. A man who is 6-foot-4 and weighs 180 pounds will be as affected as a man who is 5-foot-4 and 180 pounds. But a man who is 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds will have a lower BAC after consuming the same amount. Women's bodies also tend to have less water than men's, which means the same amount of alcohol will yield an even higher BAC. Age matters, too. Older peoples' livers metabolize alcohol more slowly than younger people's. But excess alcohol can do more damage to young brains, since some portions are still developing, particularly those that govern impulse control and executive function. Women's menstrual cycles are yet another factor: Alcohol metabolism increases about 10% right after ovulation.