Media Navel Gaze: April 6, 2015
The Week Unpeeled
Headlines turned their attention to the Mideast last week with focus on Iran's deal hammered out with six nations to limit its nuclear program with commentary as much on the detail of the outline of the deal asto Israel's reaction ("threaten survival") and President Obama's strategic foreign-policy decision to unclench the fist with one of its toughest advisories.
- The US unemployment report showed that job growth was slowing and raised questions on whether the Fed would become even more "patient" in when it may unclench its tight fist on credit;
- In March, nonfarm payrolls rose just 126,000, below expectations and the weakest increase in 15 months; The jobless rate held steady at 5.5%;
- Stocks ended a shortened trading week slightly higher, with the Dow up 0.3% to end Friday at 17,763; For the quarter, the Dow is basically flat, losing also just 0.3% but also just 2.8% below its all-time high;
- Former Fed Chief Ben Bernanke has launched a blog (debuting Monday), with first post on low interest rates, under the plain English title of "Ben Bernanke's Blog" hosted by the Brookings Institute;
- Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being considered as a candidate for Mayor of London, citizenship apparently not required;
- Indiana Gov. Pence entered the culture wars last week with a now amended law that some say would lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians; many large corporations emerged as either gay-rights activists or smart businesses rallying against the Indiana Religious Freedom Information Act;
- California put in place mandatory water-use reductions, the first time in the state's history;
- McDonald's raised pay and offered new benefits and placed full-page ads behind the move in major dailies; and
- "The Daily Show" named Trevor Noah as its new host, replacing Jon Stewart amid a mini-social-media storm over the South African's comics comedy may be offensive to some (seriously?).
- Festivities in the region were aplenty this week as Latin American countries celebrated Semana Santa, or Holy Week, leading up to the religious holiday. There was no shortage of serious shoppers, at least when it came to Easter eggs, as evidenced by this supermarket, which is a good representation of the norm during this holiday: http://tinyurl.com/ow9bkfv
- Brazil watched on with anxiety as a massive fire erupted at a port in Santos earlier this week that still being contained. There were no fatalities. The news comes after a plant at Pemex in Mexico caught fire earlier in the week, killing 4 and injuring 16.
- Politics - The 32 year old son of São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin died in a helicopter crash this week.
- Banking - Citi continues its dispute with Argentina's Central Bank, which suspended the head of Citi's Argentine operations and demanded a list of appropriate replacements for the position. The disagreement stems from Argentina's dispute in a multi-creditor sovereign debt case, during which Citi by a US court order froze Argentine sovereign payments to the nation's creditors, placing the nation in technical default.