Last week Mario Monti, like a good (ex) Goldmanite, did his best to buy what Goldman is selling, namely telling anyone gullible enough to believe that the “European crisis is almost over.” Funny then that we learn that just as this was happening, Ben Bernanke held a secret meeting with the entire banker caretel, in which discussed was not American jobs (seasonally adjusted or otherwise), nor $5 gas, but… helping European with its debt crisis. But, but… Mario said. In the meantime, European spreads are back to late 2011 levels.
From UBS Financial Services
Consorting With The Other Side – Fortune broke an interesting story on a private lunch that Bernanke had with some key bankers. Here’s a bit:
FORTUNE — After completing a series of public lectures in Washington, D.C. last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke quietly slipped into New York City for a private luncheon on Friday with Wall Street executives.
Fortune has learned that attendees included Jamie Dimon (J.P. Morgan), Bob Diamond (Barclays), Brady Dougan (Credit Suisse), Larry Fink (Blackrock), Gerald Hassell (Bank of New York Mellon), Glenn Hutchins (Silver Lake), Colm Kelleher (Morgan Stanley), Brian Moynihan (Bank of America), Steve Schwarzman (Blackstone Group) and David Vinar (Goldman Sachs).
Sources say Bernanke spoke at length about monetary policy, in an apparent effort to persuade attendees that they needed to take a more active role in helping to deal with the European debt crisis. He spent virtually no time discussing regulation, although that mantle got taken up by both Dimon (domestic regulation) and Schwarzman (global regulation).
I find it absolutely fascinating that he concentrated on the problems in Europe and not on U.S. lending or jobs. Is there more connectivity and concern with Europe than we think? We’ll watch more carefully.
90 Seconds with Art Cashin: Bernanke’s Wall St. Lunch:
Well, it was either a discussion of Europe, or Bernanke was getting his semi-annual evaluation from his bosses.