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Best of the Blogs: Two Weeks Until Italy Becomes Spain, Says Economist


Plus, Goldman Sachs reveals business practices at Gutpa trial.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Use our comments section to post your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.

Link: Forget Three Months: Italy May Have Two Weeks Tops, As "It Already Is Where Spain Is Heading"

"Yesterday, Austrian finance minister Maria Fekter ruffled the unelected Italian PM's feather by saying "forget Spain, Italy is next in the bailout line" - a statement which as expected was promptly loudly refuted, mocked, and scorned by everyone possible: the type of reaction that only the truth can possibly generate in Europe. So far so good: after all the typical European reaction to any instance of the truth is loud screams of "lies, lies" and promptly sticking your head deep in the sand. However, this time around Italy may not have the benefit of the doubt, nor the benefit of some sacrificial replacement of a prime minister: Silvio is long gone, and at this point switching one banker figurehead with another will do precisely nothing. Which is why this morning's assessment from Bloomberg economist David Powell is spot on: 'Italy would probably be forced into receiving a bailout if it were to face another two weeks like the last seven days.' But the punchline: 'The bad news for Italy is the country's stock of debt is already as large as Spain's may become after years of fiscal turmoil. In other words, Italy already is where Spain may be heading.'"

The New York Times: DealBook
Link: At Gupta Trial, a Glimpse at Goldman's Inner Workings

"Wall Street watchers hoped that the inner workings of Goldman Sachs (GS) would be on display during the insider trading trial of Rajat K. Gupta, which begins closing arguments on Wednesday.

"The monthlong trial of Mr. Gupta, a former Goldman board member, did deliver on its promise to shed light on how Goldman conducted its business. Several top Goldman officials appeared, including Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive; Stephen R. Pierce, head of the bank's capital markets group; and Byron D. Trott, a former senior Goldman executive and Warren E. Buffett's go-to investment banker."

Venture Beat
Link: Retina MacBook Pro is the least repairable laptop ever, says iFixit

"Apple's (AAPL) new MacBook Pro with Retina Display is ridiculously fast and thin - but you can forget about ever taking it apart.

"The repair gurus at iFixit unveiled their teardown of the Retina MacBook Pro this morning, and thanks to its plethora of non-upgradeable parts, they ended up giving Apple's latest and greatest laptop a dismal repair score of 1 out of 10."

Financial Times: Alphaville
Link: Why Saudi Arabia wants to bathe the world in affordable oil

"Thursday's Opec meeting is expected to be a cracker. Supply is relatively abundant right now, but Saudi Arabia wants the quota raised. Iran, Venezuela, and a bunch of other Opec members fearful for their export receipts definitely do not want that.

"The FT's Guy Chazan writes that it's expected to be a tussle that Saudi and its Gulf state allies will lose, despite their considerable power within the cartel. The point, some industry watchers maintain, is just to send a message that Saudi's got this: that is, it won't let high oil prices worsen the risk of a global slowdown. A message it probably sees as very necessary as the Iranian sanction deadline draws nearer, and the world economy looks more fragile."

The Wall Street Journal: China Real Time Report
Link: Cracking the Code on China's Rate Cuts

"[O]n the evening of June 7, China's central bank did exactly what Ms. Gong predicted it would do: In a move that spooked markets across Asia, the People's Bank of China announced a lowering of the benchmark one-year lending and deposit rates by 0.25 percentage point, effective the following day.

"Those who scoffed at Ms. Gong four months earlier have since found themselves chewing more than a little crow.

"How did she get it right?"

Link: Does Every Employee Need Social Media Training?

"Has social media become so omnipresent that companies can no longer afford to train just marketers, sales and public relations people in Twitter, Facebook (FB) and other networks?

"That's the premise behind an expansion in service for the social media strategy firm Digital Royalty and its founder Amy Jo Martin. The company is preparing to roll out a new set of online courses meant to train entire corporate workforces - not just people whose primary tasks are interfacing with customers. Martin says it's a first for the still-emerging industry of social media management."

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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