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Business Briefing: G-20, Consumer Spending, BP and Jobs

Monday, June 28, 2010

The morning starts with U.S. markets reacting to the decisions by the G-20 nations this weekend to cut their deficits in half, and soon!

G-20 leaders agree to cut deficits, but slowly...slowly...and new rules for global regulation of banks to come...slowly...slowly....

As for the U.S. economy, the see-saw continues. Retail sales were only so-so in May, yet consumers spent more than expected.

And consumers are still saving too, at the highest level since September 2009.

On thing consumers may not be buying: cars. June auto sales expected to be down.

Maybe they spent their money on the new iPhone. Apple sold more than 1.7 million iPhones. Perhaps the lesson is that when you have something consumers want, they will spend.

Speaking of spending, will they spend more on gas prices? They were up 5 cents last week to an average of $2.74 nationally.

Key is to keep an eye on oil prices especially as tropical storms swirl around the Gulf of Mexico. Prices dropped after worries eased about Tropical Storm Alex, but where's the storm going?

As for the actual damage in the Gulf, the oil keeps gushing from BP's well, costing the company $2.65 billion to date and hurting the Gulf Coast economy, but not the nation's.

How's his singing voice? "And I'm telling you, I'm not going." BP channels Dreamgirls.

Before BP, there was the mess created by AIG. Joe Cassano, the former head of the insurance giant's Financial Products division blamed by many — but not charged — for AIG's eventual $182 billion taxpayer bailout testifies before the committee investigating the cause of the financial crisis. And no subpoena either, unlike Warren Buffett.

Finally this week, it's all about the jobs. The headline number is expected to be negative, the first time since December of last year. But that's most likely due to the federal government cutting those temporary census workers. The key is private sector jobs created. Economists are hoping for more than 125,000 created in June. So too is the Obama administration.

And when it comes to NYC and the state and the budget, my colleague Azi Paybarah, take it away!

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