Easy Street is our daily roundup of the most interesting news stories and commentary about Wall Street, Washington and the curious world of finance. You can see more of what we think are the biggest stories of the day on our News in Brief page. Every day, you can download Marketplace's daily show on iTunes and follow us for more headlines at twitter.com/mktplaceradio. If you want to listen to Marketplace on the radio, find your local station and time here.
Banking & Finance
Layoffs are slowly creeping into Wall Street's plans at banks like Morgan Stanley - which is laying off brokers - and Barclays, which is reducing its global team that analyzes and sells stocks. In both cases, the banks say that the layoffs are unrelated to declining revenue. Veterans of the Street may find that hard to believe; layoffs unrelated to revenue usually occur across a bank, not in one or two units. Still, it's hard to tell why heads would be getting chopped now, in the middle of the year: regulatory reform has not yet taken place, so that's not a plausible pressure on earnings. The Fed has maintained enormous help for the markets through its program of buying up Treasury bonds to keep interest rates down. True, banks may be worried about what will happen to the stock market when QE2 ends.
Big banks aren't the bargain that they might seem, says David Weidner.
Markets & Traders
Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, lays out the essentials of financial reform.
Meredith Whitney versus S&P: the muni-market showdown.
Economists believe QE3 is practically a sure thing.
Jamie Dimon predicted we'd have a recession back in 2007.
The junk-bond market says we're having a recession right now. As we speak. The stock market is still picturing unicorns and Care Bears and sleeping under Strawberry Shortcake sheets.
Robert Shiller says home prices may keep sliding for 20 years.
Politicians & Regulation
Sarah Jessica Parker has been cast as a hedge-fund manager. Luckily, she can still keep the bawdy jokes from her Sex & The City days.