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Macro chatter: Big bank downgrades and a rush to save the euro

Around the world in business: Moody's hits the world's largest banks with downgrades and time is running out to save the euro.
2012 02 20 euro symbolEnlarge
As the euro zone crisis grinds on, an increasing number of European banks and countries are facing ratings hits. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Need to know: 

Thursday brought the mother of all downgrades (at least for now). 

Moody's downgraded 15 of the world's largest banks in several of the world's most powerful countries. Among the casualties: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.

The banks are into some really risky business, Moody's said. 

Want to know: 

The world may have less time to save the euro than it thought.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is giving the currency about a week unless euro zone leaders figure something out at their next big summit next week, the Guardian said

Monti is worried that countries like his could become burdened with high interest payments that would choke off growth prospects unless the EU comes to the rescue. 

Dull but important:

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti isn't the only one who is worried. 

Italian consumer confidene fell to a new record low this month, Bloomberg said.

Italy is in its fourth recession since 2001. 

Just because:

The US employment picture doesn't seem to be getting any better. 

New claims for jobless benefits in the world's largest economy are hovering around 387,000 and pointing to another lackluster employment report next month. 

Strange but true:

If you have $10,000 to throw around, the Algonquin Hotel in New York has got a drink for you.

The newly remodeled hotel requires 72-hours notice and a visit to the hotel's jeweler to shake or stir this drink, Forbes said. But its Martini on the Rock does include a diamond at the bottom. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/macro/macro-chatter0622