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By Jason Stipp and Jeremy Glaser | 07-05-2012 02:24 PM

Fireworks or Flops?

Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser sizes up the impact of this week's central bank actions, same-store sales report, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar, and welcome to The Friday Five.

As we paused for Independence Day celebrations, we saw a few signs of the holiday across the market this week.

Here with me to offer the details is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: Glad to be here, Jason.

Stipp: So, what do you have The Friday Five this week?

Glaser: Well, this week we're going to talk about Barclays, Hillshire Brands, same-store sales, fireworks in Europe, and finally China.

Stipp: Top brass at Barclays got a certain kind of independence this week. Maybe he wasn't looking for it in quite that way. What's your take on the situation there?

Glaser:  I don't think Bob Diamond was fighting for his independence, but it was foisted upon him, because of the LIBOR fixing scandal.

In a nutshell, Barclays essentially manipulated this interbank rate, which a lot of other key interest rates are tied to, and this is something that is a big stain on Barclays' reputation. They're going to have to pay a pretty sizable fine to regulators both in the U.K. and elsewhere.

But I think there are two major things that come out of this that are important for investors.

The first is, it reinforces this notion, which a lot of particularly individual investors have been feeling since the financial crisis, that this whole game is rigged in a way. That the investment banks are using their power and using their position in order to just extract value wherever they can find it, but without really thinking about their stakeholders, without really thinking about individual investors in a very meaningful way.

Certainly, just because there are some bad actors doesn't mean that the entire financial system is out to get people. But stories like this, I think, really corrode that trust that's needed in the financial system for it to work, so I think that is a key part.

Secondly, for Barclays specifically, it now leaves this huge European bank without a leader in a time of transition for them. They've grown a lot in recent years and have to focus on finding their profitability, finding their stride, which they haven't been able to do yet. Our analyst Jim Sinegal is hopeful that someone will be able to come in and really focus on the retail bank--focus on that stable, profitable organization--and try to rein in some of the bigger risk-takers that obviously got in trouble with the LIBOR scandal and elsewhere.

Who knows if that's going to happen or not. I think we'll have to wait and see on that one, but certainly Barclays without a strong leader at the helm could be listless for some time.

Stipp: In consumer goods, we saw two breakfast-related brands, you might say, gain their independence from each other. What was behind that and is there a trend in the split-up of companies?

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