Good morning, investors, and welcome back to Breakfast with the Fool. Coffee's on -- grab yourself a cup and snag a donut while we sit down and scan the morning papers.

Schering-Plough sheathed
Once upon a time, I read something about swords being beaten into ploughshares. And speaking of Plough shares, it's looking like there won't be any Schering-Plough (NYSE:SGP) shares pretty soon. This morning, Pharma giant Merck (NYSE:MRK) took a page from Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) book and announced a megamerger of its own: It's buying Schering-Plough for $41.1 billion in cash and stock.

Look for detailed comments on the merger from the Fool's own Brian Orelli in the next few hours. Meanwhile, keep your eye on Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Novartis, and the rest of the sector today. One deal, you see, may be a coincidence -- Pfizer may have been a fluke. But when two of the biggest names in Big Pharma announce mergers in the space of just a few weeks, it suggests that we're entering a consolidation trend in this industry.

What's in your wallet? Less than you think
Speaking of consolidation, have you checked your dividend check lately? In recent weeks, major financial names JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) cut their dividends to the bone. Well, misery loves company, and Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) shareholders are shedding tears of sympathy this morning. The credit card champion announced this morning that it will slash its dividend 87%, to a nickel a share.

On the plus side, this cut should save Capital One shareholders $500 million per year -- shoring up their company's balance sheet. On the minus side ... it just cut the dividend 87%!

$50 trillion here, $50 trillion there ...
What's with all the banker stinginess? Here's one hint: According to the Manila-based Asian Development Bank, the financial crisis has already wiped out $50 trillion worth of financial assets worldwide. Of course, that's just a guess. ADB put the losses in the 44 countries of "developing Asia" alone at $9.6 trillion, Latin America's at $2.1 trillion -- then stopped. That's as detailed as the report gets.

Call me a cynic, but the lack of a complete breakdown on the world's ... complete financial breakdown tells me that ADB is just guessing.

Make no mistake, the damage done to the world economy is real, and writ large. The problems we face still seem daunting -- but not insurmountable. And on that note, let the trading day begin.

Over the course of it, if you have some time and want to post your own thoughts on issues of the day, we've got a whole screen for comments just down below. Post away, and Fool on!

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. JPMorgan Chase and Pfizer are former Motley Fool Income Investor selections. Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.