Eurozone

Fitch Downgrades Italy To BBB From BBB+

"Italy's persistent track record of fiscal slippage, back-loading of consolidation, weak economic growth, and resulting failure to bring down the very high level of general government debt has left it more exposed to potential adverse shocks. This is compounded by an increase in political risk, and ongoing weakness in the banking sector which has required planned public intervention in three banks since December."

European, US Stocks In Eerie Calm As French Vote Looms

Global markets were oddly calm on Friday, the last day of trading before the first round of France's closely fought presidential election, with European stocks posting modest declines ahead of Sunday's main event, Asian shares rising, and set for first weekly gain in the past month, while U.S. futures were unchanged.

Europe And S&P Futures Higher, Dollar Drops As OPEC Talks Oil Up

European stocks rose amid earnings beats, offsetting weakness in the energy sector and easing investor concerns ahead of the weekend’s French election. Asian shares and U.S. futures also rise. The dollar weakens against the euro and most crosses, while crude oil rebounds following renewed OPEC chatter of a production cut, this time with Saudi Arabia seemingly onboard.

Europe Gets Its Doomsday Scenario

In France, the right feels betrayed by open borders and excessive regulation, the left by an unaccountable elite that always seems to profit at everyone else’s expense. And both sides suffer from soaring debt at every level of society. So if a fringe candidate doesn’t win this time around, the mainstream will just make an even bigger mess, raising the odds of a fringe victory next a few years hence.

Distracted Nation "Buys The Dip"

The military frolics of spring have distracted the nation’s attention from the economic and financial dynamics that pose the ultimate mortal threat to business as usual.

If An Electorate Falls In The Forest, Is Their Voice Heard?

If there’s one lesson Europeans can glean from their allies across the Atlantic, it’s that bullets can be dodged, but not indefinitely. As we are learning the hard way, necessary reforms are challenging to enact. Avoidance, though, will only succeed in feeding anger and despair. The longer the voices of the desperate go unheard, as just so many silently falling trees in the forest, the more piercing their cries will be in the end.

Albert Edwards Is Puzzled: "Where Is The Wage Inflation?"

"To be honest I am a little surprised that US nominal wages are not showing more of an acceleration given surging headline inflation has crushed real wage growth over the last year. Falling US real wages are already resulting in slower consumption growth, but workers have not yet pushed up nominal wage inflation..."

S&P Futures Slide Ahead Of Bank Earnings

S&P futures extended their Wednesday decline, dropping in the overnight session with banking shares in focus ahead of results from JPMorgan and Citigroup. European stocks likewise retreated along with the dollar, while Asian shares were mixed.