We're on the mend...barring another Greek tragedy


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News and Views in brief


The global economy is showing signs of withstanding a European recession triggered by the debt debacle in Greece.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 9 percent last month, the lowest since April, from 9.1 percent in September, the Labor Department reported Nov. 4. Chinese manufacturing continued to expand in October, based on an index compiled by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing. Even in Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, growth is coming to life: Gross domestic product climbed last quarter for the first time in a year, rising 6 percent according to the median estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.

“Barring Italy turning into Greece, we’ll have a slowdown in the world economy, but a manageable one,” said Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management in London. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/world-economy-dodging-slump-with-china-u-s-buoy-as-europe-crisis-smolders.html

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will meet the opposition leader today after agreeing to step down to allow a national unity government to secure outside financing and avert a collapse of the country’s economy.

Papandreou and Antonis Samaras, leader of the main opposition party, agreed to form a government to lead Greece “to elections immediately after the implementation of European Council decisions on October 26,” according to an e-mailed statement yesterday from the office of President Karolos Papoulias in Athens. Papandreou already stated he won’t lead the new government, the statement said.

“If we take it to mean that Greece is making efforts to ensure that they continue to receive funding support from the euro zone, then the move is positive,” Sacha Tihanyi, a Hong Kong-based currency strategist at Scotia Capital, the investment banking unit of Bank of Nova Scotia, said today of the decision. “However, it would be much better to see sustained political stability out of the country.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/greece-will-form-national-unity-government-to-secure-eu-emergency-payment.html


Italy’s record bond yields are sending the nation down the same path taken by Greece, Portugal and Ireland in the days before they were forced to seek rescues.

Italy’s 10-year notes traded above 5.5 percent for 40 days before breaching the 6 percent mark on Oct. 28 and reaching as much as 6.68 percent today. The bailed-out nations followed a similar trajectory, consistently averaging above 6 percent for about a month before crossing the 6.5 percent barrier. After that, it took an average of 16 days for yields to pass the unsustainable 7 percent level.

“The trend appears worryingly similar,” said Riccardo Barbieri, chief European economist at Mizuho International Plc in London. “Clearly, the longer it lasts, the worse it gets.”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/italy-yield-surge-sets-berlusconi-on-bailout-path-euro-credit.html



European stocks resumed their losses after a report that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said he’s not planning on stepping down.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped 0.6 percent to 238.3 at 12:06 p.m. in London. In response to earlier reports that he may quit within hours, Berlusconi denied that he’s stepping down, Ansa said, citing comments from the premier.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/european-stock-index-futures-decline-ryanair-ubs-shares-may-be-active.html

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will extend its first weekly drop since September, as concern Italy is struggling to manage its debt pushed the country’s bond yields to a euro-era record.

Boeing Co. (BA) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) retreated at least 1 percent in German trading, leading declines in the stocks most closely tied to economic growth. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) slipped in early New York trading.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December declined 0.5 percent to 1,244.6 at 7:30 a.m. in New York after earlier falling as much as 1.5 percent. The benchmark gauge retreated 2.5 percent last week. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average expiring the same month slid 48 points, or 0.4 percent, to 11,893. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-06/u-s-stock-index-futures-advance-as-greece-moves-closer-to-securing-aid.html


The euro fell versus the dollar and yen as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi faces a budget vote amid pressure to resign, stoking concern the region’s third-largest economy will struggle to manage its debt load.

The euro also weakened against the pound and Canadian dollar as concern mounted that political instability in Italy may push bond yields to levels that will force the region’s second-most indebted nation to seek a rescue. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said he will step down to make way for a coalition government and secure outside financing to avoid a collapse of the nation’s economy. The Swiss franc fell on speculation the central bank will adjust its currency cap.

“The market will be reluctant to buy the euro for now given negative news out of the region,” said Jane Foley, a senior currency strategist at Rabobank International in London. “The problem in Greece hasn’t been resolved and now the market has Italy to worry about. Bond yields suggested the market is pretty nervous, and quite rightly so.”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-06/euro-rises-after-greece-forms-unity-government-to-secure-international-aid.html

The pound rose for a third day against the euro as speculation that European leaders are failing to come to grips with the sovereign debt crisis boosted demand for British assets as a haven.

Sterling extended its biggest weekly gain versus the 17- nation currency since January. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed to step down to allow the creation of a unity government and Italy’s borrowing costs climbed to a euro-era record as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s majority unraveled before a parliamentary vote tomorrow. U.K. gilts rose as a report showed U.K. employment confidence fell.

“Euro-sterling is trading on a down trend and has further to go,” said Neil Jones, head of European hedge-fund sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in London. “The performance of sterling is quite a barometer of how foreign-exchange markets are perceiving euro-land issues at the moment.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/u-k-pound-gains-against-euro-as-europe-struggles-to-contain-debt-crisis.html


Speculators reduced wagers on higher commodity prices for the first time in four weeks on mounting concern that Europe’s failure to contain its debt crisis will slow economic growth and demand for raw materials.

Money managers cut combined net-long positions across 18 U.S. futures and options by 3.9 percent to 798,787 contracts in the week ended Nov. 1, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials tumbled 14 percent since reaching a 32-month high in April.

More than $1.4 trillion was erased from the value of global equities last week as the MSCI All-Country World Index retreated for the first time since September. Markets were roiled by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s now-abandoned call for a referendum on a bailout plan and a Nov. 2 statement from Federal Reserve policy makers warning of “significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-06/hedge-funds-slash-raw-material-bets-for-first-time-in-a-month-commodities.html

Gold climbed to a six-week high in London as concerns about Europe’s debt crisis spurred demand for the metal as a protection of wealth.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s allies pressured him to step aside after contagion from the region’s sovereign debt crisis pushed Italy’s borrowing costs to euro-era records. That overshadowed Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s agreement to step down, sending European equities lower.

“Gold is responding to the general market mood that the European crisis will develop much worse before it gets better,” said Bayram Dincer, an analyst at LGT Capital Management in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland. “At the moment we do not have a foreseeable lasting solution and high uncertainty remains.”

Immediate-delivery gold gained as much as $18.70, or 1.1 percent, to $1,773.35 an ounce, the highest price since Sept. 22, and was at $1,768.15 by 11:17 a.m. in London. Gold for December delivery was 0.8 percent higher at $1,769.50 on the Comex in New York.http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-07/gold-climbs-to-six-week-high-as-greek-italian-risk-stokes-haven-demand.html


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