Far from having my holiday spirits uplifted, I’m increasingly glum (about the markets, but not about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) on account of the lack of any good cheer coming out of…well, anywhere.
Take Europe, for example. You know, Europe, as in the European Union. As in that region of the world that has always gotten along, happily sharing each other’s cultures, cuisines, and shrapnel wounds from their exploding sovereign debts, courtesy of a common currency that affords cheap financing for budget bludgeoning.
There’s no good cheer over there.
Didn’t anybody hear Christine Lagarde (formerly one Europe’s own when she was running finances for France, but now runs around with whips and chains as the high-heeled dominatrix of the IMF)? Last week she said that if we don’t all work together our situation will be similar to the 1930s.
She wasn’t just talking to the Europeans. She was warning world leaders and central bankers.
Good thing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke got the message. He told lawmakers last week that they have “no further plans to aid European banks.”
So much for holiday spirit.
But, I think the Beard is just too modest; he wants to be a secret Santa.
In fact, there’s really a lot of gift-giving going on over in Europe. If you look closely you’ll see that stockings and sacks are being filled, and the Fed was the first to contribute.
But (frighteningly, if not ominously), if you look closer you’ll see those stockings and sacks aren’t being filled with presents, they’re being filled with sand. They’re sandbags.
Sandbags? Yes, sandbags, as in the last ditch effort to save towns from catastrophic flooding when the big dam breaks.
Click here to find out why European leaders are preparing for catastrophe…
Very soon we will see if the old market adage “Buy the rumor, sell the news” is true.
While rumors of Europe’s impending demise were momentarily shot down by an array of silver bullets, the actual news out of Brussels of a grand bargain wasn’t… exactly… honest.
Let’s call the half-measures agreed to by European leaders “Brussels sprouts,” because they’re more like “green shoots” than a cabbage patch panacea.
The leaders agreed to agree that they needed an agreement on how to more closely integrate their fiscal and monetary interests.
Yeah, that’s what they said. I say good luck with that.
Actually, they made some other moves, too.
Find out what else these European “leaders” did…
The problem I have with providing “insight” into the market is that the deeper I look, the darker it gets.
Right now I can’t see through to the other side. It’s just that murky everywhere.
Not only did the S&P 500 fall 56.98 points (or 4.7%) last week, but it broke important support at 1160, ending Friday at 1158.67. The benchmark also broke its 50-day moving average back on Monday.
Cumulative breadth (advancing issues minus declining issues) has been tanking.
And speaking of slip-sliding away, third-quarter GDP growth here in the U.S. was revised down to 2% from the previously reported (make that estimated) 2.5%.
Downward pressure was evident across the globe, in terms of GDP growth expectations, sovereign creditworthiness, and stock markets.
In fact, I can’t find any equity benchmark anywhere in the world that rose last week. That’s because there wasn’t one.
What there was a lot of last week – and what there will continue to be a lot more of – is mounting fear that the European Union is about to become unglued. The Eurozone is already being held together with nothing more than Band-Aids and hope, but increasingly those Band-Aids are falling off.
What that means for us…