eurozone crisis

Eurozone Risks Don't Rule Out These Solid Income Opportunities

Europe has a bigger combined economy than the US and we've been economic partners for decades. If things don't turnaround in Europe, the US revival will certainly falter.
Our chief investment strategist, Keith Fitz-Gerald, just got back from "across the pond" and answered some questions about the risks and opportunities unfolding in Europe right now.
He also brought back some great inflation-beating, solid income stocks...

The Eurozone Hangs On By a Whisker

Four days after the Italian elections, only one thing is really clear: A majority of Italian voters have rejected austerity.
The problem is, their victory came up short by the slimmest of margins.
0.36%.
That's the difference between a firm new government that could move Italy out of the Eurozone and the constitutional logjam Italian voters woke up to the next day.
Here’s why that's likely bad news for us all...

Even the Eurozone Debt Crisis Gets a Vacation …But Not For Long

The Eurozone debt crisis has taken a late summer vacation. Since it would be very inconvenient for a disaster to erupt while everyone is on holiday, it doesn't.

That's not to say this rule is infallible. One year, all the decision-makers went on holiday in late July, and came back to find themselves embroiled in World War I.

What traders and decision makers will find waiting for them when they get home from the beach could be almost as serious. Here's why...

A Laundry List of Problems

Greece has done nothing to redeem its position other than prepare an application for more money. Italy's GDP declined by 0.7% in the second quarter, and we are shortly to enter the run-up to the next Italian election.

What's more, Spain is trying desperately to avoid asking for a bailout, and may just succeed in doing so, but one more hiccup in its recalcitrant provincial governments will push it over the edge.

Then there's Portugal, which has entered a deep recession, and is showing signs of missing its budget targets again.

And that laundry list of potential problems doesn't include the biggest one of them all.

To continue reading, please click here...

To continue reading, please click here...

Eurozone Debt Crisis Won't Be Fixed by "Bailout Lite"

The market red ink this morning (Monday) around the globe is the result of a usual suspect - Spain.

These days, if someone even sneezes in Madrid, Barcelona, or Córdoba (one of my favorite places, actually), investors go into intensive care all over the world.

This new Spanish influenza has been wiping out paper value from one end of Europe to the other. This morning came word that many of the regions in the country will need help. Attention is now directed from focused support for banks to wider calls for a sovereign bailout.

And that is where the whole matter can turn nasty. Word is that we should now expect some Italian cities to be requesting money in the near future. Seems California and Pennsylvania are not the only locations where cities can go bankrupt.

The accord reached at the end of June by the Council of Europe (the EU member heads of government) to bail out Spanish banks is already derisively referred to as "bailout lite." As the beer commercials attest, this is going to be "less filling."

Unfortunately, it is the heavier version that Europe now needs.

To continue reading, please click here...

The Eurozone Crisis is Far From Over

The Greek election last weekend has brought us a brief reprieve. The nation and the Eurozone have stepped back from the brink.

But the larger truth is that little has changed.

Yes, the Eurozone has survived its latest test, yet there is little indication where it will go from here. Considerable continental support for the common currency remains, and EU officials will soon introduce initiatives to consolidate banking and financial policy in the European Union.

Still, the problems keep mounting, and there is very little resolve to fix them.

At this point, a lot of actions (or lack of actions) could still upset the entire apple cart.



To continue reading please, click here...

Eurozone Debt Crisis: What to Expect if Greece Dumps the Euro

The only certain thing if Greece leaves the Eurozone is the uncertainty that will certainly follow.

Unable to form a coalition government during May elections, Greece has been forced to hold a second vote on June 17.

In the balance is the future of the Eurozone itself as a "Grexit" looms large.

So much is riding on the outcome that U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders of the G-8 have conveyed their optimism that Greece will remain in the Eurozone when they convened for a summit on Saturday aimed at keeping Europe's economic woes from stretching around the globe.

"All of us are absolutely committed to making sure that growth and stability and social consolidation are part of an overall package," President Obama said.

But many other principals and economic experts are not as committed and believe a Greek exit would be the best move in the long run.

The question is what impact its departure will have beyond its own ailing borders if Greece renounces its debt and leaves the Eurozone.

To continue reading please click here...

The Fate of the Eurozone Hangs on Sunday's French Elections

It now looks as though Nicolas Sarkozy's days are numbered. In the balance lies the fate of the Eurozone itself.

It appears Socialist Francois Hollande will win the French election runoff on Sunday and that June's legislative elections will give the Socialists a powerful position in France's parliament.

Added to these developments is the good chance that both the major existing parties in Greece's parliament, which had jointly agreed to the bailout deal, will be voted out of office on Sunday as well and replaced by a motley set of far-lefties.

So while the Eurozone has been quiet this week, the calm is deceptive with the elections on Sunday.

Meanwhile, most of the worry in the Eurozone centers on Spain - which is quite foolish.

Spain recently elected a center-right government with a large majority, which is clearing up the mess left by its predecessors. The country does have a 25% unemployment rate, but that's a function of Spanish labor law and excessive welfare payments, both of which the current government is addressing.

Spain's budget deficit is also smaller than France's, as is its debt level. In fact, Spain's debt and deficit burdens are lower than both Britain and the United States. Spain is not the issue.

Considerable Danger in the Eurozone

As for Greece, it is a shambles.

The truth is it should have been chucked out of the Eurozone two years ago, when it was first revealed that its governments had been consistently lying about its budget numbers.

Had that happened, the new drachma would have sunk to about a third of its former value, and Greek living standards would have reduced by half, all without anything but market forces to be blamed.

Now hundreds of billions of euros have been poured into the country, and its ungrateful electorate is determined to elect every nut-job it can rake up. The whole Greek rescue project has been a complete waste of time and money, and should be ended forthwith.

Fortunately, throwing Greece out of the Eurozone will not destroy the euro - after all, nobody was relying on the strength of the Greek economy in their calculations of the euro's value.

However, France is a different matter entirely.

Unlike Greece, if France gets into serious trouble, the remaining "solid" euro economies led by Germany are not big enough to save it.

And, led by Hollande, France looks to be in considerable danger.

To continue reading, please click here...

Does the Eurozone Have Its Own Lehman Bros?

Does the Eurozone have its own American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG), or worse, its own Lehman Bros. when it comes to Greece?

I believe it does.

Why else would the European Union have bent over backwards to "save" a member nation that: A) Accounts for 2.01% of the EU by trade volume; and B) Would essentially be like letting Montana go out of business - no offense to Montanans or Montana!

More to the point, if things really were under control, why would European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet say that risk signals for financial stability in the euro area are flashing "red" as he did following a meeting of the European Systemic Risk Board in Frankfurt?

The short answer: Because he knows what the European banks are desperately trying to hide from the rest of the world - that there are still enormous risks and they're even more concentrated now than they were in 2008 at the start of the financial crisis.



Click here to continue reading...