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Sharpen Your Pencil – And Put These Three Stocks on Your "Shopping List"

Ask any of our gurus for advice on how to survive a stock-market sell-off – or even a whipsaw period like the one we’re navigating now – and you’ll get a surprising answer.

Keep a shopping list ready, they’ll tell you…

  • Featured Story

    Can the U.S Economy "de-couple" from the Eurozone Debt Crisis?

    As the Eurozone teeters on the edge of a breakup, it begs the question: Can the U.S economy "de-couple" from the Eurozone debt crisis?

    Ultimately, the answer comes down to fate of the euro. It's the linchpin to everything.

    From the point of view of one who has travelled fairly frequently in the Eurozone I can tell you I find the euro very convenient indeed.

    In my London merchant banking days, when I used to go on marketing trips around continental Europe, I found that while the excellent European train service was a pleasure to use, the proliferation of local currencies made travelling a pain.

    There was nothing more annoying than to be on a long-distance train that had just crossed the border from Belgium to Germany at Aachen, only to discover that I could not enjoy the excellent Deutsche Bundesbahn bockwrst and fine local beer because I had only sterling and Belgian francs in my wallet, but no deutschemarks!

    The other problem was that after a long trip I ended up with my wallet stuffed with small amounts of ten different currencies, none of which could be changed back into anything useful because the bank charges ate up their value.

    In southern Europe, local exchange controls were a pain too.

    Walking through Madrid airport with $25,000 of legitimately earned pesetas in bills which could not be transferred to Britain through the banking system was far too exciting for my liking.

    From a British merchant banker's point of view, it was thus very convenient when all the local foreigners converted to the same currency, rather than lots of different ones.

    After that, you needed only two compartments in your wallet: one for British money and the other for foreign money. Then you could travel all over Europe without worrying about changing currencies.

    It was a very 19th century feeling, almost as good as being back on the gold standard!

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  • Greek bailout

  • Eurozone Bailout Package: What's Next for Greece The question regarding whether or not Greece will stick with the Eurozone got at least a short-term answer after the country's elections Sunday, when the conservative, pro-bailout New Democracy party narrowly won the crucial vote.

    But Greece's trials and tribulations are far from over, and the relief is temporary. Concerns are increasing over the global cost of a Eurozone bailout package as the mounting woes in Spain and Italy persist.

    Citizens of Greece are clamoring for change, but many recognize that the election results are no quick fix. There was no cheering in Greece and global markets reacted cautiously following the vote.

    Borrowing costs across Europe rose with Spain taking the lead. The yield on Spain's 10-year bonds spiked to a euro-era high of 7.18%. A reading above 7% raises a red flag that a nation may be approaching the need for a bailout.

    Italian bonds also sold off on fears that if Spain is in need of a bailout, an Italy bailout package might not be far off. Italian bonds' 10-year yields are around 6%.

    While the Greek election results staved off a calamity, they failed to fix the wider problems facing Greece and its struggling neighbors.

    Moody's Analytics' chief economist Mark Zandi told USA Today, "We dodged a bullet, but they've got more bullets coming."

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  • Eurozone Debt Crisis: The Greek Elections are a Make or Break Moment What happens this Sunday, June 17 , may be the trigger for a final resolution of the Eurozone debt crisis.

    Now I understand that you probably don't follow Greek elections. But this is one you'll want to keep an eye on. At the moment, it dwarfs the contest between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

    In fact, come Monday it will be what every banker, politician and trader is talking about.

    In the balance is the very fate of the Eurozone.
    The
    ripple effects could be enough to actually bring the EU down.

    That's the first part of the story. Admittedly, it's not a very pleasant one.

    The second part concerns your portfolio, since the solutions will involve more money-printing and, in the long run, more inflation.

    But you needn't worry. We've already read the central banker's playbook for you.

    In this case, the message is clear. Don't buy Europe. But do buy hard assets -- whether gold, oil, or other commodities.

    These safe-havens are one of the best ways to hedge yourself against these characters and their money printing schemes.

    Now that you know why Sunday is so important, here is how it will likely play out-in both the short term and in the long run.

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  • The Greek Bailout, the CDS Market, and the End of the World A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the latest Greek bailout.

    The terms and conditions of the bond swap Greece agreed to before getting another handout constitutes a theoretical default - but not a technical default.

    That's not funny to CDS holders.

    Greece hasn't defaulted (so far), but some of the buyers of credit default swaps, basically insurance policies that pay off if there is a default, claim the terms and conditions of the bond swap constitutes a "credit event" or default.

    If it is, they want to get paid.

    While on the surface this looks like a fight over the definition of a default, underneath the technicalities, the future of credit default swaps and credit markets is at stake.

    In other words, the ongoing Greek tragedy is really becoming a global tragedy of epic proportions.

    The Next Act in the Greek Bailout?

    Here's the long and short of it.

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  • The Greek Bailout: Why I'm Mostly Bullish about the Eurozone Last week's news that Eurozone GDP declined by 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011 set all the usual pundits moaning about the inevitable decline of Europe.

    Even Andrew Roberts, a wonderful historian with whom I almost always agree, wrote in the Financial Times that "Europe's fire has gone out."

    Today, the markets may welcome the Greek bailout deal, but behind the scenes they still dread the fact it won't work.

    Meanwhile, hushed whispers are still being muttered about a Greek default as being "worse than Lehman."

    On this subject I am a firm contrarian.

    If Greece does default and is thrown out of the Eurozone, then I think Europe is actually due for a rebound - not a collapse.

    It's only if they decide to bail out Greece again that I would become less optimistic.

    If that is the case, they would be devoting hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (or euros, as it were) to propping up an inevitable failure. Even then, Greece is relatively small compared to the growth drivers in the Eurozone, which are strong.

    The Problem with the Greek Bailout

    What the Greek crisis has shown is that European leaders in Germany and Scandinavia have their heads properly screwed on, but they are not yet a majority of EU opinion.

    The EU bureaucracy simply gave in far too easily to Greece's first demand for a bailout, then suggested further bailouts for the entire Mediterranean littoral, all of which had over-expanded their governments on the back of low interest rates in the first decade of the euro.

    Now reality is returning rapidly to the discussion.

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  • A Greek Default is Bad – But a Greek Bailout Much Worse Many investors continue to favor a Greek bailout to prevent the Eurozone's first sovereign default - but they are rooting for the wrong solution.

    Greece has requested another loan from its European neighbors to cover next year's $43 billion (30 billion euros) shortfall as yields on 10-year Greek bonds have climbed over 16%.

    The second Greek bailout would come about a year after the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned the struggling country $158 billion (110 billion euros) to meet soaring financial obligations. Greece took the money on the terms that it would implement austerity measures and cut its massive budget deficit, but the country failed to meet the agreed-upon targets.

    EU and IMF officials have been reviewing Greece's cost-cutting actions to determine if the country - now with about $430 billion (299 billion euros) in debt - deserves another huge loan. EU leaders have also considered asking investors to reinvest in new Greek debt when existing bonds mature, buying time to stabilize Greece's sinking economy.

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