I tell you, the market’s in one of those states, like late spring when you don’t know whether to turn on the air conditioner or crank up the heat. Sometimes you do both in the same day.
When the market seizes on a European industrial production report, about April, before the selloff started, and which compares IP to last year, which was awful, you know the bulls have control here. But control these days is a fleeting thing. The Dow was up 118 this morning, and down 13 this afternoon.
Maybe that’s because there are still some ill winds blowing in Europe that at other times would send traders for the exits. But they’ve got some things in their sights, like the 200-day moving average on the S&P 500 (which lives around 1112), it was a bad May, and they’re just in no mood to give it up. Traders drove the S&P 500 as high as 1105.96 today, but weren’t able to punch it any higher. We’ll see what the last hour brings.
Meanwhile, here are some developments to keep an eye on, that don’t have anything to do with British goalkeepers:
- Even as Angela Merkel is promising greater cooperation with France in setting policy on the Continent, her center-right coalition is in danger of falling apart, the Guardian reports. Merkel and France’s Nicolas Sarkozy said they’ll present a “united front” at the G20 meeting in Toronto on June 26-27, but Merkel’s coalition may fall apart after the June 30 election of a new president, which could push her to change coalition partners, or force a new election. Hard to see how lasting anything coming out of the G20 could be if Merkel’s government falls apart.
Posted by Paul Vigna
on June 02, 2010
This isn’t a good time to be headless.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, make that former Prime Minister, abruptly resigned Wednesday, mainly over his acquiescence to American demands over the Okinawa military base. But he also was having trouble getting his economic plans in place, and his administration had a little issue with scandals. Lastly, his haberdashery skills were tragic.
Japan’s last four prime ministers have all stepped down in a year or less. That’s extreme political drift.
Hatoyama’s resignation, and the American source of it, leave a question mark over how his successor will handle Japan-American relations. But it doesn’t help the global economy to have such rapid-fire turnover in the leadership of the world’s second-largest economy.
And that’s the real issue.
It’s not just in the Land of the Rising Sun. Look around. Can you name one world leader who seems to have a firm grasp on not only their own state’s problems, but the bigger picture of what’s going on in the world today? Crises are supposed to produce great leaders, a Roosevelt, a Churchill. See anybody like that stalking the world stage? The world is turning into something new before our very eyes, but the people we task with guiding us through that seem to be completely blind to it.
Listen, one way or another, life is going to go on, and our little villages and states and economies are going to become what they are going to become. The problems of one little planet don’t amount to a hill of beans in this universe. But it would be a lot easier is we had somebody competent to navigate the waters.
Posted by Paul Vigna
on February 12, 2010
We'll take this fort, have everything wrapped up by Labor Day.
The Greeks got very little for all their trouble yesterday, just a little pat on the back from their EU partners and a “go get ‘em, boy” statement. That limpid kick-the-can response to what is a potentially destabilizing situation down by the Aegean won’t mollify people for very long.
As history has shown us time, and time, and time again, events that were initially thought to have been well contained can quickly unravel, and turn into some kind of horror show absolutely nobody initially thought possible.
I remember reading in a book on the Civil War that men signed up eagerly at first, assuming the war would last only a few months. But it dragged on for four painful years.
Back to today, meanwhile, there are other problems in the Old Country besides the specter of sovereign defaults. GDP in the Eurozone rose 0.1% in the fourth quarter, and was down 2.1% on the year, Dow Jones reports (via this WSJ link; trying to keep outside the paywall.) That was worse than expected, and more disconcerting was that almost all of the major nations contracted.
Germany fell back, but France grew. Italy and Spain both contracted. Greece got worse; its GDP contracted 0.8% in the fourth quarter, worse than the third quarter’s 0.5% contraction. That’s going to make Greece’s already dire dilemma even harder to solve. Ironic that the land that gave the world the Spartans is resisting such, um, spartan measures, isn’t it?