When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Remembering 1974 - Again! - DJTA Biggest Jump Since 1939

This week stocks surged, extending the biggest monthly rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1974, and the euro strengthened as European leaders agreed to expand a bailout fund to stem the region’s debt crisis. The 20 percent monthly advance for the Dow Jones Transportation Average, a proxy for the economy, is the biggest since 1939. The S&P 500 rose to its highest level in almost three months and has rebounded 17 percent since Oct. 3.

In addition to remembering 1974, Economic growth strengthened in the third quarter and the component mix is more favorable than expected. GDP growth improved to a 2.5 percent annualized increase in the third quarter. The advance estimate matched market expectations for a 2.5 percent gain. (For once the majority was right!)

Optimism is clearly now appearing as the consumer sentiment index jumped to 60.9 compared to 57.5 at mid-month to imply a 64.3 level for the final two weeks of the month. The improvement the last two weeks is centered in the leading component of expectations which jumped 4.8 points to 51.8. The current conditions component also rose, up 1.3 points to 75.1. Inflation expectations show no change from mid-month, at 3.2 percent for the one-year outlook and 2.7 percent for the five-year.

And on the job front, initial jobless claims are holding steady in a narrow range just above 400,000. Claims came in at 402,000 in the October 22 week, a bit better than expectations. The four-week average of 405,500 is 10,000 below the month-ago period to point to continued improvement and a positive October employment report.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Europe Uncertainty Plummets - Deal is Done

European Union leaders unveiled a deal early Thursday on debt crisis measures that includes a 50% loss on Greek bonds.

The agreement came at the end of a series of talks to finalize the details of a comprehensive policy response to the government debt and banking problems threatening the stability of the euro currency and global economy.

The deal will likely resolve three related problems: the debt crisis in Greece, instability in the banking sector and an under-capitalized bailout fund.

Under the new plan, Greek bondholders voluntarily agreed to write down the value of Greek bonds by 50%, which translates into €100 billion and will reduce the nation's debt load to 120% of economic output from 150%.

The agreement also calls for the creation of a new financing program with the International Monetary Fund worth up to €100 billion.

Stronger bailout fund: The leaders agreed on two ways to increase the firepower of the EU bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility. The methods will each leverage the fund by four or five fold, the statement said, boosting its resources to about €1 trillion.
The fund will be used to partially ensure new issues of government bonds. In addition, it will be supplemented by the creation of one or more special investment vehicles, which will be open to private sector players such as sovereign wealth funds.

The EU heads of state also agreed to raise capital requirements for banks vulnerable to losses on euro-area government bonds.

Banks would be required to sharply increase core capital levels to 9% to create a buffer against potential losses.

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