Dow Falls Almost 100 Points in Second Act Of A Greek Tragedy

February 15th, 2012 by

The markets were down. The Dow lost 97 points, S&P 7 points, NASDAQ 16 points. The losses ranged from 0.54% to 0.76%. Something happened in Greece, I am not sure what, but it sent the market down. Everyone is hoping for a solution, a solution that does not exist. They want the Greeks to adjust their lifestyle – lower their minimum wage, retire at least 5 to 10 years later than they do currently, and expect less services from the government. In exchange, they will get nothing.

Not exactly, they will get debt forgiveness for their government and will be allowed to keep the Euro as their currency. These benefits are not very tangible. The Greek populace will not accept. If the Greek politicians manage to get the reforms through, the Greeks will vote them out in the next election cycle re-starting this entire situation again.  The real question is assuming the Greeks are forced out of the Eurozone, what are the consequences for the rest of Europe?

The largest bond etfs (BND & TLT) were both slightly down, less than 0.13%.  The iShares Barclays 20+ Treasury Bond ETF was down 21 cents to 117. 55. This is somewhat surprising because the 30 year Treasury bond was essentially flat for the day.

There was a good deal of news which had the potential to impact the Treasury market today:

  • Foreigners were big sellers of Treasury bonds in December with China unloading around 3% of its holdings. (bad for treasuries)
  • The minutes of the FEDs last meeting were released. Some governors left open the possibility of the FED continuing to buy long dated treasuries, if economic conditions worsened. (good for treasuries)
  • Europe reported GDP for Q4 2011 which was not as bad as expected. Down 0.3% (bad for treasuries – If there is no European crisis, investors will move out of treasuries).

Lots of interesting stuff, limited market reaction.

At the end of this report, I tend to highlight the performance of a few companies.

Apple share (AAPL) shares fell over 2% on profit taking, closing below the psychologically important level of $500 per share.

Zynga (ZNGA) got destroyed, down 17% after announcing an annual loss of $404 Million dollars. Apparently the stock market is a more difficult game than Farmville.

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