Monday, February 6, 2012

As Greece Prepares for Potential Default, Markets Take Pause

The troubled nation of Greece took center stage again today, as talks to reach agreement on restructuring private and public debt reached yet another impasse and discussions between Primier Lucas Papademos and leaders of the recently-formed unity government also could not agree on austerity measures to be imposed in order to receive the next round of bailout money from the trokia - the EU, ECB and IMF.

Today, Papademos asked experts at Athens' finance ministry to compile a detailed analysis of what a Greek default would entail. The immediate response was that a bankruptcy of Greece would make what happened in Argentina more than a decade ago look like "a picnic."

With that backdrop, stocks opened sharply lower and remained in the red for the duration of the session, which marked the lowest volume day of the year. Rather than outright selling, traders seemed content to wait and watch developments in Europe, hoping that a default of Greece can be avoided. The major averages, though all down for the session, finished at or near their highs of the day.

Stocks are still up for the year. Today's pullback, like many before it, was minor and actually created more opportunities for day-traders than anyone else.

Dow 12,845.13, -17.10 (0.13%)
NASDAQ 2,901.99, -3.67 (0.13%)
S&P 500 1,344.33, -0.57 (0.04%)
NYSE Composite 8,041.85, -18.58 (0.23%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,648,986,500
NYSE Volume 3,310,194,500
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 2293-3331
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 211-9
WTI crude oil: 96.91, -0.93
Gold: 1,724.90, -15.40
Silver: 33.71, -0.04

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