Monday, February 13, 2012

Greece Passes Austerity Measures; Obama Budget Goes to Congress; Apple Closes Above 500

Any angst over Greece's passing of their mandatory austerity measures was quickly dispelled by the markets on Monday. Most European bourses finished the day solidly in the green, and US markets followed suit, posting gains which pretty much eviscerated Friday's fear-induced declines.

Even though the austerity in Greece is a death-knell for the country and widespread rioting took place in the capitol of Athens and elsewhere, the globalist elements of the EU, ECB and IMF viewed the vote as a positive referendum on the overall health of the Euro system.

Realistically, Greece will never be able to repay its debts nor will it be able to accommodate all of the cuts to social welfare programs and government employment, but the parliament did what was most expeditious to secure financing from its feudal masters in Germany and keep the game going.

The scheme - from the view of the IMF, ECB and Angela Merkel - seems to be to keep Greece functioning as a neo-slave-state to keep the Euro from collapsing, and, thus far, it seems to be working. A disorderly default by the Greeks might just be the catalyst that destroys whatever unity is left in the EuroZone, an outcome the supra-governmental EU leaders will fight bitterly with truckloads of money (it doesn't matter how much, they'll just print more) and the current kind of kabuki theatre that is disguised as "austerity" for the free-spending Greeks.

Their fear is that Greece's demise could foment similar outcomes in Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere, particularly Spain and Italy, and the continental currency experiment of the Euro would come crashing down upon their collective heads. Problematic as it may be, the monetarists in Brussels are committed to spending whatever it takes to keep the EuroZone intact by relentless money printing and worry about the consequences of widespread poverty, inflation, social unrest and ultimately, a continent-wide depression, later. We wish them luck, mostly because they'll need it, as desperate as the situation has become.

Here in the States, President Obama submitted his 2013 budget to congress, where it was deemed by many (mostly Republicans seeking to unseat the president this fall) as dead on arrival. Obama's 3.8 Trillion monstrosity would reduce military outlays while hiking outlays to infrastructure projects and features higher taxes for the wealthy and a $1.33 trillion deficit, marking the fourth straight year that the federal budget deficit would top one trillion dollars, despite an Obama campaign promise from 2008 to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

Investors shrugged off the details and went about their task of re-inflating the corporate sector, sending stock prices close to their highest levels of 2012, though volume on the NYSE was the lowest for a non-Holiday session in over a decade.

Oil closed above $100 per barrel, despite US gas consumption being historically weak and Apple (AAPL) closing above 500 per share for the first time in its history. Apple is currently the largest company in the world by market cap, surpassing oil giant ExxonMobil for the top spot.

The major indices followed their now-routine pattern of a gap-up open followed by a mid-morning decline and rally and a flat-lining finish.

Dow 12,874.04, +72.81 (0.57%)
NASDAQ 2,931.39, +27.51 (0.95%)
S&P 500 1,351.77, +9.13 (0.68%)
NYSE Composite 8,056.25, +64.22 (0.80%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,613,612,250
NYSE Volume 3,462,219,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 4236-1411
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 262-12 (par-tay!)
WTI crude oil: 100.91, +2.24
Gold: 1,724.90, -0.40
Silver: 33.72, +0.12

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