Friday, March 22, 2013

Cyprus Situation Still Uncertain; US Traders Content to Take the Risk

With the situation in Cyprus still murky, at best, US investors shrugged off the dilemma from overseas and bid stocks up to their best levels of the week during Friday's session, ending the week down marginally, but essentially flat.

Holding stocks over the weekend seems a risky bet, being that the troika has given the Cypriot government until Monday to sort things out and come up with a solution to salvage what's left of their failed banking system and creaking government.

The latest from Nicosea, the capitol of Cyprus, appeared to have the parliament eyeing a tax on depositors once again in an effort to keep the deal offered by the ECB and IMF on the table. The parliament had unanimously rejected the option to tax deposits in Cypriot banks earlier in the week, but it now appears that they have run out of viable options.

How the tax, or levy, is finally worked out remains a sticking point. Deposits of under 100,000 euros are supposedly protected by law, as they are by the FDIC in the US, but lawmakers and Eurozone leaders seem willing to overturn that protection in favor of bailing out the troubled banks and economy of Cyprus.

Taxing savers will no doubt raise the specter of fear in many european nations, that regular depositors will no longer be protected by laws designed to keep governments and financial authorities' hands off the people's money.

With Europe already on a weekend, there's little doubt what savers in countries like Greece, italy, spain and Portugal have been doing on Friday: withdrawing sufficient fund to weather the weekend and beyond, should the leaders in the EU and Cyprus continue on their mad path to destruction of confidence in the financial system.

Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Tuesday, no matter what is decided or left up in the air. The weekend should prove to be an interesting one from the standpoint of global economic viability.

Dow 14,512.03, +90.54 (0.63%)
NASDAQ 3,245.00, +22.40 (0.70%)
S&P 500 1,556.89, +11.09 (0.72%)
NYSE Composite 9,065.65, +56.00 (0.62%)
NASDAQ Volume 1,631,320,375
NYSE Volume 3,145,706,000
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ Advance - Decline: 3898-2398
Combined NYSE & NASDAQ New highs - New lows: 323-29 (flat)
WTI crude oil: 93.71, +1.26
Gold: 1,606.10, -7.70
Silver: 28.70, -0.514

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