After weeks of foot dragging and finger pointing, and with time fast running out, Greece seems to have budged toward compromise. The country has upped its offer for additional austerity measures, including income and consumption tax hikes, in hopes those measures will satisfy creditor demands. Read more about Greece Offers Olive Branch 06-23-15
The future looked a little less certain this week as Greece and the European community seemed to have reached an impasse over terms for an extension of credit for the beleaguered Mediterranean nation. The euro, not surprisingly, dipped, and U.S. Treasury securities increased today. In Europe, stocks attempted to recover, alongside German bunds.
Here in the U.S. stocks are rallying today as the optimists prevail. The last few days, just the opposite was happening, with the Greek saga dominating the headlines, although the story there didn’t really change. Read more about Expect Volatility and Growth Too 06-16-15
Its four-month bailout extension to expire at the end of this month, Greece needs to come up with billions of euros to repay its creditors and to pay pension and wages to its citizens, but negotiations with euro-zone ministers haven't yielded any agreement yet. Greece is quickly running out of time to secure a lifeline. Last week, the Hellenic Republic bought some time by postponing the weekly repayments to the IMF Without outside help, saying that it would make the total due in June in one lump sum—provided it comes up with the necessary funds, of course. Read more about Brinksmanship As Usual 06-09-15
The stock market began this holiday-shortened week on a bad note. The major blue chip indices S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Averages each declined by more than 1 percent. Good economic data reinforced the view that the Federal Reserve will act by September to increase the federal funds rate, which has sat its current rock-bottom level since late 2008 and greatly helped financial markets. Read more about Market Begins Week in Bad Mood 05-26-15
This morning, the Commerce Department reported that housing starts surged in April to an annualized pace of 1.14 million, the fastest rate since 2007, a welcome acceleration of construction activity after the frigid winter, and a signal that homebuilders expect strong future demand. Compared to March, April housing starts were up an impressive 20.2 percent. The number of permit approvals—an indicator of future activity—also went up 10.1 percent from March. Read more about Taking Housing's Pulse 05-19-15
Late last week, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported its latest monthly labor market assessment. After a very poor set of labor gains in March, the U.S. economy added 223,000 non-farm jobs in April. This fell slightly below economists’ median expectation, but proved a large improvement over the previous month’s gain of 85,000 (downwardly revised by more than 30 percent). Read more about The IMF Pays Itself 05-12-15
Drilling activity continues to sharply decline as exploration & production companies continue to idle the least economical units. According to Baker Hughes, as of the week ended May 1, the number of North American rigs (on-land and in the Gulf of Mexico) fell for the 21st consecutive week, down to 904, a stunning 53 percent drop from mid-December 2014, less than 5 months ago, when the streak began. The drop in oil rigs is especially steep, from 1575 to 679 over the same period. Read more about Oil Production Plateaus 05-05-15