Most likely outcome of the Greek confidence vote: An interim government that immediately approves the EU package.
The most pressing issue is money — Greece has run out. They need the 8 billion euros ($11 billion) from the troika fast. If they don't clearly approve the European Union package, they don't get the money, which means they will face an immediate crisis even before they are able to hold an election.
So it's possible that Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou could win the confidence vote, but to get the EU package through might have to resign and create a national unity government.
Still, long term things look bleak. A national election in Greece does not immediately bring up appealing alternatives to Papandreou. Antonis Samaris, the opposition candidate, argued against the EU package, but then abruptly switched his position yesterday. This does not elicit confidence in his leadership. Were he prime minister, would he switch again?
If Papandreou survives, he will certainly be weakened, which will inhibit his ability to push through the necessary reforms.
Remember, there have not been any big reforms implemented. We are debating whether they should be implemented. It's pretty clear that the Greeks will not be able to stomach the austerity.
That's why the doomsayers are so confident the deal will not ultimately be implemented, that it will fall apart once it fully hits the streets of Athens.
That's why many were arguing yesterday that Papandreou's gamble to push through a referendum — which would have given him a strong mandate, had he won — was not as crazy as it initially seemed.
1. Not much coming out of the Group of 20 (G20) nations summit. No big announcements on International Monetary Fund help for Europe.
2. The highly anticipated initial public offering of Groupon raised $700 million. The online discount coupon site will begin trading on the Nasdaq this morning after it raised its offering by five million shares to 35 million shares and priced its IPO at $20 — above the expected range of $16 a share to $18 a share. Even with the increased offering, the publicly traded shares floated represent just 5 percent of the company.
3. Professional networking site LinkedIn beat estimates and raised its 2011 revenue and EBITDA guidance. However, the stock is falling a sharp 9 percent on the announcement that the company plans to offer $500 million in shares through a secondary offering.
4. CBS earnings beat estimates (50 cents a share vs. 46 cents a share consensus), but the media company’s topline growth fell short of estimates. Online content streaming deals and strong results out of its cable networks helped earnings.
Advertising sales were flat, with the absence of political advertising that it had last year. However, its strong prime-time programming lineup kept non-political ad spending up. CEO Les Moonves sees a "record breaking" year next year especially with political ad spending ramping up ahead of the November elections.?
5. Fluorfalls 4 percent after missing third-quarter estimates (78 cents a share vs. 85 cents a share consensus) and providing 2012 guidance that disappointed the Street. Although the construction and engineering firm’s CEO David Seaton noted, "we have not seen any material change in our clients’ capital spending outlook," despite the uncertain economy, guidance for next year of $3.40 a share to $3.80 a share falls short of $4.01 a share consensus. The company also announced the establishment of a new 12 billion share buyback program (7 percent of shares outstanding).
6. Limited Brands announced a $250 million stock buyback program, worth about 2 percent of its current market cap . Starwood Hotels raised its annual divided by 67 percent to 50 cents per share.
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