Trader Talk

How Much Debt Is the ECB Buying?

Euro zone weakness is impacting the global economy: European Union lowers growth forecasts.

Yesterday, we saw General Motors lower numbers due to weakness in Europe..,today the EU lowered growth forecast in the euro zone: 0.5 percent growth in 2012.

European Central Bank
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Germany was cut in half, from 1.9 percent to 0.8 percent, France from 2.0 percent to 0.6 percent. Italy went from 1.3 percent to 0.1 percent — that sounds perilously close to recession.

Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner for monetary and economic affairs, said each additional percentage point Italy pays on its debt is a one percentage point drag on growth over the next three years.

And China's exports slowed in October. Exports, at 15.9 percent growth, are still healthy, but have slowed largely due to lower exports to the EU (up 7.5 percent, down from 9.8 percent in September). Imports, interestingly, increased 28.7 percent (!)...the obviously read-through is that the Chinese are finally starting to buy Western goods, but not sure if that is entirely the correct way to look at it.


1. Greece has named a new interim prime minister, Lucas Papademos, who will head a coalition government that will be sworn in tomorrow. Finance Minister Mario Monti looks like he has a chance to be prime minister of Italy. Two finance people — coincidence?

2. For weeks, it's seemed like there has only been one person on the European Central Bank : Juergen Stark, a German, who has already announced his resignation and has emphatically stated that the ECB will not be a lender of last resort.

Now, we are hearing from other voices on the 23-member governing council. Klaas Knot, the head of the Dutch central bank, told the Dutch parliament: "...there is not much more than can be expected from us...It is now up to the governments."

The message: fiscal reform. It's an admirable stance, but the pressure will only grow on them. ?

3. Cisco Systems jumps 7 percent after beating first-quarter estimates (43 cents a share vs. 39 cents a share consensus) and providing an optimistic outlook. The networking equipment maker surprised the Street with a stronger-than-expected earnings outlook of 42 cents a share to 44 cents a share vs. 42 cents a share consensus on better-than-expected margins. CEO John Chambers noted that budgets from large companies and governments were also better than expected.?

4. Kohl’s beats earnings estimates by a penny on a 2 percent rise in same-store sales and improved margins from sales of its exclusive brands. Same-store sales for the department store’s current quarter are seen rising 2 percent to 4 percent, and earnings guidance of $1.93 a share to $2.04 a share comes in mostly above the $1.94 a share consensus.

5. Caterpillar in advanced talks to buy Chinese coal mining machinery manufacturer ERA Mining Machinery, according to The Wall Street Journal. The forthcoming deal could be worth as much as $887 million, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average component paying roughly a 33 percent premium for the Hong-Kong listed firm that would give it greater market share in China.

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