Portugal Claims no Bailout Imminent; Approves 'Austere' 2011 Budget

Black Friday Underway (Wall Street Journal) "Lines wrapped around stores and parking lots across the nation as shoppers sought early morning deals, especially on consumer electronics and toys. About 138 million Americans are expected to go shopping this weekend, and the Friday after Thanksgiving—frequently referred to as "Black Friday"—is expected to be the busiest shopping day of the year. 'We do it for the fun of it,' said Gail Giordano, who was in line preparing to enter a Target Corp. store in Hackensack, N.J., opening at 4 a.m." (I'm pleased Gail is having fun—but I'd rather have root canal without anesthesia.)


Portugal Claims no Bailout Immanent; Approves 'Austere' 2011 Budget (CNBC via Reuters) "Portugal denied on Friday a news report that it is under pressure from most euro zone countries and the European Central Bank to seek a bailout." In reference to reports about a push on the country to seek an aid package, a Portuguese government spokesperson said: "This news article is completely false, it has no foundation." Optimism in Lisbon notwithstanding, does anyone else recall this nearly identical BBC news headline – from just nine days ago? "Ireland denies bailout rumours after record budget cuts."

Spain: We're not Next (Financial Times) "Spain has warned financial traders betting against its debt that they will lose money, in a defiant challenge to the markets which are driving Madrid’s cost of borrowing sharply higher." Let's hope not: Spain's economy may simply be too big for an effective bailout. Spain also has enormous private liabilities to foreign investors.

More on the 'warning': "José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Spanish prime minister, on Friday ruled out any rescue package for the country even as the premiums demanded by investors to hold Spanish sovereign debt over that of Germany’s rose to euro-era highs. This week’s sharp rise in Spanish 10-year bond yields to 5.2 per cent is an indication of growing concern in eurozone bond markets that the fiscal crisis in Ireland could spread to other debt-laden countries including Portugal and Spain. 'I should warn those investors who are short selling Spain that they are going to be wrong and will go against their own interests,' Mr Zapatero said in an interview with Barcelona-based broadcaster RAC1, according to Bloomberg. He 'absolutely' ruled out any need for a rescue." You have to wonder: Is threatening investors an effective national economic strategy?

K.K.R. Leads Private Equity Deal to Buy Del Monte for $5 Billion

(New York Times DealBook) "Del Monte Foods agreed on Thursday to sell itself for $5.3 billion, including debt, to a group of private equity firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in what is the biggest leveraged buyout this year. The deal by K.K.R. and two other firms, Vestar Capital Partners and the buyout arm of Centerview Partners, is also the latest in a streak of food-related mergers and acquisitions. The takeover of Del Monte — whose product line is now dominated by pet foods like Kibbles ‘n Bits rather than fruits and vegetables — would also be among the largest consumer-goods buyouts in recent years"

"Stocks, Euro Slump on European Debt Woes" (Yahoo Finance via AP) "Stocks and the euro slid Friday as investors fretted over a report suggesting Portugal's partners in the European Union were urging the country to seek aid to prevent a sustained attack from bond market speculators." Here are the numbers: "In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 89.54 points, or 1.6 percent, at 5,609.39 while Germany's DAX fell 92.10 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,787.56. The CAC-40 in France was 64.69 points, or 1.7 percent, lower at 3,695.73.Wall Street was poised to open lower on its return from the Thanksgiving break -- Dow futures were down 90 points, or 0.8 percent, at 11,065 while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 futures fell 15.10 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,184.30. U.S. markets will be open only for a half day.""

Electoral Harbinger for Ruling Party in Ireland? (Bloomberg) "Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s party likely lost a special election for a vacant parliamentary seat as talks continue on a rescue package of loans for the country, according to a first tally of votes." How 'likely' is that lost? Well, "Bookmaker Paddy Power Plc. already paid out on Sinn Fein winning the Donegal Southwest seat, the Dublin-based company said in a statement today."