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Euro zone weakness is impacting the global economy: European Union lowers growth forecasts.
Berlusconi announcing his resignation has raised even more questions: it's not clear when he is leaving, or what path Italy will be taking.
The yield on Italian 10-year debt skyrocketed overnight, going from roughly 6.7 percent yesterday to 7.3 percent. And that is with the ECB buying Italian bonds — in fact there has been active speculation that they are almost the only buyer of those bonds. This has effectively torpedoed the EFSF.
Technocratic governments are usually transitional governments run by technical experts. In theory, they are not politicians, which is part of their appeal: they can institute changes because, well, they're not politicians.
The EFSF finally got an auction through Monday, but nobody is cheering. To begin with, the initial auction of 5 billion euros that was supposed to happen last week was cancelled. Today's auction of just 3 billion euros clearly indicates lack of demand.
We need a credible plan to ring-fence Italy and Spain. If we get that, markets will move up and stocks will start to trade on fundamentals.
You're know you're in trouble when the markets go up on speculation you're resigning — that's what Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is facing this morning. Berlusconi denied everything on his Facebook page: "The rumors of my resignation are groundless." Some in Berlusconi's party insisted that he had not lost a majority, but last week two deputies from his own party defected to another party. Reuters noted that he appears to 214 votes in the 630-seat lower house — that is not a majority. This may all come to a head tomorrow, when there is a budgetary vote.
The euro weakened, and Italian bond yields rose as we got our first real news from the G20 summit. It wasn't good: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said hardly any countries in the G20 had said they would participate in the EFSF.
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.
I've received some questions about where the board of directors of MF Global was during the time when Jon Corzine took on so much additional risk. What were they told about what MF Global was doing? What did they know?
"Under the current conditions, the new debt deal is unavoidable and must be safeguarded," Greek conservative leader Antonis Samaras said.
Jefferies has been halted twice Thursday morning. The halts occurred within 10 minutes of each other and highlight a problem with the single stock circuit breakers.
A thumbs down on the EU package would effectively be seen as a "no" to the euro zone. No more money would be forthcoming.
Reuters (citing EU and IMF Board sources) saying that the next tranche of Greek aid (8 billion euros) is unlikely to be paid out until after a Greek referendum is held.
The European Central Bank: The big bazooka. There are plenty of important events this week, from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's presser to the Group of 20 nations (G20) to nonfarm payrolls. But the story most closely watched is ECB President Mario Draghi's first press conference tomorrow. Why? Not just because many believe he may cut interest rates a month early, it's that many are betting he will reiterate that he is going to continue to buy sovereign bonds.
Stocks fell on word there was a referendum, rose when it appeared there might not be a referendum and fell going into the close when a Greek spokesperson said there would be a referendum. Whatever. The damage has been done either way.
Markets rallied off the lows midday Tuesday, on a headline citing a Greek Socialist Party officials that the call for a national referendum was "basically dead." If this is true, the big issue is now the confidence vote on Friday.
The question of the morning: what on earth was Greek Prime Minister Papandreou thinking when he called for a referendum on the EU deal? It's not a rhetorical question. As far as I can gather, this was his thinking...
The euro drooped, along with the U.S. stock market, about 2pm ET when the Greek Prime Minister announced: 1) a referendum on the new European agreement, and 2) a vote of confidence on the government in the Greek parliament.
What is so special about 6 percent? To a certain extent, interest rates over 6 percent are being viewed as a referendum on the Berlusconi government. But there's something more important...
Jim Cramer makes a case for maintaining a long-term outlook in this market.
Jim Cramer sits down with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, who speaks to the current political climate, why he won't run and his vision for government.
With oil bubbling higher, the United Nations this week could provide the next catalyst for prices, with both President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani each speaking about U.S. sanctions on Iran.