The week just gets more interesting with every passing day, with a lot happening in these final two days that could help determine the direction of the markets.
We’re looking at European Central Bank action today, as you read this: a possible interest-rate decision and a press conference by Mario Draghi, the ECB president.
The key U.S. jobs report, the August employment numbers, comes out tomorrow. The consensus estimate is for the report to show an increase of 225,000 jobs. Both Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch are expecting the unemployment rate to fall from 6.2 percent to 6.1 percent.
President Obama, after speaking in Estonia yesterday, is attending a NATO Summit in Wales today and tomorrow, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. This was planned before reports of a cease-fire agreement between Ukraine and Russia surfaced yesterday, but uncertainty remains in the region.
|President Obama bids to reassure NATO allies during speech in Estonia yesterday.|
There is always a risk of some boneheaded move when these multinational summits convene. At a summit last weekend of European Union leaders, talk has centered on upping the sanctions on Russia.
A package of sanctions under discussion, according to a Reuters report, centered on forbidding Europeans from buying government bonds. So the bureaucrats of a Continent dependent on Russian energy thinks it can cut Russia off from the bond market, but it believes that natural gas will continue to flow.
To shine a spotlight on the foolhardiness of their proposals: They reportedly include restrictions on the sale of equipment and technology in the natural gas exploration and production process.
Sure, shut off the means of energy production, cut off the flow of equipment to the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and second largest exporter of oil, and watch the lights of Europe slowly dim.
Keep a close eye on these meetings and agreements.
In Washington news, Congress is still away until next week. By the way, it is September now and the fiscal year ends at the end of the month.
While the statutory debt ceiling was suspended earlier this year until March 15, 2015, the government’s spending authority runs out on Sept. 30.
So the question about the national government’s spending addiction and borrowing limit will play a part in the political debate this month.
Republican leadership wants to simply pass a continuing resolution kicking any debate about spending down the road until December. Their objective is to get any serious debate deferred in this until after the November election.
They believe they have Obama on the ropes and expect the elections to go their way as a result, and don’t want the subject changed until after the votes are counted.
Indeed some Republicans would like a spending resolution to see them through January when the new Congress, presumably with both houses controlled by Republicans, is sworn in.
And then there’s this tidbit: It now costs more to give up your American citizenship after the State Department decided to charge more for you to do so. It has raised the fee from $450 to $2,350. Extra workload and demand for the service at the State Department, you know.
A writer at Forbes says that “it’s not exactly Ellis Island in reverse,” but a record number of Americans are renouncing their citizenship. The number was up 221 percent last year.
What are your thoughts on the growing number of Americans giving up their citizenship? Have you thought about it, or do you know someone who has given up theirs? Feel free to comment on these or any other issues. Click here to participate in the discussion.
P.S. Martin will host his 2nd video briefing today at 12 noon EST! Please click here now to watch! AND if you missed his first briefing you will be able to catch up on that as well!