Greece is fixed! No wait, it’s broken. Oh never mind, it’s fixed.
I feel like I’ve written some variation of those headlines a hundred times over the past five years. Yet for some reason, we remain stuck in this same darn limbo — day in, and day out.
The latest chapter? A marathon 17-hour eurozone summit over the weekend resulted in a humiliating defeat for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Faced with an expulsion from the euro currency, the further collapse of his banking system and an imminent default on even more debt payments, he caved and accepted incredibly strict conditions from his European overlords.
Specifically, he agreed to …
Create a pool of 50 billion euros of Greek assets that would gradually be privatized or sold off to pay back creditor loans and recapitalize the country’s crippled banks …
Cut pensions, raise taxes, de-regulate certain protected industries, and enact labor reforms that increase flexibility and make it easier for companies to fire workers …
Put off any talk of possible debt write-downs or payback timetable extensions for the foreseeable future …
International monitoring of the domestic economy by officials from the euro zone and the IMF, who would even have the power to “veto” legislation brought up in Greece’s parliament …
In exchange, Greece will get up to 86 billion euros. That’s about $95 billion in aid, which will be provided as part of a third bailout program lasting three years.
|Can Tsipras (center) persuade his fellow lawmakers to go along with his bailout deal?|
Of course, that’s assuming Tsipras can sell this deal to his own Syriza party members. He has only three days to persuade fellow lawmakers and Greek citizens to take the offer.
Problem is, they’re the very same people who just rejected the less-onerous deal Europe offered a couple of weeks ago in parliament and a nation-wide referendum. Various lawmakers are already expressing outrage. Plus, media reports are characterizing the deal as a complete surrender by Greece … and Tsipras as essentially a beaten dog with no choice but to abandon years of anti-austerity principles and arguments.
So sure, we’ve seen the Dow surge by more than 400 points in just the last couple of trading days. But depending on how Tsipras’ colleagues act, I could be here on Wednesday writing a brand new headline: “Greece Broken … Again!” So don’t get too comfortable yet.
|“Don’t get too comfortable yet.”|
But enough from me; tell me what you think. Did Greece get a bad deal, or the deal it deserved all along? Will Tspiras’ fellow lawmakers rebel, or rubber-stamp it? What will that mean for European stocks, bonds, and the euro currency? And finally, do you think the U.S. rally off the latest European news has legs? Here’s the website where you can address all these questions online.
The markets are throwing a party in the wake of Europe’s latest round of deal-making. But many of you are still concerned about last week’s cyber outages, and what was really behind them. Chinese market turmoil also sparked some comments.
Reader Books said: “A cyber attack is always possible while some creeps have nothing better to do with their time. But just as much, I worry about another attack on our electric power like what happened in 2003. I am not aware that there’s been much improvement on our electrical grid in the Northeast and Midwest parts of the U.S.”
Reader Drex added: “Anyone with a background in software development knows that you don’t make updates to critical systems during your peak usage times. Schedule them for when the markets are shut. If you believe this was a software update, I have a bridge to sell you.
“We have built a house of glass blocks. The Internet is and always has been a place fraught with danger. Yet we just become more and more dependent upon it every day. There is no way the cyber security firms can stay ahead of the hackers. The best they can do is react when a new vulnerability is discovered. Too late folks!”
Reader W.J.C. also shared a pessimistic outlook, saying: “We are extremely vulnerable to a cyber attack that could virtually paralyze our financial system and our military. It’s time to enable our cyber computer systems with manual back up to keep us from becoming a Third World nation should such an attack occur.
“The same applies to our energy grid and to our transportation system, primarily that of aviation. We need to be pro-active and pragmatic. Any person, company, or nation that doesn’t like us can do irreparable harm to us if inclined to do so.”
As for China and the latest swings there, Reader Fred1 said: “It has been said that the Chinese have stopped a lot of people from selling and short selling is not allowed. If all of that is true, their market will continue downward. Markets need free reign to find a bottom during corrections. Artificial restraints only add to the panic and make things worse.”
Reader Chuck B. also sounded a less-than-enthusiastic note: “After the huge drop in China’s markets, a bounce could be expected, maybe even for a few days. But the weakness ‘Ain’t over ’til it’s over,’ as Yogi Berra would say. Look for more declines in Shanghai and Shenzhen after a bit of recovery. Eventually there will be new opportunities in the Middle Kingdom.”
Thanks for weighing in. It’s clear to me that we’re facing the very real threat of multiple “Digital D-Days” in an ongoing cyber war. Even if last week’s shenanigans really turn out to be a series of unfortunate coincidences, plenty of other recent hack attacks were not.
Want to add your two cents to the mix at the Money and Markets website? Then here’s where you can do so.
China’s markets rallied again overnight, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite gaining more than 2%. That rally followed the largest two-day surge since the tail end of the financial crisis. Everything from government bans on large insider sales to the provision of added liquidity to brokers for the purpose of share purchases appears to be helping stabilize things … temporarily, at least.
You know what I was just thinking we really need? Another Republican candidate for president! And that’s just what we got today, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker throwing his hat into the ring.
M&A activity is heating up in the oil patch, just as I forecast it would. The latest deal: MPLX LP (MPLX), a Master Limited Partnership created by Marathon Petroleum (MPC), will buy MarkWest Energy Partners (MWE) for $15.8 billion.
The price of around $79 is a hefty 32% premium to where MWE closed on Friday. The transaction will create the energy industry’s fourth-largest MLP, with a pipeline, processing, and storage network spread throughout the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions.
Speaking of acquisitions, BorgWarner (BWA) is buying Remy International (REMY) for $1.2 billion in cash and assumed debt. The deal will bulk up BorgWarner’s auto parts and motors business, and the price represented a hefty 44% premium to where REMY closed out last week.
Do you like what Walker has to offer? Are you encouraged by the stabilization in Chinese markets? Any thoughts on all this energy sector M&A? Then let me hear about it at the website.
Until next time,