Welcome to a Special Edition of CrushTheStreet.com’s Weekly Market Wrapup!
Our top story for the week is the ongoing drama within the Eurozone, specifically, the Greek debt crisis. Just a few days ago on Sunday, the Greek interior minister stated that the country cannot make debt repayments to the International Monetary Fund unless a deal is cut with its creditors. According to the Reuters report, this is the most explicit remarks made concerning a default should negotiations fail. Currently, Greek lawmakers are engaged in high-level discussions in a bid to release 7.2 billion euros in remaining aid to avert bankruptcy. The deadline for Greece to make the first of many payments to the IMF is June 5.
While many investors and speculators across the globe are holding their breath, could the real Greek tragedy instead be Spain? Back in 2013, the Spanish economy veritably imploded, with unemployment hitting 27.2%, rendering more than 6 million citizens jobless. The situation became so dire that many working adults were forced to move back home with their aging parents, and rely upon their pensions for basic subsistence.
Not only does this represent lost domestic productivity for Spain’s working demographic, it also puts a strain on future earnings potential. According to USA Today, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have left their country to seek opportunities abroad. Many of them have technical or scientific expertise, which would only serve to boost foreign industries while Spain itself is left with a brain-drain. Even the world’s oldest profession has seen an uptick in Switzerland, where the practice is legal and is one of the destinations of choice for Spanish prostitutes.
Fast forward to today, the Spanish economy, at least on paper, has improved dramatically. According to Bill Stone, Chief Investment Strategist at PNC Financial, referenced the fact that Spain’s GDP has posted seven consecutive quarters of growth. In addition, after being one of the critical laggards of the Eurozone in terms of GDP growth, it has now outperformed in this category since the second quarter of 2014.
So why the sudden shift in sentiment? Perhaps the most-cited explanation is the European Central Bank’s artificial liquidity, mirroring the policy of the U.S. Federal Reserve and its unprecedented quantitative easing program. But the key irony here is that what got Spain into its original mess was the proliferation of cheap credit in the housing market. When families found themselves unable to meet their interest rate-adjusted obligations, they simply abandoned their homes. How then can we expect a different outcome but on a larger scale? With Spain being the fourth-largest Eurozone economy, let’s hope that their so-called recovery continues to march forward. Otherwise, we all might be singing a different tune.
In financial news, the domestic indices closed down slightly after a relatively quiet session, with the S&P 500 posting a loss of 0.13%, while the Dow Jones gave up two-tenths of a percent against the prior session. The precious metals complex was likewise muted, with gold adding 70 cents to move up into 1,188 while silver lost a penny, finishing the session at 16.67. The industrial metals took a slightly heavier blow, with palladium dropping a buck-twenty to close just under 785.
In digital currency news, bitcoin is attempting to fight back from its failed rally in March, with the latest trade pushing the price to close to 240 dollars. And that will do it for us. Be sure to check out CrushTheStreet.com for all the latest!