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Tail Wagging the Dog

11/03/2011

Greece is less than 2% of the European economy and far less than 1% of the world economy, but it is beating the world stock market like a dog.  What makes it so important is that world banks, mostly European ones, could quickly be bankrupted if Greek bonds are worthless.  (And, because nobody knows who is really holding the bag or has sold the credit default swaps, nobody knows what banks are safe to do business with.)

Still, when Americans 401(k)’s lose 5% of their value in only two days because of the Greeks, it is more than annoying.  Even more annoying, there is almost nothing the U.S. can do.  Europe was late dealing with the problem but is now doing a credible job.  Greece is the problem.

Now, the Greek tragedy is morphing into a Greek comedy . . . almost.  Yesterday, the EU told Greece you get no more cash until this insane referendum is over, and the Greek government accepts the handout, along with the new austerity programs.  It is pure power-politics, as Greece is not thought to have enough cash to survive until the referendum.  Overnight, the Greek finance minister broke with the prime minister, who proposed this referendum.  Two other ministers have broken with the prime minister, who is now unlikely to win the no-confidence vote tomorrow

So . . . then what?

At 3AM, Dow futures were down 162 points but up 53 at 7AM, reflecting the worldwide confusion. 

When is enough . . . enough?

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