9. May 2012 12:07
Given the light load of economic data coming out of North America, the turmoil in Europe remains in the cross-hairs. Greece continues to wrestle with the process of forming a government. The chances of that remain remote, so another trip to the polls is the most likely development. Even so, Greeks have made it clear austerity won’t win an election and the prospect of a default and an exit from the euro has the markets jittery.
Spain’s latest efforts to buttress its financial system aren’t inspiring much confidence. It’s expected banks will be told to put aside another 35 billion euros to protect against bad loans to the building sector. But lenders are already trying to write down 45 billion in property losses. The gap has triggered concerns about an international bail-out.
U.S. wholesale trade figures show sales crept up 0.5% in March, from a modestly, downwardly, revised February number. Sales of durable goods declined 0.6%. Y/Y the March sales numbers are up 6.5%. Inventory figures for the month were up 0.3% from February and 5.1% Y/Y.