The Eastern Hoard of Gold 07-22-15

Gold has now reached a five-year low, having fallen under the $1,100 mark. The rout intensified on Monday as some curious trading activity rattled markets. In the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), a mystery party (or parties) dumped roughly five tons of gold in a matter of seconds, forcing the gold price down $45 in an instant. Five tons is about one-fifth of the SGE’s average daily trading volume. Simultaneously, on the New York-based Comex, 7,600 August 2015 gold contracts, an abnormally high number of contracts for such a short period of time, changed hands. Read more about The Eastern Hoard of Gold 07-22-15

Eyes Overseas 07-15-15

With nowhere else to turn, Greece reluctantly capitulated and agreed to a third bailout with strict austerity requirements. Angered by months of acrimonious negotiations and the sudden referendum, the Europeans demand that Athens approve the package no later than today. As I write this update, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is trying hard to win support for the bailout in parliament amidst uproar and mutiny from his anti-austerity Syriza party. Read more about Eyes Overseas 07-15-15

Greece and China Rattle U.S. Investors 07-08-15

Due to developments in Greece and China, the S&P 500 fell more than 1.6 percent on a day that the New York Stock Exchange suspended floor trading for three hours due to technical problems. Other market centers such as the fully-electronic NYSE Arca weren’t affected. NYSE insists that the outage owes to a “technical glitch,” not a cyber-security breach, but curiously today other companies also experienced computer problems. At about the same time NYSE experienced its problems, United Airlines had to ground all flights and parts of the Wall Street Journal’s website crashed. Read more about Greece and China Rattle U.S. Investors 07-08-15

Tension Rises as Greece Misses IMF Payment 07-01-15

The bailout agreement extended last February between Greece and its international creditors expired yesterday. Having failed to obtain international financial help to pay a scheduled €1.6 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece now stands effectively in default. Athens has implemented capital controls, including bank closure to prevent a bank run, and could delay payment of domestic obligations, including pension payments, for a limited time while it seeks alternative means to obtain financial aid. Read more about Tension Rises as Greece Misses IMF Payment 07-01-15

Down to the Wire 06-24-15

Earlier this week, optimism that Greece and its international creditors would reach a deal rose after Athens submitted new proposed reforms, including multiple tax hikes, to the Euro Group (euro zone financial ministers). Not surprisingly, Greek leaders described the new measures as “harsh.” Read more about Down to the Wire 06-24-15

Fed Speaks on Rates 06-17-15

The Fed’s rates announcement today continued the central bank's recent theme: using dovish language to say that higher rates are coming.  The message that Fed Chair Janet Yellen wants to get across: that the September hike is well on its way, barring unforeseen circumstances.

The subtlety shown by the Fed duplicates its previous characteristic, namely a noncommittal look forward; wary of potential both to instigate market contraction and of unexpectedly weak or shaky U.S. growth for the year, policymakers leave themselves wiggle room to adjust future policy as they see fit.  Read more about Fed Speaks on Rates 06-17-15

Where There's a Will... 06-10-15

U.S. stocks are green across the board today, ending a four-day losing streak and booking their best day in more than a month. Greece remains at the forefront of investors’ minds as negotiations to unlock loans head into the final days before the four-month bailout extension reached in February expires at the end of this month. Both sides have rejected the other’s proposals so far, seemingly setting up another final-hour showdown. Read more about Where There's a Will... 06-10-15