Stuff, mostly Europe of course

Verbalizing what many of us market participants have been thinking over the past month, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer said “the fact we’re still at the beginning of 2012 talking about Greece is a sign this problem hasn’t been dealt with.” ‘This problem’ remains a lack of structural reform and growth to finance too much debt. With another EU summit today, Greece will be the highlight at the same time officials dot i’s and cross t’s on the ESM and the fiscal pact to better oversee country budgets. Greece will also need 145b euros in the 2nd bailout package vs 130b euros thought before. I’m sure Portugal will enter the conversation again as they will be the next debt restructuring as yields spike again today with the 2 yr yield in particular up 180 bps to 19%. Portugal’s 5 yr CDS is up another 40 bps. Euro zone Economic Confidence rose .6 pts to 93.4 but was slightly below expectations. Italian business confidence fell to the lowest since Nov ’09. Italy sold bonds with maturities of ’16, ’17, ’21 and ’22 totaling 7.5b euros, below their max target of 8b euros. Italian yields are moving higher in response. Spain’s GDP contracted in Q4 by .3%, in line with forecasts. In Asia, the Shanghai index fell 1.5% as it reopened after its holiday but tech heavy Taiwan rallied 2.4% following Apple’s #’s last week.

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