Spain/Greece/confidence/horse trading

With eyes remaining on Spain on whether and when they’ll ask for ECB bond buying help (the EC already blessed its bank bailout), the election over the weekend in the Catalonia region was a focus. The main question in which politicians were voting for was for the region to secede or not to secede from Spain. The results were mixed as the desire to be independent rose but the vote was more dispersed in that the main leader of the movement, Artur Mas, actually lost some support. The end result is more confusion but the independence push seems alive and well. The market response was also mixed as the IBEX is trading lower but Spanish bonds are little changed and the euro is barely down vs the US$. On Greece, EU leaders are close to an agreement with a final deal with the IMF seemingly the only impediment. German consumer confidence in Dec fell to a 4 month low and Italian consumer confidence dropped to the lowest on record dating back to its beginning in Jan ’96. On the most pressing issue for the markets into year end, that of the tax and spending issues in the US, the Sunday morning talk shows didn’t reveal that we’re on the cusp of a deal as more horse trading will go on in the weeks to come.

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