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News Analysis for the Investor on June 25, 2012

Greek Prime Minister to miss EU Summit

| BY Catherine McBreen


Greek Prime Minister to miss EU summit

The new Greek Prime Minister will be unable to attend the June 28-29 summit meeting of European leaders due to illness, according to Reuters. In this critical summit meeting the Greeks were expected to ask for the terms of their $162 billion bailout to be loosened.  Additionally, European leaders are expected to discuss cross-border banking.  Prime Minister Antonis Samaras underwent eye surgery on Saturday and was unable to be sworn in due to complications from the surgery.  Greece’s foreign minister will attend the meeting instead.  This postponed the visit to Athens, scheduled for today, by the “troika” of lenders, the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Markets were originally expecting some development this week at the summit, but those hopes have been jettisoned.  Both Asian and European markets are down on Monday.  The Dow closed up on Friday 67 points ending at 12,640.

Spain formally requests bank bailout

Spain formally requested European funds to help bail out its struggling banks today, according to CNBC. The Spanish government indicated it would formalize the details of its request by July 9.  The European Commission indicated it was “confident” that the bailout could be agreed upon within the next few weeks.  The action was not a surprise and has been under discussion for several weeks.

Bank executives receive double digit pay raises

Top US and European bankers, including JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit, have received double digit annual pay raises averaging almost 12 percent. According to a study by US pay research firm Equilar, bank executives received an average 11.9 percent increase to $12.8million, the second increase in a row, as reported by the Financial Times. Despite the challenges faced by the banks, base salaries continue to increase while incentive pay is slightly lower. The European Union is debating a possible cap on salaries.

Procter and Gamble sales slow worldwide

Last week, Procter and Gamble changed its earnings projections to 2-3 percent, down from the original 4-5 percent forecast earlier in the year.  According to the Wall Street Journal, one of the challenges faced by P&G is that 60 percent of its sales occur in developed countries as opposed to emerging countries.  Its products are just modestly more expensive than its competitors, however, in recessionary times, consumers reach for the cheaper product.  P&G has advertised less frequently this year because ad prices are high due to the election.  The hope by economists is that the poor earnings reports by P&G released last week aren’t part of a bigger economic trend.

Shortage of truck drivers causes delayed deliveries

Despite the high unemployment rate, there is a shortage of truck drivers, according to USAToday.  The American Trucking Association indicates that because many Baby Boomers are retiring and fewer young people want to participate in long haul trucking, a shortage of drivers is causing delays and has pushed freight rates up rates 2-5 percent. The crunch will become greater when new laws limiting the number of hours drivers can work goes into effect.   Driver salaries have increased this year to $45-50,000.

Hog prices high

Lean hog prices have surged 21 percent in the past six weeks due to scorching temperatures and drought like conditions in the Midwest, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Weather conditions have caused farmers to slaughter pigs at lower weights which results in less meat per pig.  Pork prices generally climb this time of year as Americans grill more hot dogs and other pork products, but this year has been accentuated by the shortage.  In early May, pork was 78 cents per pound but closed on Friday at 94 cents per pound.

Red cars hit with most bird droppings

A British study reported in the Daily Mail and USA Today indicates that birds are more likely to bomb bright red vehicles than other colors.  Green vehicles are the least likely to be hit by the bird droppings. Therefore, if consumers wish to spend less on car washing, recommendations are that they purchase a green car rather than a red car. The greatest hits by color: red 18 percent, blue 14 percent, black 11 percent, white 7 percent and grey/silver 3 percent.  Green came in at only 1 percent.

About the Author

Catherine McBreen

Catherine S. McBreen is President of Millionaire Corner.  McBreen plans and develops content for Millionaire Corner.  Catherine balances editorial content to meet the informational needs of both new and seasoned investors.  She designs special monthly surveys on topical issues affecting the economic environment.

McBreen has a B.S. in speech communications from Northwestern University and a J.D. from DePail University College of Law.  She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Well-known for her expertise in the affluent and retirement arenas, McBreen is a frequent speaker at industry conferences.  She has been quoted widely by the financial media, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Research, Private Asset Management, On Wall Street, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The Dow Jones Newswires and Worth.  Cathy has appeared as a guest on CNBC Closing Bell, First Business Morning News, Neal Cavuto at Fox Business News, ABC and CBS radio.

McBreen is co-author with Spectrem President George H. Walper, Jr. of the book "Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America's Richest Families" (Portfolio, January 2008)

Catherine is the mother of four and is involved in many school and community events.