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News Analysis for the Investor on May 29,2012

Greek polls spur market

| BY Catherine McBreen


Greek markets soar on polls showing austerity party may win election

The Associated Press is reporting that four polls conducted over the weekend in Greece showed that the conservative New Democracy party, that supports the austerity measures agreed to with the rest of Europe, had a lead over the radical Syriza party. While the conservatives would fall short of a ruling majority, it is rumored they would form a coalition with the socialist PASOK party which also supports the austerity measures.  Greek markets rebounded 6 percent from a 22 year low.  Greece also poured $22.6 billion into its banks on Monday, according to CNBC.  Asian markets are up on Tuesday while European markets are mixed.  The Dow closed down 74 points on Friday closing at 12,454.  US markets were closed Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday.

Spain seeks to calm banking turmoil

Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has asked the European Union for funds to clean up its banks and to more actively support fiscally frail governments to bring down the rates of Spain’s bonds.  The Wall Street Journal believes that the Prime Minister is hoping the European Central Bank will begin buying Spanish bonds, a tactic it took in the past to help strengthen European banks earlier in the year.  The Spanish government was forced to bail out its largest bank, Bankia, on Friday.

Pakistan will seek additional funds from International Monetary Fund

Pakistan says it will be unable to meet the more than $4 billion payment to the IMF coming due the fiscal year beginning on July 1, according to theWall Street Journal. The IMF ended a three year $11 billion program with Pakistan last year after disbursing only $8 billion because Pakistan failed to reduce its budget deficit.  The US is highly critical of Pakistan because it refuses to tax the wealthy or government employees.  Its tax to GDP ratio is 9 percent, the lowest in the world, and multiple sectors, such as agriculture are exempt. Growth in the economy has slowed due to a decrease in foreign investment.

Unemployment benefits due to end for many

More than 100,00 people out of work longer than a year in six states and Washington, DC will lose their unemployment checks this summer.  According to USA Today, this means the total cutoff of benefits will affect 500,000 individuals. The portion of the jobless receiving benefits recently  fell to less than 50 percent.  The cutoff of benefits will cause many to take jobs that they are overqualified for or will leave the work force.  This will cause the unemployment rate to drop but maybe not for the right reasons.

Catalogs continue to thrive

More than 12.5 billion catalogs were mailed to homes in the US last year, according to the Direct Marketing Association.  USA Today reports that 89.6 million Americans bought an item from a catalog last year.  Catalogs are considered a marketing tool that lead consumers to the online channel.  Stores such as J.Crew, which began as a mail order business, still mails out over 40 million catalogs per year despite the fact that it has 300 stores. The Direct Marketing Association believes that more retailers will be adding catalogs rather than dropping them.

No one likes the Euro…but everyone wants to stay

In a survey of five eurozone countries, including Greece, respondents agreed that the euro was not a good thing but they did not want to return to their old currencies.  According to CNBC, the poll indicated that 52 percent of Italians preferred the euro and 71 percent of Greeks felt similarly.  The poll was conducted by Pew Research Center and included Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Greece.  Germany was the most admired country and its leader, Angela Merkel, the most respected.


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.