What’s the Story?

by CC February 10, 2012 9:21 am • Commentary

Yahoo Finance

Stock futures are under pressure in conjunction with a sell-off in Europe, where sentiment has soured in response to news that eurozone leaders still have unmet demands for Greece and want the austerity measures signed into law before more bailout funds are released to the flagging country. That has many market participants concerned about the potential for another debacle by Greece’s parliament.


In a note out this morning, Elsa Lignos, currency strategist at RBC in London, says that “despite headlines suggesting the Eurogroup rejected Greece’s measures, the reality is more nuanced.”

That reality means there is simply more work to be done, which, she says, should still get done – even if it’s just seconds before the ticking time bomb known as a “disorderly default” is set to go off.

Dow futures are off 103 points, S&P 500 futures ticked down 14 points and Nasdaq 100 futures are down 22 points.

Here’s more from Lignos on what the Eurogroup really said and her take on how it will all play out:

The Eurogroup set 3 conditions for signing the second bailout: (1) the measures have to be approved by the Greek Parliament; (2) Greece has to finalise the remaining EUR600mn of measures highlighted yesterday (down from EUR625mn); (3) the Eurogroup expects the three party leaders to agree in writing (preempting post-election changes of heart). Half of the EUR600mn measures are still expected to come from pensions and now Greek officials are working on a plan for the remaining EUR300mn. The three strands will move in parallel: (1) Parliament will discuss the new measures on Sunday/Monday and we expect them to be voted through early next week (we will get No votes from within the coalition but the margins are wide enough and the bill will be a single Article so it’s a simple yes/no). (2) The bill put to parliament will authorise the govt to decide the remaining EUR600mn measures so these may be finalised after the Parliamentary vote. (3) The three leaders (Pasok, ND, Laos) will be pressed to sign the agreement. Pasok and ND will sign. Laos is the wild card – the Laos leader is due to hold a press conference at 6.30am ET where he could announce anything including a withdrawal of his ministers from the cabinet or his party from the coalition altogether – but note Laos has only 16 seats in Parliament and the coalition majority is 80+ so fade excessive weakness on the news.

The target is to get all this done by 15 Feb when the Eurogroup is set to meet again – with that in place (and the PSI formally announced), leaders will be ready to sign the second bailout. It is not clear how they will deal with the shortfall created by worse growth, <100% take-up in the PSI and the new reduced privatisation targets for 2015 (minus EUR31bn) – given how reluctant member states are to commit to more than the EUR130bn promised to Greece in October but we expect the bailout deal to be fudged in the best European tradition (e.g., the bailout covering a shorter timeframe than originally anticipated).


Microsoft [MSFT  30.77        ]– Barclays raised its price target on the tech giant to $33 from $29.

LinkedIn[LNKD  76.39        ] – The online networking company beat Wall Street expectations. In addition, the firm handed in an outlook for the quarter and full-year that topped estimates as it sees continued strong product and subscription growth. In addition, Brokerages including Citigroup, JPMorgan and Canaccord Genuity boosted their price targets on the firm.

Citigroup [C  33.66        ] – The banking giant was forced to write off $50 million after two traders accused of attempting to influence global lending rates left the bank.

Expedia [EXPE  34.16        ] – the online travel agency company reported sales that missed and profit that was hurt by rising costs. Meanwhile analysts were mixed on the stock—Barclays cut its price target to $31 from $34, while Citigroup raised its price target to $37 from $32.

Apple [AAPL  493.17        ] —The iPhone maker hit another all-time high near $500 a share in the previous session amid speculation about an iPad 3 announcement in March. Canaccord Genuity raised its price target to $665 from $650 on Thursday. However, shares pulled back in pre-market trading Friday.

Activision Blizzard [ATVI  12.66        ] – The videogame publisher posted sales that beat expectations as the firm lost fewer “World of Warcraft” subscribers than it did this time last quarter. “World of Warcraft” is the company’s most profitable business.

Procter & Gamble [PG  64.04        ] – The consumer goods producer said it will terminate its sale of the Pringles snack business to Diamond Foods[DMND  23.13        ], following the accounting probe that ousted Diamond’s CEO.

Zynga [ZNGA  13.25        ],Hasbro [HAS  36.59        ] – The two companies have announced plans to join forces to develop toys and games based on Zynga games such as FarmVille and Mafia Wars, which are popular on Facebook. The first products from the partnership should be available this fall.

Nuance [NUAN  30.45        ] – The speech recognition software maker posted quarterly results that missed estimates for the first time in a year. Nuance’s technology is used by the Siri application in Apple’s iPhone 4S.

NYSE Euronext [NYX  27.69        ] – The company said it would shift focus to faster-growing areas like supplying computer systems and information from trading, as the U.S. exchange looks to an independent future following the collapse of a takeover by Deutsche Boerse.

Alcatel-Lucent [ALU  1.94        ] – The telecommunications equipment maker returned to an annual profit in 2011 for the first time since 2006, helped by years of cost-cutting.

True Religion [TRLG  36.74        ] – The upscale denim maker missed earnings expectations, due to a drop in revenue at its wholesale segment. The firm has been cutting back on its off-price business to regain a high-end positioning that allows it to protect margins. In addition, Citigroup cut its rating on the firm to “neutral” from a “buy.”


  • Reuters/UMich consumer sentiment data are due at 9:55 a.m. This is a preliminary reading for February. Economists are expecting sentiment narrowed to 74.0 from 75.0 at the end of January.
  • Federal budget figures are due at 2:00 p.m.