Macro Wrap – Lucy and the Football

by CC November 21, 2012 8:47 am • Commentary

Overnight, Europe failed to reach an agreement on Greece’s debt bailout as Germany refused to put up fresh money towards Greece’s debt nor would they offer relief to existing debt. Angela Merkel lobbied German lawmakers in a closed door meeting this morning saying that a larger ESFS and lower interest rates could close the financing gap in Greece. On Thursday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will meet with Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.

All of this is a little like all those Peanuts cartoons where, this time, Charlie Brown was convinced he was going to kick that football before Lucy pulled it away. For the last few years we’ve watched from afar as the rest of Europe has demanded economy crippling budget cuts on Greece, then when faced with the reality that a devastated economy tends to have an even harder time paying off its debts, pulls the football a few times on a a debt deal.

Here in the U.S. we’re watching the opposite thing happen. For years, very serious people have been saying we need to do something about the debt and complain every time we “kick the can down the road.” Now that we’re faced with automatic austerity measures in the new year, all the very serious people seem to be terrified about the affects of that austerity on our economy, or at least the affect of those tax increases on their pocketbooks. We’ve gone from “We All Need to Sacrifice” to “We Are All Keynesians Now.”

Anyway, it’s all hilarious to watch the language change as the “Shared Sacrifice” gets around to the people that didn’t think it would ever get around to them. Here’s the data from overnight and this morning:

  • Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims decline to 410,000
  • The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent at 1,095.39 at 1253 GMT
  • The Euro STOXX 50, meanwhile, was flat at 2,510.69
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.4% to 21524.36
  • Japanese stocks were up 0.9% to 9222.52