Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Markets decline as Europe's debt crisis looks likely to drag on

Markets gave up some of their recent gains on Monday. The S&P 500 fell 1.9 percent while the euro fell 1.1 percent against the US dollar.

Markets declined after hopes for a quick fix to Europe's debt problem were shot down on Monday. Reuters reports some disappointing comments from Germany:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Monday against unrealistic expectations that this weekend's European Union summit can come up with a "definitive solution" to the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis.

"We won't have a definitive solution this weekend," the German minister told reporters in Duesseldorf...

"The chancellor has pointed out that the dreams building up that this package will mean everything will be solved and over by Monday cannot be fulfilled," said [Chancellor Angela] Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

"They are important working steps on a long path that will reach far into next year and on which more steps will have to follow," Seibert told a news conference.

Indeed, efforts to shore up the finances of peripheral eurozone countries may strain the core. Moody's warned on Monday that it may slap a negative outlook on France's Aaa credit rating if the costs of bailouts stretch its budget too much.

Economic data were mixed on Monday.

In the US, industrial production rose 0.2 percent in September while the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s general economic index rose to minus 8.5 in October from minus 8.8 in September.

In Japan, industrial production rose 0.6 percent in August but the Japanese government downgraded its view of the economy in October for the first time in six months.

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