Research & Insights

All-American Bull

May 3, 2010

By Masood Vojdani

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The news of this Monday morning could be seen as a brief vignette for the tenor of the year as a whole. In the US another set of data points supports a positive market case that seems to be getting better by the week - the “fits and starts” theme is starting to run the risk of lacking any “fits” at all. Consumer spending enjoyed another strong uptick, and given that income growth was more subdued it seems that our never-say-die consumers are dipping into their savings (which at 2.7% represents a low for the year). Another notch in the ISM manufacturing sector index takes this above 60 and marks the 9th straight month above the critical 50 level.On the other side of the Atlantic a different mood prevails. Although the €110 billion bailout agreement for Greece cobbled together over the weekend puts any day of reckoning off beyond the 19th of May, when Greece’s next debt payment is due, the package leaves little about which to be optimistic down the road. My advice: watch the spreads between bond indices of the European majors, in particular Germany and Italy. Any hint of a bloodbath among other second-tier Eurozone countries (like Portugal or Spain), or collateral damage in the non-Euro accession countries like Hungary that are teetering on the edge of the precipice, will likely create a widening rift between Germany, the Continent’s most solid credit by far, and Italy, which is at risk of being dragged into the vortex if containment gives way to contagion. So for now it’s all about apple pie and US equities, and this may be the tone of things for some time to come.

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