Greek Endgame May Be Near (Again)

11/09/2012 6:00 am EST


Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor,

European policymakers are trying to kick the can as usual, but the game is getting too complicated for financial markets to enjoy, writes MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, also of Jubak's Picks.

It’s sounding more and more like another round of kick the can in the Eurozone. And financial markets aren’t exactly happy. Today, after yesterday’s big drop, the German Dax index is down another 0.4%, the French CAC 40 index is off 0.1%, and the Spanish Ibex 35 is down 0.5%.

What’s behind the continued drift lower? More statements, still from unnamed officials, saying that European finance ministers won’t be ready at their Monday, November 12 meeting to approve the release of the next €31.5 billion rescue fund payment to Greece.

The final report from the Troika—the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank—won’t be ready by the meeting date. The ministers, the unnamed source said, won’t approve the payout from the preliminary version of the report.

More unnamed sources continue to insist that Greece will be able to find the cash to fund the government and banks through the end of November, and maybe even through the first week of December. These sources also say that the next date that finance ministers could approve the payout for Greece would be November 26. To me, that seems like cutting it awfully close.

Meanwhile, the Greek economy continues its not-so-jolly trip to hell. Unemployment was reported at 25.4% today and is still climbing.

Financial markets were also mildly disappointed that today’s meeting of the European Central Bank didn’t produce any action to lower interest rates. The bank kept its benchmark rate at 0.75%. The next chance that bank will have to lower rates comes in December, but the likelihood, in my opinion, is that the bank will wait until early 2013 to move.

European economies do continue to slow, but the bank doesn’t have a whole lot of room left for cutting rates. Reduce them to 0.5% or 0.25% too quickly and the central bank will leave itself without any interest-rate ammunition if economic growth slows even more than current dismal projections.

If you’ve got a couple of European stocks on your potential buy list, this whole delay and more delay thing might be setting up a good entry point not too much further down the road. If, of course, you think European markets will rally for a few weeks on news that Greece will actually get the cash before the country is unable to function.

Full disclosure: I don’t own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund, may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of September, see the fund’s portfolio here.

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