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The Wall Street Greek blog is the sexy & syndicated financial securities markets publication of former Senior Equity Analyst Markos N. Kaminis. Our stock market blog reaches reputable publishers & private networks and is an unbiased, independent Wall Street research resource on the economy, stocks, gold & currency, energy & oil, real estate and more. Wall Street & Greece should be as honest, dependable and passionate as The Greek.



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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Merkel Hypocrite!

Merkel hypocrite
Germany’s Finance Ministry warned in a monthly report Monday that Europe’s largest economy would mark a significant slowdown in the fourth quarter. In an attempt to mitigate the economic issue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week suggested opposing German political party members stop blocking her proposed tax cuts. Merkel indicated that the German economy needed economic stimulus, and that tax cuts should help domestic economic growth by giving her countrymen more money to spend. Likewise, she is promoting pension contribution cuts to help German prosperity, and advising companies to give more lucrative pay increases to their employees. Sounds sensible no?

Greek
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Now imagine the perspective of a Southern European onlooker. The hypocritical divergence of the two directives being issued to the various groups must fill Greeks with disgust. European leaders, at the nudging of Germany, have pushed the complete opposite strategy for Greek and Spanish prosperity than those being promoted in Germany today. So which is the true path to prosperity, the one being promoted by the Germans for the Germans or the one being promoted by the Germans for the Greeks?

Obviously, the issue is more complex than that, given the debt and management problems of the Greeks versus the smooth operating German economic machine. The Greeks must adhere to the prescription of their emergency creditors in order to receive desperately needed funds. Still, why does the economic prescription contrast so sharply to the pill being recommended by Merkel for the Germans? It is after all for the same ultimate purpose, the betterment of the economy, and in Greece’s situation, the ensuring of debt repayment.

Perhaps the Europeans have it all wrong with regard to Greece, and instead of ensuring the repayment of their loans, are instead burying their money into a deep depression with the ruins of Ancient Athens. That’s what the esteemed student of the Great Depression now running the American Federal Reserve might suggest, given Ben Bernanke’s comments to U.S. legislators over the years. He would tell you that it was precisely the mistimed budget mindedness of American leaders that led our economy into the Great Depression. It turned an average recession into a once in a generation economic struggle.

A few voices, including from yours truly, have from the beginning warned that growth spurring initiatives for Southern Europe should precede and outweigh a graduated austerity program, and that Greece’s repayment program should have extended terms. We have been happy to see Europe more recently acknowledging the burdensome drag of its initial repayment demands.

Still, while Greece’s public entities reduce workforce, draw back pension benefits and raise taxes, they are constraining the Greek economy. This is something that the Germans can no longer dispute, given their own domestic policy push, though to be fair, Merkel’s opponents are calling her demands irresponsible. The repercussions of the actions in Greece are pushing away private industry, illustrated recently by the move of Coca-Cola Hellenic (NYSE: CCH), which is relocating its headquarters to Switzerland and relisting its shares in London. Merkel does not want to trigger that same sort of flight in Germany, but is asking for companies that face no foreign competition to pay an alternative energy surcharge from which they have long been exempted.

What drives German stocks, like those found in the DAX and the iShares MSCI Germany Index (NYSE: EWG), likewise drives Greek stocks, like those found in the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK). For that matter, it’s what drives the iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSE: IEV) and the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY)! The rules of economic prosperity are indifferent to the language spoken or culture found within a given country; they are universal. Thus, the economic policy prescribed to Greece and Spain should be the same as that being recommended for Germany, or at least should stress growth over austerity.

It is ignorant closed-mindedness and ethnocentricity which has kept the groups of people within the euro-zone from fairly and effectively resolving their crisis together. The problem is most clear when the leaders of Europe go home to seek approval of international plans. We understand the cost of this issue through the observance of the most effective action taken to-date, which in my opinion was the brave plan of the Mario Draghi led European Central Bank (ECB) to support sovereign debt in a sterilized manner. When Europe can accept its unity on the streets of Brussels, Paris, Berlin, Athens and Madrid, then it will have the resources and the will to fulfill its brave dream. On that day, it can likewise stop lying to the Greeks and the Spaniards about what’s best today for their economies.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Kaminis

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Greece, Greeks and Greek Soccer Should Demand More

Greek CEOs The Greek crisis and the performance of the Greek national soccer team inspired this editorial opinion piece perhaps long overdue.

As I watched Greece’s pivotal soccer match versus its political prodder Germany, a quarter-final game for the 2012 UEFA European Cup, I could not help but notice the similarities of the Greek team’s approach to Greece’s efforts to mitigate its financial crisis.

I renounced my ethnicity more than once during the course of Greece’s attempt at Euro 2012, and pleaded tearfully with the Lord to just give us this if not anything else. I knew divine intervention would be necessary, and just asked for a few crossbar and goalpost saves to assist our embattled goalie and bombarded defense. Alas, it was not to be, as the third ranked Germans overwhelmed the still improving Greek soccer program (ranked 15 by FIFA).

Despite the advancements of the Greeks over the years, I still found myself frustrated with the strategy employed and the execution of play on the field. I’m not a passive follower of soccer, having walked on to my NCAA Division I college soccer program, and having played and coached competitive sports all my life. My critical mind and discerning vision is neither limited to economic and securities analysis, or at least I like to think so. Thus, I noted the many issues that constrained my ancestral ethnic team against the advanced play of the Germans. In that same regard, I see why Greece has struggled economically speaking.

A Few Similarities between Greece and the Greek National Team:

  • Each are led by foreigners who cannot fully understand Greek nature nor Greek potential
  • Each employ a defeatist strategy, defensively postured to endure not conquer
  • Each often regress to selfish though passionate flails at scoring
  • When not stressed, the Greeks and Greece act lackadaisically and passively
  • Each fails to notice risks effectively

With all due respect to Greece’s excellent coach, Fernando Santos, and to Greece’s questionable European economic advisors, the view from the outside inward inherently falls short of producing adequate understanding. Only a Greek can truly know the strengths and weaknesses of the Greeks, and therefore, only a Greek can structure a system that will play to those strengths and weaknesses. That leads me to the second and third points.

The last two coaches of Greek soccer have employed defensive schemes. It’s because of a lack of confidence in the skill and potential of Greek players. This, in turn, is because of the long-term history of Greek soccer, which has fallen well short of the results of its rivals in Germany, France, Spain, Italy, England, the Netherlands and Portugal. Obviously, the development of league play has helped those nations to better their domestic talent. As more Greek players fine tune their craft in the advanced leagues of Europe, Greece will benefit as well.

The same lagged development applies to the problems with Greece, which was stymied by the West’s abandonment of it to Ottoman domination for centuries. After the world wars of the last century, Greece was stripped barren and left to grow as best it could without the fertile support of the West. Therefore, its culture strayed for survival’s sake, away from its brilliance of ancient times.

You see, the survivalist’s mantra is often a selfish one, born out of necessity. The survivor trusts in what he controls only and strives to the utmost to make his own way. Thus, perhaps the Greek businessmen of today, while creating thriving businesses, micromanage them and rarely scale to optimal potential. The Greek economy is thus dysfunctional, because Greek businesses do not feed one another fluidly. I’m sorry to say that I believe for the most part, the only time a Greek helps another Greek is when his hand is greased. It’s not enough to win the trust of a business partner or to act for the sake of good faith. In this, maybe Greeks are just the same as everyone else.

There’s plenty of passion in Greece, for life and for the good fight when a challenge avails. Challenge, in fact, brings out the best in Greeks. But without a challenge, I feel we fall into a trap of relaxation and lackadaisical play. It’s hard not to be this way when you have lived long enough in Greece, which for me is pure paradise. When it comes to managing a nation, though, there had better be no loss of focus. Perhaps it’s the same lulling life that led Greek government managers to underestimate risk when they undertook too many projects for their bleak budget to handle, piling on debt to manage it all. Once the economy came under pressure, capital dried up and Greece was left in crisis. That’s not to mention the lies the government told to get into the euro-zone and to keep its debt issues hidden.

What I would like to see from Greece and the Greek team moving forward is a hatred for losing. The team and Greek politicians and business managers should hate losing so much to make it intolerable. This intolerance should drive the necessary energy for winning, to lead players and managers to learn how to win and to approach their training and business and government operation with a fire for victory. I think it’s this competitive spirit that drives success in the United States, Germany and China today.

And the defeatist attitude needs to be reversed. Greeks are just as athletic, intelligent and creative as any Spaniard, German or other European. There’s no reason why the team shouldn’t be able to go head to head with its competition.

I also have a pet peeve with regard to cheating and lying, including the sort the Greek team (and other teams) employ to draw penalty or win some minor battle. It’s a lie when you fake an injury on the field of play, and the law on cheating and lying is plainly clear and applies to soccer as well as to life. If our players would fight through tough plays, like I know they can, I’m certain they would do better than they do by generating bad karma through lies on the fair field of play. Likewise, corporate and government corruption globally and corruption generally in Greece disgusts me. We should be better than that, based on the dictum of our faith, period! Once again, this is not a Greek problem, but a societal problem globally. Practicing false expertise while in actuality cheating and lying is also without excuse, especially when one judges others from that position. This again is a societal flaw, not a Greek one, but I would like to see us (people) rise above it.

There’s no reason why the Greek nation cannot lead Europe once again. But for that to happen, the nation must digest the reality of the situation together. The Greek citizenry must continue to push its politicians to do the right thing, or be replaced, even by newcomers. Perhaps, finally, the legacy of certain family dynasties garnering unwarranted levels of respect in Greece has ended. Leadership must be earned on a daily basis for it not to become complacent, and it should be regardless of last name or the legacy of ancestors.

You know, Nike (NYSE: NKE) had that great slogan, “Just do it,” and the old owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, use to say, “Just win baby!” It’s a simple message, but it’s true through the goal mouth. When victory is your goal, you find creative ways to make it happen when conventional methods do not work. Fervor and vigor - who has got it? That team or nation will be the victor nine times out of ten, unless the game clock stops first, because it will work hardest to make it be.

It’s the responsibility of the Greek government now to be creative, to find ways to create an expanding budget surplus and to create income opportunities for Greek citizens. It’s also the Greek government’s responsibility to raise its voice to the referee when treatment is unfair, and to that I refer to the IMF and EU, which are overstressing Greece. Granted, Greece dug its own grave, but the EU need not push the nation into it now, especially after leading it into the cemetery in the first place.

Whether it be with regards to Greece, the Greek citizenry or the Greek national soccer club, victory is going to take will, effort and creativity. Enough words like these have been written though. Now is the time for action and success or failure, and the respective fallout due to each. For Greece, I wish only the best, but I also demand the best of all Greeks.

See also Greece vs. Germany - A Game for Pride.

Editor's Note: This article should interest investors in National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE: OTE), Coca-Cola HBC (NYSE: CCH), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM), Navios Maritime Acquisition (NYSE: NNA), Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM), Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (NYSE: TNP), Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE: OSG), International Shipholding (NYSE: ISH), Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM), Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping ETF (NYSE: SEA), Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK), Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX), Danaos (NYSE: DAC), Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE: TNP), Ship Finance Int'l (NYSE: SFL), Nordic American Tanker (NYSE: NAT), Seaspan (NYSE: SSW), General Maritime (NYSE: GMR), DHT Maritime (NYSE: DHT), Brunswick (NYSE: BC), Marine Products Corp. (NYSE: MPX), DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS), Top Ships (Nasdaq: TOPS), Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE), Sino-Global Shipping (Nasdaq: SINO), Paragon Shipping (Nasdaq: PRGN), K-SEA Transportation Partners (NYSE: KSP), Euroseas (Nasdaq: ESEA), Star Bulk Carriers (Nasdaq: SBLK), Omega Navigation (Nasdaq: ONAV), Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. (Nasdaq: VLCCF), TBS Int'l (Nasdaq: TBSI), Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping (Nasdaq: XSEAX), American Commercial Lines (Nasdaq: ACLI), Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), ITA (Nasdaq: ITUB), Banco Santander (NYSE: STD), Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK), UBS (NYSE: UBS), Lloyd’s Banking Group (NYSE: LYG), Barclay’s (NYSE: BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB), Banco Latinamerican (NYSE: BLX), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), European Equity Fund (NYSE: EEA), Vanguard European Stock Index (Nasdaq: VEURX), Powershares FTSE RAFI Europe (NYSE: PEF), Europe 2001 (NYSE: EKH), S&P Emerging Europe (NYSE: GUR), Ultrashort MSCI Europe (NYSE: EPV), Vanguard Europe Pacific (NYSE: VEA), Wisdomtree Europe SmallCap (NYSE: DFE), Wisdom Tree Europe Total Div (NYSE: DEB), iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSE: IEV), Morgan Stanley Eastern Europe (NYSE: RNE), DWS Europe Equity A (Nasdaq: SERAX), DWS Europe Equity B (Nasdaq: SERBX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FEUFX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FIEUX), ICON Europe A (Nasdaq: IERAX), Pioneer Europe Fund (Nasdaq: PBEUX), ProFunds Europe 30 (Nasdaq: UEPIX), Putnam Europe A (Nasdaq: PEUGX), Rydex Europe 1.25x (Nasdaq: RYAEX).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

Greek carpenter contractor Philadelphia

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Greece vs. Germany - A Game for Pride

Greece vs. Germany

Greece vs. Germany


From the very moment Greece was issued aid by its European partners, its harshest critic and most stern policeman has been Germany. The Germans, you see, are budget minded and perennially profitable. Thus, the nation’s austere populace wonders aloud why they should pay for Greek negligence.


Greeks on the streets of Athens and Greek-Americans in New York City counter with arguments about the infinite contributions of the Greek culture to society, the foundation upon which modern day Germany stands. Greeks will neither shy from reminding embarrassed Germans about the tonnage of gold and ancient relics stolen away during World War II, not to mention 10% of the Hellenic Republic’s population sacrificed in its impossible defense against the Nazis. That was one of the largest percentage losses by an Ally during the war, though did not compare to the atrocities suffered by the Jewish people.


So, in retrospect, perhaps it’s not too much to ask Germany for a little slack today, so that Greece might stand on its feet again. However, after the Greeks voted to endure continued austerity for the sake of remaining in the euro-zone, and to honor their debts to the EU and IMF, German Chancellor Angela Merkel only reiterated a strict stance for hard days for Greece. Others in Italy and Spain, where the taste of Greece’s pain is almost familiar, called for an extension of the time line for Greece to pay back its debt. Such grace would allow Greece to more gradually employ necessary measures in a means that might not overburden its economy and its people.


Much insult and injury has been delivered by each party in this family argument, but on Friday the nations will each get a chance to vent in a very competitive and direct manner. Greece faces Germany, you see, in the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship. To the winner goes the pride.


Picking the Winner
Greece does not match up well against Germany today in many regards, but if a comparison were made taking into account the course of history, well then we would have a different favorite. Let’s have some fun then picking a winner between Greece and Germany in this marquee matchup…


Category
Greece
Germany
FIFA World Soccer Ranking
15
   3
Population
10.8 Million
     81.9 Mln.
GDP Global Rank
#35
     #4

      
Military Size
     #29
#30
Contributions to Humanity


History


Passion


Most Euro Victories
1
  3
Most Recent Euro Victory
  2004
1996
Best Story If Victorious





**    Data by Wikipedia, except millionaires list which was published by Bloomberg Businessweek, and “Passion,” “History,” and “Best Story If Victorious,” which were determined by your very biased author.


Greece does not have a whole lot going on these days, save soup kitchens and suicides. Its population is much smaller than Germany’s, but its military is larger including reserves. Greece’s economy cannot compare to the cornerstone of Europe, which is Germany. As far as publicly traded companies, well, that is part of the problem. Greece’s industrial base is much less important than Germany’s, with Greece’s focus on tourism, agriculture and shipping. Take note though that the domicile of Greece’s significant shipping industry is not formally within Greece, and so not one company makes the list below.


The National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG) trades in penny stock territory at $1.76 per share in New York, though it’s still sporting a market capitalization of $1.68 billion. Germany’s best known bank is Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), trading upward of $35 per share, valuing the company at $32.7 billion. Germany’s largest companies are in fact on the tip of the tongue of most Americans, while Greek firms are generally not known except by Greek-American stock nerds like your Wall Street Greek.

Germany’s Largest Companies Notable to Americans:

  • Allianz Worldwide (OTC: AZSEY)
  • Daimler-Chrysler (OTC: DDAIF)
  • Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB)
  • Siemens (NYSE: SI)
  • Munich Re (MUV2.F)
  • BMW Group (BMW.DE)
  • Volkswagen (OTC: VLKPY)
  • BASF (OTC: BASFY)
  • Commerzbank (OTC: CRZBY)
  • Bayer (OTC: BAYRY)
  • ThyssenKrupp (OTC: TYEKF)
  • SAP (NYSE: SAP)

  • National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG)
  • Alpha Bank A.E. (OTC: ALBKY)
  • Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE.AT)
  • Viohalco S.A. (BIOX.AT)
  • Bank of Cyprus (BOC.AT)
  • Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. (NYSE: CCH)
  • Ellaktor S.A. (ELTEX.AT)
  • Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE.AT)
  • EFG Eurobank Ergasias S.A. (OTC: EGFEY)
  • Hellenic Telecommunications (OTC: HLTOY)
  • INTRALOT S.A. (OTC: IRLTY)
  • Marfin Financial Group (OTC: MRFGY)
  • Marfin Investment Group (MIG.AT)
  • Motor Oil Corinth Refineries (MOH.AT)
  • Mytilineos Holdings (MYTIL.AT)
  • OPAP SA (OTC: GOFPY)
  • Public Power Corp. (PPC.AT)
  • Titan Cement (TITK.AT)
  • Piraeus Bank (TPEIR.AT)
  • TT Hellenic Postbank SA (TT.AT)

It’s a list of never heard of names for most of you.


Clearly, economically speaking, Greece is a second class citizen. Much of this is because of the great brain drain that occurred for Greece after Ottoman rule and during the dark days following World War II. Whether because of communism and civil war, or for survival’s sake, a great many Greeks left Greece and are now domiciled across the globe. Greeks are leaving again today for their own survival, and are being welcomed across the globe by their brethren. It’s unfortunate that sometimes they never return.


As far as soccer goes, there’s a beautiful fairness in play. On any given day, any given team can beat any other team. That is because it will not be 80 million against 10 million on Friday; GDP nor personal wealth will matter when the national teams meet on the pitch. What will matter is passion and pride, two factors which run richly in Greeks. Yet, the Greek team is overmatched, as is clear by the FIFA rankings and by the play of both teams through the tournament thus far. But, these two teams have not met yet. Germany is a strong soccer squad, and just like its culture, it succeeds through science and scheme. For Greece, though, the game itself often determines how well the team plays. When Greece met with host Poland in the first round, it seemed to have compassion for the lesser rival, and the result was a tie. Against the Czech Republic, perhaps the Greek team recalled its important victory en route to its magical 2004 triumph, and so a loss resulted. When it came to Russia, winning was critical to the Greek team, and so they played to their full potential. Beating Germany is more than critical; it is a national necessity.

Editor's Note: This article should interest investors in National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE: OTE), Coca-Cola HBC (NYSE: CCH), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM), Navios Maritime Acquisition (NYSE: NNA), Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM), Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (NYSE: TNP), Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE: OSG), International Shipholding (NYSE: ISH), Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM), Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping ETF (NYSE: SEA), Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK), Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX), Danaos (NYSE: DAC), Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE: TNP), Ship Finance Int'l (NYSE: SFL), Nordic American Tanker (NYSE: NAT), Seaspan (NYSE: SSW), General Maritime (NYSE: GMR), DHT Maritime (NYSE: DHT), Brunswick (NYSE: BC), Marine Products Corp. (NYSE: MPX), DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS), Top Ships (Nasdaq: TOPS), Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE), Sino-Global Shipping (Nasdaq: SINO), Paragon Shipping (Nasdaq: PRGN), K-SEA Transportation Partners (NYSE: KSP), Euroseas (Nasdaq: ESEA), Star Bulk Carriers (Nasdaq: SBLK), Omega Navigation (Nasdaq: ONAV), Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. (Nasdaq: VLCCF), TBS Int'l (Nasdaq: TBSI), Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping (Nasdaq: XSEAX), American Commercial Lines (Nasdaq: ACLI), Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), ITA (Nasdaq: ITUB), Banco Santander (NYSE: STD), Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK), UBS (NYSE: UBS), Lloyd’s Banking Group (NYSE: LYG), Barclay’s (NYSE: BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB), Banco Latinamerican (NYSE: BLX), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), European Equity Fund (NYSE: EEA), Vanguard European Stock Index (Nasdaq: VEURX), Powershares FTSE RAFI Europe (NYSE: PEF), Europe 2001 (NYSE: EKH), S&P Emerging Europe (NYSE: GUR), Ultrashort MSCI Europe (NYSE: EPV), Vanguard Europe Pacific (NYSE: VEA), Wisdomtree Europe SmallCap (NYSE: DFE), Wisdom Tree Europe Total Div (NYSE: DEB), iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSE: IEV), Morgan Stanley Eastern Europe (NYSE: RNE), DWS Europe Equity A (Nasdaq: SERAX), DWS Europe Equity B (Nasdaq: SERBX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FEUFX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FIEUX), ICON Europe A (Nasdaq: IERAX), Pioneer Europe Fund (Nasdaq: PBEUX), ProFunds Europe 30 (Nasdaq: UEPIX), Putnam Europe A (Nasdaq: PEUGX), Rydex Europe 1.25x (Nasdaq: RYAEX).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Take Profits on Harsh Greek and European Realities

Greek crisis All is well with Europe, as the pro-euro and accepting of austerity Greek political party, New Democracy, garnered the majority of the second vote. Danger has been averted, so now Greece and Europe can return to the service of the devil we all know. The bounty of this victory is the same economic distress Europe was dealing with a month and a half ago, which while better than what might have been today, still sucks.

Greek reporter Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Greek Victory?



After a short burst for stocks on the win of the lesser devil, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) was down fractionally in early morning trade; the PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ) and SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) were mixed, reflecting market indecision. Spanish bond yields stuck stubbornly higher as investors took note of how close we stand to the abyss. Europe has turned downward into the morn, with the iShares S&P Europe 350 Index (NYSE: IEV) and the Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK) down 1% and 0.6%, respectively at this hour. Poor Asian traders were lured into celebration by Sunday’s newswire, only to be trapped deep into the green by the close. The Nikkei 225 and Hang Seng closed higher by 1.8% and 1.0%, respectively. However, Asian tied securities trading in the States are reflecting a different likely open for Asia Tuesday, with the iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex-Japan (Nasdaq: AAXJ) trading shyly down fractionally.

The big foreign based international banks probably best reflect the election result market driver, and the shares of those and a U.S. representative here are decidedly lower:

Company
Intraday Performance
Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB)
-2.1%
Banco Santander (NYSE: STD)
-4.2%
Citigroup (NYSE: C)
-1.3%
Credit Agricole (Paris: ACA.PA)
-3.1%
UBS (NYSE: UBS)
-1.5%
Societe Generale (Paris: GLE.PA)
-3.6%
Lloyds (NYSE: LYG)
-2.1%
Barclays (NYSE: BCS)
-2.1%
Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS)
-1.8%
ING Groep (NYSE: ING)
-4.0%
National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG)
-3.9%


So what to do now?
Last week, I suggest investors look to a rally as I expected the PIIGS to escape slaughter. In the process, I also contemplated this market reflection of reality. The market is selfish with a what have you done for me lately mentality. So, as investors reflect on the still deteriorating economic situation in Europe and the deeply flawed focus on austerity, initiated at precisely the wrong moment, opportunities for capital gain are limited. That said, Southern Europeans should continue to get into better shape on starvation, and psychologists and social workers should continue to be swamped with booming business. What it means for us traders scraping for profit is the end of the election-tied long trade. Close it out if you haven’t yet, or get caught with a bag of worms. Let me reiterate though that for the long-term I still see a deteriorating global political and economic situation.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

New York City tours

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Buy Stocks as PIIGS will Escape Slaughter!

top stock picker, market strategist With the Greek elections, the second of the sort, due this weekend, bond investors have been leading the PIIGS to slaughter this week. Rising bond yields in Spain forced the pivotal European nation to seek assistance last weekend, which in turn drew a downgrade by Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) this morning. The threshold to the ultimate disaster may soon be breached, with Italian bond yields rising sharply today. But, never fear dear readers and panicked investors, because the Greek result seems set up for a relief rally. So, please be sure to read this report full through.

Relative tickers include SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY), Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK), iShares MSCI Spain Index (NYSE: EWP), iShares MSCI Italy Index (NYSE: EWI), Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK), National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Coca-Cola Hellenic (NYSE: CCH), Hellenic Telecommunications (OTC: HLTOY) and Marfin Investment (MIG.AT).



Buy Stocks Now



Spain’s sovereign debt rating was cut to one level above junk today, to Baa3, from A3. Moody’s said Spanish risk was heightened due to the risk of a Greek exit from the euro zone, and resulting full catastrophe. This is of course the market’s worst nightmare, because if debt costs increase across Europe’s most indebted nations, it might force the EU’s leading backers (aka Germany and France) to re-evaluate whether it’s worthwhile for them to continue carrying their cross. Thus, it could be the end of the euro-zone as we know it, or worse yet, the end of Europe’s united economy. That’s why stocks have been on the downslide up until now.

Wall Street is bothered by the Spanish 10-year bond rate above 7% today, up markedly from yesterday. If Spain cannot borrow at manageable cost, it will be in need of the same sort of rescue Greece keeps receiving. The problem here is of course that the Spanish economy is much more significant than the Greek feta foray version. Spain represents the world’s 12th largest economy in fact, but the disease would likely spread from there, which is terrifying Brussels today.

Italy is even more important than Greece or Spain, and while Italian 10-year bond costs hardly moved today, the nation’s just issued debt was sold at much higher cost. Italian 3-year bond yields were up more than a percentage point, while 7-year bonds almost reached a point higher as well. This is the worst case scenario that the world has sought to mitigate since the Greek crisis began. As a result, European shares were lower Thursday morning, with the Euro STOXX 50 Price EUR down 0.3% nearing the day’s close; but that was a bit better than the start of the day.

In fact, the Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK), iShares MSCI Spain Index (NYSE: EWP) and the iShares MSCI Italy Index (NYSE: EWI) are each markedly higher Thursday. Even the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK) is up 9.5%. Heck, the National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Coca-Cola Hellenic (NYSE: CCH), Hellenic Telecommunications (OTC: HLTOY) and Marfin Investment (MIG.AT) were all higher by large margin. So what gives then?

A bit of interesting news reached the wire over the past couple days, but it was largely overlooked by the market. The head of the disruptive Greek political coalition, Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, said that he would not lead Greece out of the euro zone. Well, that would seem to defuse the ticking time bomb, because the market’s greatest concern has been that Greek political change might change the course for Greece with regard to its European monetary ties. That’s exactly what speculative smart money is betting against today, sending these shares in what would seem counterintuitive direction, which is higher. That’s the direction I would advise aggressive investors to take as well to participate in what should be a super relief rally. I think the same is in store for the S&P 500, with the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) off 5.7% since the start of May. Guess what: it’s up Thursday morning and I’m looking for much more over the coming hours and days.

This is a forecast that runs against the tide, so I’m out on a limb. Give an unbiased strategist some respect for the guts to make such a call, and credit if my forecast proves true. Follow our blog for more insight and actionable advice.

Article should interest investors in SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA), SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY), PowerShares QQQ Trust (Nasdaq: QQQ), ProShares Short Dow 30 (NYSE: DOG), ProShares Ultra Short S&P 500 (NYSE: SDS), ProShares Ultra QQQ (NYSE: QLD), NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX), The NASDAQ OMX Group (Nasdaq: NDAQ), Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE: ICE), E*Trade Financial (Nasdaq: ETFC), Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW), Asset Acceptance Capital (Nasdaq: AACC), Affiliated Managers (NYSE: AMG), Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP), TD Ameritrade (Nasdaq: AMTD), BGC Partners (Nasdaq: BGCP), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), CIT Group (NYSE: CIT), Calamos Asset Management (Nasdaq: CLMS), CME Group (NYSE: CME), Cohn & Steers (NYSE: CNS), Cowen Group (Nasdaq: COWN), Diamond Hill Investment (Nasdaq: DHIL), Dollar Financial (Nasdaq: DLLR), Duff & Phelps (Nasdaq: DUF), Encore Capital (Nasdaq: ECPG), Edelman Financial (Nasdaq: EF), Equifax (NYSE: EFX), Epoch (Nasdaq: EPHC), Evercore Partners (NYSE: EVR), EXCorp. (Nasdaq: EZPW), FBR Capital Markets (Nasdaq: FBCM), First Cash Financial (Nasdaq: FCFS), Federated Investors (NYSE: FII), First Marblehead (NYSE: FMD), Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF), Financial Engines (Nasdaq: FNGN), FXCM (Nasdaq: FXCM), Gamco Investors (NYSE: GBL), GAIN Capital (Nasdaq: GCAP), Green Dot (Nasdaq: GDOT), GFI Group (Nasdaq: GFIG), Greenhill (NYSE: GHL), Gleacher (Nasdaq: GLCH), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Interactive Brokers (Nasdaq: IBKR), INTL FCStone (Nasdaq: INTL), Intersections (Nasdaq: INTX), Investment Technology (NYSE: ITG), Invesco (NYSE: IVZ), Jefferies (NYSE: JEF), JMP Group (NYSE: JMP), Janus Capital (NYSE: JNS), KBW (NYSE: KBW), Knight Capital (NYSE: KCG), Lazard (NYSE: LAZ), Legg Mason (NYSE: LM), LPL Investment (Nasdaq: LPLA), Ladenburg Thalmann (AMEX: LTS), Mastercard (NYSE: MA), Moody’s (NYSE: MCO), MF Global (NYSE: MF), Moneygram (NYSE: MGI), MarketAxess (Nasdaq: MKTX), Marlin Business Services (Nasdaq: MRLN), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), MSCI (Nasdaq: MSCI), MGIC Investment (NYSE: MTG), NewStar Financial (Nasdaq: NEWS), National Financial Partners (NYSE: NFP), Nelnet (NYSE: NNI), Northern Trust (Nasdaq: NTRS), NetSpend (Nasdaq: NTSP), Ocwen Financial (NYSE: OCN), Oppenheimer (NYSE: OPY), optionsXpress (Nasdaq: OXPS), PICO (Nasdaq: PICO), Piper Jaffray (NYSE: PJC), PMI Group (NYSE: PMI), Penson Worldwide (Nasdaq: PNSN), Portfolio Recovery (Nasdaq: PRAA), Raymond James (NYSE: RJF), SEI Investments (Nasdaq: SEIC), Stifel Financial (NYSE: SF), Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE), State Street (NYSE: STT), SWS (NYSE: SWS), T. Rowe Price (Nasdaq: TROW), Visa (NYSE: V) and Virtus Investment Partners (Nasdaq: VRTS).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

Wasted Youth - A Greek Film Review

Wasted Youth Greek film
While Greece continues to suffer through a financial crisis, the country’s young film-makers probe and question, offering fresh insights into the country’s heart, soul and dilemmas. Wasted Youth, from director Argyris Papadimitropoulos teamed with German director Jon Vogel, is an important new film and an exhilarating one. Author Franz Kafka once wrote of the novel: “I think we ought only to read the kinds of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” The same could be said of film.

Relative tickers include Disney (NYSE: DIS), DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA), Cinemark Holdings (NYSE: CNK), Regal Entertainment (NYSE: RGC), RealD (NYSE: RLD), Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF), Rentrak (Nasdaq: RENT), Carmike Cinemas (Nasdaq: CKEC), LYFE Communications (OTC: LYFE.OB), New Frontier Media (Nasdaq: NOOF), Public Media Works (OTC: PUBM.OB), Independent Film Development (OTC: IFLM.OB), Point 360 (Nasdaq: PTSX), Seven Arts Pictures (Nasdaq: SAPX), Affinity Medianetworks (OTC: AFFW.OB), Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), Liberty Starz Group (Nasdaq: LSTZA) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN).

Vital Cinema of Hope and Tragedy



movie critic
Wasted Youth fits the criteria. Like Dogtooth and Tungsten, the film is experimental, original, and disturbing. A young man was shot to death by the police during a night of partying, setting off the 2008 riots in Athens. This film takes inspiration from that real incident that turned the country upside down and made international news.

“We made the whole thing in ten days on a shoestring budget,” Papadimitropoulos told a New York audience. “We just decided to jump in.” Much of Wasted Youth was improvised. The result: a film that resonates with immediacy. Young Harry, 16, played by amateur Harris Markou, whom the directors selected for his skate-board skills and good looks, meets his buddies in Athens Constitution Square. It’s summer. They skate, smoke joints, and try to meet girls.

A scene with Harry and his father provides a heart-breaking insight into Greece now. Once the patriarch ruled. Now Harry returns home after a night out to find a nervous, troubled dad, who gently slaps Harris (no floggings here) and then pleads with him. He can’t take his son’s behavior. Harry needs to communicate with his father. He needs to get a job. The father takes off his shirt, and we’re witness to a thin, pale, spiritually impotent man in his undershirt, smoking a cigarette, his eyes filled with desperation.

Harry will visit his mother in the hospital where she’s recovering from an injury. According to Papadimitropoulos, she represents the “broken back of Greece.” A friend of the director’s played the mother. Harris’s actual pals played his friends in the film, all amateurs. Other roles were taken by professional actors, and intriguingly by film-makers who took small roles. For instance, a director plays a policeman. Says Papadimitropoulos, “We are a community of film-makers.”

Actor Ieronimos Kaletsanos scores as the brooding Vasilis, the policeman who will be Harris’s tragic nemesis. We see Vasilis stretched to his limits, a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He returns home after a long night shift to take a shower in the steamy heat and have perfunctory sex with his anxious wife. When it’s over, she rubs her eyes as if waking from a bad dream. Vasilis, although not a stock character, could be the Greek Everyman. He’s fortunate to have a job, but it’s minimum and frustrating. Yet he’s afraid to try anything new. His friend wants him to invest in a pizza shop. Vasilis ultimately rejects the idea. He’s afraid to lose what he has. Like Harry’s father, he finds himself alienated from his teenage daughter who largely ignores him as she tunes in to her ipod.

In Wasted Youth, the big, warm, argumentative but supportive Greek family has shrunk to the nuclear family with one child and, in Vasilis’s case, a mother who lives with them and passes her time watching TV.

Vasilis rides at night with his cop partner, a man addicted to flirting and watching pornographic films. They push vagrants off of the sidewalk and try to keep the peace. Ultimately, they encounter Harry and his friends outside a club. There is a confrontation. A gun is fired. Harris is shot dead and the film ends with his friends hovering over him, and the cops leaving the scene.

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Vasilis did not fire the gun, according to director Papadimitropoulos. We could fault him here, for side-stepping this tragic move. (As a result of the real-life shooting, both policemen are currently serving prison terms). We could also critique the directors for falling in love with the skate-boarding Harris, holding the camera on him for too- long minutes. But the cinematography is brilliant. What makes Wasted Youth special is its empathetic embrace of a heart-breaking world in transition. It doesn’t pass judgment. But it raises questions and, just as important, keeps us cinematically engaged.

“As a citizen, the easiest thing to do is blame the politicians for the last 30 years of fake prosperity,” Papadimitropoulos said. “But I think we are to blame, too, because we took that pill. We said, ‘Let’s take the easy way out, even though we know it is not right’. Now we’re paying the price.”

Papadimitropoulos has made an impressive USA debut with Wasted Youth, his second feature. The film was chosen to open the 40th Rotterdam film festival, and was shown in New York at the Disappearing Act IV Festival.

Wasted Youth will be shown at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival in June and at the New York Greek Film Festival in October.

Born in 1976 in Athens, Papadimitropoulos studied media and film in Oxford and Athens. In 2003, he directed his first short, Pendulum. In 2008, Argyris made his first feature film, Bank Bang, which became a major commercial hit in Greece, and won the First Time Director Award from the Hellenic Film Academy. He has directed more than 100 commercials, and started his own production company, Oxymoron Films.

This article should interest investors in The New York Times (NYSE: NYT), Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI), A.H. Belo (NYSE: AHC), Daily Journal (NYSE: DJCO), Journal Communications (NYSE: JRN), Lee Enterprises (NYSE: LEE), Media General (NYSE: MEG), E.W. Scripps (NYSE: SSP), McClatchy Co. (NYSE: MNI), The Washington Post (NYSE: WPO), Dex One (Nasdaq: DEXO), Martha Stewart Living (NYSE: MSO), Meredith (NYSE: MDP), Private Media (Nasdaq: PRVT), Reed Elsevier (NYSE: ENL), Reed Elsevier Plc (NYSE: RUK), Dolan Co. (NYSE: DN), Disney (NYSE: DIS), DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA), Cinemark Holdings (NYSE: CNK), Regal Entertainment (NYSE: RGC), RealD (NYSE: RLD), Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE: LGF), Rentrak (Nasdaq: RENT), Carmike Cinemas (Nasdaq: CKEC), LYFE Communications (OTC: LYFE.OB), New Frontier Media (Nasdaq: NOOF), Public Media Works (OTC: PUBM.OB), Independent Film Development (OTC: IFLM.OB), Point 360 (Nasdaq: PTSX), Seven Arts Pictures (Nasdaq: SAPX), Affinity Medianetworks (OTC: AFFW.OB), Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA), Vivendi (Paris: VIV.PA), Liberty Starz Group (Nasdaq: LSTZA), McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP), Pearson Plc (NYSE: PSO), John Wiley & Sons (NYSE: JW-A, NYSE: JW-B), Scholastic (Nasdaq: SCHL), Courier (Nasdaq: CRRC), Noah Education (NYSE: NED), Peoples Educational Holdings (Nasdaq: PEDH), Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Books-A-Million (Nasdaq: BAMM).

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Greece Calls Europe's Bluff

poker bluff
Mario Monte, the Italian Prime Minister, made some market supporting statements last week which must have sounded familiar to readers of this column. Mr. Monte said some things Greeks have long been saying as well, albeit at the top of their lungs while being beaten back by police batons. He said the troika of the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank had been too hard on Greece, demanding drastic change of the Greeks over a period much shorter than appropriate. The short-term disruption of this radical change has been more detrimental than the long-term benefit it aims to achieve, and so indigestible by the Greeks. As a result, the Greeks have spoken, and finally, European ears are listening.

poker champ
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Article is relevant to Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), Banco Santander (NYSE: STD), ITA (Nasdaq: ITUB), UBS (NYSE: UBS), Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK), Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG), Barclays (NYSE: BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Allied Irish Bank (NYSE: AIB), Banco Latinamericano (NYSE: BLX), National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY), BBVA Banco Frances (NYSE: BFR), The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE), Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM), ING Groep (NYSE: ING), Citigroup (NYSE: C).

Greece Snuffs EU Bluff


You might remember a series of articles written here over the last few years on the topic of the impossible austerity plan shoved down the throats of the Greeks. It took more than words, though, to gain the attention of Greece’s European masters. It took more than uprising even. It took the action of Greek voters, who so vehemently opposed austerity as to lift a radical political coalition into a position of influence. With political polls conflicted now as to what could result when a second election proceeds in June, the market has begun to price in a Gr-exit, or Greek exit from the euro-zone. Likewise, Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) and Standard & Poor’s (NYSE: MHP) have begun to account for what might follow in Spain, Portugal and Monte’s Italy. Suddenly, and not coincidentally, the impossible is possible for Europe.

The idea of offering euro-bonds, a unified action that at least the Germans had ruled unconstitutional, is now being openly and seriously considered. But it took the rise of the “little people,” as one politician notoriously labeled them a few years back, to force the hand of power in favor of financial fairness. When Greece’s newest political voice, Syriza, said the Europeans were bluffing regarding the required nature of their prescription for Greece, hardly anyone believed them, and yet today it looks as though they were right.

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It reminds me of an interesting political ploy tried by the Greeks not long before. Just days before PASOK’s persecuted leader, George Papandreou said the Greeks deserved a referendum before inheriting the weights of austerity, we wrote that the Greek people should determine their own fate. And after the PM had played his poker hand, we said it might not be the political suicide it seemed to be, but instead genius, because it would force the Europeans to show their true hand. That same truth is apparent again today, and it reflects a weaker European position than what they had bluffed they held.

In the end, it looks as though the path was always laid out, but that political patience would have to persevere until the populace of Europe was ready to venture down it. What is happening is a better bonding of Europe, through the catalyst of crisis and the glue of fear. As the region ties itself together, though, I worry it will later more easily drown. This is because, while I understand the construct of the plan is to solidify the union, I believe fiat currency will be more easily weakened in the process. This is because I see another catalyst ahead that only a fearless visionary might venture to present now, which will unravel this best laid plan. However, this is better the topic of another story.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Solution for Greece, Europe & the Global Economy

Alexis Tsipras Syriza
From the source that told you European change still threatened stocks the day of the confounding market rally on the election results in Greece and France, today I am advising that the next move may be higher. What’s killing stocks these last few days is the wild speak coming from the Greek Syriza Party, which is currently attempting to form a government. What may save stocks, probably only temporarily, will be the inability of Greece’s Radical Left Coalition to form a government, which means the Greeks will get a second chance at deciding their fate in June. Where that leads should be at least clearer, though the direction could be either.

Syriza leader
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Relative tickers include: Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK), SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY), National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE: OTE), Coca-Cola HBC (NYSE: CCH), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM), Navios Maritime Acquisition (NYSE: NNA), Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM), Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (NYSE: TNP).

Solution for Greece

Also, the ramifications of the Greek decision might not be as clear, traumatic or destructive as people, pundits and even economists describe. For instance, if the euro-zone were to fail completely, which is not as unlikely as the entrenched make it to seem, Greece’s early exit might prove helpful. On the other hand, a fascist state and/or weak leadership would find difficulty navigating the global economic environment. You see, nothing is perfectly black or white in this world, however we may attempt to simplify, and everything can be colored. Furthermore, the best solution for Greece, Europe and the global market should offer wise economic strengthening combined with sensible budget management, or the gray in between today’s two arguments.

Some might say that the premature celebration of Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras has done more to terrify global markets and perhaps even the Greeks who voted for him than to bring positive change so far. The sum I speak of would include PASOK and New Democracy leadership, who will now surely employ fear tactics to retrieve votes lost in the first election. Greece’s citizens have only to look at their stock market, with the Athens Stock Exchange General Index collapsed over the two days following the anomalous trade immediately after the election. The Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK) is down 13% from May 4th. The iShares S&P Europe 350 Index (NYSE: IEV), down another 1.5% into midday Wednesday, has been edging down on the omens of election polls for weeks. Though, Europe’s slipping into broad-reaching recession has certainly played a role in that.

While a secondary victory for the establishment might ease market concerns, it’s certainly not a given. On the other end of the spectrum, the disgruntled and disgusted Greek people may line up behind Syriza now. If the many tentacled monster of Greek dissatisfaction were to more perfectly unify, then it is possible Syriza could win the majority. In that case, with the extra 50 seats in Parliament given for the win and the assistance of other parties, it might also form a government. The result of that is clear, based on the emboldened braggadocio of Tsipras. He has stated he will tear up standing agreements with the troika, whose response has also clearly been laid out. It would be the end of the relationship between Greece and Europe, or at least the euro-zone. Greece would default on its debt and return to the drachma.

In my view, and reiterating yet again, neither of the two extremes needs be the fate of Greece. If the global community which makes up the IMF, and the European Union, intend for Greece’s realistic revival, they would set simpler terms for Greece to payback its debt. An extension of the timeline to payback would allow Greece to more gradually implement sensible austerity measures while also finding creative growth solutions. Instead, Greeks have had deep destructive austerity shoved down their throats. The economic feedback would not be harsh my way, and upheaval in Greece would die down. Its tourism industry would recover, and its economy would find its way toward expansion. With that result, Spain, Italy and Portugal would gain time to restore their own fiscal soundness, and the euro-zone likewise should solidify. Perhaps, then, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY), the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) and the PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ) might be in the green instead of red like they were Wednesday.

Editor's Note: This article should interest investors in National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Hellenic Telecommunications (NYSE: OTE), Coca-Cola HBC (NYSE: CCH), Teekay Corp. (NYSE: TK), Navios Maritime Holdings (NYSE: NM), Navios Maritime Acquisition (NYSE: NNA), Navios Maritime Partners L.P. (NYSE: NMM), Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (NYSE: TNP), Overseas Shipholding Group (NYSE: OSG), International Shipholding (NYSE: ISH), Excel Maritime Carriers (NYSE: EXM), Safe Bulkers (NYSE: SB), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping ETF (NYSE: SEA), Genco Shipping & Trading (NYSE: GNK), Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX), Danaos (NYSE: DAC), Tsakos Energy Navigation (NYSE: TNP), Ship Finance Int'l (NYSE: SFL), Nordic American Tanker (NYSE: NAT), Seaspan (NYSE: SSW), General Maritime (NYSE: GMR), DHT Maritime (NYSE: DHT), Brunswick (NYSE: BC), Marine Products Corp. (NYSE: MPX), DryShips (Nasdaq: DRYS), Top Ships (Nasdaq: TOPS), Eagle Bulk Shipping (Nasdaq: EGLE), Sino-Global Shipping (Nasdaq: SINO), Paragon Shipping (Nasdaq: PRGN), K-SEA Transportation Partners (NYSE: KSP), Euroseas (Nasdaq: ESEA), Star Bulk Carriers (Nasdaq: SBLK), Omega Navigation (Nasdaq: ONAV), Knightsbridge Tankers Ltd. (Nasdaq: VLCCF), TBS Int'l (Nasdaq: TBSI), Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG), Claymore/Delta Global Shipping (Nasdaq: XSEAX), American Commercial Lines (Nasdaq: ACLI), Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), ITA (Nasdaq: ITUB), Banco Santander (NYSE: STD), Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK), UBS (NYSE: UBS), Lloyd’s Banking Group (NYSE: LYG), Barclay’s (NYSE: BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Allied Irish Banks (NYSE: AIB), Banco Latinamerican (NYSE: BLX), Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), European Equity Fund (NYSE: EEA), Vanguard European Stock Index (Nasdaq: VEURX), Powershares FTSE RAFI Europe (NYSE: PEF), Europe 2001 (NYSE: EKH), S&P Emerging Europe (NYSE: GUR), Ultrashort MSCI Europe (NYSE: EPV), Vanguard Europe Pacific (NYSE: VEA), Wisdomtree Europe SmallCap (NYSE: DFE), Wisdom Tree Europe Total Div (NYSE: DEB), iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSE: IEV), Morgan Stanley Eastern Europe (NYSE: RNE), DWS Europe Equity A (Nasdaq: SERAX), DWS Europe Equity B (Nasdaq: SERBX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FEUFX), Fidelity Europe (Nasdaq: FIEUX), ICON Europe A (Nasdaq: IERAX), Pioneer Europe Fund (Nasdaq: PBEUX), ProFunds Europe 30 (Nasdaq: UEPIX), Putnam Europe A (Nasdaq: PEUGX), Rydex Europe 1.25x (Nasdaq: RYAEX).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Why Stocks Celebrated Disruptive European Elections

celebration
Based on the action of stocks Monday, it would seem investors favor the possibility that Europe might finally be rid of Greece. Or it may be that investors have seen the light, and have finally realized that the age of austerity was a dark one. Or, perhaps change of any sort would have been celebrated by a distressed market.

Romney's economist
Our founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.

Relevant tickers: NYSE: SPY, Nasdaq: QQQ, NYSE: GREK, OTC: HLTOY.PK, NYSE: IEV, NYSE: VGK, NYSE: EWG, NYSE: IEV, NYSE: EWQ, NYSE: DB, NYSE: STD, Nasdaq: ITUB, NYSE: UBS, NYSE: WBK, NYSE: LYG, NYSE: BCS, NYSE: CS, NYSE: AIB, NYSE: BLX, NYSE: NBG, NYSE: RY, NYSE: BFR, NYSE: IRE, NYSE: BMO, NYSE: CM, NYSE: ING, NYSE: C.

It's a Celebration?

European shares were mostly higher Monday, even after Greeks unseated their socialist rulers, PASOK, the ushers of austerity. So it would seem that more than their fear of a break down in confidence in the EU (that might drive Spanish and Italian bond yields higher), investors maybe worry about keeping a lumbering Greece within the group. But with France electing a socialist, who seems intent on leveling the playing field between the rich and poor, and who does not favor austerity, it would seem maybe something more important is afoot.

Bucking the trend, the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK), Hellenic Telecommunications (OTC: HLTOY.PK) and Greek shares generally tumbled, as neither did the New Democracy party gain clear control. The result was likely due to the new democrats’ role in the current catastrophe. Instead, the Radical Left Coalition, or Syriza, finished second in Parliamentary voting. Anti-austerity parties, including even an anti-immigration organization, won seats at the cost of the mainstream, as Greeks expressed their frustration with austerity clearly.

But why are European shares higher, given that Greece could theoretically now reject the austerity prerequisites of European and IMF aid. The Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK) rose 1% Monday, and the iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSE: IEV) was up 0.8%. The iShares MSCI Germany Index (NYSE: EWG) gained 0.5% and Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB) rose 1.6%. The popular view seems to be that Francois Hollande, the new French leader, might listen to the reason of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others now that the election is over. However, I say there is more to it than that.

I think the market has spoken in its efficient and infinite wisdom, and what it is saying is that the age of austerity is over and good riddance to it. The French CAC 40 Index gained 1.65% and the iShares MSCI France Index (NYSE: EWQ) added 1.3% to its stature. American investors were confused, with the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) and the PowerShares QQQ (Nasdaq: QQQ) erasing initial losses. Maybe it’s just hope that’s selling to investors these days; perhaps change of any sort would be celebrated by a desperate market. In that case, when the high wears off and investors find not much has changed with regard to the lagging economy, stubborn unemployment and burdensome debt load, and on top of that, pressure builds on other nations on the fringe, the celebration should prove short-lived.

It could take time for prospective growth initiatives to have effect, so patience may wear thin. However, shifting the burden from the poor to the rich could be just a vote away for the French and the Greeks. That is precisely why there’s talk today of a potential run of money, with its destination divided, but its origination now decided. Money has been leaving Greece for some time now though, given the duration of its crisis. For France, it’s a new phenomenon. For Europe, it could be the way of the future, and for the United States, it could be a trend that catches on.

Article is relevant to Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB), Banco Santander (NYSE: STD), ITA (Nasdaq: ITUB), UBS (NYSE: UBS), Westpac Banking (NYSE: WBK), Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG), Barclays (NYSE: BCS), Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS), Allied Irish Bank (NYSE: AIB), Banco Latinamericano (NYSE: BLX), National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG), Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE: RY), BBVA Banco Frances (NYSE: BFR), The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE), Bank of Montreal (NYSE: BMO), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE: CM), ING Groep (NYSE: ING), Citigroup (NYSE: C).

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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