Equities were all about Greece this week, with little else for traders to fret about. Okay, Puerto Rico is also in fiscal trouble, but the concern was mostly confined to the commonwealth’s bondholders and the shares of bond insurers. And Puerto Rico was able to make all debt payments due on July 1, avoiding default (for now). There was a mixed jobless report on Wednesday with nonfarm payrolls rising by 223,000 in June, but were revised downward by 60,000 for the previous two months. But all eyes and ears were on Greece, which effectively defaulted on a $1.73 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund. Banks in Greece closed and imposed a number of capital controls before tomorrow’s referendum on a bailout plan. All the drama took its toll on U.S. stocks falling about 1.2% for the week. With the exception of safe-haven utilities, which moved higher by 1% on average, all other market sectors were lower led by basic materials and energy, negative by 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively. West Texas oil plunged $2.70/bbl. and Brent crude fell to $60.32, its lowest since mid-May. For the first time since 2010, the Dow Jones Industrials declined for the first half of the year as did the S&P 500 index. Most of the damage was done in the last few weeks of June, with the Dow falling by about 470 points settling Thursday at 17,730 off from its record high of 18,351 set back in mid-May. Heading back from the holiday weekend on Monday, the Greek rescue crisis continues with results of the referendum and an emergency meeting of the European Central Bank determining for more funding to Greek banks. Both of which will have repercussions on the markets in Europe and here at home. Wednesday will kick off the earnings for the second quarter with Alcoa and a number of Fed bankers speaking about their views on interest rates. So then, more of the same as we have seen over the past few weeks as volatility will continue and few positives to send stocks higher. Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend.
Here is the answer to last week’s trivia question: What is the largest food company in the world? Kraft Foods Group, PepsiCo, General Mills or Nestle? Answer: Nestle, SA. By most measures, Swiss based Nestle is the world’s largest food company with 2014 sales of $91.6 billion. In addition to its namesake brand of confectionaries, the company markets a broad array of consumer and pet care brands, including Gerber, Poland Spring, DiGorno, Nescafe, Purina, Dreyer’s and Stouffer’s.
Today’s Trivia Question: According to Forbes, the most valuable soccer team in the world is: Manchester United, Reál Madrid, Barcelona, A.C. Milan?