European Stocks Fail to Sustain Rally After Greek Election

Posted June 18th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Stocks in Europe gave up their early gains Monday, failing to echo the rally in Asia after pro-bailout parties won enough votes in Greece's parliamentary elections to form a government.

Greece's stock exchange surged more than 7 percent at one point, but lost much of its early gain. Elsewhere in Europe, fears about other struggling economies, especially Spain, erased early advances and stocks closed mixed. Major U.S. stock indexes closed mixed Monday.

Borrowing costs for the Madrid government soared to their highest point since Spain adopted use of the euro 13 years ago. The interest rate on Spanish debt topped 7 percent — the point at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal all were forced to secure international bailouts.

Japan's Nikkei index finished the day up nearly 2 percent, and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 1 percent. Analysts, including Robert Halver at Baader Bank, cautioned that any rally could be short-lived because of the extent of the economic problems in Greece, now in its fifth year of recession.

“We will have, after a short euphoria, the same old crisis because no problem has been solved. It is still clear that the Greeks will not survive in the eurozone. No private investment will flow into Greece as the danger that Greece will leave the eurozone is still massive, the yield prospects are very low so Greece is still the focus of the euro crisis and of the financial markets.”

Economist Juan Carlos Martinez of the IE Business School, said European leaders must hold to governmental austerity measures, but still promote economic growth.

“No matter how hard Spain tries, and no matter what happens in Greece, a part of the solution for Spain, for Italy and for some other European countries, is a change on European policies. It is absolutely necessary to keep the austerity measures, especially in Spain, but it is also absolutely necessary to find some kind of levers or bonds that will allow to combine that austerity with the impulse for growth. Without growth it will be very hard for Spain, no matter what happens in Greece, to get out of the serious situation we are in.”

The ongoing turmoil in the 17-nation euro currency bloc has affected markets outside of the continent.

In Afghanistan Sunday, the head of money exchangers in Kabul, Amin Jan Khosti, told VOA that traders were swapping euros for dollars to escape the fluctuating situation in Europe.

“Because today when I was at the market, people mostly exchanged euro. They think if today's Greece's turn, maybe tomorrow is Spain and next it will be Portugal's turn. People think every day their budget deficit is getting deeper.”

Khosti says Afghan businessmen are worried that the euro's ups and downs will damage their trading. He also says Afghans are already thinking about how the pullout of international troops in 2014 will affect the country's financial situation.