A macro migraine
Visitors to the New York Stock Exchange watch the opening bell in New York City.
It's Friday and the end of another tumultuous week on the markets. It's fair to say that many investors suffering from crisis fatigue decided to let loose a bit today. The Dow push above 12,000 and other indexes closed up nearly 2 percent.
We talked with Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. She says we'll be at the mercy of news out of Europe for some time to come. But, she says on a day like today, investors are buying into a classic "delay and pray" strategy. That means delay the day of reckoning when it comes to dealing with European debt, and pray that things get better so the potential losses on the debt disappear. It's been the strategy of choice for Europe's banks when it comes to their heavy exposure to sovereign debt.
Inject a few bits of good news -- like Italy's Senate passing a crucial austerity budget and Greece swearing in Lucas Papademos as interim prime minister - and wait (and pray). Krosby markets will still have to climb "a wall of worry" each day, but there will be positive days like today as well. In other words, the volatility in the markets isn't going away anytime soon.
Looking ahead for Europe, Krosby says the microscope that currently focused on Italy will soon move to Spain, and the contagion could then cross the border to France. That could really make things interesting as France and Germany have long been considered the pillars of the euro zone economy. If France's finances aren't safe, is anyone in the Eurozone safe?
And here in the U.S., Krosby says U.S. companies have strong fundamentals -- and they're sitting on tons of cash. They'll be quick to close their wallets and stop spending if they need to. She says they're ready to ride out the next wave of the crisis.
Also on the show today, The Marketplace Daily Pulse is up on news that U.S. consumer seems to be getting a shot of optimism. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index hit a five-month high today. Read more.