Italian bond sale, Iranian threat impacting markets

Josh Brown Dec 28, 2011

Adriene Hill: Iran has repeated its threat to block the Straight of Hormuz where about a-fifth of the world’s oil passes through. In Italy today, investors seemed happy to buy up the country’s debt. And to both of these things, the markets seem to be saying, well… Meh.

For more we go to Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics in New York. He joins us live every Wednesday. Good morning Josh.

Josh Brown: Good morning.

Hill: So, let’s start with Iran. How seriously do markets take these ups and downs — these threats — in the oil market?

Brown: You know, I think the key here to understand is that, this is just going to be a permanent feature of the landscape. I don’t think that we should look at every utterance from some type of military official in Iran as the beginning of World War III or a reason to panic in the oil market. I just think this is going to be the status quo. So they rattle their sabers, oil price spikes up a couple of bucks. Then we don’t go to war, and everything fades back down to where it was.

Hill: And also today, we saw in other international news, two successful Italian bond auctions. What about that — how significant is that?

Brown: I think what you’re seeing now with this Italian bond auction is kind of the aftermath of the ECB finally stepping up, offering loans to more than 500 eurozone banks. So in other words, the bond market is saying: OK, nothing’s changed in terms of the overall levels of debt. Nothing’s changed in terms of the likelihood of a European recession in 2012. Things are still terrible — however, there is now a lender of last resort who’s going to keep things moving, keep things liquid. And I think that’s why you see the Italians able to release a bond offering without the type of fireworks that we were seeing just a month ago.

Hill: Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics — thanks so much.

Brown: Thank you.

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