Investors at the end of the day in Europe may be counting the bluffs -- as in who flinched, how often, who blinked and when.
For Greece and the rest of the eurozone it all came down to Monday's meeting of financial ministers gathering to decide if Greece has jumped through enough hoops to qualify for a $172 billion bailout loan from its anxious brethren.
Anxious is the operative word here.
The eurozone is about to hand billions of dollars over to a country that has negative economic growth -- and not just negative but an expected growth rate of minus 6 percent this year, and that is after three years of recession.
Frequently, it is thought that Greece became burdened by debt because the government was cooking the books, taking billions off just before data was gleaned for reports, leaving Brussels in the dark about how bad its problems were. But that's not it.
Frequently, it was assumed that Greece got into trouble by giving away the farm with overly generous benefits to government workers and to other union groups. That story includes the sidebar that Greece is notoriously bad at collecting taxes. And both of these certainly are contributing factors.
Give Greece to Donald Trump and it would have a fighting chance. Greece, in other words, needs to be run with sound capitalistic policies. Greece, put another way, just needs to earn a profit.
Profits are how countries cover their mistakes. In that manner, Greece is no different from the United States. The government is what groups of geographically aligned people do with excess capital.
Without that excess, you have Greece.
The European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are correct in demanding that Greece restructure its government's finances, but wrong to assume the problem is solved.
In international markets Monday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan gained 1.08 percent and the Shanghai composite index in China rose 0.27 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 0.31 percent and the Sensex in India climbed 0.75 percent.
The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 1.43 percent.
In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain gained 0.62 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany added 1.18 percent. The CAC 40 in France rose 0.67 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.67 percent.
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