Economic Outlook: Draghi's remark

By ANTHONY HALL, United Press International  |  July 30, 2012 at 7:58 AM
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The impact of Europe's financial crisis could not have been made more clear than last week when U.S. markets were double-bounced by seven words.

No, it wasn't just any comment, but it was Bob Dylan-esque, kind of baroque and bar room friendly at the same time.

The comment came from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who said the central bank would do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro," which has provided much of the flinch in markets for the past two years and more.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which closed up 253 points or 1.9 percent on the week, gained 211 of those points after Draghi's speech Thursday. The Standard & Poor's climbed 23 points or 1.6 percent on the week, jumping 22 points on Thursday.

Markets jumped even higher throughout Europe and gains persisted on Friday, as well. One has to have a magic staff to make seven words create billions of dollars of added value to companies around the globe. In value per word, it has to be in the top 10, easy.

It was so clearly the line of the week that French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a phone conversation issued a statement that did its best to imitate Draghi.

Just as many tried to imitate Bob Dylan, Hollande and Merkel said, they were "committed to do everything to protect the eurozone."

Those seven words, it turns out, carried more impact than the announced second quarter gross domestic product, which showed the U.S. economy expanded 1.5 percent, better than the 1.3 expected, but a noticeable slide from the 2 percent gain of the first quarter.

Gold started the week at $1,582 per troy ounce and closed $45 higher Friday, up 2.8 percent, meaning some investors were running scared while others found equities flourishing.

Fear is also discernible in U.S. treasurys, with demand pushing yields on 10-year benchmark bonds to 1.379 percent Wednesday before Draghi's remark. By Friday, yields had risen back to 1.55 percent.

Taking the forensics back to last Monday, that was the day Spanish bonds had briefly topped the fingernail on blackboard level of 7.5 percent, implying Spain's $122 billion international bailout package would not be large enough. The week ended with benchmark bonds in Madrid at 6.727 percent and headed down at last check.

Let's see what Draghi has to say about that.

In international markets Monday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan gained 0.8 percent while the Shanghai composite index in China slipped 0.89 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 1.61 percent while the Sensex in India added 1.81 percent.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.85 percent.

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain added 0.57 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany rose 0.83 percent. The CAC 40 in France climbed 0.48 percent while the Stoxx Europe 600 index was up 1 percent.

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