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There’s an old saying on Wall Street that stocks take the stairs up and the elevator down.  Boy was that true today.  You might even say that some people took an even faster way down – out the window.  If you’re living in Greece, Spain or Portugal that probably sounds pretty good right about now.  Today was a disastrous day on just about any level.  Technically, the volume was very high and breadth was very negative at almost 6:1.  It was also a 90% down day.  Fundamentally, Europe could very well be broken.

On Sunday evening we wrote:

“Aside from the fact that this is almost certainly not a buying opportunity, let’s just hope that we don’t confront similar Euro problems down the road.  I think that is 100% impossible as the problems here cannot be resolved with bailouts, but only by a restructuring of the European Monetary Union.  Unfortunately, the Greek bailout now guarantees that it will take a much larger and far more damaging event to wake the EMU up to the true flaws that are at hand here….”

Nonetheless, investors piled into stocks on Monday as hopes of a Greek bailout looked promising.  Unfortunately, the market has called the EMU’s buff and now the problems have potentially worsened.  Greece is no longer the concern as the markets focus on Portugal and Spain.  I find it hard to believe that the Germans can pass the Greek bailout now that they know the market could care less for it.  It would be an effective waste of a huge amount of money.  There truly is no happy ending to all of this.  I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the EMU (how long that takes to unfold is beyond me).  The currency is fatally flawed and has been exposed as such.  Unfortunately, it is the people of Europe who will now suffer at the decisions of  a few central bankers.  I fear they will paper over the problems in a flawed attempt to maintain unity.  The “Scott Norwood kick of the can” is quickly turning into a Pele like kick – extraordinarily hard….

Stocks closed lower by 2.4% today.  I have maintained that the risks are extraordinarily high in this market and today does nothing but confirm such thinking.

From Daily Futures:

U.S. Economy
Today felt like a liquidity crunch as the June U.S. T-bonds closed up 1.09/32nds at 120, the highest this year. The stock market is lower (at the time of this writing) with growing concerns that Europe’s debt problems are not going away, even after yesterday’s announcement of 110 billion euros of aid available to Greece.

The U.S. Commerce Department said that factory orders were up 1.3% in March, better than expected.

The National Association of Realtors said that its index of pending home sales was up 5.3% in March and up 21.1% from a year ago. July lumber finished down $7.30 at $293.10, the lowest close in four weeks.

Grains and Cotton
There is talk of possible frost in the forecast for the north-central U.S. late this week. July wheat finished up 10.25 cents at $5.12, the highest close in eight weeks.

After yesterday’s close, the USDA said that:
68% of the corn crop was planted.
15% of the soybean crop was planted.
26% of the cotton crop was planted.
60% of the spring wheat was planted.
68% of the winter wheat was rated good to excellent, down from 69% a week ago.
July corn ended down 2.5 cents at $3.69.

Sugar prices continue to sell lower, hurt by expectations for plenty of production later this year and a rising U.S. dollar. July sugar closed down .47 at 14.51, the lowest close in a year.

June gold started the day higher, but closed down $14.10 at $1,169.20 as anxieties increased over Europe’s debt problems.

An index of manufacturing in China fell from 57.0 to 55.4 in April, the lowest in six months, but still a sign of expansion. July copper fell 11.5 cents to $3.1785 with simultaneous pressure from China, Europe, and the dollar.

The Reserve Bank of Australia met and increased its interest rate from 4.25% to 4.50%, as expected. Some are saying that this may be the end of the rate increases for a while. The June Australian dollar fell 1.83 cents to 90.41, the lowest close in five weeks.

Yesterday’s announcement of a 110 billion euro financial bailout for Greece has not calmed all fears. One of the concerns is that the Greek Parliament will not be able to deliver the budget austerity that the aid depends on. The June euro closed down 2.09 cents at $1.3005, the lowest close in over a year.

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