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European Union

Greece is hours away from defaulting on its debt obligations to creditors, threatening a global stock market crash and possible eurozone economic collapse in 2015. European Union authorities are scrambling to patch together a last-minute deal to prevent a Greek debt default and keep the over-indebted country in…

While debt-infested countries in the eurozone are struggling to decrease their budget deficits, the U.S. government is reporting an increase in its deficit. For the fiscal year of 2012, the federal government budget deficit was $1.09 trillion, slightly below 2011’s deficit of $1.29 trillion. (Source: U.S. Department of…

Following a weak second quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial and S&P 500 indices are now in positive territory for the first time since the end of the first quarter on the backs of a positive July and August. So far, August has proven strong for technology, growth, and…

Italy’s economic contraction deepened, as its GDP fell 0.7% in the second quarter of this year. What is more disconcerting is that, year-over-year, in the first quarter of 2012, GDP contracted 1.4%; while, in the second quarter, the economic contraction worsened, as GDP shrunk by 2.5%. Italy’s Retail…

I wrote a couple of months ago in these pages about the fact that the British economy officially entered a recession as of the first quarter of 2012, when the country released its GDP growth numbers. While Britain expected its third consecutive quarter of negative GDP growth in…

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ/AAPL) will report its fiscal third quarter on July 24, but the real excitement for the company will be the second half, when Apple releases the highly anticipated “iPhone 5,” an “iPad” mini (to challenge smaller tablets), and the next version of “Apple TV.” I recently…

Hope springs eternal; many believe consumer spending will resume in 2012 as the jobs market improves, preventing the U.S. economy from entering a recession. But the hard evidence shows otherwise. As the U.S. Senate and Congress are split between democrats and republicans, there are at least 15 job…

The eurozone is on shaky ground. European Union leaders will be meeting on Thursday to begin an emergency two-day summit as the region’s leaders attempt to localize and corral the European debt crisis. Spain has formally requested emergency funds to help save its fragile banking system. It is…

The focus this past weekend was squarely on the Greek elections and whether the vote was one which would precipitate the exit of Greece from the European Union. The focus instead should have been on the fact that Greece will run out of money very soon and hence…

A few weeks ago, members of the Swiss parliament discussed introducing a gold bullion-backed currency to trade alongside their paper-based currency (source: Forex Pros, May 22, 2012). In Switzerland, the official currency is the Swiss franc. What was proposed was a gold franc that would be backed by…

For the first time in two years, the U.S. has experienced two consecutive months of declining retail sales (source: Commerce Department). Not only did May 2012’s retail sales, month-over-month, decline 0.2%, but this was on the back of April’s retail sales numbers being revised downward from a decline…

In 2010, the average American family was no wealthier than they were in early 1990s—meaning the financial crisis of 2008 erased two decades of wealth (source: New York Times, June 11, 2012). The Federal Reserve released this very sobering but not surprising news this week. The average American…

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued another scathing report on the state of the mountainous U.S. national debt. The CBO says the national debt will double by 2026 and reach 200% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2037 unless firm action is taken to stem America’s…

Spain’s Treasury minister—equivalent to Timothy Geithner here in the U.S.—issued a public plea yesterday to the European Central Bank (ECB) stating it was “technically impossible” for Spain to bail itself out. While everyone assumed the future of the European Union was centered on the upcoming elections in Greece,…

One of the most common questions I get asked is about bank stocks. Investor sentiment for bank stocks has oscillated from panic selling to a mad rush to buy them. One of the things to take into account is that, even though the water in the U.S. financial…

This past month of May was the turning point for the global economy. Just look at these statistics and you can’t help but think the bottom is falling out again… Manufacturing sank to a three-year low in May for the 17-member European Union. The economic contraction in Europe…

There were no proverbial May flowers this year when it came to the stock market, with the month showing the worst decline since September 2011. The NASDAQ fell 7.19% in May and 8.54% from the end of the first quarter. The DOW, S&P 500, and Russell 2000 lost…

Here’s the bottom line on the crisis in Europe: The only way the European debt crisis could be put temporarily aside is if the European Central Bank (the “ECB,” our equivalent of the Federal Reserve) prints money. Since Germany is the main voice within the ECB, printing is…