TGIF February 17, 2012

The 3rd Monday in February is also known as “President’s Day” in the United States.  Some no doubt think of it as another ski day, or clean out the garage day, or the day where every retail store offers unbeatable deals.

The roots lie with Congress, in 1880, honoring George Washington, and making his birthday the first Federal holiday to honor an American citizen.  The holiday was observed on his actual birthday every year.  In 1971 the holiday was permanently moved to the 3rd Monday of the month.  It later unofficially incorporated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and in the 1980’s became known as President’s Day.  For those keeping tabs, Lincoln never had an annual Federal holiday in his name.  They are both at the top of the list of Great Americans.

President’s Day 2012 will be especially eventful.  Not just because it’s an election year, and the campaign trail is kicking up plenty of dust and debris.  While we Americans will be honoring our Chief Executives, European leaders will be behind closed doors, in heated debate, trying to hash out another deal to bail out Greece.  Without more financial aid, Greece will default on their debt obligations in March.  Greece’s financial problems have been well documented for years now.  The country is still running 160% debt to its GDP.  That can’t last.

The Market has continued its strength in this new year because expectations have grown for this second Greek bailout.  Our international sources believe the European financial ministers are on track to approve a deal on Monday.  The proposed deal will allegedly contain a list of 24 “prior actions” Greece must undertake by month’s end to receive funding.  Unlike other troubled European nations, the Greeks have not embraced austerity measures to force spending cuts.  Time is almost out.

A healthy recovering Europe is a critical missing piece of the global economic puzzle; it’s a big one.  Remember, the US and Europe combine for half of global GDP.  Clearly this is going to be a long, drawn out process, as there is no quick fix to Europe’s troubles.  But you gotta start somewhere, and tough issues are finally being addressed.  This will be a big weekend in Europe. 

Needless to say, they won’t be celebrating President’s Day on Monday…. But we will.  George and Abe knew a little bit about dealing with a crisis. 

We’ll be back, dark and early Tuesday morning. Have a great weekend!

By: Mike Frazier

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