Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trouble overseas

I am growing more and more concerned about the overseas picture.  It has gotten to a boiling point in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Oman, and now it appears to be hitting European countries, namely Spain and Italy. 

It is only a matter of time before the investment community freaks out and prices begin their plunge.  Look very soon for the stock and bond markets to realize that things are not at all good.  One thing I believe that sparks protests is unemployment, and so I would like to orientate everyone as to where we stand given the various countries in despair. 

 and for comparison
Data is all from Google.  Nearly all countries except Germany and Italy are sitting at 20 year highs for unemployment.  This is a breeding ground for protest and civil unrest.  If you recall all of the unrest in Los Angeles, just type that into your search engine, and you will find that was in 1992.  This does not mean there will be unrest, but it certainly helps having a lot of people sitting around doing nothing. 

And below are the current credit ratings, one by a popular agency, and another, more realistic in my estimation. 

Credit ratings
Country         Weiss               S&P(Aug 2010)    S&P(current)            S&P outlook
China                 A                    A+                          AA-                            Stable
Egypt                 C-                   BBB-                      BB                              Stable
Germany            C+                  AAA                     AAA                             Stable
Greece               E                     BB+                        B                                Negative
Iceland               D+                  BBB                      BBB-                           Negative
Ireland               D-                   AA                        BBB+                           Negative
Italy                   C-                   A+                          A+                              Stable
Japan                 C                    AA                         AA-                             Negative
Portugal             D+                  A-                         BBB-                            Negative
Spain                 D+                  AA                         AA                              Negative
United Kingdom C-                  AAA                     AAA                             Negative
United States      C                   AAA                     AAA                             Stable

Funny that China is at the top on one list, and in the middle of the other.  I believe the Weiss ratings, not to mention that they are a lot easier to understand.  Just to fill in the blanks, BB and below are considered speculative investments by S&P.  Seems pretty funny to me, I am not sure if that includes Greece or not, but either way, Greece is on the verge of being speculative.  So to the web, and what I did not consider, the data I sighted above is a bit dated, as Greece is at B now as per the Denver Post.

There is a lot of chatter that a top for the market is either in, or will be in the next 3 weeks.  Either way, it is serious time to use extreme caution.  Look for a prolonged period of stock prices falling, very soon!

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