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Senin, 12 September 2011

U.S. Stock-Index Futures Fall Amid Speculation Greece Approaching Default - Bloomberg

U.S. stock futures fell, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will extend last week’s loss, as speculation Germany is preparing for a Greek default spurred turmoil in financial markets worldwide.

S&P 500 futures expiring in December lost 0.8 percent to 1,142.60 at 9:44 a.m. in Tokyo. The benchmark measure of U.S. equities slumped 1.7 percent last week, wiping out its rally since Sept. 2 on the final day amid concern the debt crisis is worsening. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 1.2 percent today.

Officials in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government are debating how to shore up German banks in the event that Greece fails to meet the budget-cutting terms of its aid package and is unable to get a bailout-loan payment, three coalition officials said Sept. 9. BNP Paribas SA, Societe Generale SA and Credit Agricole SA, France’s largest banks by market value, may have their credit ratings cut by Moody’s Investors Service as soon as this week because of Greek holdings, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Sept. 10.

“There’s so much anxiety among investors,” Richard Sichel, who oversees $1.6 billion as chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., said in a telephone interview. “There’s troubling news out of Europe. People are concerned that if Greece defaults, there could be a ripple effect. It’s fear of the unknown. There’s an abundance of bad news overseas and, in the U.S, the economic news has not really been enough to boost confidence.”

Prime Minister George Papandreou, vowing to avoid a default and keep Greece in the euro, approved new measures to help plug a budget gap as resistance builds at home and in Europe to extending more aid to the European Union’s most-indebted nation.

Top Priority

The Greek government’s top priority is “to save the country from bankruptcy,” he said in a Sept. 10 speech in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki. “We will remain in the euro” and this “means difficult decisions,” he said.

The S&P 500 wiped out its weekly advance on Sept. 9 after the European Central Bank said Juergen Stark resigned from the executive board, suggesting policy makers are divided over how to fight the debt crisis. Stocks also fell after President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass a $447 billion plan to boost employment after jobs growth stalled last month.

Between April 29 and Aug. 8, the S&P 500 fell 18 percent amid concern about the European debt crisis and after S&P downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating. The measure has risen 3.1 percent since then. It closed as low as 1,119.46 on Aug. 8, within 29 points of a bear market, or a 20 percent drop.

Lehman Brothers

The European debt crisis may mimic the events that led to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September 2008, which spurred the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, according to Eric Upin, chief investment officer at Makena Capital Management LLC.

“The problems in Europe are the same kind of problems we had in the U.S.,” Upin, who oversees $14.5 billion at the Menlo Park, California-based money manager, said on Sept. 8 at the Bloomberg Global Inflation Conference in New York. “The problems in Europe border on -- we don’t know the magnitude -- a solvency crisis, and there may not be the political system to solve those problems.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Nick Baker in New York at nbaker7@bloomberg.net; Rita Nazareth in New York at rnazareth@bloomberg.net

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