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Low Volume Day Highlighted by Italian Political Turmoil


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Early action in US trading was highlighted by an announcement that stand-in technocrat Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti would be resigning shortly. This would open the door for previous PM Silvio Berlusconi to regain control through this position. Last year, Berlusconi stepped down amidst skyrocketing debt levels and an economic slowdown. Italian stocks and bonds came under considerable pressure as the reforms that Monti had pushed through had caused the economic decline in Italy to stabilize.

Greece is extending its buyback offer to private bondholders until tomorrow at noon London time (7 a.m. EST). Before today, Greece was aiming to have private holders tender about half of these bonds to be considered a success. The current holders include Greek banks, pension funds, foreign hedge funds, and foreign banks. Of the Greek bonds with a face value of 62 billion euros, about 23 billion euros are held by Greek institutions. The buyback is funded by a loan from the European's bailout fund, the EFSF.

In China, stocks continued to rally. Notably, the Shanghai Composite continued its streak of daily gains and has now risen 6.2% in the past week.

Hewlett-Packard (NASDAQ:HPQ) and Best Buy (NASDAQ:BBY) both rose on proposed takeover rumors. There is the possibility that activist investor Carl Icahn has built a large position in the stock after it had fallen more than 50% for the year.

The rest of the market action was relatively muted. Trading volumes were about 30% below average and fixed income and commodities traded in a tight range throughout the day.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow, the US will report its monthly trade balance and wholesale inventories data. Because the US is largely an importing nation, the trade balance is important because much of the cash the US send overseas is then spent on US goods. The balance is expected to widen to -$42.6 billion from -$41.5 billion last month. Inventories are expected to show a monthly increase of 0.4%, down from last month's 1.1%.

In Europe, the ZEW Institute will release its business expectations and confidence index readings. Despite a shrinking quarterly GDP in Europe, the index is expected to rise to -11.5 from last month's -15.7.

From an earnings perspective, Dollar General (DG) and Pantry (PTRY) will report before the open.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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