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Volatility Picks Up on Greece Tension


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


Stocks had another volatile day as Greece-related tensions flared up again.

On Sunday, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke out against Greece's austerity program, making various demands including an increase in the minimum wage and the payment of World War II reparations from Germany. Tsipras also said he would seek a bridge loan to cover obligations until June rather than continue with its bailout program.

In response, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the eurozone would not agree to the demands.

This raised fears that a compromise would not be made ahead of Wednesday's meeting with EU finance ministers, and the Athens Stock Exchange General Index fell 4.75%.

Russia and Ukraine were also back in the news as fighting heated up over the weekend. At a press conference today, President Obama said arming Ukraine with "lethal defensive weapons" could be an option if diplomacy with Russia fails.

Oil rose sharply again today as OPEC said US oil supplies will increase more slowly than previously expected, while demand will grow.

As a result, energy stocks were among the strongest performers today.

The S&P 500 finished at 2046.74 today, down 0.4%, and a look under the surface indicated a fair amount of fear.

The VIX rose 7.9% to 18.62, indicating expectations of elevated volatility ahead of Wednesday's Greece meeting.

Plus, Gold (GLD) and Silver (SLV) both posted solid gains, while so-called risk-on sectors like biotech and small caps underperformed.

In earnings news, Hasbro (HAS) rose 7.0% as its dividend and share buyback increases excited investors, despite an earnings miss.

McDonald's (MCD) fell 1.4% after January same-store-sales came in below Wall Street's expectations.

There were no domestic economic data reports today, but Chinese exports fell 3.3% in January vs. expectations calling for a 5.8% gain. Nonetheless, China's Shanghai Index rose 0.6% today.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Coca-Cola (KO) will report fourth-quarter earnings tomorrow morning. Investors will be curious about the impact of the strong dollar on earnings, as well as the company's commentary on global economic trends. Other big names reporting include UBS (UBS) and CVS Health (CVS),

In US economics, December Wholesale Inventories and JOLTS Job Openings will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Overseas, China will report New Yuan Loans, CPI, and PPI for January.

With the big NFP report and most of earnings season out of the way, the market will likely remain headline-driven as Greece and Ukraine dominate the news flow.

The spike in the VIX indicates that traders are perhaps hedging against a negative outcome, and it does appear the market will offer a bumpy ride this week.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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