The woes of Europe continue, again… Get used to it. The markets are soft this morning on news that Moody’s is warning Spain of a downgrade to its Aa1 rating due to funding vulnerability, coming increases in the public debt ratios, and concerns that Spain won’t be able to make the cuts it needs. New rounds Greek protests and bank bond vote concerns in Ireland are adding fuel to the fire as well. This is all acting as a drag on stocks, but the PIIGS banks are being held hostage in early ADR trading in the U.S. this morning.
Banco Santander, S.A. (NYSE: STD) ADRs are down 2.4% at $10.86 this morning, but that is up from under $10.00 at the end of November. Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (NYSE: BBVA) is down 1.8% at $10.42 versus $9.21 about two weeks ago.
Irish banks are mixed. Allied Irish Banks plc (NYSE: AIB) is down a sharp 5.7% at $1.15 versus a recent low of $0.92 and versus a 52-week low of $0.76. The Bank of Ireland (NYSE: IRE) is down over 4% at $2.55 compared to $1.44 just about three weeks ago.
In Greece, the National Bank of Greece SA (NYSE: NBG) is down 0.5% at $1.87 versus $1.72 about three weeks ago and versus a 52-week low of $1.65.
The saga continues. That will be the case in 2011 as well.
JON C. OGG