The Greek government probably will get its way as it puts finishing touches on its debt restructuring. The aid from its neighbors, the International Monetary Fund and, indirectly, the European Central Bank is nearly in place. All that remains is to get private bond holders to trade their current Greek bonds for new ones worth about 70% less. So far 60% of the holders have agreed. That is nearly enough to seal the deal. Markets rose on anticipation of the closing. For the time being, the fact that Greek GDP is falling and unemployment is at nearly 15% has been forgotten. The international capital markets can put off worrying about that until Greece releases national economic figures for the current quarter.
New iPad Release
The release of Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) new iPad had one odd effect. Apple shares did not rise. Many analysts expected that they would. The iPad is almost certain to have incredibly impressive sales. It is different enough from its predecessors to be attractive, particularly because it works on new 4G superfast broadband networks. It may be that investors believe that, even with a new iPad, Apple cannot continue to almost double revenue quarter after quarter. Patent and trademark disputes have swirled around the industry for a year. No one can say with any certainly that Apple will not lose one of the court challenges it has against its competition, or that its competition have against it. Apple may have to pay fees that are not anticipated now.
U.S. Sells AIG
The Treasury said it will sell $7 billion of AIG (NYSE: AIG) shares as it flees an investment it wishes it did not have to make. The rescue of the insurance firm cost taxpayers more than $150 billion originally. AIG and the Treasury have set another sale that will cut federal government holdings by an additional $8.5 billion. But the Treasury will still own 70% of the company and those shares are worth about $42 billion at the current share price. “The bottom line is this:” AIG Chief Executive Robert Benmosche said in a statement, “the people of AIG have achieved another significant milestone in our progress toward our goal that American taxpayers recoup their entire investment in AIG at a profit.” With $42 billion at risk, that is hardly the case yet.
U.S. Gasoline Prices
What kind of financial news day would it be without a report on U.S. gasoline prices. The average nationwide cost of a gallon of regular continues to hover around $3.76. It has moved little in the past four days. Almost no one expects that to continue as crude prices stay high and with the summer travel season is less than three months away. The price a month ago was $3.48. Media headlines continue to warn about $4 a gallon gas. Nothing has occurred recently to suggest that might not be the case.
Douglas A. McIntyre