Writing Off Greek Debt
Discussions of a bailout of Greece have turned rapidly to what kind of write-off investors may have to take on Greek debt as the International Monetary Fund and European Union make another set of loans to the country. Germany says that investors should not be affected at all. Many opponents do not see how new loans cannot be accompanied by a drop in the value of Greek paper. According to Reuters:
Without agreement on how to reduce the debt, euro zone ministers and the IMF do not want to resume payments of loan tranches to Athens — even though Greece has met all the conditions — because they have no guarantee on whether the need for emergency financing will ever end.
The key question is: Can Greek debt become sustainable without the euro zone writing off some of the loans to Athens?
Record Black Friday Online Sales
Research firm Comscore announced two pieces of data. The first is that Black Friday e-commerce sales rose about $1 billion for the first time ever — to $1.042 billion. The other was that Cyber Monday sales could be as high as $1.5 billion. Lost in the flurry of press releases was information about the most visited sites, particularly changes from the same period last year. Comscore announced:
Amazon ranked as the most visited online retail site on Black Friday while also posting the highest year-over-year visitor growth rate among the top five retailers.
Most analysts would have expected that, given Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) overall dominance of the market. In terms of growth, the other sites on the Comscore list are traditionally among the most visited all year long — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The one pleasant surprise on the list, at least for its investors, was Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY). The nation’s largest consumer electronics firm has been trying to show its e-commerce model can work and that the company will not be trampled by Amazon.
Cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas
The cost of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” rose to a record level, even though most economists say there is very little inflation in the economy. The combined price of the items rose to $107,300 according to PNC Wealth Management’s calculation, which it has done for 29 years. For anyone who cares, the PNC figures:
Douglas A. McIntyre