Items to watch out for in the upcoming week

All eyes continue to remain on the macroeconomic situation in Europe.

There is also the the other continuing drama in the Middle East area, but it is always difficult to determine whether it is media sensationalism working its ugly head or whether there is something genuine brewing there.

I note with interest half-way through the market session that commodity stocks are getting hammered. In particular, I observe that most of the oil/gas majors (e.g. Suncor (TSX: SU), EnCana (TSX: ECA), Canadian Oil Sands (TSX: COS)) are trading down despite the underlying commodity (West Texas Intermediate) remaining seemingly range-bound around the $90 mark.

I also believe the market is seeking resolution to the Greek debt crisis (specifically the formal point in time where the EU gives up on them), but just like how the resolution of the US debt ceiling failed to provide relief for more than a trading day, I do not believe the resolution of the Greek crisis will resolve the EU situation – in particular the key countries are Italy (10-year yield chart) and Spain (10-year yield chart) – if their yields go higher then the crisis will morph into something much larger. Italy did, however, pass a measure which closes the theoretical gap in their own deficit. The usual European bank suspects (Societe Generale, Deutsche Bank, etc.) are all trading down around 5-10%, pricing in some future problems.

Also, for the first time since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) briefly traded under $100. Their preferred shares (e.g. GS-PB, callable, perpetual with 6.2% coupon) are still trading at around 99 cents of par value, so that side of the market is not seeing much fair, just the equity. If you go to page 157 of their last quarterly SEC filing, they managed to vaccuum up money out of the market in 48 of 63 days – this is significantly worse than their previous track records. For example, in the previous quarter (page 139) they made money on 61 of 62 days in the market. Think of who you are competing with if you are involved in the short-term trading business – at least in a Las Vegas casino if you shop around correctly you will get about 99 cents of equity on one dollar bet in a hand of blackjack. Against Goldman Sachs Casino, you will be lucky to see 90.