Markets are mixed following the opening bell, primarily on disappointing economic data in Europe while the nuclear threat in Iran heats up. European PMI unexpectedly fell below 50.0, indicating a contracting economy as firms slash jobs to manage costs, led lower by Germany.
Greece has announced salary cutbacks for contract workers in the public sector. Surprisingly, the cuts will be retroactive to November 2011; meaning up to 64,000 people may work for no salary, or even be asked to return pay from November-February.
Fitch continues to throw salt in Greece’s wounds, cutting the country’s credit rating from CCC to C, further into junk territory. Greek one-year debt traded as high as 763% this morning; good thing they finalized the bailout yesterday or one would worry that debt costs may spiral out of control!
Although weak PMI in Europe and China are pushing markets lower, tensions in the Middle East continue to support the price of Oil. WTI Crude remains near $106/bbl (Brent Crude up 0.4% to $122/bbl) as the UN nuclear agency declares their most recent inspection a failure since Iran blocked access to key sites suspected of hosting nuclear activity.
The TSX has opened 0.2% higher while the Dow is trading unchanged overnight. European equities are trading down 0.6% following the weak PMI data. Crude oil is marginally weaker though still at $106/bbl; however, the Canadian dollar has lost nearly half-a-cent against the greenback overnight.