Conducting our weekend Europe Google searches for the latest news yielded articles with a very familiar and vague tone about the "progress" across the pond. The excerpt below from a Reuters article represents a good example:
The goal is for EU leaders to agree to develop a road map to "fiscal union" at a June 28-29 EU summit, where top European officials including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy will present a set of initial proposals. European countries would then put the meat on the bones of the plan in the second half of 2012, several European sources have told Reuters, including a timetable for overhauling EU treaties, a step Berlin sees as vital for setting closer integration in stone.
Are they joking using terms and expressions such as "road map" and "initial proposals"? The market is not looking for the "meat" to come in the second half of 2012. It appears as if European leaders still do not grasp the severity of "messing with" the markets. The entire market for sovereign debt could unravel at a shocking rate if some concrete steps are not taken very soon.
Spain (NYSEARCA:EWP) and Italy (NYSEARCA:EWI) seem to want significant action and assistance, but they do not want to give up much in return. Does Spain really think the Germans are going to bail them out without outside oversight? Italy's call for issuance of joint debt was given another "get real" response from Angela Merkel. Bloomberg reported on June 2:
Merkel rejected joint debt issuance in the 17-nation euro area as a solution, saying "under no circumstances" would she agree to Germany-backed euro bonds. Some "come along and ask for euro bonds, saying all we need are equal interest rates and everything will turn out all right," Merkel said in a speech to members of her Christian Democratic Union in Berlin yesterday. Instead, what's needed is an economic overhaul to tackle the lack of competitiveness in Europe, she said.
Germany is pushing for a central body to manage euro area finances. Angela Merkel also wants to see agreement on broad reforms in labor markets, social security systems, and tax policies. The problem for investors was summarized by Reuters:
Until states agree to these steps and the unprecedented loss of sovereignty they involve, German officials say Berlin will refuse to consider other initiatives like joint euro zone bonds or a "banking union" with cross-border deposit guarantees - steps Berlin says could only come in a second wave.
We highlighted slowing market momentum way back on May 7 when the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) was still at 1,370. The video below reviews global markets that remain in "prove it to me" mode. The market must give us tangible evidence of a possible bottoming process; something we have not seen yet. The video reviews bearish set-ups on the weekly charts of the NASDAQ (NASDAQ:QQQ), S&P 100 (NYSEARCA:OEF), total stock market (NYSEARCA:VTI), small caps (NYSEARCA:IWM), and global stocks ex-U.S. (NYSEARCA:VEU). DeMark charts in multiple time frames are presented that align with the need for on-going investment risk management.
After you click play, use the button in the lower-right corner of the video player to view in full-screen mode. Hit Esc to exit full-screen mode.
We headed into Friday's session with very high cash levels. Based on what we saw by the close, we raised even more cash. Numerous DeMark exhaustion counts tell us to be open to a possible rally attempt between Tuesday and Friday. Without some tangible "meat" from Europe, the bears should maintain the upper hand. The ongoing risk in the market needs to be respected, something we will continue to do.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.