Why the FTSE Is Moving Up Midday

The Greek debt crisis has moved one step closer to resolution today after private investors were coaxed into forgiving 100 billion euros -- equivalent to $131.7 billion -- of debt. That amounts to the largest sovereign restructuring in history, and at the moment, avoids a technical default. Despite all this, the FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE  ) was largely flat on the news and only moved northward after American employment numbers showed that the U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February while unemployment remained at 8.3%. After the jobless data, the FTSE moved from down 0.05% to up 0.29% at 2 p.m. in London trading.

Of course, with any progress in Greece, moving "one step closer to resolution" means all participants had to be forcibly shoved forward. Nothing seems to come easy in the tug-of-war between a country having difficulty adjusting to austerity and creditors trying to hold on to some level of value on their Greek debt. This deal in particular was struck with a group of creditors being pulled into the deal kicking and screaming. Greece is attempting to bring creditors joining the deal from about 86% to more than 95%, but will have to do so through use of "collective action clauses."

Across the pond, America's job market proved resilient for another month. Not only did the economy slightly beat consensus estimates of a job gain of 210,000, but job growth for the previous two months was raised by 61,000. The data show that the United States economy is continuing to recover and may not need further stimulus.

So there you have it. While there was further progress made in Greece, investors tired of the constant chatter of "avoiding a debt spiral" were uninspired by an action that still required collective action clauses. Instead, America's good -- not great -- job numbers showed a high level of resiliency for the world's largest economy. With many large FTSE companies having a large presence in America, this was the news investors chose to focus on today.

Eric Bleeker owns shares of no company listed above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On March 11, 2012, at 9:47 AM, TMFCop wrote:

    Still not sure how reducing Greece's debt by $100 billion, but piling on $130 billion more from a ECB loan is considered "progress."

    What they've done is just kick the can a little further down the road. Now it's a wait-and-see game on whether they'll implement all the requirements of the bailout.

    If the Greek elections go against those who secured the loans, you can be sure we'll be right back he again in a few months.

    Rich

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