After hitting the midway point of June tomorrow, we move into the month's first significant political event with major economic implications, as the Greek elections take place over the weekend. Depending on the outcome, the Federal Open Market Committee will be left with the responsibility to employ available measures to nurse the economy back to health.
Domestic news today continued to stray on the wrong side of the tracks, with initial unemployment claims spiking, signaling more struggles in the already dampened labor market. Today's disappointing labor report coincides with yesterday's bad consumer-spending data. However, these reports are just checkpoints to gauge the overall economy. The problems that pose immediate detrimental effects are boiling again in Europe.
France, although not in nearly as dire a position as its eurozone compatriots, was downgraded by Egan-Jones from "A" to "BBB." Spain, on the other hand, after being downgraded by Moody's yesterday close to junk-bond status, saw its debt market dry up as yields reached record highs.
And the good
|Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI )
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Despite overwhelming negative news throughout the day, the broad markets had a stellar performance, with investors factoring in economic stimulus before the Fed meets next week. Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , up 1.77%, helped boost the Dow today as the wireless company rolled out a new pricing strategy, offering Share Everything plans containing unlimited calling and texting as well as monthly data for multiple devices.
ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) increased by 1.86% and 1.79%, respectively, even as OPEC moved to maintain daily production at 30 million barrels. Some expected the cartel to shrink its ceiling, which would have caused the price of crude to appreciate. But the organization does plan to reconvene if Brent oil prices drop below $90, giving some stability to large oil-producing firms.
Natural gas prices increased nicely today, as the gas stockpile came in less than expected. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) gained 2.36%, bringing the stock back up to 9% over the past month.
The midterm eurozone economic picture will begin to take shape this weekend, with Greece's EU membership hanging in the balance. The international economic picture presents complex problems that can only be treated in small doses, so expect some turbulence for the foreseeable future. With increased instability expected in the market, now is a great time to check out The Motley Fool's special report describing 3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich. This free report will list three remarkable companies as well as offer great advice on how to invest to secure a comfortable retirement -- get your free report now.