Greek Contagion Across Markets Muted as Crisis Seen Quarantined

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Investors Should Take Greece Risks Off the Table: Juckes

Financial markets barely shuddered after Greek voters rejected austerity demands, with the euro slipping less than 0.4 percent, in a sign investors see the crisis there contained for now. Brent crude sank below $60 a barrel.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index slipped 0.7 percent at 2:26 p.m. in New York, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.2 percent. The declines were muted compared with a week ago, when Greece first announced a referendum. The euro declined 0.5 percent to $1.1060, paring a loss of as much as 1 percent. Treasury 10-year yields fell eight basis points to 2.30 percent.

While investors sold equities around the world and sought havens from the yen to German bunds after Greeks voted to reject austerity terms, signs of financial panic did not materialize. The pressure is on Greece to develop a plan to stay in the euro, as the nation stares at an economic calamity that investors are speculating will remain largely contained.

“I think it’s going to be hard to get any real traction until we get some type of clarity,” said Walter Todd, who oversees about $1 billion as a chief investment officer for Greenwood Capital. “You can’t escape the noise created by this situation. Our opinion has been and remains at this point that Greece is more noise than anything else.”

Muted Reaction

European finance ministers are waiting for a proposal to re-start bailout talks, as Greece named a new finance minister in a change of style, if not necessarily substance. Greek banks will remain shut through Wednesday, while the European Central Bank maintained the level of Emergency Liquidity Assistance available and tightened the terms of collateral.

European stocks plunged 3.4 percent last week for their biggest drop of the year, while U.S. equities posted the worst week since March after Greece unexpectedly called the referendum. The euro has been resilient in the face of the Greek crisis, which could lead to the country’s exit from the common currency.

“After five years, you have to believe a measure of the news from Greece is already built into the market,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co., which oversees $110 billion, said by phone. “How many times can you be concerned about the same news? It loses it’s effectiveness over the near term.”

The muted reaction in the world’s financial markets means the Federal Reserve can continue to watch the latest U.S. economic data and avoid hard conclusions about the timing of interest-rate increases for now.

German bunds rose, send the 10-year yield lower by three basis points, while yields on Spanish and Italian bonds climbed at least 14 basis points. Both rates jumped more than 20 basis points on June 29, the first trading day after Greece announced the referendum.

A U.S.-listed exchange-traded fund tracking Greek stocks fell 8.3 percent, while American depositary receipts of National Bank of Greece SA declined 12 percent. Greece’s stock exchange has been closed for the past week.

Grexit Concern

“The muted reaction implies the market is not too worried about a Grexit,” said Jan von Gerich, chief strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Helsinki. “It is still early, and bigger moves may well surface in the near future, but I do not expect to see the start of another financial crisis.”

Among stocks moving in the U.S., Humana Inc. climbed 2.7 percent in the U.S. after Aetna Inc. agreed to buy the rival health insurer last week. Aetna lost 5.6 percent. Transocean Ltd. and ConocoPhillips fell more than 2.5 percent as West Texas Intermediate crude sank.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index dropped 2.1 percent, the most in a week. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland companies listed in Hong Kong declined for a third day, sliding 3 percent.

The Shanghai Composite Index gained even as two shares fell for every one that rose, amid government efforts to shore up a market that has tumbled 27 percent from its June 12 peak. Over the weekend, China suspended initial public offerings, while brokerages pledged to buy shares and the central bank said it would provide liquidity for margin trading.

Copper for delivery in three months slid as much as 4.2 percent to the lowest price since Feb. 3. Gold for immediate delivery advanced 0.3 percent to $1,166.50 an ounce in London trading.

Crude oil retreated, with Brent falling 5 percent to $57.28 a barrel in London, dropping below the $60-dollar mark for the first time since mid-April. In New York, West Texas Intermediate touched the lowest since April 15.

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