The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index rose in early trading Monday as Greek lawmakers approved further budget cuts over the weekend. At 11:00am Eastern Time, the Dow had gained 41, or 0.35 percent, to 12,842.89 points. The index jumped as high as 12,884 immediately following the opening bell but slowly pared back its early morning gains to settle at a slight increase by midday.
Shares for Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) were up 2.25% to $8.26 by late morning. The Dow 30 component stock has led all other colleagues so far in the 2012 calendar year; enjoying a 48 percent Year To Date boost.
Referring to this morning’s stock market rally, Mike Ryan of UBS Wealth Management Americas told Bloomberg.com, “This has been a broad risk-on rally. It’s not surprising to see the market rebound. The fact that the Greek Parliament was able to push through the austerity measures was widely expected. This eliminates one of the stumbling blocks, but it doesn’t solve the Greek issue. The issue now is the next step in this process. Our view is that Greece is going to struggle to make payments going forward.”
Greece’s sovereign debt woes have been well documented by IRA.com News, beginning last year when former Prime Minister George Papandreou resigned to make way for current leader Lucas Papademos. The austerity deal will now need to be approved by European Union policymakers before it is enacted. If approved, Greece would secure further bailout funding from the International Monetary Fund, Germany and other central banks.
Greek Social Unrest
Greek financial officials announced two weeks ago that the country may lay off as many as 15,000 government workers in 2012, which has sparked social unrest, strikes and other labor disputes. Protesters took to the streets over the weekend to make their opinions heard as violence ensued in specific locations. News agencies reported that a number of buildings and establishments had been burned by protesters Saturday and Sunday as many citizens view the government-approved austerity measures as a further financial burden.
March 20th Bond Payment
The austerity measures also come ahead of a scheduled $18 billion payment to private creditors set for March 20th. Greek government representatives have argued that the country will not be able to come up with the full payment and have offered new coupons to bondholders that would be worth significantly less than the face value of the previous debt notes. The IMF and Germany have entered negotiations and urged creditors to take a massive haircut on the value of their original notes. However, two credit rating agencies have published statements saying that the country would be considered to be in default if the negotiated loss is too great.
Dow Jones Performance
With today’s gains, the Dow Jones now stands more than 5 percent higher than its 2012 open of 12,217 points. The index could be affected by President Obama’s 2013 budget speech which took place late Monday morning. The president promoted taxation of the wealthiest Americans while postponing the nation’s own austerity measures; saying now is not a time to impose spending cuts on the U.S. economy.
Below is the intraday trading chart for the Dow Jones Industrial Average index.
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