Political chaos reigns supreme in Greece following election: Morning market insights

The New York Stock Exchange was flat overnight as investors weighed up the political situation in Europe, halting the sell off to take a breath.

The S&P 500 Index was flat, finishing up only 0.04% to 1369.58 overnight.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.23% or 29.74 points to 13008.50.

The NASDAQ Index was flat, finishing up only 0.05% or 1.42 points to 2957.76.

Bank industry sector in the S&P 500 finished higher after Warren Buffet said US banks were strong.

Political uncertainty in Greece will take days to be sorted out as leaders try to form coalitions. New Democracy (an establishment centre-right party) received 19% of the vote and 108 seats in the 300-seat Parliament. Radical left party, Syriza won 17% of votes to win 52 seats; establishment centre-left party Pasok came third with 13% and 41 seats. The Democratic Left won 19 seats in Parliament rejects austerity measures, yet is in favour of remaining in the euro.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price rose 0.14% to $US98.10 a barrel overnight.

Gold was flat, up 0.01% to be trading at $US1639.20 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was buying $US1.0206 at 8.45am AEST.

Europe

European sharemarkets were mixed overnight as investors digested the election results over the weekend. The London stock exchange was closed for a bank holiday overnight while Frankfurt was flat, holding its breath as Greek leaders started the process to try and piece together some sort of government.

The German DAX was up 0.12% or 8.01 points to 6569.48.

The European Stoxx50 index was up 1.55% to 2283.09.

Markets are watching political developments in Greece. Citigroup said yesterday the risk of Greece leaving the euro by the end of 2013 has risen as high as 75% according to Bloomberg.

New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras said he failed to forge an agreement to form government overnight. Samaras gave up his bid after nearly six hours of talks in Athens overnight according to Bloomberg.

“I tried to form a coalition government with two goals: that the country remain in the euro and bailout policies change to include growth measures,” Samaras said in a statement on Greek state-run NET TV overnight. “I did what I could to get a result but it was not possible. As such, I have informed the president of the republic and handed back the mandate.”

The attempt to form a government will pass to Alexis Tsipras, the head of Radical left party, Syriza which has vowed to cancel the austerity and bailout terms. Tsipras repeated his plans to forge a coalition of leftist parties to overturn the austerity and bailout policies. He said Samaras’s endorsement of the austerity measures are “policy positions opposite to the left’s alternative plan for cooperation.”

“There cannot be a government of national salvation, as he calls it, since the signatures and his commitments are not salvation, but tragedy for the people and the place,” Tsipras said in a statement after the meeting.

Tsipras will see Greek President Karolos Papoulias today at 2pm Athens time (9pm AEST).

Greece’s ASE stock exchange Index dropped as much as 8.3% overnight.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has made austerity policies a condition of euro membership faces political pressure from German voters who don’t want their taxes spent on bailing out wayward countries was quick to call and congratulate the new French President Francois Hollande, inviting him to Berlin “as soon as possible” for talks.

Hollande ran on and won on the opposite policy to the Merkel led austerity program in Europe, so the meeting will be interesting.

“It is a thunderclap for Europe,” Arnaud Montebourg, a senior Socialist likely to enter the French cabinet told the London Telegraph. “This shows that the Europe of austerity must be turned into a Europe of growth.”

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