Friday, May 18, 2012

Morning Brief: Media begins to catch up to events in Greece; markets mixed as Facebook sets its IPO price

Now that the second round of elections have been set for June 17, the media seem to have finally caught up a bit with the story in Greece. Falling stock prices, and fleeing bank deposits have a way of waking up even the sleepiest of news organizations.

But now the media seem to be oh-so-sure that Greece will be leaving the Euro, where as before, such a thing seemed unimaginable.

But if the previously held belief, that Greece would endure austerity measures and remain inside the Eurozone was so easily accepted and proved wrong, then today's media chorus, that Greece is about to exit, is equally wrong. This story has yet to be written.

Listen to SYRIZA's party leader, Alexis Tsipras: "We don't want Greece outside the Eurozone. We want Greece inside euro and inside eurozone."

Of course, to remain, Greece will have to renegotiate the bailout agreement, and all the parties will have to go along.

So it may be true that Greece is heading out the door, so to speak. But before everyone assumes this, one might want to let the Greeks cast those second ballots. Polls being released are contradictory – one saying SYRIZA is heading for victory, another showing results very similar to the first round of balloting.

European stock markets are mixed this, except in Greece where the Athens Stock Market General Index is up solidly.

In the U.S., stock market futures point to a higher open as investors cheer on the Facebook IPO. The stock, which will trade under the ticker "FB", has been priced at $38 a share, making it the highest valued U.S. company at the time of its IPO.

Retweet: Heather Horn writes in The Atlantic this morning about the way the European press is now writing about its political leaders. Under the headline European media go a little overboard sexing-up continental politics, Horn says that the media is now treating its politicians more like television stars.