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PIIGS Lifeline Rallies Stocks — For Now

Investors are applauding Thursday’s move by major central banks to provide struggling European banks with increased access to U.S. dollar funding.  Stocks are up for the fifth consecutive day, with the Dow up more than 4% for the week and closer to turning positive for the year. Should investors expect more good times ahead?

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If the coordinated action works, it should provide relief to the troubled PIIGS economies (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain).  But more importantly — at least for American investors — it could help those banks in surrounding countries that are loaded up with PIIGS debt. According to a recent report by Charles Schwab, French banks’ exposure is equal to a whopping 25% of its gross domestic product.  German, British and Swiss banks are all above 10%. And of course, it’s these larger economies with big capital markets that American investors are more exposed to in their 401(k)s through foreign stock funds.

The U.S. has less to gain — at least directly. Its banks’ exposure to euro-zone bank debt is fairly limited (just 2% or so, according to Schwab). And while stocks are experiencing a short-term “relief rally,” says Doug Lockwood, chief investment officer of Hefty Wealth Partners in Auburn, Ind., it’s way too early to break out the champagne. For starters, although the new measures might help, it’s not a good sign that they were needed to begin with.  “It should scare the daylights out of everybody that they have gone to this extreme,” he says. On top of that, the U.S. is facing its own economic headwinds, including high unemployment and mounting government debt.

Experts recommend not making any drastic moves. After all, this week’s rally could be erased next week. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty and volatility out there,” says Lockwood. If sitting tight is not an option, Mark J. Grant, managing director of Southwest Securities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., recommends using this week’s stock market rally as a opportunity to take gains and move some money into Treasurys and senior debt. Lockwood advises a wait-and-see approach. “Are we bullish? Absolutely not,” he says. “But we’re willing to take some risk as things improve.”

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    • By WebOsPublisher

      how to change my computer icon, etc now – Windows XP
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      It is currently Sat, 08 Dec 2012 08:11:44 GMT
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      how to change my computer icon, etc now
      Author
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      susa#1 / 2
      how to change my computer icon, etc now
      there is no longer the same "effects" tab in the display properties dialogue. how do you now change the icons for my computer, network neighborhood, my docs, and the recycle bin? do you need to create a theme or something?
      Sat, 20 Mar 2004 00:31:44 GMT
      Doug Knox MS-MV#2 / 2
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      Display Properties, Desktop tab, Customize button. — Doug Knox, Microsoft MVP MPS-D Win 95/98/Me/XP Tweaks and Fixes dougknox.com =============================== Associate Expert – Windows? XP ExpertZone – microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone =============================== All replies to the newsgroups only please! Unsolicited e-mail is not answered.
      Sat, 20 Mar 2004 00:52:38 GMT
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