George Chamberlin's Money in the Morning

July 2, 2015

Didn't take very long for Greece to disappear from the headlines, only to be replaced by Donald Trump. For the past three weeks the markets have been rattled by fear the default by the Greek government on billions of dollars in interest payments would send the global markets into a tailspin. True, on Monday we had a pretty nasty drop with the major U.S. stock indexes falling about 2 percent, but it didn't go any further and even gained 138 points in the Dow industrials yesterday. The focus will now shift to this Sunday, when a referendum vote will be held to ask the people of Greece how they think the economic mess should be handled.

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Didn't take very long for Greece to disappear from the headlines, only to be replaced by Donald Trump. For the past three weeks the markets have been rattled by fear the default by the Greek government on billions of dollars in interest payments would send the global markets into a tailspin.

Of course, the financial media had to have something to scare people. So, MarketWatch.com ran a story with the headline, "Spain tries to avoid being Europe's next debt bomb." It sort of implies the Greece situation is old news, which is hardly the case.

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Today's employment reports show an economy picking up the pace as we move into the second half of 2015. The Department of Labor said U.S. payrolls rose by 223,000 in June and the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, the lowest level since the spring of 2008. At the same time, initial claims for jobless benefits rose to 281,000 in the past week, the highest number in five weeks. However, it is now 17 weeks in a row the number has been below 300,000, a sign of stability in the nation's workforce.

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A big pink bunny banging on a giant bass drum rang the opening bell at the NYSE this morning. That's right, folks from Energizer were on hand to celebrate the spinoff of their company from Edgewell Personal Care. Energizer will focus exclusively on the battery and flashlight business while Edgewell will involve the other brands including Schick razors, Playtex products, Hawaiian Tropics and other popular items. This is one of several breakups of companies where certain assets were not fully represented in share prices. By splitting into two or three separate publicly traded companies, investors tend to get better value.

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One stock moving higher today is Tesla Motors. The company announced that it sold 11,507 Model S sedans in the second quarter, up 52 percent from the same period a year ago and the biggest quarterly sales report ever. The shares are up nearly 3 percent in early trading. Tesla will begin selling its first SUV, called the Model X, in September. Early reservations suggest the vehicle, with its retro gull wing doors, will be a huge success.

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Mortgage interest rates soar. That's the report from Freddie Mac. Yes, the rate has gone all the way up to 4.08 percent, the highest rate since last October. CNBC's real estate reporter was already reporting yesterday how these high rates are making it impossible for many people to afford to buy a home. If mortgage rates going from 4.02 percent to 4.08 percent is a deal-breaker, you probably shouldn't be buying a home in the first place.

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Padres bats banged out three hits yesterday against the dreaded Mariners, tripling their production from the previous day's game. After back-to-back shutouts at home, the guys limp off to a weekend series against the St. Louis Cardinals, never a comfortable place to play. The Pads are eight games out of first place in the NL West and two games out of last place. Get ready for some big roster changes.

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Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July and remember exactly what we are celebrating, the sacrifices suffered to gain our independence and what is being done to protect our liberty.

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Video Interviews

Interview with CBRE's Mike Hoeck

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