Germany and France Butt Heads Over Policy: What You Need to Know

The big macro can cause big moves in the market. What does today's headline macro news mean for your portfolio?

What's happening: German Chancellor Angela Merkel canceled a speech to the German parliament tomorrow amid disagreements with France over how to use the European Financial Stability Fund. The speech was expected to share details about the agreed-upon proposals.

In plain English, please: While the cancellation of the speech alone may not be crucial news, it's the latest sign that Germany and France -- the financial powers of the European Union -- are having growing difficulties coming to an agreement on the EFSF. France favors an approach that would use the EFSF similar to a bank, leveraging its current firepower with help from the European Central Bank to make it "massive." Both Germany and the ECB are against that approach.

Investors all over the world should keep a close eye on the developments in this disagreement. The fate of the Eurozone economy will have a major impact globally, so it's imperative that the member countries find a workable, effective, and -- maybe most importantly -- agreeable solution.

Stocks to watch: For U.S. investors, big developments in this debate will show up in major indexes including the Dow Jones Industrial Index (INDEX: ^DJI) and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC). Drilling down to individual stocks, global bank stocks -- Banco Santander (NYS: STD) , National Bank of Greece (NYS: NBG) , Citigroup (NYS: C) , and Lloyds Banking Group (NYS: LYG) , to name a few -- could be particularly affected.

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