The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) was down as investors cooled on the Greek bailout deal, which is to be officially announced later today. Many investors believe the austerity measures will prolong the country's recession. At 10:30 a.m. EST, the Dow was down 20 points to 12,863.
The Greek bailout discussions have been ongoing for some time now as Greece tries to avoid defaulting on 14 billion euros in bonds due in March. Greece has 330 billion euros in aggregate debt. Investors have been worried about two things. The first is that if conditions in Greece and the rest of Europe continue to worsen, the U.S. will also experience a slowdown in growth. While Bernanke has vowed that the Fed will protect the U.S. financial system, a U.S. slowdown is still a possibility. The second worry is that if bailout measures are too harsh, Greece could be a brake on growth in the region for some time to come.
While the full deal won't be announced till later today, early reports suggest a 20% cut to the national minimum wage as well as pension cuts. Investors are also cooling on the news as the European Central Bank gave no hint as to what it would do with its Greek bond holdings. The ECB has somewhere between 30 billion euros to 45 billion euros in Greek bonds. If the bank takes a haircut on its bonds, Greece will be less likely to default.
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