Europe's Long Shadow

 | Apr 17, 2013 | 6:41 PM EDT  | Comments
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Let's face it, we just had another day where we don't know what is going on. It feels very Europe-like. Which bank? Which country? Where she stops, nobody knows.

But we do know this: The Europeans have been swooning for 18 straight months, and there is still nothing good happening, no plan, no suggestions, not even a conference lined up to brainstorm about how to save Europe from what seems like oblivion.

We know this is all becoming untenable. We also struggle to figure out where we fit in, and it isn't clear to me where we do. Sure, some of the banks have exposure. I believe that Cyprus, for example, played a big role in what is now regarded as a highly disappointing quarter from Goldman Sachs (GS). But Wells Fargo (WFC)? Ninety-seven percent domestic? Not a factor. Tech? Yes, but that's why it already trades so weakly. Lots of industrials for certain. But, again, no one is looking for anything good to happen in the numbers. Which is why this is all so spooky.

In the end, we've run a great deal since we found out that Europe would only be in recession, not a depression. Now, though, the lack of any initiatives is beginning to really freak people out and giving lots of people a terrific excuse to sell as we play the parlor game of which French bank or which ratings agency or which treasury is about to be broken.

Ultimately, we have to get the news so something can happen. It sure hasn't yet. Which makes it so skittish. Once we get it, we will find out that it won't be as bad as the decline we have had.

But that will probably be right in time for people to start to chime, "Sell in May and go away."

I just wish they would get it over with already, however we've been saying that for multiple years, and the fact that they can't may mean that in the end the whole continent is doomed to an endlessly shrinking and, ultimately, irrelevant posture.

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