Tue 2/21/12 5:12 PM – Stocks Close Slightly Higher, Greek Deal

US stock indexes finished 0.1% – 0.2% higher today but small stocks were lower by more than 0.5%. European stocks were down a bit while Asia was mixed. Both gold and oil were up over 2% today. You should probably have one or both in your portfolio.

Most bonds were down slightly again today and the dollar was weak as Greece got a second bailout package after a lot of drama. The Greek drama is far from over but we are at another intermission. This is no 3-act play; this will go on for years and not because it was so popular, just that Greece’s needed reforms will mean much greater decline in their standard of living. That keeps tax revenue declining and support services (expenses) increasing and so it goes.

Think of Greece as being a house in danger of foreclosure. The mortgagees keep getting loans even though they should have moved out long ago because their business is really in a downward spiral. They need a smaller house with less debt but the process is being really strung out, hoping the business will come back, which I doubt because so much was built on cheap loans, corruption and dectption, producing for a while an artificially high standard of living.