Doubting traders unpersuaded by Athens debt deal
Greece may have negotiated the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history but early prices on new bonds to be issued to creditors showed investors had little faith that the deal would mean an end to Athens' economic nightmare. Under the deal, private creditors swap old Greek bonds for new ones with a much lower face value, lower interest rates and longer maturities, losing about 74 percent on the value of their investments and slicing 100 billion euros off the national debt.
The U.S. Labor Department is out with its weekly jobless claims. Jobless claims rose by 8,000 to 362,000. The prior week’s reading of 351,000 claims was revised to 354,000. Bloomberg was expecting a reading of about 351,000 for this last week. Another aspect to watch is the four-week moving average of claims, which rose by 250 to 355,000. The army of unemployed, measured by the continuing jobless claims with a one-week lag, posted an increase of 10,000 to 3,416,000.
The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February vs. expectations for 206,000, continuing a recent trend of decent hiring activity. The unemployment rate held at 8.3%. But America remains mired in the longest jobs recession since the Great Depression. It's been 49 months since the U.S. hit peak employment in January 2008. And with nonfarm payrolls still 5.33 million below their old high, the jobs slump will continue for several more years.
Foreclosures and other distressed properties account for more than a third of all home sales, and data released today suggests that figure may soon grow even bigger. Lenders in January took back nearly 91,100 distressed properties, which includes foreclosures and short sales, up 29% from the previous month, according to data released this morning by LPS Applied Analytics, which tracks mortgage performance. In the next few months, experts say those homes will make their way back to the market to join the already high percentage of distressed homes being snatched up by buyers.
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