sovereign debt

Moody's Downgrades UK Rating From AAA to AA1

Credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service downgraded Britain's government bond rating one notch from the top AAA to AA1 Friday, citing weaknesses in the economy's medium-term outlook. Moody's said "subdued" growth prospects and a "high and rising debt burden" were weighing on the British economy.

Repo Man Goes to Ghana to Tow Away Argentinean Navy's Flagship

Borrowers beware. If you miss a payment on your car loan, don't go parking it in Ghana thinking it's safe: The arm of the repo man is really long. That was news to the Argentinean Navy, which got a shock this month when authorities in Ghana seized its flagship, the ARA Libertad.

Greek Default Sets Record: No Problem, Says Bernanke!

On Friday, Greece reached a deal to "restructure" its national debt downward by about $133 billion. That's the biggest sovereign restructuring in world history. But don't worry. According to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, it's no big deal for the U.S.

It's Europe's Fault: They're Holding Back the Recovery

Many European nations have deficits that make the U.S. look thrifty, and over a year after their problems came to light, they're still holding the worldwide recovery back. But because they share the euro, normal solutions aren't available, which means the EU must bite the bullet and accept an orderly default, or watch matters spiral downward.

Why the European Debt Crisis Is Far From Over

The European debt crisis is back: Portugal is in political turmoil, and may need a major bailout, and Spain may too. But the E.U.'s strong healthy are rebelling against propping up their weaker neighbors. The real issue, though, is that the E.U. hasn't yet addressed the fundamental flaw built into it at the euro's creation.

Uncle Sam Wants You. . .to Buy Treasury Bonds

The Treasury has to find buyers for trillions of dollars in new bonds needed to fund the federal deficit. It hopes average citizens will pony up and invest in some $337 billion worth. But for a host of reasons, "safe" T-bonds might not be a winning investment for you.

S&P Downgrades Ireland's Debt to A-

Standard & Poor's downgraded Ireland's debt rating by one notch on Wednesday due to concerns over possible increased capital requirements by the country's banks.

A More Bullish Forecast From Deutsche Bank

The bank now say positive trends developing in consumer spending, employment and the stock market will likely boost U.S. economic growth higher than the 3% most analysts had previously predicted. Deutsche's chief equity strategist is predicting a 23% rise in the stock market for 2011.

The Higher the Debt Ceiling, the Deeper the Hole

When some new members of Congress recently declared their resistance to raising the nation's debt limit, it triggered warnings of "catastrophic consequences." Problem is, the higher this ceiling gets, the deeper the hole that the U.S. is digging itself into.

Why Interest Rates Keep Rising, Despite QE2

The Federal Reserve is doling out billions to buy bonds in hopes of keeping interest rates low and stimulating the economy. However, several powerful forces are working against that low-rate strategy, ranging from investor psychology to global competition for capital.

Best and Worst Global Stock Markets of 2010

The big national stock market winners of 2010 scored returns far above those of U.S. markets by piggybacking on China's ferocious growth. But rebounding American equities look mighty impressive next to the year's real losers: the victims of the eurozone debt crisis.

Ireland's Credit Rating Downgraded 3 Notches by Fitch

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ireland three notches from A to BBB , citing the costs of restructuring the Irish banking system, the country's weak growth prospects, and uncertainty about its economy due to the deepening financial crisis, despite the international economic assistance it received last month.

Ireland's Austerity Budget:
Not Likely to Avoid Default

Despite its planned austerity budget, the long-term solvency of Ireland is still in doubt. Simply put, the losses which Irish taxpayers must cover are larger than the nation's economy can support, making sovereign debt default likely even with a promised bailout from the EU and IMF.

The E-Bond Is a Bold Idea, but the EU Is Too Timid

The notion that the EU could issue a eurozone-wide bond is probably the most sweeping proposal yet to relieve country debt problems. But the ad hoc measures Europe has been taking to put out fires are likely to remain the status quo. One big reason: Germany.

Spain to Sell Stake in State Lottery as Debt Crisis Looms

With the fears of a European sovereign debt crisis growing worse, the Spanish government said Wednesday that it's taking several measures to stop the fiscal contagion from reaching its shores, including selling a 30% stake in its national lottery business, Bloomberg reported.

What to Watch for in the Dollar's Moves

The stock market is often coy about announcing when its trend is about to change direction, but DailyFinance's technical analysis guru, Charles Hugh Smith, sees a downward shift coming. His basis for bearishness is a relationship that has applied often in the markets -- the dollar-stocks see-saw.

ING Forecasts Market Growth of 8% to 12% in 2011

ING Investment Management forecasts that stock markets will rise between 8% and 12% in 2011, thanks to a low-inflation, low-interest environment supported by the Fed, despite weak GDP growth. And for those looking for to increase their investment yields, they have a few suggestions.

Eurozone Growth Slows as Austerity Takes Its Toll

Economic growth in the eurozone slowed sharply in the third quarter as austerity measures aimed at cutting budget deficits dented the Continent's recovery. Meanwhile, a growing divergence in the economic performance of EU nations is likely to make it tough for the European Central Bank to set its monetary policy.

What the Stocks vs. Dollar Seesaw Is Saying Now

For a host of reasons, when the dollar spikes, stocks drop, and when the dollar falls, stocks soar. Right now, with dollar sentiment reaching maximum bearishness, contrarians are preparing for the next seesaw shift. If the dollar rises again, stocks could reverse.

The Price of Aging: Will It Break National Budgets?

Thirty out of 49 major developed countries could see their credit ratings plummet to junk status if they don't make changes soon, says a Standard & Poor's study. The biggest problem is health care spending on the elderly, particularly for long-term care.

Buffett Warns That Euro Faces a 'Real Challenge'

The euro has posted its biggest quarterly gain in eight years, but billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett is worried about Europe's common currency. Despite the E.U.'s trillion-dollar bailout fund, he's not sure the Continent will be able to avert a sovereign debt meltdown.

If the Dollar Stabilizes, Stocks Could Be Done

The U.S. dollar and U.S. stocks have a see-saw relationship: When one is up, the other is down. If the dollar is now bottoming out and ending its long decline, that could spell bad news for equities going forward.

The New Allure
of Emerging-Market Debt

Yields on emerging-market debt funds and exchange-traded funds are certainly enticing these days, especially compared to U.S. Treasurys. Also attractive are the added benefits of portfolio diversification and currency appreciation. But the risks can't be overlooked.

Europe's Debt Crisis:
Fixed, or Just Papered Over?

Officially, Europe's fiscal health is on the mend, but each time the Continent's debt crisis is declared history, some ugly financial news quickly emerges to undercut those claims. Indeed, the real eurozone meltdown may still lurking beyond the horizon.

Public Debt Could Hurt Growth for Years to Come

Andrew Milligan, the head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments in London, says yes. He says that while short-term fiscal pressures are manageable, "there are significant long-term risks from high levels of public sector debt."

Japan's Cheap Debt Could Cost the World Dearly

Fueled by a high domestic savings rate, Japan has piled up debt to epic levels over the last few decades. But as its population ages and its national savings rate drops, the days of cheap debt are coming to an end -- and the global economy will feel the effects.