So far, 2011 has unfolded like a crash course in ancient history. First, the Mubarak Dynasty in Egypt fell, then the civilization of Greece collapsed. Now, the Huns from Germany threaten the Roman Empire.
Most analysts already have priced a collapse of Greek sovereign debt into the price of the euro and European stocks. But Greece is a relatively small economy. Italy is a different story. European banks are loaded with Italian debt, so European stock markets will remain very sensitive to the fate of Italy.
The good news is that, last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill to boost the European Financial Stability Facility, effectively forestalling the sovereign debt crisis for now. At home, German aid to Greece is not politically popular, but the whole idea behind the creation of the euro in the 1990s came from Germany, which placed severe budget constraints on member nations. That means Germany will continue to help those countries that pledge austerity and discipline. Read