Let’s get PrOGRessive SPIRIT! (Finally a positive acronym.) We are either destined for destruction
preferring to wallow in negativity or instead can soar with optimism. The only difference between the two is
perspective. Time to focus on the
positives in the world. I choose optimism.
Portugal, Greece, Spain, Ireland and Italy had financial
difficulties spending more than could be supported by tax revenues. This was blatantly obvious during the global
recession of 2008 and the painful but necessary fiscal adjustment that
Nine Years later, this period of adjustment that left
confidence and economic growth levels low concluded last Friday. Greece agreed to a political solution to
conclude their third memorandum or bailout.
All that is left is for the technical issues to be concluded. This is a historic moment that closes a dark
chapter and ushers in a new age of disciplined prosperity.
Today, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there
will be no fourth memorandum and the aim of the current program is to allow
Greece to once again tap the markets for financing needs. Now work begins to foster even stronger
growth levels than expected by reducing the government’s debt burden in the
The consequences of pessimism and negative news headlines
over almost a decade has left the PrOGRessive SPIRIT countries’ equity markets
at deep discounts and presents some seldom seen opportunities. Companies are trading at fractions of book
value as if a massive currency devaluation or a new great recession is
imminent. Neither are on the
horizon. And now that Greece’s heavy
government debt load is being addressed, capital controls soon lifted and Greek
bonds inclusion into the ECB’s QE program soon to be concluded, the upswing
should be long lasting.
European markets should be flying and celebrating but
victory horns haven’t been heard.
Unemployment is trending down as GDP is going up. Bank balance sheets are being restored and
confidence is returning to both public and private sectors. Interest rates have never been lower fanning
the flames of a strong recovery. There
is so much positive news and reasons for optimism. But the public, which has been so conditioned
to tune out the good and focus on the bad, appears to be tone deaf.
Greece’s current government is partly culpable for
conditioning the public to focus on the negatives. Greece’s Prime Minister Alex Tsipras has
pursued policies of a hopeless romantic over the last 2 years. His heart appears to be in the right place trying
to help those less fortunate and most in need.
However, by pursuing policies that had no chances of being accepted, he
delayed the much needed economic rebound. Instead, Greece was left with additional
billions lost in financial markets and much lower GDP growth. Finally accepting the bitter pill that needs
to be swallowed, he has turned the corner and agreed to policies that will
foster solid economic growth far into the future.
Yes, with Tspiras agreeing to bailout conditions last
Friday, he set the stage for a dramatic shift in sentiment and growth
trajectory for Greece and the rest of the EU.
The long protracted sovereign crisis is over. These European markets have been overlooked
and avoided for such a long time, they now represent some of the most
compelling stories. Let’s roll up our
sleeves, accept the progress and do the homework necessary to capitalize on
these recent events. It’s time to shed
the cloak of pessimism we’ve been programmed to wear and put on our capes of
by Michael Carino, 4/12/17
Michael Carino is the CEO of Greenwich Endeavors, a
financial service firm, and has been a fund manager and owner for more than 20
years. He is optimistically invested in