Europe Launches $648 Billion Aid Fund, Rules Out Immediate Use (Bloomberg)
European governments set up a full- time 500 billion-euro ($648 billion) fund to aid debt-swamped countries and, not for the first time in the three-year crisis, expressed confidence that the financial muscle won’t be needed anytime soon. Finance ministers from the 17 euro countries declared the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) operational. The ESM will replace the temporary European Financial Stability Facility, which has spent 192 billion euros of its 440 billion euros on loans to Ireland, Portugal and Greece. The two funds will run in parallel until the EFSF is phased out in mid- 2013.
Apple Charts Signal Trouble Ahead (Marketwatch)
Amid rosy scenarios, serious signs of trouble are developing on Apple charts. There is also a fundamental factor that indicates a much more bumpier road ahead. Technical analysts have seen what they consider a bearish divergence in the charts for Apple. This is when prices rise to a peak, fall back to a previous peak, and decline further. Normally such reversals lead to rallies. But after two days of trying to pull up to its broken resistance line, the rally collapsed on Friday. If AAPL declines just a few more dollars below $644, it’ll complete a false upside breakout pattern on the weekly chart. Investors then should watch out below.
Corruption Is Seen as a Drain on Italy’s South (CNBC)
In Italy, misuse of European money “did tremendous damage because the funds were used badly and, as some magistrates say, they also fed organized crime,” said Sergio Rizzo, a co-author of best-selling books about political corruption. “The southern regions don’t have the capacity to plan, and they fund projects without results. That’s the problem.” From 2000 to 2011, Italy received more than $60 billion in European Union financing to underwrite a wide array of programs, including agriculture and infrastructure projects. Most of the funds went to the southern part of Italy, with little but a half-completed highway to show for it.