This blog post originally appeared on RealMoney Silver on July 3 at 7:49 a.m. EDT.For several weeks, I have harped on a number of credit measures that indicated that credit market/bank balance sheet stress had diminished. This formed the basis and logic for my renewed bullishness in the financial sector (which has been dead wrong). For example, the most important spread former Fed Chairman Greenspan focuses on in monitoring financial stress is the one between the three-month London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) and the overnight index swap rate (OIS). This spread has barely moved since the start of the stock market correction in late May.
| Libor Less Overnight Rate Spread |
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- the ever-rising price of crude oil and other energy products;
- the ECB's monetary tightening policy;
- the Federal Reserve's jawboning on inflation;
- fears of a General Motors (GM) bankruptcy;
- concerns regarding additional bank writedowns;
- a weakening consumer under the burden of higher oil prices, tepid job growth and slowing incomes;
- a continued contraction in residential real estate and the specter of a decline in nonresidential real estate values;
- the perceived threat of a Democratic Administration and its politics of populism;
- more evidence that the newest paradigm -- namely, the notion of a geographic economic decoupling -- is unlikely;
- the growing escalation and prospects for a potential military confrontation between Israel and Iran; and
- recognition that corporate profit expectations for 2008-2009 remain too optimistic.