A former Playboy model has upset the Mexican presidential race by taking part -- sort of -- in a key debate televised Sunday night. Reuters reports
that the country's electoral authority has apologized to voters after Julia Orayen, an assistant on the program, walked in front of the cameras in a
form-fitting white dress to hand out notes and cards to the candidates. The appearance lasted just a few seconds, long enough to light up the
Twittersphere, generating tens of thousands of mentions in the minutes afterward. What was most dismaying for the candidates, however, was that Mexican
newspaper Excelsior declared Orayen the winner of the debate Monday morning.
European stocks are extending their losses and U.S. index futures are again pointing to early losses after Greek party leaders failed to form
a coalition government last night (shocker) and the word "austerity" was struck from the Political Buzzword Handbook and replaced with "stimulus." What
read as "We need to seize upon this new momentum to embrace the hard choices of austerity" as recently as Friday, now reads as "We need to seize upon
this new momentum to embrace the hard choices of stimulus." The inability to form a government in Athens has raised the possibility that Greece may
default on its debt as soon as next month: "Me? But Alexis, I thought you paid!" In France, freshly-elected president Francois Hollande faces
parliamentary elections in June and the resurrection of would-be cabinet members last seen smoking Gauloises with Mitterrand.
With so much yet to be decided in Europe, are markets bound to suffer the sort of volatility we saw last summer? David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin+Sheff thinks so. "More uncertainty, more volatility, more risk aversion likely
lies ahead," he told clients yesterday. "And along with it, a further deterioration in government financial strength." Rosenberg recommends defense as
the best offense for the weeks ahead.
I want to hear whether other top strategists agree. Has the "sell in May" cliché gained new weight with the events in Europe? Our focus
should be very clearly on portfolio strategy this week. Build cash? Buy bonds? Sell resource stocks? Buy telecoms? What will a successful portfolio
look like this summer?
Oil needs to be an important component of our coverage today. The price of WTI has dropped almost 10 percent in the past five sessions and it can't
all be blamed on worries over Europe. If that were the case, copper would have been clobbered to a similar extent. There's more to it than that.
In earnings, we're watching numbers from Franco-Nevada, Finning International, George Weston, Trican Well Services, Wendy's. Disney, Molson Coors and
CI Financial. Kinross reports as well and this underperforming stock should be a feature of our conversations about the gold sector today. The company
tends to pop up on just about every analyst's list of possible takeover candidates.
We can also begin to ramp up our focus on Canadian jobs data Friday. The last two reports on U.S. employment have been sorely disappointing and other
metrics are pointing to a slowing in the pace of the U.S. recovery. Will that show up Friday? How should the market position itself ahead of the
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