Last night? After work? I decided it was time to slip into Lake Ontario for the first paddleboard trip of the summer. It was a little rougher and windier
out beyond the breakwater and I was dumped into the lake on my way back in after struggling to get even a kilometre out. The water, you may be surprised to
hear, was much warmer than it ought to be at this time of year and much cleaner, too. I think Lake Ontario has finally turned a corner. Even a few hours
later, there was no swimmers' itch and I didn't smell like a dead carp washed up on a Toronto beach in August. And this third arm I've grown overnight
makes typing a breeze.
European markets are modestly higher and U.S. stock index futures are pointing to a mixed open with many investors already on their way to the Hamptons to
lick their wounds and drink beer from a can over the Memorial Day long weekend. Growing speculation that Germany will bend to the will of the rest of the
euro zone and back some form of jointly-issued debt looks to have stemmed the slide in European stocks, at least for today. Still, in the absence of a bold
plan to solve the European debt crisis from the ECB, EU, EC, CIA or RCMP, markets are likely to do little more than tread water or sink further. An
election in Greece set for June 17 gives markets and euro-crats yet another excuse for delay.
The economic and earnings calendar for today is light, but our programming day isn't. Heavyweight Harvard History prof, best-selling author and the man who
brought tweed back, Niall Ferguson sits down with Howard Green on Headline at 12:30 pm Eastern to discuss whether the European Union experiment has failed.
I'll give you a hint. His essay "2021: The New Europe" written a few months ago, begins like this: "Welcome to Europe, 2021. Ten years have elapsed since
the great crisis of 2010-11, which claimed the scalps of no fewer than 10 governments, including Spain and France. Some things have stayed the same, but a
lot has changed."
Peter Mandelson, former EU Commissioner for Trade and a Member of the House of Lords, will take the other side of that bet. He will explain at 12:45
precisely why the union of half a billion people and 27 member states, 23 different languages and hundreds of funny accents will survive.
You think we're done here? Not even started. At 2:10 pm Eastern, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will give us his predictions for the European debt crisis
and what a potentially disorderly exit by a euro-zone country, ahem-Greece-ahem, could mean for Canada. He'll also give us his prescription for a solution
to the crisis. We'll talk about the outlook for the Canadian economy, real estate, household debt and summer wines.
We'll kick off the trading day with Bill Strazzullo from Bell Curve Trading. Bill, who joins us for an hour beginning at 9 am, has been shockingly accurate
in his predictions for U.S. stocks, commodities and bonds and was pulling his clients out of equities in the days before the S&P 500 peaked at 1,423 in
early April. He'll give us his new targets for the S&P 500, S&P/TSX Composite, oil and gold.
And Frances has a saucy new frock with a red bow round the hem!