Despite a sigh of relief, U.S. and European investors are still hard pressed to find a single financial barometer that reflects anything good happened in Greece over the weekend, after the debt-ravaged nation narrowly voted in favor of a party that wants to stay in the Eurozone and honor its austerity commitments.
"This is an unstable government. Once those (parliamentary) votes start to get tough and ugly, it could fall apart all over again and we could be going back to elections," says Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, CNBC's Chief International Correspondent in the attached video. "You got the best possible outcome, but now the hard part really begins."
The markets clearly sense that, not only in Greece but in Spain, where borrowing costs are rising further into record territory. Spain's 10-year yield touched a record-high 7.14%, and currency desks across the region that are being deluged with sell orders and taking the Euro/USD back to where it was before the Greek vote. Even U.S. markets have nothing to celebrate, although expectations for some form of acknowledgement from the Federal Reserve's mid-week meeting will likely temper the tantrum here.
In the meantime, there is no time for celebrations in Athens as the newly elected New Democracy party has to immediately get down to business.
"Economists use this very antiseptic phrase, 'structural reforms,'" Caruso-Cabrera says, who is on the ground in the Greek capital, explaining the mandatory union breaking, privatization and budget cutting that is needed for Greece to gets its next round of bailout money it so desperately needs. "It would be really helpful if the ECB were a little more lenient." she adds.
While that decision could be made in Germany as early as this week, early indications don't look promising, with comments suggesting that "reforms are set in stone" and further conciliation unlikely. It's a hardline stance that may test the limits of austerity, given that Greece's GDP rate has already contracted by a third from recent highs, while official unemployment statistics show roughly one in four Greeks out of work; an ugly scenario that has many arguing that the time has come for an alternative to the endless squeezing.
"If you believe in what Milton Friedman wrote you should be flooding this economy with money in terms of central bank policy and that is not happening," Caruso-Cabrera points out.
Lest we forget, just last week mere rumors of a 'coordinated central bank action' sent markets soaring, albeit only briefly. And with all of those gains now all but erased, the chance of another round of rumors (or even true actions) seems fairly likely.