Global financial markets continue to rise and fall on the latest news out of Europe.
After an overnight rally in Asia, U.S. futures rose in pre-market trading Monday morning on hopes for a "comprehensive plan" out of Europe by the end of the week. But the rally quickly faded after German officials, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, doused such expectations, saying: "The dream of resolving all problems at the EU summit" is impossible.
In reaction, European stocks surrendered early gains, the euro fell sharply vs. the dollar and U.S. equities opened lower. In recent trading, the Dow was down over 130 points.
If the recent rally was predicated on hopes for a European plan, the lack of a plan would logically suggest a sell-off is coming, the naysayers contend. But predicting the short-term gyrations of the market is a "mug's game," according to author and analyst John Mauldin. Still, he's absolutely certain there will be a "banking and credit crisis" in Europe; it's just a matter of when.
As evidence of the "very, very delicate balance" in Europe, the president of Millennium Wave Advisors and author of (most recently) Endgame, notes estimates of the amount of write-downs banks must take keeps creeping up (now at $7 trillion) as does the estimate on the size of the haircut on Greek debt (50% and rising).
"We're getting closer and closer to the end game," says Mauldin. "At some point, whether you have a physical Lehman, you have a Lehman Moment. That's what all of these debt crises end in."