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2015 at the Halfway Point   June 29 - July 3
Fri, 03 Jul 10:35 AM EST/03:35 PM GMT
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After months of conflict, the Greece tragedy reached new heights of drama this week: negotiations with the nation's creditors ground to a halt as PM Tsipras appealed to the citizens of Greece to pass judgement on the creditors' demands in a public referendum, the ECB froze ELA funding and capital controls were slapped on banks as Greeks lined up at the nation's ATMs to drain their accounts, and Tuesday's IMF payment was missed. The CAC and DAX gave up the gains they had seen last week and trading was highly volatile. Massive volatility keeps rocking Chinese stocks: on Monday and Tuesday, the Shanghai Composite's trading range was in excess of 400 points, the highest ever recorded. Over the weekend, the PBoC laid on more stimulus in the form of a 25 basis point cut in interest rates and a 50bp cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) to select lenders. Meanwhile in Japan, the BoJ's Q2 Tankan survey indicated manufacturers are more optimistic than they've been since last spring, before the sales tax hike took effect. Big firms predicted the largest increase in capex spending in more than ten years in 2015-16. For the week, the DJIA dropped 1.2%, the S&P500 sagged 1.2% and the Nasdaq fell 1.4%.

The first half of 2015 has come and gone, and the long-running global bull market has significantly faltered. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4% through the first six months of 2015, the first time the index has lost ground in that time frame since 2010. The S&P 500 eked out a 0.2% gain in the first half, its smallest H1 gain on record, and ended Q2 down 0.2%, after nine consecutive quarters of gains. The Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 looked much better: the Nasdaq sustained a 5.3% gain in the first half and a 1.8% advance in the second quarter, boosted by gains from record-breaking biotech M&A deals. The Russell 2000 added 4.8% in the first six months of the year. The Shanghai Composite rocketed 60% from January to its June peak, but has since plunged 17%, leaving it up about 33% in the first half. The 10-year UST yield ended Tuesday at 2.35%, rising about 40 bps during the quarter, the most in two years and ringing up the first quarterly loss for treasury bonds since 2013. ...
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