The Greek Defence Minister says that if Germany remains rigid on its EU deal, Greece can look elsewhere - to the US, Russia and maybe China for help. Yesterday the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted his country would not extend its reform-linked bailout. Germany said Athens would get no more money without such a programme.
Paul Sommerville, of Sommerville Advisory Markets, says that the financial markets are not too worried so far about Greece leaving the euro zone as they believe that ultimately a deal will be sorted out. Pointing out that the German DAX is already up about 8% this year because of the QE programme announced by the European Central Bank recently, he says that markets are telling investors not to listen to the politics of the situation. He says the markets only see a very small possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone, but if that was to change the financial markets would react.
Euro zone finance ministers - including Michael Noonan - are due in Brussels for an emergency gathering tomorrow to discuss the way forward for Greece. The country's bailout programme is coming to an end at the end of this month and Mr Sommerville says that the most likely response from the euro zone is some sort of delay until June so as to allow negotiations to continue on the country's economic problems.
On oil prices, Mr Sommerville predicts that they will continue to be volatile over the medium term, adding that he would not be surprised to see it testing new lows in the coming months. He says that while lower oil prices in the medium term benefits everyone around the world, oil companies are huge dividend payers and so any falls they suffer affect the stock markets.
MORNING BRIEFS - Aer Lingus shares fell last evening as investors were more convinced that the Government will reject IAG's bid for its 25.1% stake. The shares traded at €2.11 yesterday evening, down 10 cent from Friday's close, and well below the €2.55 IAG bid price. Over the last few days it has seemed more likely the Government will not accept the bid for its shares, despite IAG offering assurances in relation to Heathrow slots and connectivity from Ireland. But last night a senior source in the Labour Party has described as "premature" a Bloomberg report that the Government is preparing to reject the bid. IAG has said that its bid rests on support from the Government and Ryanair.
*** HSBC could be hit by new legal action in the UK and the US after the leak of secret files exposing widespread tax avoidance at its Swiss operation. The scandal raises the risk of criminal investigation in Britain. The US Department of Justice could also revisit a deferred prosecution agreement over money laundering allegations. Herve Falciani, the former HSBC engineer who leaked the files, has teamed up with far left Spanish party Podemos to advise them on tax policy.
*** Hibernia REIT has announced it second biggest acquisition to date. It is buying the Garda Siochana headquarters at Harcourt Square, Dublin 2, for €70m from Gangkhar. The site is 1.9 acre site and has over 110,000 square feet of office space in four blocks.