Financial-market participants around the world have reasons for both optimism and pessimism at the dawn of this trading week.
On the plus side is the People's Bank of China's announcement it will cut the banks' reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage point (50 basis points), to 20.0 percent from 20.5 percent, on May 18.
On the minus side is JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s amazing derivatives-trading loss, as described by the company last week: A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money.
But nobody appears to care, really.
The big thing seems to be Greece, whose political leaders have accomplished little or nothing during the past week in terms of creating a coalition government in the wake of the country's snap parliamentary elections on May 6.
As a result, many observers will be completely unsurprised if and when the call is issued for a fresh round of parliamentary elections to be conducted next month. The deadline for the formation of a new government is May 17, as noted by BBC News.
One handy measure of the Hellenic Republic's primacy in the markets at this historical moment may be the context of the movement in the EUR/USD (euro/U.S. dollar) currency pair on Sunday.
As of 9:30 p.m. EDT, the EUR/USD pair had been trading in a range between $1.2890 and $1.2904.
To put this in perspective, it is helpful to know the pair's 52-week range is from $1.2661 to $1.4669.
And to put that in perspective, it is helpful to know the lower figure indicates market participants most likely are in risk-off mode and the higher figure suggests market participants most likely are in risk-on mode.
Yuji Saito, director of the foreign-exchange division at Credit Agricole Bank in Tokyo, spelled it out while telling Reuters: It's risk-off everywhere you look. ... Currencies may hold steady having hit the lows earlier, but remain vulnerable to headlines out of Europe, while JPMorgan's news could spur speculation about tighter financial regulations and prompt investors to reduce risk assets.
Therefore, one could make the case that investors may be considering a move out of higher-risk asset classes and into lower-risk ones.
Too bad JPMorgan Chase did not consider that a while ago.