Urging more patience with Greece

The crisis in Greece has dominated financial headlines for the past two weeks as the country appeared headed toward an exit from the European Union. Paul Christopher, a global market strategist for Wells Fargo's Investment Institute, wrote a report last week encouraging investors to be patient. On Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sought his left-wing party's backing for a new budget austerity package that is harsher than what he urged Greeks to reject in a vote just last week, but would provide longer-term financial support.

Christopher wrote that a compromise could still happen before a July 20 deadline for Greece to make payments to the European Central Bank. If not, Greeks would likely face a dual currency situation where the euro would remain Greek's currency for saving, while Greek government scrip would be used for daily expenditures.

Christopher remains optimistic with Europe's reviving economy in the long run. "Even if a deal ultimately fails, the economic basis for further European equity market improvement should remain," Christopher wrote. "Especially if Europe produces proactive policy responses."

Patrick Kennedy

Is General Mills near a turning point in the U.S?

General Mills reported mixed operating results when it reported fourth-quarter and year-end results July 1. Some segments showed improvement, but the company's biggest operating segment, U.S. Retail, continues to see decreasing profits and sales.

Jonathan Feeney, an analyst with Athlos Research noted that General Mills' U.S. Retail business has declined for the first five-year period in memory as the company continues to respond to changing consumer tastes.

The Golden Valley-based company is working on a number of cost savings measures that should help preserve its profits, and its Consumer First product and marketing focus should help on the revenue end. The company's sales guidance for fiscal 2016 was essentially flat, but Feeney sees "possible growth in 2017."

Patrick Kennedy

An indirect sign of Wall Street slowdown

Goldman Sachs analyst Alexander Blostein downgraded some asset management companies last week ahead of their second-quarter financial reports. Blostein is predicting organic growth for most asset managers to deteriorate in the quarter as investors pull funds out of U.S. equities and into global equities and from managed funds to passive funds.

Blostein moved Minneapolis-based Ameriprise Financial from a "buy" to "neutral" and Virtus Investment Partners to "sell."

Patrick Kennedy