Eagle Eye Opener: International Markets Mixed; Fed Chairman Benanke Hints at Ultimate Transition; N. Korean Threats May Keep U.S. Defense Contractors Busy

Conflict Rages??? Within Mixed International Markets Today (Bloomberg)

U.S. investors awoke this morning to the monotonous drone of a conflicted global market. Far East indexes ended mixed for the day, with the Nikkei 225 and Shanghai Composite both slightly up today, while Hong Kong???s Hang Seng was off by .14 percent. European bourses seem more in concert, with red numbers across the board: England???s FTSE 100, down .39 percent; EURO STOXX 50, losing .64 percent; and the German DAX, falling .74 percent; as I write this morning. Standing in stark opposition to Europe, U.S. market index futures are almost unanimous in their upward movement, but with only slight gains. The rest of the day should be interesting???

Which Inmate Will Run the Asylum Next? (Bloomberg)

Ben Bernanke revealed yesterday that he???s ???spoken to the president a bit??? about the inevitable end of his reign as the United States??? Federal Reserve Chairman. After seven years of scrapping with the U.S. economy tooth and nail, through myriad crises, nobody would blame the current Fed chairman if he needed to hand over the reins to someone new, and with more energy. However, Bernanke???s admission of thinking about the end is a departure from what he said last December ??? that he hadn???t ???had any conversations??? about stepping down with President Obama. Regardless of when he did or didn???t discuss this move with the Commander-in-Chief, the big question will be: How will investors react to someone coming into pinch hit for ???Bailout Bernanke??? and finish up the quantitative-easing (QE) job?

North Korean Bravado??? Enough to Get the Global Smackdown?  (YahooFinance)

Given what we know about North Korean leader Kim Jung Il, it???s not all that surprising to conclude he???s no big student of history. If he were, then he would know Germany learned the hard way about the costs of a two-front war. He???d also probably know better than to have the state-run media outlet boast of his country???s intentions to strike back at Seoul and Washington for sanctions received for its nuclear tests. However, if it proves true that this latest round of attacks were state-sponsored by North Korea, it could lead to more severe economic and political sanctions. How Kim responds to those would be anybody???s guess. Chances are, though, U.S. defense contractors, and their investors, would relish the opportunity to find out.