Financial markets respond to debt deal

August 1, 2011 9:45:30 AM PDT
As the deal to raise the government's debt ceiling is debated in Congress, many Americans are wondering how the plan will affect their financial futures.

The deal appeared to put the stock market at ease as numbers were slightly up Monday morning. Globally, Asian markets rallied, and European markets inched higher, indicating foreign investors are relieved an agreement was reached.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrials tumbled down 127 points after an early uptick Monday.

On the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group trading floor and on Wall Street in New York, stocks rose more than 1 percent, a relief over the last-minute deal in Washington to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and cut the deficit to avoid a nationwide financial meltdown.

But experts on the trading floor and analysts say Americans still may need to beware of interest rates.

"The short term is, we do have a relief market going on with our rally in the equities. But the long term is that, over the weekend, our economy suddenly didn't get better either," said Scott Shellady/ICAP derivatives manager.

Shellady says rating agencies, which review bonds in the U.S., may still under rate them because of the overall turmoil and because the government deal reduces the deficit by $2.4 trillion, which still may not be enough.

That could mean higher interest rates on mortgages or credit cards without a locked rate.

"Even you get though you got a debt deal, that doesn't get you out of the woods for a debt downgrade. A debt downgrade absolutely could have an effect on you or I for what we pay for credit cards or mortgage rates, because those rates look likely to rise rather than fall in that situation," Shellady said.

"This deal is not perfect, nor the deal many of us would have made ourselves, but in the end and after weeks of partisan differences, both sides have come together and compromised to avoid an economic catastrophe," Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin wrote in a statement.

Republican Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is also optimistic that the bipartisan deal will pass.

"I think it will face a very good prospect in the Senate, well over 60 senators will support it. In the House, they're going to be counting votes, but because Republican Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both backed the deal, I think they'll find the votes," Kirk told ABC7 Monday.

Other Illinois politicians have spoken out with their reactions to the deal.

Financial experts say that even with the deal in place, some 401K plans can take a minor hit, at least in the short term. They do say, however, that most balanced, responsible 401K plans should be able to recover.

Most lawmakers are hoping to get the deal done and get all the votes and have the legislation passed by Tuesday night to avoid a large financial catastrophe.

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