[UPDATE] Greek Finance Minister Resigns, Global Markets Down

Global financial markets are continuing to plummet as investors watch the political unrest in Greece.

Today, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned.

On Sunday, the Greek people resoundingly rejected its creditors’ bailout offer, with 61.3 percent voting “No” and 38.7 percent voting “Yes.”

While many observers are celebrating the citizenry’s stance against continued austerity, experts say plunging global markets are likely due to heightening concerns about the uncertainty surrounding Greece’s eurozone membership.

Markets in Europe have fallen the most, while U.S. markets were down somewhat in early morning trading but have edged back up into the green. The slight ups and downs have continued into mid-morning, with the U.S. markets showing steady resistance to any major declines — in stark contrast with European and Asian markets.

At 11:02 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones was down 0.12 percent, to 17,708.60, while the Nasdaq was down 0.03 percent, to 5,007.74, and the S&P 500 was down 0.12 percent, to 2,074.19.

Meanwhile, several footwear businesses are among the market’s gainers in mid-day trading today, with Skechers, Finish Line, Nike, Wolverine World Wide and Under Armour in the green. Deckers Brands and VF Corp. remained in the red for the first part of the day.

Cannacord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon said the situation in Greece represents a “big macro unknown” — something that tends to pull global markets as well as investor sentiment down.

“This is something that takes a while to trickle down to consumers — if it ultimately impacts U.S. consumers at all,” said Lyon. “The immediate effect tends to be on the stock market and investor perceptions regarding risk; there’s a distinct difference between investor sentiment and consumer sentiment.”

Lyon also noted that while the resulting macro uncertainties are affecting global markets and might continue to do so for some time, Greece represents a very small percentage of the GDP and overall demand in the eurozone.

Still, if Greece withdraws from the eurozone, Lyon added, the potential impact could have a number of complicated consequences, including a possible impact on the perception of the euro.

Citi Research analyst Kate McShane, in a report this afternoon, said she believes Greece’s impact is primarily “from a foreign exchange perspective.”

McShane pointed out that in June, on a year-on-year basis, the euro was down 18 percent, the British pound was down 7 percent, the Canadian dollar had declined 13.2 percent, the Japanese yen was down 16.6 percent, the Chinese yuan was up 0.5 percent and the Swiss franc was down 4.1 percent versus the U.S. dollar.

The European Central Bank’s governing council is due to hold a conference call this afternoon to discuss the provision of emergency funding to Greece’s banks, according to reports from Reuters.

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