Greece passes austerity package despite widespread protests; gold mostly flat

Greek Parliament voted 200 for and 74 against to pass tough austerity measures in return for a bailout and keep Greece in the Euro.

Rioters, numbering in the tens of thousands, had protested all day in the lead up to the austerity vote. Police, who were pelted with rocks, fired tear gas into crowds. Several businesses were set on fire.

The austerity measure will grant Greece a $172 billion bailout in exchange for a second round of cuts to government services.

Passage of the measure should provide some reassurance to markets this week at the start of a big earnings week. Spot gold is mostly flat, trading at $1,726/oz, since the deal was announced. Vale (NYSE:VALE) and Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) will be reporting this week.

Socialist party leader George Papandreou had warned of doom if the measures were not passed.

"We are talking about chaos, my dear colleagues. We are talking about the most dangerous and most painful consequences for the country and specifically for those that don't have any money. For the unemployed. For the middle and lower income classes."

Recognizing the plan is still fragile, a contingency plan has been devised to return Greece to the Drachma.