Concerns about a sovereign debt crisis in Europe have re-emerged in recent weeks, highlighted by the government of Ireland’s November 21 application for tens of billions of euros in aid from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This action was taken to address weakness in Ireland’s banking system, which has been
While overall consumer spending continues to fluctuate this year between marginal growth and zero growth, luxury spending is experiencing a rebound. Often considered a harbinger for consumer spending in general, global luxury goods sales rose 15% in the first quarter of 2010 alone, compared with a year ago. And many individual luxury companies have reported
While Germany emerged from Europe’s recent turmoil with accelerating economic growth and strengthening exports, the Eurozone still faces imbalances. Growth accelerated despite debt turmoil For the second quarter, Germany reported a stronger-than-expected expansion of 2.2% — its best quarterly result since 1990, the year of the country’s reunification. It achieved this despite the market turmoil
The International Energy Agency estimates that China has just surpassed the United States in overall energy consumption. What opportunities does this present for investors? Robust growth in China’s energy consumption Consumption of energy in China has doubled over the past decade, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that the country has just surpassed the
Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis’s pending bid to acquire majority ownership of Alcon, an eye care products maker, in a deal valued at about $40 billion, stood out against a backdrop of only 3% mergers-and-acquisitions growth across industry sectors globally for the first half of 2010. While we aren’t likely to see many more large-scale mergers,
China’s GDP soared 11.9% in the first quarter of 2010. And that growth is likely to continue to have a significant impact on certain commodities that China must import. How does China’s growth affect natural resources? China imports a significant share of the world’s commodities. China ranks third in the world in thermal coal reserves.
The importance of investment diversification took on more prominence in recent weeks, as sovereign debt concerns in Greece and other European Union (EU) countries played a role in increasing volatility in the equity and currency markets. Putnam Europe Equity Fund is focused on achieving diversification by investing in the securities of established large and midsize
The recent downgrade of Portugal’s sovereign credit by Fitch Ratings is symptomatic of issues in the broader region rather than an isolated event. In addition to Portugal, we have been watching the deteriorating fiscal position of several peripheral European countries. We’ve also observed that by participating in the EU, there are limitations on the ability