The drama of Ukraine and Greece has left old-fashioned economic data in the shade so far this year but, quietly, there are some signs of improvement for the moribund euro zone economy.
After Germany's foreign minister saw "no reason for optimism" after talks in Moscow on Tuesday, today Hungary’s Peter Szijjarto meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Violence is on the rise again in eastern Ukraine and tougher sanctions against Russia remain a live possibility although EU foreign ministers limited themselves to targeting a few more Ukrainian separatists earlier this week.
In two days the World Cup will open in Brazil, with the home country generally believed to be the favorite once again. There are others better placed to look at the odds for every country, though at least this year will avoid the spectacle of seeing thousands of Brazilians hang around after their team has been vanquished (the Brazilians tend to book hotels through the end, assuming they'll be there in the final - hence lots of them out all night in Berlin in 2006 when it was Italy and France going for the cup). For the short-term investing crowd, there's some reason to bet on the winner too - Goldman Sachs, in a report so detailed it makes us wonder about their obsessiveness with the game - points out that the winners tend to outperform in the stock market after the final.
The recent re-election of Zimbabwe’s 89-year old president Robert Mugabe, in office for 33 years, resembled a period not long ago when sham elections were the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. Peaceful transitions of power were almost unheard of.
Fund managers searching for yield are increasing exposure to frontier markets (FM) as a diversification from emerging markets (EM), as the latter have been offering negative relative returns since January, according to MSCI data.