BRIC is Brazil, Russia, India, China -- the acronym coined by Goldman Sachs banker Jim O'Neill 10 years back to describe the world's biggest, fastest-growing and most important emerging markets. But according to Albert Edwards, Societe Generale's uber-bearish strategist, it also stands for Bloody Ridiculous Investment Concept. Some investors, licking their wounds due to BRIC markets' underperformance in 2011 and 2010, might be inclined to agree -- stocks in all four countries have performed worse this year than the broader emerging markets equity index, to say nothing of developed world equities.
from Chrystia Freeland:
It was striking to hear how encouraged both Klaus Kleinfeld and Dominic Barton sounded when Chrystia asked them about the effects of the recent turmoil in the Middle East on the business environment there. Barton believed the regime changes in Tunisia and Egypt were "the dawn of a new good thing that's occurring" and noted that it is likely that new capital will come into these countries as a new leadership emerges. Kleinfeld, whose company is in the process of building the world's largest integrated aluminum system in Saudi Arabia, said that Alcoa is still very comfortable in the region and that the only surprises with their Saudi partners have been positive surprises. For Kleinfeld, the most assured way to bring about stability in a region plagued by unrest is to have businesses come in and create jobs:
Big splashy action movies from the U.S. usually play well abroad. It should come then as no surprise that World Wrestling Entertainment, known for hulky dudes and toned ladies who act out soap opera scenarios both in and out of the ring, manages to find fans well beyond these borders.
Modern day national influence, some smart people like to argue, spreads through the “soft power” of brand appeal and attraction rather than the “hard power” of coercion. In China, one avatar of U.S. soft power tends to be trim and busty, and come with blue eyes and a long mane of blonde hair. Her name is Barbie, she is made of plastic, she was born in Malibu and Chinese girls want to be like her.
Why is it that the United States’ advertising as a proportion of marketing services is at its lowest point since 1977, maybe even lower than since the Second World War?
Some politicians may be accused of dragging their heels when it comes to dealing with climate change, but you can’t say members of the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism’s executive board aren’t clocking in the hours.
By Don Durfee
Safe havens have been few and far between during the global economic crisis, but one has been fairly reliable: infrastructure. So it’s not surprising that many companies are betting on the biggest infrastructure opportunity of them all, China’s $585 billion spending package.