Unemployment, Debt Crisis and a Somber New England

Our Two Cents – Week of 2/06/12

Here in New England we’re trying to gracefully recover from our loss in this weekend’s Super Bowl to the New York Giants. While Madonna and Kelly Clarkson rocked Indianapolis at the big game, the currency markets continued to show signs of optimism in the U.S. and reform in Europe.

In the U.S., the jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent, a three-year low. Employers added 243,000 jobs in January, the second straight month of better-than-expect gains. The falling unemployment rate sparked signs of optimism that the economy continues improving.

Across the Atlantic, the European debt crisis is still center stage as the deadline for agreement on Greece’s second bailout looms, fuelling renewed euro zone anxiety. Earlier last week, Greece’s military received some positive news that it ranked in the top 10 of the world. The country ranks No. 9 out of 149 in the Global Militarization Index, according to Bonn International Center for Conversion. In Belgium, the nation slipped into recession after its economy fell on a quarterly basis for the second straight quarter in the last three months of 2011. Parliament is expected to ratify the 2012 budget bill.

While hedge funds saw a gloomy 2011, so far they have seen a positive 2012. Hedge funds added 1.34 percent to start the year, according to the Credit Suisse Index. The retail foreign exchange market saw a quiet end to 2011, unlike the beginning of the previous year when Japan’s Tsunami rattled the markets. As a result, the most volatility during 20120 resulted in Q1 because of the tsunami and Q3 because of the European debt crisis.

 

 

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