Our Two Cents – Week of 5/21/12
Even though the unofficial start of summer kicks off this Memorial Day weekend in Boston, flip flops and sunscreen were out in full force last weekend. What was the temperature of financial markets from the past week? Read on to find out.
In the U.S., the economy was picking up after an early spring slump. Data showed growth in the April-June quarter is off to a good start, thanks to falling gas prices and solid hiring gains. Manufacturing and housing continued to show signs of economic expansion as factory bookings for long-lasting goods rose 0.3 percent last month, according to a May 24 Commerce Department report. Other numbers showed purchases of existing and new houses also increased. In the business sector, about 72 percent of startup CEOs reported thoughts of economic optimism this year in a study conducted by Silicon Valley Bank.
For the eurozone, unfortunately, there haven’t been too many signs of economic confidence after fiscal turmoil continues in Greece. The country is facing a possible exit from the eurozone that could cost the region hundreds of billions of euros. Greece’s financial minister said he expects the financial disorder to last about 12-24 months, allowing time for Greece to decide if it wants to stay in the single eurozone currency. As Greece struggles with itself, European leaders have prepared crisis-fighting plans for discussion at an informal EU Summit this week. According to the European Central Bank, officials said the eurozone needs growth and austerity.
In April, hedge funds upped 0.12 percent, according to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, which puts their year-to-date gain at 3.27 percent.
- Euro zone needs growth and austerity: ECB’s Asmussen, Reuters, May 21, 2012
- Manufacturing, Housing Probably Improved: U.S. Economy Preview, Bloomberg, May 20, 2012
- Euro zone market turmoil to last 12-24 months: German finance minister, Reuters, May 18, 2012
- Time for Europe to step up, Forex Crunch, May 17, 2012
- Looking For Optimism About the Economy? Ask a Startup [INFOGRAPHIC], Mashable, May 17, 2012
- US economy picks up after early spring slump, Associated Press, May 17, 2012
- Hedge Funds Up 0.12% In April, FINalternatives, May 16, 2012
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