Our Two Cents – Week of 3/5/12
As winter finally greeted Massachusetts last week, I was able to jet down to Florida this past weekend for some warmth, but that didn’t stop me from keeping up on the latest financial headlines.
In the U.S., some more good news about jobs as claims for jobless benefits dropped to a four-year low, reaching 351,000. While claims decreased, the economy increased, growing at a 3-percent annual rate in the October-December 2011 period—the fastest pace since spring 2010. Economists say factors such as busier factories, higher retail sales, more jobs and growth in home sales will continue to help fuel more economic growth. People’s perceptions of the economy keep increasing as 40 percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy is growing—up 27 percent from April 2011 and 3 percent in 2008.
In Europe, the eurozone crisis will not be a big deal for the markets within the next few months, according to an official from Barclays Capital. Larry Kantor, managing director and head of research, said the European Central Bank has helped enough to lessen the financial crisis. Greece awaited a verdict about its bailout after completing 38 mandatory measures for amendments to its economy. On March 1, the country’s parliament passed changes to its health sector, allowing longer opening hours for pharmacies and limitations on drug spending. For Europe’s overall economy, confidence rose for a second consecutive month in February. The European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator increased by a point in the eurozone to 94.4. The rise piggybacked on January’s hike, which was the first improvement in sentiment since March 2011.
In alternative investments, hedge funds are expected to rise 12 percent to a record $2.26 trillion this year, according to Deutsche Bank’s latest Alternative Investment Survey. Hedge funds finished January up 2.34 percent, according to the Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index, with nine of 10 strategies in positive territory.
- Four in 10 Americans Now Say Economy Is Growing, Gallup, March 5, 2012
- Euro Zone Crisis Not a Big Deal for Long: Analyst, CNBC, March 5, 2012
- Dow Jones Credit Suisse Hedge Fund Index up 2.34% in January, Hedgeweek, March 2, 2012
- New Claims For Jobless Benefits Dip To 4-Year Low, NPR, March 1, 2012
- Greece Awaiting Verdict on Bailout, Forex Crunch, March 1, 2012
- Hedge Fund Industry on Better Footing: Survey, CNBC, Feb. 29, 2012
- Confidence grows in euro zone economy, still fragile, Reuters, Feb. 28, 2012
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