Our Two Cents – Week of 3/26/12
While I spent much of last week in the U.K. for business—and enjoying a grilled ham and cheese with a fried egg—nothing beats catching up on all the financial headlines on a long flight across the pond.
In the U.S., economic confidence still resonates. A new Bloomberg survey finds U.S. economic optimism has hit an eight-year high. Nearly 35 percent of respondents in the monthly consumer expectations survey said the economy was improving—the largest jump since January 2004. These perspectives come on the heels of declining unemployment benefits, showing that the labor market is recovering. Unemployment claims dropped to 348,000, the lowest level since the financial crisis.
In the eurozone, the European Union proposed a heftier permanent bailout fund of 940 billion euros. While Greece had been in the news for much of its budget woes, it received a new commander for its monies when it named new finance minister Philippos Sachinidis. The week began with “Greek Deliverance Day” for bond payments, while the country also received the first 7.5 billion euros of aid from the new European Union/International Money Fund bailout. Next week is shaping up to be a busy one. Spain will present its full budget after ripping up its 2012 deficit target, and Italy will continue discussions about labor reforms, which will head to parliament.
Lastly, hedge fund investments posted an overall increase of 2.38 percent in February, according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index.
- Bloomberg Survey: Economic Optimism Hits 8-Year High, Moneynews, March 23, 2012
- EU Proposes a Beefed-Up Permanent Bailout Fund , The Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2012
- US Jobless Claims Drop Below 350K, Forex Crunch, March 23, 2012
- Greece names new finance chief, strikes continue, Associated Press, March 21, 2012
- Hedge Funds Post Overall Gain For February – BarclayHedge, Man Group , Family Wealth Report, March 21, 2012
- Greece receives first tranche of new bailout aid, Reuters, March 20, 2012
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