Global equity markets posted solid, and in some cases spectacular, gains in the first quarter of 2012. Investor euphoria was short-lived, however, as focus in recent weeks has turned to renewed fears about the sovereign debt crisis in Europe. And in the United States, the Federal Reserve has indicated that further quantitative easing (jet fuel for equity markets) may not be necessary.
Despite some hand-wringing over China’s ability to orchestrate a soft landing, a successful near-term resolution to the Greek debt crisis and signs of continued economic improvement in the United States have helped to keep global equity markets firmly in the black for the year.
Large sample studies of buy-side investment recommendations have been virtually impossible to execute due to a lack of data. But a new research paper relies on a novel data set compiled by the private social networking website SumZero to show that buy-side stock picks influence asset prices by bringing new information to the marketplace. The authors also find evidence of “wealth transfers” flowing from the broader institutional marketplace to the investment firms represented on SumZero.
Risk on! This has been the investor battle cry since stocks bottomed out in the fall of 2011, and global equities have been on a tear ever since, with many major indices rallying 20% or more. Investors seem to be discounting signs of a resurgent U.S. economy, indications that the crisis in Europe may be contained, and a soft landing in China. Or maybe they are just fed up with the paltry yields offered by bonds.
To say that last year was annus horribilis for the Indian economy is an understatement. With inflation above 9%, the Reserve Bank of India raised key interest rates several times only to see GDP growth projections drop to the 6%–7% range. Nonetheless, a panel of financial executives felt sure that with a few policy tweaks the year 2012 will be better than 2011.
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