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Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: Technical indicators like the “Golden Cross” are rarely, if ever, reliable predictive tools. For more, see our 01/09/2012 cover story, “The Golden Cross.”

Market Misperceptions
By , Associated Press, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d argue aggregate unemployment isn’t nearly as telling as country-specific unemployment (as with other economic metrics). And backward-looking unemployment data merely confirm what we already know: The eurozone has pockets of strength (like Germany) and areas of weakness (like the PIIGS). For more, see our 01/04/2012 cover story, “Headlines in Iowa (and Elsewhere).”

Market Misperceptions
By , Reuters, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: Consumer confidence figures are inherently lagging—coincident at best—and presage little about the future direction of markets or the economy. Moreover, how folks feel doesn’t necessarily correspond with how they act—and actions are far more meaningful.

Sensible Stories
By , The American, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: As this piece points out, a country’s aggregate debt level doesn’t matter as much as the “interest bite” or debt service cost. By that measure, current US debt appears plenty affordable and sustainable. For more, see our 01/23/2012 commentary on iStockAnalyst.com, “Three Key Questions About US Debt.”

Sensible Stories
By , Forbes, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: A largely sensible take on the US LNG export debate. And we’d add: If natural gas prices remain super low, some producers become incentivized to curtail production—causing prices to rise. However, if they’re able to export and reap higher prices elsewhere, then they have a greater incentive to boost production. Thus, opening US gas to export may bring higher prices, but that’s only one side of the story. In our view, a market unfettered by export restrictions would function more efficiently.

Sensible Stories
By , Associated Press, 01/31/2012

MarketMinder's View: Japan continues to recover from last March’s earthquake and tsunami. It has been and will continue to be a long process, but thus far, progress has been promising. Moreover, Japan’s weakness hasn’t much detracted from overall robust global economic growth—global GDP is at all-time highs. For more, revisit our 03/15/2011 cover story, “Japan’s Impact.”

Market Misperceptions
By , EUBusiness, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: As we’ve written, the EU’s much-discussed financial transactions tax likely isn’t the best idea. But we’re scratching our heads over President Sarkozy’s claim France’s implementation of a 0.1% tax will “enable French companies to keep jobs at home instead of outsourcing them abroad.” How will imposing a new tax accomplish that?

Market Misperceptions
By , The Independent, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: The Fed’s monetary policy simply isn’t a very direct input into hiring decisions made by businesses. In that way, the Fed setting an “unemployment target” would likely be mere lip service. By contrast, inflation is a monetary phenomenon—something the Fed has a more direct ability to influence.

Market Misperceptions
By , Bloomberg, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: There are a few problems with this, in our view. First, capital doesn’t assure a risk-free environment. Second, we could raise capital levels to the moon, but a potential consequence is less bank lending, which could hamper growth. Third, capital levels have been rejiggered multiple times globally since the financial crisis. The shifting sand on this important issue creates significant uncertainty for banks.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View:  Amid healthy demand, Italian Treasury bill yields fell sharply at auction Monday. This continues a string of successful auctions for both Italy and Spain in recent weeks. There are more to come, of course, but 2012 is off to a good start for Italian and Spanish debt refinancing. For more, see our 01/12/2012 cover story, “Success in Action (Or Auction).”

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: More stuff moving on American roads and highways likely means increasing economic activity.

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: Recent years’ increase in US domestic oil production is quite impressive, as shown in these two charts.

Sensible Stories
By , Calculated Risk, 01/30/2012

MarketMinder's View: Recent data have shown continuing US economic growth in January. Here, the Dallas Fed’s regional gauge showed reacceleration and the highest level of new orders in six months.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Times, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: The UK’s new financial regulatory plans appear to drastically increase oversight and intervention. As the US’s Dodd-Frank law is teaching, even well-intended changes of this scope can bring unintended consequences—like increasing costs for the same consumers it aims to protect. Time will tell whether the UK’s plans similarly prove a solution in search of a problem. For more, see our 10/06/2011 cover story, “A Not-So-Surprising Surprise.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d argue the US labor system isn’t structurally flawed, as this piece suggests. Technological innovation doesn’t just eliminate jobs through productivity gains—it creates new jobs in new fields all the time. Overall, we still think it’s likely unemployment continues improving as a growing economy creates the need for more workers.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: We quibble with the idea economic growth has been too tepid to foster business expansion. Despite the anecdotal evidence to the contrary, broader data show many firms are reinvesting record profits to expand and boost output. In fact, business investment has been one of the largest contributors to recent growth.

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: Despite oft-repeated laments of US manufacturing’s death, the sector is growing, hugely profitable and a source of recent US employment growth. To us, that doesn’t seemingly warrant “help” from the government. For more, see our 01/19/2012 cover story, “Manufacturing’s Manifest March.

Sensible Stories
By , EUbusiness, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: The EU’s side agreement on stricter budget oversight is making its way through national parliaments—and nations appear none too eager to adopt its less sensible measures, like tax harmonization. It seems likely these more onerous provisions get watered down before the agreement’s ratified.

Sensible Stories
By , Associated Press, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: US GDP logged another new high after its 10th straight quarter of growth, while increases in personal consumption, incomes and business investment further testify to the private sector’s continuing strength. For more, see our 01/06/2012 cover story, “Private Sector Strength.”

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/27/2012

MarketMinder's View: Greece’s private-sector creditors appear willing to take a larger haircut than the previously agreed 50%—a sign gradual progress in the ongoing negotiations continues.

Market Misperceptions
By , CNN Money, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: The reality is the US is nothing like either Greece or Italy—in just about any measurable, economic sense. And given currently low US interest rates—with little if any sign they’ll increase precipitously in the near term—the likelihood the US’s debt or deficit suddenly becomes unaffordable is near zero.

Market Misperceptions
By , Seeking Alpha, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: While a complete resolution to the eurozone’s woes may indeed be a ways off, we’d argue the incremental steps its leaders have taken over the last couple years speak to their resolve to ultimately succeed. And bond markets seemingly tell a similar story as investors continue buying debt of troubled peripheral nations.

Market Misperceptions
By , The New York Times, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: Has technology greatly increased productivity and made some jobs obsolete? Definitely. And we don’t doubt education’s importance in modern American society. But the focus on potential dislocations caused by technology ignores a huge, powerful point: Free markets and the individuals comprising them are hugely adaptive. Consider just one example: Young children growing up today easily adopt technology their parents and grandparents took years to become comfortable with. The idea technological change destroys more than it creates—leaving a wide swath of victims in its wake—is rather disconnected from how technological advance has historically worked.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Telegraph, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: This is entirely too dour, in our view. For one thing, one negative quarter in the UK needn’t have sinister implications for the rest of the world. (While it could indeed indicate the UK’s headed for a recession, the depth and breadth of any recession remain to be seen.) And forgive us if we doubt capitalism’s either going anywhere anytime soon or in much need of help—particularly from far-from-capitalist China.

Sensible Stories
By , Financial Times, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: While we’d quibble with tiny aspects of this, overall, one of the best explanations we’ve come across recently of why Capitalism is indeed the best economic system in the world’s history.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: While neither Italy nor the eurozone are out of the woods yet, continued successful bond auctions—particularly in peripheral countries—seemingly indicate improved investor confidence the crisis will eventually pass.

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: More positive US data as the index of leading indicators “rose in December for a third month, indicating the world’s largest economy will keep growing in early 2012.”

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: A strong increase in December durable goods highlights the US economy’s continued resilience.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/26/2012

MarketMinder's View: Ireland took an important step toward returning to credit markets and took advantage of readily accessible liquidity thanks to the ECB—yet more signs the differentiation among peripheral eurozone nations is both real and meaningful.

Sensible Stories
By , CBS News, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: Though markets corrected in 2010 and 2011, the eurozone crisis hasn’t brought the prolonged downturn many feared. As this piece discusses, keeping a forward-looking view during periods of heightened stress and volatility is difficult but crucial to long-term investing success.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Telegraph, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’ve seen similarly tough rhetoric from European officials during prior Greek bailout negotiations as they use the urgency of Greek’s situation to incite further reforms. Ultimately, it remains likely all parties continue to do what’s necessary to maintain the euro and mitigate the risk of a major credit event. For more, see our 01/10/2012 cover story, “Dancing About Europe.”

Market Misperceptions
By , CNBC, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: The 20% of S&P 500 companies reporting Q4 earnings thus far is, in our view, too small a sample size from which to draw meaningful conclusions. And it seems quite myopic to us to focus on market action and earnings since January 1, as though these few weeks exist in a vacuum. Today’s equity valuations are significantly compressed, and even the ratcheted-down earnings forecasts still call for broad-based growth—if that comes to fruition, it should provide a tailwind for markets. For more, see our 11/21/2011 cover story, “Earnings and Implications.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Telegraph, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: The head of the UK’s new financial regulatory agency says regulators’ approach will demonstrate a “much more interventionist style in many respects.” Now, we recognize the need for efficient, sensible market regulation. However, more intervention typically increases the chances of unintended consequences, and the pending changes may prove a solution in search of a problem.

Market Misperceptions
By , Bloomberg, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: Those citing widening wealth gaps as evidence of capitalism’s shortcomings ignore an important counterpoint: Over time, society has gotten wealthier overall in capitalist economies. Consider former Soviet states, where nascent capitalism provided a rising tide that lifted all boats.

Sensible Stories
By , Taiwan News, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: Creating a special free trade zone is only an incremental step toward zero protectionism, but it could help Taiwan’s citizens see the vast benefits of freer trade—historically a tough sell. Success here could improve Taiwan’s likelihood of joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership. For more, see our 10/17/2011 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/25/2012

MarketMinder's View: Admittedly, this is but one regulator’s opinion. But we find it a fresh point of view, sensibly tempering the “government regulators know best” mantra that seems so common these days.

Market Misperceptions
By , Reuters, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: Could the eurozone slip briefly into recession? Possibly. But that needn’t spell doom for the rest of the globe. Furthermore, we’d caution against reading too far into IMF economic growth forecasts, particularly given its less-than-stellar track record.

Market Misperceptions
By , Seeking Alpha, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: This piece suggests “altering the global supply chain dynamics” in order to encourage more domestic manufacturing. But we’d suggest overall and on average, capital markets seem capable of dictating those dynamics just fine. Government meddling is, in our view, both unnecessary and likely fraught with unintended consequences.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: Paying much credence to 20-year forecasts of anything is falling prey to something of a fallacy—particularly in an industry like Energy where developments like fracking (relatively unimaginable just a few years ago) are already having measurable impacts on prices and production.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: In our view, a better way to measure debt is relative to GDP. And in that regard, the UK’s debt isn’t even close to the record. Furthermore, with 10-year gilt rates near historic lows, bond markets seemingly aren’t signaling UK debt is unsustainable.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: As is the case for all economies, what matters most for the Japanese economy isn’t net exports, but total trade. True, Japan’s currently export-driven economy may have to adapt in an increasingly competitive and globalized market, but that’s necessary of every economy.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: As we’ve said, no one economic statistic can entirely presage a region’s economic direction, but expansionary PMI figures in Europe suggest things might be better than many expect. For more, see our 01/06/2012 cover story, “Private-Sector Strength.”

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: Although the ranks of the unemployed remain high, a series of promising reports over the last several months indicates the economy may be working off high unemployment. For more, see our 12/02/2011 cover story, “Unemployment, Overall and on Average.”

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/24/2012

MarketMinder's View: A fascinating look at the prosperity brought about by domestic oil fracking in the economy of a small town—and a classic example of supply’s ability to create demand. For more, see our 01/04/2012 Research Analysis, “Oil’s Next Act.”

Market Misperceptions
By , Seeking Alpha, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: Yes, stocks started January positively. But good or bad, no one week, month, set of 43 days or any other short arbitrary period is predictive of full year returns.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Times, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: We don’t much blame the Brits for digging their heels in when it comes to increasing financial transaction taxes. Further, to suggest because “public opinion was running hard against bankers and banking and the UK should reconsider its opposition” hardly seems sound footing upon which to significantly alter regulations likely to have deleterious impacts. For more, see our 12/15/2011 column, “In Defense of Britain.

Market Misperceptions
By , Bloomberg, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d agree it’s not likely to end fast. But eurozone leaders have spent far too much capital—political or otherwise—to let the monetary union dissolve in a disorderly fashion. It’s more likely they continue making slow, halting progress, buying themselves time to shore up the banking system in the event of a major liquidity event.

Market Misperceptions
By , Time, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: There’s little (if anything) particularly new or surprising here. Consider: The author references troubles in Portugal as potentially necessitating “a second imminent bailout, in addition to Greece.” Yet Portugal was bailed out in May 2011—and was the third eurozone nation to receive aid. But specifics aside, stories like this seem mostly a function of humans’ aversion to potential losses—after all, when markets decline, articles arguing the move is fake are typically exceedingly rare.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: More evidence capitalism and free markets almost always find a way: Though many presumed US oil production’s 1970s peak spelled the end of domestic drilling, innovative techniques have created something of a US-energy revolution. For more, see our 11/14/2011 column, “Supply Side Schooling From Shale.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: In December, the Fed announced it would begin publishing  interest rate forecasts made by board members. Now it’s announced how it plans to provide the information. Maybe the degree of transparency offered here disappoints some, but generally, more transparency is better. For more, see our 01/05/2012 cover story, “Forecasting Fed Forecasting.”

Sensible Stories
By , Forbes, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: That an enormous share of China’s trade surplus is sales to the United States indicates China’s likely much more dependent on the US than vice versa—regardless of what many in the media commonly claim.

Sensible Stories
By , The Independent, 01/23/2012

MarketMinder's View: The UK government’s “Project Merlin”—an agreement between banks and the government to make funds available for small business lending—seems to have fallen a bit flat. Why? Well, banks held up their end of the bargain, but there are two sides to every loan: lender and borrower.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Times, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: We find much to quibble with here—particularly the suggestion capitalism itself had much (if anything, really) to do with 2008’s financial crisis. However, we could agree with the statement that “what has occurred is less a calamity of the system as a whole, and more an issue of how it was run”—assuming we’re talking about how ineffective regulations (like FAS 157) significantly hampered capitalism’s ability to function effectively.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Telegraph, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: The reality is, if the goal is making banks repay some of the funds countries spent bailing them out, such taxes are unlikely to fit the bill—especially since they’re easily passed on to investors. We’d suggest yet another solution: Rather than trying to cajole the UK into implementing a new tax, all EU nations should lower as many financial-related taxes as practicable, thereby increasing competition, generating increased business across the region and naturally lifting the tax revenues governments collect from financial institutions.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Guardian, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: Global leaders calling for solutions to “the sovereign debt and banking crisis and to restart growth” and urging “the implementation of new, tougher regulations for finance and the rapid recapitalisation of banks where necessary” could easily have been a breaking story in either 2010 or 2011. Given the countries involved have largely made continual efforts to address those issues, we’re not sure the threat is really all that new—removing some surprise factor and helping dampen its ability to impact global markets much.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Australian, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: “Forecasts of global doom” have existed the past few years, and markets (and the global economy) haven’t done as badly as those pundits predicted. Barring a significant, surprising market-moving event, it’s likely a better idea to take such “forecasts” with a grain of salt.

Sensible Stories
By , Reuters, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: The conflict in Hungary continues, but Prime Minister Orban has backed down a bit from the original plan (which the EU and IMF opposed). For more, see our 01/11/2012 column, “Hungary’s Crossroads.

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: While not officially confirmed yet, the suggestion China may loosen some isn’t surprising to us. China has seemingly purposely slowed and sped its economy (to the extent that’s possible) in party transition years—and it seems to be the case here since 2012 is an election year. For more, see our 10/19/2011 cover story, “No Chinese Hard Landing.

Sensible Stories
By , Der Spiegel, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: Considering the amount of political back-and-forth, whether the deal goes through remains to be seen. But even if this particular iteration doesn’t, EU leaders have repeatedly shown they’re willing to backstop the euro—albeit with a show of resistance first.

Sensible Stories
By , BBC News, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: Italy continues to take steps to boost its economy.

Sensible Stories
By , BBC News, 01/20/2012

MarketMinder's View: Italy continues to take steps to boost its economy.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Guardian, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: The reality is this could’ve been written (and largely has, actually) at any point over the last two-plus years. Yet the US economy’s continued growing over that entire time period—eurozone woes, debt and deficit arguments and politics in general aside. The likelihood it’s derailed now by those same old, well-known worries seems pretty slim, in our view.

Market Misperceptions
By , Reuters, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: Raters’ herd mentality, illustrated. S&P put several eurozone nations on negative credit watch December 5. Fitch did the same December 16. S&P downgraded a handful of eurozone nations last Friday. Today, Fitch is reiterating it might do the same. Should it follow through, it’s likely few would be surprised. For more, see our 01/17/2012 cover story, “S&P’s Shifting Opinion.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Independent , 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: Actually, we’d argue there’s potentially much to be lost. After all, the drive to profit is one of Capitalism’s greatest engines. And we’d guess most shareholders would prefer well-paid executives who are motivated to take reasonable risks and grow the company as much as possible. Perhaps that’s why the US’s “say on pay” proxy-voting rules have overwhelmingly resulted in approval of proposed executive compensation packages. 

Market Misperceptions
By , Time, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d quibble with most of this—especially the premise that capitalism needs “fixing” and businesses have grown at the expense of beleaguered governments. National governments’ debt loads globally argue against the notion their size and power have decreased all that much.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: While the discussed legislation isn’t quite a done deal, it’s a step in the right direction. More reforms akin to these would take Italy further down the road to increased competitiveness—a necessary and positive move, in our view.

Sensible Stories
By , Detroit News, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: The problem isn’t so much the development of alternative energy sources or more efficient cars—the problem is the government’s method for attempting to achieve that outcome. Dr. Perry hits the nail on the head: “When a new technology is economically viable, then government support is not needed. But if a technology isn’t capable of surviving on its own, there’s no amount of taxpayer support that will make it so.” For more, see our 09/21/2011 column, “Government’s Very Un-Invisible Hand.

Sensible Stories
By , Reuters, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: Though adjustments will undoubtedly take some time, introducing increased competition into the Canadian wheat market likely benefits participants over time. As we’ve often said, the freer markets are, the better.

Sensible Stories
By , The Telegraph, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: While challenges remain, Ireland’s progress toward agreed-to targets under its bailout terms continues—and speaks effectively to the variety among PIIGS nations when it comes to the nature of their economic and fiscal woes.

Sensible Stories
By , Reuters, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: As recent Spanish and French auctions seemingly attest, investors continue largely shrugging off ratings agencies’ recent eurozone actions. For more, see our 01/18/2012 cover story, “Foreign Affairs.

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/19/2012

MarketMinder's View: “Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded at a faster pace in January as employment picked up and factories grew more optimistic about business in the next six months.” For more, see today’s cover story, “Manufacturing’s Manifest March.

Market Misperceptions
By , EUbusiness, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: If past discussions are indicative of future rhetoric, “harmonizing” corporate tax rates likely means attempting to force nations like Ireland to raise their corporate tax rate. And the claim these higher rates will “foster growth” is more than a bit dubious. In our view, Europe would fare better if all countries became more competitive, rather than demanding other nations handicap themselves. To that end, if Germany and France are so adamant about “harmonizing tax rates,” why not effect this by cutting their rates to match Ireland’s?

Market Misperceptions
By , Seeking Alpha, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: Ultimately, markets can best tell us whether ratings downgrades “matter”—and the successful debt auctions (with lower yields) following last Friday’s eurozone downgrades suggest investors were largely nonplussed. For more, see today’s cover story, “Foreign Affairs.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Washington Post, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: This article pays short shrift to productivity’s role in American manufacturing and seemingly overstates the role of international competition. The fact is, while US manufacturing employment’s share of the total workforce is far smaller than it was decades ago, output is higher. And that’s a good thing because it frees resources for use in other productive areas. For more, see our infographic, “The Engine That Could.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Telegraph, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: Though it’s important to be mindful of risks in Europe, this piece doesn’t account for the financial system backstops already in place. In our view, these firewalls show officials are heeding lessons learned from Lehman and dedicated to doing what’s necessary to lower the likelihood of a similar scenario today.

Market Misperceptions
By , CNBC, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d suggest not reading into China’s December fixed asset investment tally. December and January are often seasonal low points, so recent slower growth doesn’t necessarily mean 2012 will be lackluster. In our view, it’s still likely Chinese officials use their available throttles to speed this year’s economic growth. For more, see today’s cover story, “Foreign Affairs.”

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: Reining in high regional debt—one of the primary culprits for Spain’s current budget issues—is a key step forward for Spain. Regional governments’ willingness to surrender budgetary autonomy and cooperate with Madrid’s efforts is another sign of officials’ continued resolve to preserve the euro.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: Increased bank lending is one of many underappreciated positives at work in the US economy. For more, see our 12/13/2011 research analysis, “Six Indicators of Underappreciated Economic Strength.”

Sensible Stories
By , Der Spiegel, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: An interesting look inside the debate regarding German government policy toward solar energy.

Sensible Stories
By , EUbusiness, 01/18/2012

MarketMinder's View: Streamlining European intellectual property laws could help spur innovation, making it easier and cheaper for firms and entrepreneurs to patent their work.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: While we can agree a rater rotation isn’t likely that much of an improvement, the associated risks seem overstated here—many creditors’ sovereign debt risk assessments already don’t rely on ratings agencies. What’s more, none of these issues would exist if the ratings agencies were built around a “user pays” model. For more, see our 11/28/2011 commentary on The Street, “The Trouble With Ratings Agencies.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Global and Mail, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: In our view, it’s more likely China continues to take whatever steps are necessary to foster economic growth in a leadership transition year. For more, see our 12/15/2012 commentary on The Street, “The Case for Faster Chinese Growth in 2012.”

Market Misperceptions
By , Foreign Policy, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: This prescription is based on a fairly oversimplified (and narrow) view of the global economy, and it strikes us a bit as a solution in search of a problem. Although peripheral Europe’s debt is making headlines, debt elsewhere seems largely sustainable, US consumers are far healthier than this piece suggests and global GDP is at all-time highs.

Sensible Stories
By , MSNBC.com, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: Chinese Q4 2011 GDP grew 8.9% year over year—not its fastest, but strong growth nevertheless. We expect China to avoid a hard landing or even accelerate in 2012, as its government likely loosens monetary policy to promote growth amid a leadership transition year. For more, see our 01/11/2012 cover story, “China’s Confounding Trade Data.”

Sensible Stories
By , BBC News, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: Hungarian Prime Minister Orban’s apparent willingness to take steps to appease the European Commission is encouraging, in our view. But ultimately, actions need to follow words and that remains to be seen. For more, see our 01/11/2012 column, “Hungary’s Crossroads.”

Sensible Stories
By , The New York Times, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: Economic reforms to increase productivity and competitiveness of weaker euro countries are two oft-missed keys to improving the eurozone’s long-term footing.

Sensible Stories
By , Portfolio.com, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: Spain successfully auctioned new short-term debt Tuesday, with yields markedly lower despite S&P’s ratings downgrade. An incremental positive, though Thursday’s 10-year debt offering remains a story to watch.

Sensible Stories
By , Dow Jones Newswires, 01/17/2012

MarketMinder's View: No one economic statistic can aptly presage a country’s economic direction, but rising manufacturing activity is one of many signs of private-sector strength.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: We rather doubt sovereign downgrades mean western capitalism’s a “slow-motion train wreck.” In our view, the sentiment in this piece is quite detached from reality: The US and global economies are well out of recovery and into expansion, and fundamentals point to continued growth, on balance, from here. 

Market Misperceptions
By , RTT News, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Though exports fell as imports rose, total trade is up. And that’s the important number here since it better reflects demand—which happens to be rising. For more, see our 09/09/2011 cover story, “Trade Deficit Trifles.

Market Misperceptions
By , Reuters, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Though demand perhaps disappointed some, yields fell across the board, and Italy met its maximum funding target—a nice enough start for its 2012 refinancing needs. For more, see our 01/12/2012 cover story, “Success in Action (or Auction).

Market Misperceptions
By , CNN Money, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: As even the article points out, eurozone downgrades are long expected, and S&P’s ratings are based on already widely known information. Equally important, regulators have already taken steps to keep downgrades from impacting creditors’ balance sheets, likely mitigating their overall impact. For more, see our 12/9/2011 cover story, “Lowering the Euro Curve.”

Sensible Stories
By , Wall Street Journal, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Congressional votes on the 105th debt ceiling increase in the last 94 years are merely a formality—the debt ceiling likely gets increased regardless of their vote. Politicians may stump a bit, but the truncated process probably won’t generate the heat we saw last summer. For more, see our 12/29/2011 cover story, “As Good as Congress Gets.”

Sensible Stories
By , CNN , 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Streamlining government agencies and cutting red tape is a sensible goal. Any progress on this front would likely be positive, though the incremental changes suggested here are a drop in the proverbial bucket. For more, see our 8/24/2011 cover story, “Regulating Regulators’ Regulations.”  

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: This is a timely reminder for investors not to underestimate their time horizons—one of the primary determinants of a long-term portfolio strategy. Folks are living longer, and their money may need to work longer than they think.

Sensible Stories
By , The Washington Post, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Companies are planning to step up hiring—more good news on the jobs front in addition to recently falling unemployment numbers and another sign the private sector is strong. For more, see our 01/06/2012 cover story, “Private Sector Strength.”

Sensible Stories
By , EUbusiness, 01/13/2012

MarketMinder's View: Prime Minister Orban appears to be more open to negotiations with the IMF and EU regarding Hungary’s central bank reforms, but whether actions follow words remains to be seen. For more, see our 01/11/2012 column, “Hungary’s Crossroads.” 

Market Misperceptions
By , Project Syndicate, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: This article is a mish-mosh of old fears—some which may be true to an extent, others that are mere speculation and perception, like the idea corporations are unlikely to invest based on the possibility of “tail-risk events.” For the past two years, housing’s been weak, folks have feared ill American consumers, unemployment’s been elevated and debt fears of many flavors have swirled. And yet the US economy’s grown throughout. The theory this list of aged headlines will create a vicious cycle as businesses and investors “wait and do little” strains credulity.

Market Misperceptions
By , Bloomberg, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: First, let’s be clear: France’s credit rating has yet to change. But even if it does, the consequences of such an action are vastly overstated here. And a shrug of the shoulders at the possibility ratings agencies’ opinions change seems about right to us.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: So the fact consumer spending’s at an all-time high doesn’t paint the spending picture, but consumer confidence and unemployment do? The reality is spending tells far more about consumers’ forward-looking expectations than either unemployment or confidence, both of which are backward-looking.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: Italy’s and Spain’s first debt auctions of the year were quite strong—likely to the surprise of many. For more, see today’s cover story, “Success in Action (or Auction).

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: More evidence consumers’ overall health continues improving—despite how they’ve typically responded in recent sentiment surveys.

Sensible Stories
By , New York Times, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: The ECB’s attempts to backstop banks seem largely appropriate moves to us. That policymakers seemingly recognize this is hopefully a sign they’re less likely to misstep.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: The reality is a tax like the one on financial transactions various European countries are currently debating is relatively ineffective unless everyone implements it—making the chances something like the Tobin Tax is instituted fairly small.

Sensible Stories
By , Associated Press, 01/12/2012

MarketMinder's View: “Retail sales barely rose in December, but the gain was enough to push sales to a record level for 2011. It was the largest annual increase in more than a decade.”

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: The supposed link between Iran’s threatened closure of the Strait of Hormuz and US GDP is so tenuous, even the author himself offers heavy caveats. Many other factors influence oil prices and economic growth, meaning there are plenty of variables to mitigate the likelihood of the chain reaction described here.

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’d suggest more countries follow Britain, Sweden and Bulgaria’s lead and denounce the proposed tax. Taxing capital markets activity in Europe likely causes activity to move elsewhere, detracting from economic growth. For more, see our 9/29/2011 cover story, “Trifling With Transaction Taxes.”

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: Perhaps there’s correlation between the completion of some major skyscrapers and some economic downturns, but the reality is construction of these projects takes years. Consider: Malaysia’s Petronas Towers, cited in this article, took roughly seven years to build. At the tail end, the Asian Financial Crisis was ongoing. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, and skyscraper construction needn’t indicate “widespread misallocation of capital.”

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: While uncertainties exist, we’d quibble with the Davos report’s diagnosis of capitalism’s “uncertain future.” On the bright side though, given the Davos forum tends to yield more talk than action, the probability misguided policy solutions emerge seems low.

Sensible Stories
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: Partly due to the Fed’s 2008 purchases of so-called “toxic assets,” the Fed is poised to hand the Treasury over $70 billion in profits for the second consecutive year. Sure seems those assets weren’t nearly as poisonous as many opined. For more, see our 3/22/2011 cover story, “Who Loves Toxic Waste?

Sensible Stories
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: Incremental progress continues in Italy. For more on Italy’s ongoing reforms, see our 12/6/2011 cover story, “Technoplans From Italy’s Technocrats.”

Sensible Stories
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: The EU’s new fiscal compact is taking shape—and appears it may be getting watered down somewhat during the negotiation process. For more, see our 1/10/2012 cover story, “Dancing About Europe.”

Sensible Stories
By , 01/11/2012

MarketMinder's View: One week before Hungarian bailout negotiations begin, EU officials have started playing their hand, threatening Hungary with sanctions unless it rolls back undemocratic reforms and takes credible steps to reduce its deficit. Prime Minister Orban’s response was conciliatory—but whether he’s willing to make the necessary concessions to receive aid remains to be seen. For more, see today’s column, “Hungary’s Crossroads.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Financial Times, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: Stock market returns don’t directly reflect economic growth—the degree to which fundamental factors are appreciated matters too. Entering 2011, investors were widely aware of Emerging Markets’ fast economic growth—meaning it had lost much of its influence to move stock prices. But as this piece illustrates, sentiment is now far more dour—a bullish sign looking forward.

Market Misperceptions
By , BBC News, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: An Italian downgrade would mostly confirm what the world has long known: Italy needs substantial economic reforms to support long-term growth. Meaning it wouldn’t likely much impact Italy’s situation looking forward. As ever, we question why people lend much credence to ratings agencies.

Market Misperceptions
01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: We’ve seen similar posturing each previous time Greece has needed a new tranche of aid—yet each time, all involved parties seemingly come through. Greece is by no means out of the woods yet, but both sides appear dedicated to avoiding a disorderly Greek default. For more, see today’s cover story, “Dancing About Europe.”

Market Misperceptions
By , The Independent, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: The UK proposal to submit executive pay to a shareholder proxy vote seems something of a solution in search of a problem. The US implemented a similar shareholder “say on pay” provision last year that’s proven mostly feckless—shareholders tend to vote in favor of compensation packages to retain highly sought after executives. The odds the results are much different in the UK seem slim.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: In our view, the statistic to watch regarding Chinese trade isn’t the degree of surplus or deficit. It’s total trade (exports plus imports)—a much better indicator of Chinese and global economic strength. And Chinese total trade continues to grow at double-digit year-over-year rates.

Sensible Stories
By , The New York Times, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: Italy undoubtedly faces challenges, but reforms designed to increase competition, create a more vibrant job market and close tax loopholes are all sensible moves in our view. For more, see our 12/30/2011 cover story, “An (Italian) Tale of Two Auctions.”

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: As we’ve said before, watch what consumers do, not what they say. Increasing credit is a sign consumers are increasingly confident in the US economy, regardless of how they may respond in confidence surveys.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/10/2012

MarketMinder's View: A good look at how heavy-handed socialist policies can disrupt economies and capital markets.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: Unknowns and uncertainties exist today, but that’s not unique to 2012. Perhaps the uncertainties listed here feel greater than those of yore, but all are widely known, meaning markets have likely been digesting the “uncomfortable possibility of extreme events” for some time.  

Market Misperceptions
By , EUbusiness, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: The EU’s proposed financial transaction tax seems a dubious policy to us. Remember: When you tax something, you generally get less of it. In this case, that could mean banks re-domicile to tax-friendlier areas. Or they could pass the costs on to investors, incentivizing them not to trade. It seems to us the UK got this one right when they flatly rejected the proposal. For more, see our 12/15/2011 column, “In Defense of Britain.”

Market Misperceptions
By , Los Angeles Times, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: Attempting to sum up past long-term market behavior in one sweeping average (while glossing over very real bull and bear cycles) likely won’t yield a great understanding of what happened. Moreover, trying to project what market results will look a decade from now is a futile exercise.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Planning, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: We have many quibbles with this article, but here are the larger ones: First, volatility isn’t predictive—of market direction or even future volatility. Second, much of the discussion in this article equates volatility to risk, which—though common—isn’t entirely accurate.

Market Misperceptions
By , Bloomberg, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: To be sure, a healthier housing market would aid economic growth. But let’s not overstate the case: Housing‘s direct contribution to US GDP is small (around 2%), and the economy has recovered and moved into expansion without much help from housing. We’d argue simply giving the market time to work through excess supply where it exists would be a better approach.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: Freer trade and the often-resulting foreign direct investment benefit all parties involved. While this idea would likely encounter significant political opposition on both sides and probably won’t come to fruition any time soon, the principle espoused here is sound: “China does not have to invest here, but it is to our country’s advantage to have China invest here rather than in other countries.” For more, see our 10/17/2011 cover story, “Racing Towards Zero.”

Sensible Stories
By , The New York Times, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: The Basel Committee attempted to quell fears of overly strict bank liquidity policies by stating capital rules will be flexible in a crisis. However, many questions remain, and this is a story to watch as regulators offer further guidance.

Sensible Stories
By , Barron’s, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: This is an interesting look at how the political allocation of capital can be and has historically been quite inefficient. The fact politicians base these decisions on political, rather than economic, factors is one major reason the government has a spotty track record of “investing.”

Sensible Stories
By , Financial Times, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: A fascistic new constitution and laws subjecting Hungary’s central bank to parliamentary interference have brought the ire of the EU and IMF. Yet faulty economic policies have brought Hungarian government finances to the brink, increasing the likelihood the nation needs EU/IMF aid. Officials have said aid will come with strings attached, which could bring a (rather welcome) Hungarian flip-flop.

Sensible Stories
By , BBC News, 01/09/2012

MarketMinder's View: Chinese loan growth and money supply grew more than expected in December, another indication China is likely shifting toward more pro-growth policy in the year ahead. For more, see our 10/19/2011 cover story, “No Chinese Hard Landing.”

Market Misperceptions
By , Barron’s, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: It strikes us as slightly odd that while bearish technical indicators seemingly require no further proof than their existence, “More proof is needed to confirm this positive development.” Charts and indicators may make for pretty pictures, but they tell far more about what’s happened in the recent past than what will happen in the future.  For more, see our 10/18/2010 cover story, “A Recent History of Technical Analysis’ Recent History Lessons.

Market Misperceptions
By , Yahoo Finance, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: Long-term forecasts are fraught with peril. Ignore them. Recall, at the end of the 1990s, folks broadly predicted the period ahead would be similarly above-average. After a less-than-stellar decade, now folks expect more glum times ahead. Long-term forecasts tend to project forward what just happened, not a great way to see the future clearly.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Times, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: Worries about China are, at best, premature, in our view. China’s declining property sales and economic deceleration are likely mostly government-controlled, and if all goes according to plan, both probably reaccelerate as the new Communist Party leaders are “elected” in 2012. For more, see our 10/19/2011 cover story, “No Chinese Hard Landing.” 

Market Misperceptions
By , International Business Times, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: While we wholeheartedly agree the US economic system’s proven remarkably resilient through history, we’d also argue that’s why it’s equally likely to continue growing just fine in the wake of the most recent crisis—albeit possibly at a slower pace than most would like. And given employment recovery’s lagging nature, the fact it’s gradually improved the last couple months speaks to both those points.

Market Misperceptions
By , Barron’s, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: Could 2011-like volatility continue this year? Yes, possibly. But the reality is, markets are volatile (in both directions—up and down) more often than not. As we’ve said, the VIX is a flawed indicator, is backward-looking and tells next to nothing about stocks’ future direction. For more, see our 11/24/2011 cover story, “Giving Thanks Amid Volatility.

Sensible Stories
By , The Washington Post, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: Hungary’s prime minister is seemingly backing off his stance regarding central bank regulation in face of pressure from the international community—whether he’s truly willing to work with the IMF and EU remains to be seen. For more, see our 12/21/2011 cover story, “Bonds and Banks.

Sensible Stories
By , Carpe Diem, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: “The annual gains in the volume of those raw materials being shipped by rail last year and the ongoing monthly gains in rail traffic, reflect the gradual recovery taking place in the US economy, especially in the manufacturing sector.” All positive!

Sensible Stories
By , Bloomberg, 01/06/2012

MarketMinder's View: While we’d caution against reading too much from one month’s jobs data, since unemployment recovery typically lags other areas of the economy, we also think this is more evidence the US economy’s been growing for some time now.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: This strikes us much more as typical political posturing than new news. Fact is, Greece and the Europeans have done a similar dance with each renewed discussion of terms for the release of Greece’s next aid tranche—this seems little different.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Christian Science Monitor, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: History would suggest two things: First, attempting to fix the income gap is something of a solution in search of an economic problem. Second, we’ve had a federal tax code with varying rates and structure since 1913, yet the income gap remains—and some would argue it’s grown since then. So no, tax reform seems unlikely to reduce the income gap. For more, see our 09/29/2011 piece on Real Clear Markets.

Market Misperceptions
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: All jobs data should be taken with a grain of salt, particularly the unemployment rate. However, to suggest seasonal distortions are all that’s at work in December’s number gives economists (who only expected nearly half as many jobs as were reportedly added) pretty short shrift—after all, it seems likely economists are equally aware of seasonal distortions in hiring.

Market Misperceptions
By , Foreign Policy, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: This is an overly dour eurozone outlook, in our view. While most would likely prefer a quicker solution to the eurozone’s debt woes, a measured, deliberate pace might actually be preferable—especially given European leaders have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to do what’s necessary when push comes to shove.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: More positive US economic data pointing to continued resilience, despite widespread fears to the contrary.

Sensible Stories
By , Financial Times, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: Steps toward deeper, more liquid Chinese capital markets would likely be an overall positive for global markets—and seemingly indicate China’s continuing down the path of an increasingly open, free market.

Sensible Stories
By , International Business Times, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: Sure, consumers may have been pickier when it came to bargain-hunting this holiday season, but they still overall spent more than last year—and growth is growth, regardless of the reasons.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: The fact EFSF bond demand has held up despite downgrade warnings and general concern about the eurozone’s financial situation points to continued investor confidence in the region’s ability to ultimately work through its debt woes.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: A sensible look at recent tensions involving Iran and the likelihood it’s able to inflict significant damage on global energy markets, should the tensions actually escalate from here.

Sensible Stories
By , Reuters, 01/05/2012

MarketMinder's View: Italy’s progress toward necessary, basic reforms (like tax code enforcement) continues—a positive sign of its commitment to making tough, potentially unpopular decisions.

Market Misperceptions
By , CNBC, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: Yet another iteration of the so-called January effect—and just as hollow, in our view, as all the others. That January returns seem to correlate with annual returns during election years is an interesting observation, but there’s likely no causal relationship. Variables that may not even exist today will influence returns over the balance of the year.

Market Misperceptions
By , Fortune, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: This piece neglects to mention all the backstops eurozone officials have erected to help mitigate the risk of a CDS-triggering event. Though peripheral Europe still has many issues to work through, we’d argue the risks of a disorderly sovereign default are overstated here.

Market Misperceptions
By , New York Post, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: Yes, Friday’s unemployment data could show an increase in the unemployment rate, but that needn’t portend further economic weakness ahead. Unemployment is a lagging metric, and it’s normal for the jobless rate to stay elevated—and even increase—well after a recession is over.

Market Misperceptions
By , Financial Times, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: Indeed, some economies are stronger than others, and the eurozone may in fact slip into recession. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the entire global economy contracts—strength in other areas, like the US, can likely offset pockets of weakness elsewhere. For more, see our 12/2/2011 Research Analysis, “If Europe Faces Recession, Can the US Economy Still Continue to Grow?

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: Rising small-business lending is one of many incremental positives at work in the US. For more, see our 12/13/2011 Research Analysis, “Six Indicators of Underappreciated Economic Strength.”

Sensible Stories
By , Cato @ Liberty, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: It’s often suggested unless businesses and banks are regulated more, the biggest corporations will grow unchecked, accumulating wealth at regular folks’ expense. However, as this study shows, that’s not necessarily the case: In freer markets, the five largest banks accounted for a smaller share of overall banking business.

Sensible Stories
By , The Wall Street Journal, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: France likely does need further austerity, and in theory, a higher value-added tax is one way to do this. However, as this piece succinctly shows, increasing the VAT may have counterproductive knock-on effects.

Sensible Stories
By , Der Spiegel, 01/04/2012

MarketMinder's View: As Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s proto-fascism takes hold in Hungary, that country’s long-term debt yields are nearing 11%, its currency is at an all-time low versus the euro and the need for financial assistance seems increasingly urgent. EU/IMF officials will demand heavy political concessions in exchange for aid, but whether Orban agrees to their terms—and restores Hungarians’ freedom—remains to be seen.

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: Ignore this and other market myths like “as January goes, so goes the year.” They have little, if any, predictive power over markets’ future course.

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: As the eurozone continues trudging along, it’s important to remember it’s only part of the global economy. Even a recession there likely isn’t enough to completely derail global growth.

Market Misperceptions
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: By playing with the definition of debt, as this article does, you could equally show we have no debt. Debt is a very specific thing: A contract between a borrower and a lender. Not some vague notion about what current legislation says the US might have to pay if a host of assumptions come to fruition. For more, see our 03/07/2011 cover story, “A Welcome, Yet Flawed Addition.”

Sensible Stories
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: US manufacturing continues expanding and appears to be holding up better than elsewhere in the world right now—one of many signs of the US economy’s underlying strength.

Sensible Stories
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: As this article sensibly lays out, a big first day doesn’t mean a big first week, month or year for stocks. In fact, it doesn’t mean much of anything.

Sensible Stories
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: Just a few examples of how wealthy entrepreneurs who produce for the mass market make the rest of our lifestyles richer. Goods and services that used to be prohibitively expensive are now easily acquired by many.

Sensible Stories
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: Although there’s still a long road ahead, Italy continues to take incremental steps toward righting its debt troubles. For more, see our 12/30/2011 cover story, “An (Italian) Tale of Two Auctions.”

Sensible Stories
By , 01/03/2012

MarketMinder's View: Brazilian trade experienced a banner year in 2011. And if the government’s efforts to “deepen trade with several nations and blocs” include abolishing tariffs, total trade will likely boom even higher over time.