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March 11, 2013
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  Top Stories 
  • U.S. jobless rate falls to 7.7%, but doubts remain
    The U.S. unemployment rate reported Friday surprised economists, dropping to 7.7% for February from 7.9% in January. However, labor force participation remained unchanged at 58.6%, just 0.4 percentage points above the post-recession low and well below the 20-year average of about 66%. "This shows the depth of the recent employment recession -- worse than any other post-war recession -- and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis," wrote Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. Forbes (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. household wealth back to where it was in 2007
    U.S. households have regained the US$16 trillion in wealth they lost during the economic meltdown, according to the Federal Reserve. The gains, however, have accrued mainly to upper-income Americans due to a soaring stock market while rising home prices have contributed to much smaller gains for homeowners in the lower classes. Given the disproportionate recovery in wealth, analysts warn that the milestone might not herald a sharp resurgence in consumer spending. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Higher U.S. retail sales figures are predicted
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    Economists predict U.S. retail sales figures this week will reveal 0.5% higher spending, up from a 0.1% gain in January that apparently was little affected by higher taxes at the start of the year. The budget sequester that took effect March 1 also is seen as no more than a minor factor so far. "Consumers aren't packing it in, that's for sure," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. Bloomberg (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.S. dollar advances against yen as yuan worries ease
    Strong U.S. economic figures last week have helped the dollar advance against the yen, even as Finance Minister Taro Aso assures the U.S. that Japan is not working specifically to undermine its currency. Meanwhile, on another currency front, analysts say that further advances in the yuan as well as rising labor costs in China are helping to shift the U.S. political focus away from charges that China is keeping its currency unnaturally low. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/8) , Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan)/Jiji Press (3/10) , Reuters (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Japan's 4th-quarter economic growth is upgraded to flat
    A revision in fourth-quarter GDP figures revealed Japan may be emerging slowly from recession with flat growth. Earlier figures indicated a 0.1% contraction in the quarter. Economists now expect slow growth for the Japanese economy through the year. Reuters (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China output and retail figures disappoint, but exports surge
    Chinese industrial production rose 9.9% and retail sales gained 12.3% in January and February, falling below economists' forecasts. The industrial-output number marked the least promising start to a new year since 2009. However, exports jumped 21.8% in February, including a 15.7% gain in exports to the U.S. amid signs of an improving global market for Chinese goods. Caijing Magazine online (3/8) , Bloomberg (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

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  Market Activities 
    European and U.S. stocks gained Friday to round out one of their best weeks of the year, with investors on both continents inspired by U.S. employment figures that added powerfully to other signs of economic recovery. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended 0.80% higher for the day at 295.55, and the S&P 500 added 0.45% to 1,551.18. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (3/11) , Bloomberg (3/8) , CNNMoney (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Asian shares advance broadly
    Emerging evidence of global recovery, notably in the U.S. and China, and the psychological boost provided by Japanese shares recovering ground lost since the market meltdown in 2008 lifted shares across Asia on Friday. The Nikkei jumped 2.64% to 12,283.62, the Hang Seng climbed 1.41% to 23,091.95, the Kospi edged up 0.08% to 2,006.01 and the S&P/ASX rose 0.28% to 5,123.40. Bloomberg (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • Uncertainty seen for Indian manufacturing
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    Mixed signals from various sectors blur the outlook for India's manufacturing in the current quarter, according to a Ficci survey. However, to the extent that signs are positive looking ahead, the sector is benefiting from recent government actions. "Some major initiatives taken by the government in the last few months coupled with some budget announcements are expected to improve the prospects for manufacturing in coming months," the report said. The Economic Times (India)/Press Trust of India (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • China trades less with India, more with ASEAN nations
    India-China trade fell 6.9% in February, with Indian exports plunging more than 30% from a year before, according to China's General Administration of Customs. The decline for India came even as China's trade with ASEAN countries rose 22% during the month and with Russia 31.6%. The Hindu (India) (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Domestic, export factors weigh on South Korean economy
    A drop in private consumption and declining facility investment as well as a continued lag in exports contributed to a 0.7% decline in South Korea's overall production between December and January, as reported by the Korea Development Institute. Looking forward, however, the KDI expects gradual improvement as the export sector picks up with global recovery. Maeil Business Newspaper (South Korea) (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Foreign investors, "Abenomics" lift Japanese shares
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    Foreign investors' booming appetite for exposure in Japan and the anticipated benefits of "Abenomics" have contributed to the rebound in the Nikkei Average of 225 selected issues to where it was before the 2008 market shock. Over the past 16 weeks, foreign investors have funneled ¥4.2 trillion into Japanese shares, according to government data, comparable with the last surge in late 2006 and early 2007. The Wall Street Journal (3/8) , Yomiuri Shimbun (Japan) (3/10) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Malaysia is touted as Asian exemplar for debt capital market
    Malaysia is setting the pace for the rest of Asia in the development of its debt capital market, participants heard at the Asia-Pacific Debt Investor Forum in Hong Kong. The country's "regulatory system and attitude towards inward investment has it punching above its weight. The rest of Asia must be looking at Malaysia and thinking, 'Those guys have stolen a bit of a march on us,' " said Geoffrey Lunt, senior fixed-income product specialist at HSBC Global Asset Management. "Of all Islamic countries to be at the center of that market, 10 years ago you would not necessarily have chosen Malaysia to be there." (3/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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