June 30th, 2011
01:26 PM GMT
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(CNN) -  Good news for Nigeria. A wake-up call for South Africa.

That’s my “take-home message” from the headlines emerging from a new Morgan Stanley report, which predicts Nigeria’s economy will overtake South Africa’s as Africa’s largest by 2025.

High oil prices, the “decisive” election of President Goodluck Jonathan and buoyant consumer spending will all push Nigeria’s economy into the front in the next 15 years, says the Morgan Stanley survey.

Critics in South Africa say they are not concerned about the prospect of the country losing its spot as the largest economy on the continent.

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June 30th, 2011
12:43 AM GMT
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New York (CNN) – Can an old dog learn new tricks?  That is the question facing tech giant Microsoft.

Once a must-have growth stock, Microsoft shares have been stuck in the mid $20 range.  While Apple has surged 391% in the past five years and Google has risen 28%, Microsoft shares are down 8%.

I caught up with Steve Ballmer at the launch of Office 365, the cloud version of its popular software package and a product the company hopes will dispel the image that they are trapped in the past.

He acknowledged the company suffers from a perception problem.  “It is hard to understand.  Half of the world’s inboxes are on Hotmail.  We have maybe 50, 100% more customers than Gmail.  We are not newbies.

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June 29th, 2011
02:45 AM GMT
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Boeing has faced strong headwinds in the highly competitive airline business, but the venerable company is looking to the Dreamliner and great teamwork to put the commercial branch of the company into clearer skies.

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June 28th, 2011
06:24 PM GMT
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(CNN) - Greece vows to sell many state-owned assets and catch up to what European countries started doing back in the 1980s. So, better late than never. But can Greece really sell £50bn worth of assets as promised?

There are many challenges. Firstly, the unions don't want to see state employees go to work for private firms and of course face massive job cuts.
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June 28th, 2011
05:50 PM GMT
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(CNN) - Foursquare, the internet business which started out as a social game, allowed users to 'check-in' to locations, pick up 'badges' and become 'mayors.'

That was then, but things change fast in the faddish world of online. Its focus is now moving to the more serious, real world business of payments, coupons, offers and retail.

To fuel this reinvention, co-founder Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai announced that the business recently raised $50 million from their current Silicon Valley venture capital backers who have a good track record of picking winners (think Facebook, Skype, Groupon and Twitter).
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June 27th, 2011
11:58 AM GMT
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June 24th, 2011
07:26 PM GMT
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The Troika trying to manage Greece’s path to normality – the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – struck an upbeat tone as they broke out from meetings in Brussels Friday, but the reality is one of long lasting pain for the Hellenes with little progress after a five year austerity plan.

The Troika and the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou are now at least singing from the same hymn sheet and the numbers look like this in the final package: $40 billion in higher taxes and cuts in spending until 2015. Privatisations have been put down to raise $72 billion and at late night Thursday the new Greek finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, closed a $5 billion budget short fall with a final burst of tax increases and spending cuts. Final tally now: $117 billion.
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June 23rd, 2011
06:58 PM GMT
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(CNN) – A surprise attack from an unlikely source sent oil prices reeling Thursday.

The International Energy Agency, the Paris based research arm of 28 industrialised countries, held an emergency press conference to announce that its members would release 60 million barrels onto the market – allocating two million barrels a day for a month.  Half of the total will be coming from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. 

It is only the third time the IEA tapped reserves; the first was in 1991 during the Gulf War, then again in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina wiped out some production in the Gulf of Mexico.

This move triggered memories of G-7 currency interventions in the mid-1980s, the fabled Plaza and Louvre accords, when collective action by central banks was taken to either raise or lower the U.S. dollar.
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June 23rd, 2011
06:32 PM GMT
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(CNN) – We’d all like to invest as wisely as Warren Buffett, wouldn’t we? And maybe we can, because helpfully he’s the kind of billionaire investor who believes in sharing his insights.

Google “Buffett sayings” and many of his do’s and don’ts are just a click away. You can get them in books too, not to mention Mr Buffett’s letters to shareholders of his investment company Berkshire Hathaway. Don’t waste time, as I did, on the quotes of Jimmy Buffett – not if it’s investment that interests you, anyway.

Some of the sayings attributed to W. Buffett (“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked”) have a kind of folksy cleverness to them that make you think, “Yes, I see what you’re (allusively) saying!” Others are a lot more direct, and seem to offer common-sense prescriptions you can follow, like “I never invest in a business I don’t understand.” Well thanks, but who would?

In fact, lots of us certainly have, and probably will again. It’s harder to avoid than you might think.

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June 23rd, 2011
02:39 PM GMT
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Cannes, France (CNN) - Cannes Lions used to be a festival for ad agencies, then the clients started coming and now the content owners are coming. James Murdoch, Jeffrey Katzenberg and our own Jeff Bewkes, who heads up Time Warner, are all here this week.

Martin Sorrell, boss of the multi-billion dollar WPP group of creative agencies, talks of a new triangle of agencies, clients and media/content owners. In effect a new structure to the creative sector.
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CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

 
 
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