June 17th, 2011
11:51 AM GMT
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(CNN) – We in the media are mad about Facebook. Why do we write about it so much? It's a no-brainer: over 600 million members, and lots of them Facebook for hours every day. Want to report on something that will interest people? This seems to fit the bill.

Look at some of the things the media has said about it this week:

Facebook could be worth $100 billion when it goes public – that's according to CNBC (it later wheeled out an analyst to say, in effect "Yeah right," but still).

Facebook use has peaked in many of the countries where most of its users live – according to umpteen media outlets.

Hold on, what's that? Facebook has peaked? Well yes – the number of users in the U.S, Britain and elsewhere is going down, a research company says. But wait – it's worth $100 billion – and its popularity is falling? How can both of these be true? As most professional investors will tell you, the only reason to buy shares in a company with such an astronomical valuation, would be that you're convinced its profits will grow fast. Very, very fast in fact.


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June 17th, 2011
08:38 AM GMT
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(CNN) – From Hong Kong to New York, investors are watching the events unfold in Greece with a dreaded sense of déjà vu.

The reality gap looming in Athens between what ordinary Greeks want and what their politicians can realistically achieve has ramifications that could ripple far beyond the Aegean shores.

The only thing that is certain for now is that the longer the impasse lasts, the more devastating its consequences will be – not just for Greece- but for other cash strapped countries that share the euro as well as Europe’s trading partners further afield.

As the IMF prepares to hand out yet another eye-watering chunk of bailout funds to Greece, it may appear to some like a parent handing cash to a spoiled child - even if they haven’t done their homework.

However the Greeks protesting from the Parthenon to the Parliament this week are not children. They are men and women coping with the most precipitous decline in living standards their generation has known.


June 17th, 2011
07:28 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – “You can’t pick your day.” That’s what Samsonite CEO Tim Parker told me in our Thursday live interview on World Business Today. Earlier that morning, the luggage maker had debuted with fanfare and champagne on the Hong Kong stock exchange. But the fizz had faded within the first hour of trade – share price had already tanked by nearly 11%. By the time Parker and I had our face-to-face, the Hang Seng had closed and Samsonite stock was still underwater – more than 7.5% off its initial IPO price of HK$14.50. Still, the CEO seemed upbeat.

“I wouldn’t say it’s stumbling. The market stumbled, we just stumbled a little less than the markets so to end up where we have done, to be honest, I feel is not a bad result considering very, very turbulent conditions.”

To be sure, those conditions are many. On Monday, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greece’s credit rating to the worst in the world. On Tuesday, Asia’s first and third largest economies announced higher May inflation numbers – China’s 5.5% was its highest rate since July 2008. India’s May inflation sped in higher than expected at 9.06%.  On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plunged by 200 points in intraday trading, posting losses for six weeks in a row.


June 17th, 2011
06:31 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Part of the backlash against this week's austerity measures in Athens stems from a breakdown in trust between the Greek people and its elected politicians.

But what the Greek government says and does now has little bearing on the country's financial future. As current Creditor-in-Chief the International Monetary Fund is the one setting the terms.

This begs the question: how much support does the Greek bailout have inside the IMF?


June 17th, 2011
04:41 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Small emerging markets may pay off better in the long term than the lofty BRICS.

That’s according to State Street Global Advisors, which reports that smaller emerging market economies outperformed the BRICs by a whopping 39% in the period from 1996 to March, 2011.

Investors focusing only on Brazil, Russia, India and China may be missing out.

Compared with developed economies, the numbers are even more stunning.

For example, when you look at retail sales of licensed merchandise, emerging markets registered a 22.7% increase from 2009 to 2010.

“The Licensing Letter,” an independent trade publication, also reports a 2.2% decline in retail sales of licensed merchandise globally for the same period, and a 4% drop in the United States and Canada.

So while others shrink, the EM’s just keep growing.

Indonesia is just one of the small emerging markets cited in recent small emerging market reports; Its growing consumer class and economic growth have been the focus of special coverage on World Business today all this week.

Check out our coverage to locate the hot-spots.

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