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Straits Times 3,116.90 -10.84 -0.35%
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Editorial Desk
Editorial Desk | 17 February 2012
By: Xavier Lim
Articles (51) Profile

Since the start of the year, global stock markets have been bullish with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index currently trading at levels not seen since April 2011. At the same time, the Straits Times Index has recovered 19% from its October lows to close at 3,011 on 15 February, breaking the psychological resistance at 3,000 points.

Meanwhile, the 17-nation Eurozone economy shrank 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011 as the sovereign debt crisis took its toll. Italian GDP slipped back into recession while Germany saw a smaller-than-expected contraction. On the other hand, France unexpectedly grew by 0.2%, boosted by its exports. Overall, most of the figures were above expectations anchored by a better-than-expected economic performance by Germany and France.

Elsewhere, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) area composite leading indicator for December 2011 signalled that the momentum for the OECD economies has turned positive as a whole. Although Japan reported a contraction in its economy for the fourth quarter, nevertheless, it was one of those that were driving an improvement in the world economy. Data from the US, India and Russia also pointed to positive signs of an upward change in growth momentum.

Locally, our retail sales for December expanded at a slower pace of 4.2 percent year-on-year, but fell 2.4 percent on a month-to-month basis. The result was lower-than-expected as December is traditionally a good month for retailers. Nevertheless, driven by a 14-year low unemployment rate, consumers were still spending on luxury goods, technology goods and telecommunications as these segments saw an 11.8 percent and 29.7 percent increase respectively as compared to last year.

Gracing our cover this issue is none other than Second Chance Properties, which envisions to become a billion-dollar company based on market capitalisation by 2022. Can a $200 million market capitalisation company achieve this vision? What are the plans the CEO of Second Chance has for the company? Find out more from our story on page 6.

Next, we switch our attention to Epicentre Holdings. Will the growing demand for Apple products benefit the company going forward? Flip to page 12 for more information.

While some of the US macro indicators have looked up recently, investors should bear in mind that uncertainty over the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis still continues.

Happy reading!

Armed with an arsenal of investment knowledge, Xavier is the Senior Research Editor at Shares Investment.

Please click here for more information about this author.


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