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David Barron

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Monday, 31 March 2008
Rays Of Sunshine Are Getting Through Clouds Of Doom And Gloom

While much of the media and the financial crystal ball gazers are predicting the U.S. will go to "Hell in a Handbasket", there are some signs that responsible people in government and business are trying to turn things around.

Most market watching spectators are standing around with their fingers up their butt whistling Dixie. "What tune will we be whistling next," they ask?

Fortunately, there are U.S. business men and others that are competent at what they do and willing to take calculated risks:

  1. Last year, 41 per cent of venture capital invested in Canada – and 53 per cent in Ontario – came from the U.S., making our potential gazelles increasingly dependent on foreign capital.
  2. Nice to see General Electric Co. lightening up on financial assets, which during the Jack Welch era of the 1990s threatened to overshadow GE's other businesses. Those other businesses – aircraft engines, medical devices, lighting, appliances, locomotives and other essential "infrastructure goods" – are the makings of a reliably well-run industrial conglomerate. GE head Jeff Immelt is one of those rare Fortune 500 CEOs who sets his watch on company time and not Wall Street's, in stark contrast with Welch. Immelt waited for the right price before shedding GE's historically important, but low-margin plastics business last year. Now he's easing out of financial businesses, starting with an auction at GE Canada, where he'll have better luck commanding decent prices than for sales of U.S. counterparts in the jittery American market. We hope to one day soon see GE, additionally bereft of NBC Universal and its uneven performance, emerge as a streamlined peer of United Technologies Corp. (Otis elevators, Carrier, Pratt & Whitney engines), whose stock has soared 117 per cent in the past five years, to GE's paltry 32 per cent.
  3. In February, there was a surprise rise in U.S. home sales. Well done to those agents and buyers who are getting the show on the road.



Posted by qualteam at 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 31 March 2008 10:30 PM EDT

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