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For Coming Year CEOs Expect Less Cap Spending but More Hiring

According to the Business Roundtable, business leaders are dimming their outlook on the U.S. economy, saying uncertainty over tax and trade policy could fester throughout next year and discourage company spending.

A measure of the economic outlook among chief executive officers slipped to 85.1 in the current quarter from 86.4 in the third quarter, the Business Roundtable said. The survey of 129 CEOs reflects expectations for the next six months of sales, capital spending and employment.

Lowered expectations of business investment drove the index’s overall decline. CEOs also downgraded their outlook on sales, though they boosted expectations of hiring.

A recent survey showed most CEOs—74%–still expect their company’s sales to climb over the next six months. But 9% forecast a decline, up from 7% who said so in the third quarter.
Just over a third—36%–expected to increase capital spending over the next six months while 13% planned a decrease and 50% saw no change. Four in 10 CEOs expected to boost hiring while 36% saw no change in employment and 23% forecast a decline in employment. The consensus is that companies are icing investment plans until they get a better sense of what their tax bills will be over the long term.

Congress is debating whether to extend a raft of tax breaks set to expire and lawmakers aim to reach a deal before the new Congress takes over early next year.

Fifteen Business Executives Ask President Obama to Reduce Taxes

In Washington on Dec. 15, business executives asked President Barack Obama for a tax holiday that would help them tap more than $1 trillion of offshore earnings, much of it sitting in island tax havens.
The money — including hundreds of billions in profits that U.S. companies attribute to overseas subsidiaries to avoid taxes — is supposed to be taxed at up to 35 percent when it is brought home. Executives including John Chambers the chief of Cisco Systems, say a tax break would return a flood of cash and stimulate the economy.

Continued Low Housing Prices Could be Ticking Time Bomb

Home prices dropped across America lower than expected. This slide has led some experts to predict that housing is headed for a double-dip.
Yet. despite a glut of homes lingering in foreclosure proceedings, analysts say, that a recovery in the housing market will, in large part, depend on an overall economic recovery.
Data released this week from the S&P /Case Schiller index across 20 major U.S. cities fell 1.3% in October from September, the third straight national decline.

Gold Set For New Highs In 2011

Gold enthusiasts say the price of the precious metal is set to reach fresh highs early in the New Year, on mounting inflation fears fueled by loose U.S. and euro-zone monetary policies.
Because of central-bank purchases and Chinese imports emerging to support gains, gold analysts and traders say they expect the metal to quickly surpass $1,500 a troy ounce, reaching as high as $1,700 an ounce—or even $2,000, according to forecasts by some of the industry’s more bullish participants—before the tide turns slightly in 2012.
Gold has been a solid performance in 2010, benefiting largely from sovereign-debt troubles sovereign-debt troubles in the euro zone and the anticipation of extended monetary stimulus in the U.S

Russia Hires Advertising Agency

When you hear the word “Russia”, what comes to mind? Unfortunately the images that come to mind are often associates with spies, the gulag, gangsters, breadlines and permafrost, not to mention retrograde politics.

To move into the 21st century Russia needed to show a new face to the world. To do that, they hired ADORE CREATIVE, a Los Angeles based ad agency.

According to Rupert Wainwright, Adore’s president and chief creative director, the biggest challenge was to normalize Russia. Mr. Wainright believes that if a sense of “normalness” can be established, the country will become de-demonized in the eyes of the world.
The theory seems to be working. Mr. Wainwright and several other Western advertising agencies have helped Russia score several big victories on the world stage: in the last three years it has won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2013 World University Games, and most recently the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. Mr. Wainwright’s company made films for all three campaigns.

China Cracks Down On Illegal Mining Of Rare Earths

The term rare earths refers to a group of minerals that are important in the manufacture of a wide range of high-technology products. They are used to make a wide variety of electronic goods, including mobile phones and flat-screen televisions and can be found in specialized industrial products like drills, components for electric automobiles and military equipment. Rare earths are also crucial to the manufacture of compact fluorescent light bulbs, electric cares and wind turbine.

China is a leading provider of rare earth metals and the demand has never been greater. So great is the demand and many criminals have gone into the mining business in China. Until recently the Chinese government turned a blind eye but now that is changing and the Chinese government is cracking down on illegal mining