China Pushes BMW to Record Highs (Reuters)
BMW investors kicked off 2013 with a bang, as the Germany-based luxury car maker set a sales record for January by moving 123,276 vehicles. The record once again was paced by China, as the world’s second-largest economy bought 30,397 cars, or 14.7 percent of the total. Worldwide, BMW sold 9.9 percent more BMWs, Minis, and Rolls Royces — than the previous year — to set another year-over-year record. With China’s economy showing every sign of expansion, BMW is looking forward to a record 2013 — giving its shareholders something else to cheer about.
EU Leaders Follow British Lead — Agree to Spending Cuts (Bloomberg)
European Union (EU) leaders bowed down to the wishes of English Prime Minister David Cameron by agreeing to a series of budget cuts. It is possible that the EU leaders were bullied into making concessions by Britain’s referendum to leave the bloc in 2017; nevertheless, they agreed to trim the 2014-2020 budget from 1,047 trillion euros to 960 billion euros. Together, Italy, France and a number of smaller Eastern European economies stood in the way of reducing the budget, but once England landed Germany and the Netherlands on her side, the debate was all but over. Next, investors can watch the effect these reductions have on the euro versus other world currencies.
Rites of Spring #101: Gas Prices Rising (CNNMoney)
Just as the swallows return to Capistrano every spring, U.S. gas prices begin their annual ascent toward a summer peak. According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas is $3.53 — a 17-cent rise from last week and 23 cents more than last month. The rise is due to two basic components: the price of oil is rising and the total number of refineries producing gas is shrinking. According to the Energy Information Administration, the price of oil accounts for 68 percent of the cost of gasoline, while refining costs amount to 8 percent. Futures and options traders should take note, as analysts predict a maximum price per gallon of gas to hit $3.94 for the year, which leaves a lot further price hikes ahead.