Teutonic Toppling Sends EU Economy Reeling (AP)
The European Union (EU) took a huge financial hit in Q4 2012, as its largest member, Germany, saw its economy contract by more than analysts estimated it would. Call it what you will, what it really means is that the EU’s recession just got a lot worse. In fact, with Q4 down, the contraction in that quarter marks the third one in a row that the 17-member bloc incurred economic shrinkage. And now, with this Teutonic toppling pushing the overall economic decline to .6 percent — or 50 percent higher than the anticipated .4 percent — nobody’s sure how much worse it will get. Investors must be wondering if the bottom has been hit yet.
World Turns to Chocolate for Solace in 2012 (YahooFinance)
Nestle, the world’s biggest food and drink maker, announced an $11.55 billion profit for 2012, despite predictions last January for a challenging year. In 2013, the Swiss giant expects more of the same. For commodities investors, that situation should be great news, as Nestle also is one of the world’s greatest commodities consumers. The company has to be large to produce $100 billion in 2012 sales (almost 10 percent more than in 2011). And if you’re looking to invest in the region with the sweetest tooth — look to the Americas, where 5.2% sales growth led the way last year… Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day, speaking of chocolate.
3G Brings $23 Billion in Ketchup to Buffett (Bloomberg)
Warren Buffett again practiced what he preaches — buying what he knows. And what he’s proven time and time again is that he knows consumer products. This time, in conjunction with the financial wizards at 3G Capital, Berkshire Hathaway purchased HJ Heinz Co. Buffett & 3G will end up paying $72.50 a share for the Pittsburgh-based ketchup kings — a 20 percent premium compared with yesterday’s closing price of $60.48. Investors looking to spice up the taste of their portfolios might consider acquiring shares of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.