With a temporary reprieve from European calamity as markets across the pond were up, the internet was afforded the opportunity to report on events from elsewhere in the investing universe: namely, the BRICS. Stories on Chinese state propaganda IPOs, Indian state banks, and Russian search engines were the highlights of today’s web offerings.
Chinese Communist Party political mouthpiece the People’s Daily held an oversubscribed initial public offering this Friday in Shanghai in a move emblematic of what the Chinese conception of market socialism represents: Even outlets of CCP propaganda can be used for profit. Ideological musings aside, the People’s Daily raised RMB 1.38 billion ($219 million), which values the company at 46 times 2011 earnings with a market capitalization of $876 million, just behind the New York Times at $943 million.
The State Bank of India was all but dead a few years ago, but under the leadership of Pratip Chaudhuri, the bank has made an admirable comeback, vying for a large swath of Indian consumers and mortgage loans. While Chaudhuri has valiantly attempted to diminish the government’s influence in banking operations, the bank is 62% state-owned, and issues of inefficient bureaucracy and conflicting conceptions of the role the bank should play will continue to hinder the its performance. The State Bank of India is a holding in ETFs like EPI (quote) and INDY (quote).
Russian search engine firm Yandex (YNDX, quote) has struck a partnership with the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN. Located on the outskirts of Geneva, CERN is renowned for its Large Hadron Collider which particle physicists are employing to answer perplexing questions about our universe. Yandex has collaborated with CERN to make its database of the billions of data points more searchable, expediting the research project. Although Yandex is doing this pro bono, observers feel this is a great marketing ploy for the firm.
European stocks had their first weekly gains since mid-March. Although European concerns are by no means alleviated, this represented a welcome reprieve for weary European investors. If earnings from companies in both the United States and the euro zone come in positive, and debt yields in countries like Italy (EWI, quote) and Spain (EWP, quote) can hold steady, Europe could see a rally next week. However, if the left wins in a landslide in presidential elections in France (EWQ, quote) over the weekend, European market sentiment could take a turn for the worse.
While we regularly discuss the ignominious tumble that Nokia’s stock (NOK, quote) has taken, we rarely discuss the ramifications of Nokia’s slide towards irrelevance for its home country of Finland. At its peak in 2000, Nokia apparently accounted for 4% of the country’s GDP; now, it’s a mere 0.8% and that figure may continue to decrease. Further, troops of engineers are having trouble finding work now that Nokia has been forced to lay off much of its workforce. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Finns; the country may be set for a boom in the new internet economy thanks to the global success of local product Angry Birds.
Disclosure: Author owns EWQ puts