7 - 13 March 2001

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Reading the future
The groaning and grumpiness comes down our lane more often than not and one particular observation is the lack or complete absence of analysis of companies, their profiles and their performance on the stock exchange.
The start with, there aren't the analysts or the analyst/ journalists with the experience to do this and the second thing is that a large proportion of financial consultants shun the public eye and operate incognito.
If we want to change the culture of investment trends, we have to start doing things with a more transparent mind.
The reason this does not take place is because for far too long, local and foriegn investment on the stock exchange locally and abroad has been seen as an instrument for a quick buck and as a method of evading tax.
Yes, evading tax.
This, as we all know, is bound to change sooner or later.

Local councils , no counting the chickens before they are hatched
Next Saturday's local council elections may not be the result many people are expecting.
If that is the case, then leaders on both sides of the border would do better to analyse and nibble at their nails before blaming it solely on the voter.
We would try very hard not to suggest any sway to left or right, but we can transmit the following feelings.
There is a natural dismay at the governance or the lack of it.
There is a sceptical mind on the European Union question and there are also many personal feuds and concerns that will come up in a local council vote.
If the nationalist party does too well, it does it no good, for it will continue to drown in a euphoria it does not need.
If it fares less well, it may open some individuals minds to the reality that there are problems that need to be addressed.
If we extrapolate the same on a Labour party vote, we will have very similar answers, but with a difference.
If the MLP fares poorly in the local council elections then that party should be worried that its message is not getting across.

Opacity in the markets
Opacity in the markets is the new buzz-word that describes a number of formulae that determine the following aspects of a market:
It weighs the legal systems, the regulations, the macroeconomic and tax policies, accounting standards and practices and corruption in the markets.
The worst countries turn out to be China followed by Russia, Indonesia, South Korea and, believe it or not, the Czech Republic. The best turn out to be Singapore, the US, Chile, Britain and Hong Kong.
This data is based on the latest results by PricewaterhouseCoopers, an international consultancy.

The Swiss lesson
The Switzerland referendum vote is a feather in the cap for the anti-EU movement and a lesson for the yes movement that comparisons are odious, apart from the fact that Switzerland in terms of history, economy, culture and attitudes bears little or no resemblance to Malta.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt