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Financial Directions – Global Economy headed for a slump

Merrill Lynch says that global GDP growth is likely to fall from 4.0% in 2004 to 3.1% in 2005, and the global slowdown will affect every region except the eurozone. Even though profits have been rising and company balance sheets have been repaired, businesses have been cautious in hiring staff and capital investment. This means balance sheets are bulging with cash, prompting more companies to return cash to shareholders over the year through dividends and share buybacks, says the report. To help investors, Merrills’ economists identify seven key themes for the economy in 2005 For a pdf of the full Financial Directions section click here

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