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The US consumer will ride to the rescue


Every indicator we look at shows that the world is in recession. That's the reality. It's always easier to drown if everyone else in the pool is drowning too. So who will be the lifeguard?

It has to be the US. Two things will make it so: decisive action by the authorities - fiscal, monetary and military - and the response of the consumer. The corporate sector will lag. There are plenty of investment opportunities out there. The world is hardly half-wired for the digital age and technological change is still speeding along. But profits will have to come first. So demand has to lead.

Once it does, profits will bounce back rapidly. Two things will cause that. The first is the huge rationalization that US Inc is undertaking - our anecdotal survey of blue-chip companies suggests US corporate rationalization is more than 50% faster than in Europe and more than twice as fast as in Japan.

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