I've stated several times that my optimism for individual companies and their underlying share prices is because of the strength in the global economy. Nothing illustrates this more than Priceline (PCLN), which posted fantastic earnings results yesterday, based exclusively on international growth. It's part of a growing trend that's seen international bookings up 66% and compounded annual growth in the last couple of years 133% versus domestic that was up just 21%. In fact, the company's Bookings.com sports 41 different languages.
This is something lost on causal market watchers and twisted by politicians looking to claim credit and confiscate profits.
Then there are the results from Joy Global (JOY) which beat the street. Optimistic comments from management not only sent its shares higher but added credence to the notion that emerging markets are regaining momentum. Record coal demand in India and China points to economies that are moving in the right direction (yes, the EPA has done major harm to American coal but the recession also quashed demand) and Japan's 9% increase points to another source for this cheap and dirty fuel.
The company's surface business increased 13.7% to $605.5 million, with margins soaring to 22.6% from 19.4%.
But the most encouraging line was that metallurgical coal prices have taken off from their September low of $140 a metric ton to $170. Management is confident this trend will remain in place.
Break Out the Vuvuzelas
So the world is still eager and hungry and wanting what we have right in America ... or what we used to have. In this month's issue of National Geographic there's a good article on South Africa which is now considered a BRIC nation by many economists. It's hard to imagine Apartheid existed there until 1990. Most Americans only know about the sensational trial of an Olympian gone mad but this is a nation ready to have the world. Of course, there are the same complaints about income inequality heard by those enlightened folks in the west.
At least in South Africa there isn't a racial undertone to such notions or a push to make things right for one part of the population at the expense of another - righting the wrongs of yesteryear.
I actually couldn't help but smile and think of Alexis Tocqueville when a kid in the article said everyone goes to Johannesburg to get rich. There was a time everyone in America thought they or their children could become rich and now the ironic twist is so many rich people are dashing their dreams saying settle for higher minimum wages because it will bring dignity. Around the world there is upward mobility and while it is uneven at times it's heading in the same direction, lifting all boats. Break out the vuvuzelas and cheer.