Although the debate over whether corporations are people continues to rage (or simmer depending on your point of view), there is no doubt a corporation is a reflection of people. The underlying stock of a company goes a step further, serving as a proxy for mood and potential and providing a glimpse into the future.
Yesterday's surge in Tiffany (TIF) shares served yet another role ... a reminder of how much America is still admired in the world, even as we have obviously lost diplomatic and military clout. People still love our fashion, movies, washing machines, motorcycles, and customs.
The wedding band goes back many centuries and was prevalent in many ancient societies, including Rome, where women wore two rings:
> Gold rings were worn in public.
> Iron rings were worn at home, while doing household work.
Pope Innocent III, in 1215, prohibited clandestine marriages, and proclaimed that marriages had to be made public in advance (Banns of Marriage). But, it was the good old American advertising executive, who made the diamond engagement ring part of the fabric of our lives.
Now, the tradition has been adopted by several other countries, particularly in Asia. Right now, a larger percentage of women in Japan receive a diamond engagement ring, than in America; and now, China is coming on strong. This trend is serving Tiffany & Co. amazingly, as seen in the most recent quarter:
America's revenue +5%: Comp Store Sales +1%
Asia- Pacific's revenue +29%: Comp Store Sales +22%
Japan's revenue +9%: Comp Store Sales +5%
Europe's revenue +45%: Comp Store Sales +2%
During the quarter, the company opened stores in New Jersey, Cleveland, Ohio, West Edmonton, Canada, Curitiba, Brazil, Stuttgart, Germany, and Jinan, China.
Desire for American goods and culture is being greeted with a spike in global wealth. DeBeers sees diamond demand growth from 2012 through 2014: in China growing at 8.1%, in India growing at 6.0%, and in the Persian Gulf growing at 3.9%; while in the United States growing at an estimated 2.4%. Other old guard economic giants see less demand, with growth in the EU at 0.6% and in Japan at 1.5%.
Not a Superhero
We can simply admire who we are, and embrace it, as a model for the future.
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