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2011, The Year of Investing Dangerously; The Pain in Spain Will Continue; IBM Exec Says: Biometrics Will Replace Passwords; Set New Year Career Goals

Aired December 30, 2011 - 14:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Good bye and good riddance, from Tokyo to New York to London, we bid adieu to volatile 2011.

Preparing to face the pain in Spain; a new year and more austerity in the country

And prepare your CVs, we show you how to reach your career goals in 2012.

I'm Richard Quest. It may be the last working day of the year, but I still mean business.

Good evening.

The financial year is just about over in most of the world and the picture that we paint of 2011, I'm afraid it is of one color, and one color mainly, as you can tell. In fact, in sympathy with these colors, just look most of the world's major stock indices got burned as the euro debt crisis intensified. The U.S. lost its pristine AAA.

2011 was rugged. It was dangerous to your wealth. So we are going to spend the next 45 minutes looking at the big narrative. And we put together more than just an arsenal of facts and figures. Let's light the red light to prove that it was such a difficult year for investors.

So, in this program we'll ask where the smart money is. And where you can get a return next year because, frankly, even when there is no recession, to have the DAX down 15.4 percent. The Nikkei off 17, the Hong Kong Hang Sang, down 20 percent-only the Dow looks like it is going to eke out a small gain. It gives you an idea on the super screen of how bad things really are.

And this is where we begins. Let's talk about the DAX. Starting in March, where we saw Japan, of course, the disaster that took place beginning with the earthquake, the tsunami, and then the nuclear power plant at Fukushima. Those global worries hit the country badly and hit the international markets, which continued right the way through until the summer, it was the summer.

It was in the summer when the crisis in confidence in the Eurozone really hit. And just look what happened to the DAX as we go into August. Way down, and it stays down, right the way into the autumn, into October, with the euro summits, all the way through until the end of the year. And what you see with the DAX, if I draw the line across, badly. It never really gets above the line from where it started the beginning of the year. Throughout the 2011, Eurozone contagion fears simply were everywhere. Worries that debt crisis could spread to Spain and Italy.

And of course, even in the United States, the Dow Jones was also badly affected. Let's follow the year as it was seen through the Dow. Go to the summer and you have the U.S. debt debacle and the downgrade. Lost its AAA, went to AA, plus, and there of course, you saw the markets. And that, of course, continues right the way down, through, it plunges 500 points, continues to fall.

And the Dow, unlike the other markets, the Dow actually manages to eke out a gain. And largely because of the blue chips. McDonalds, for example, up 31 percent. Shares of IBM, Warren Buffet's favorite stock, it also gained 27 percent. And if we draw that same line across, that we did earlier, you see-it's a bad line-but you see, there were large parts of the year when the Dow was in profit. So, overall, the Dow did remarkably well, all things considered.

On to the other markets, the Italian bond auction became the star barometer of the state of the Eurozone crisis. A year ago, Italy's 10-year was shaking nerves at 4.8 percent; 12 months later, and of course, as you know, it is 6.9, it is 7 percent. And it is once again causing a real crisis. Italian debt will be the touchstone for us to watch for as we go into 2012.

On the euro, it nudged up a bit today, after 17-month lows. But, frankly, keep an eye on the euro. There are some people who say it could trade to 118, as it goes through 2012.

And it was volatility, volatility, volatility. The S&P 500 started the year with a rally. It touched a three-year high in April. But, frankly, with the sort of volatility, that you see in these charts, you start to understand why it was such a difficult year. How on earth anyone can make investment decisions with this level of volatility, is one of the things we now need to talk about.

The turbulent year, it was preserving capital, that was the name of the game, especially when the benchmarks were so volatile and downright miserable. It's not the whole story as I found out when I spoke to Valentijn Van Nieuwenhuijzen, head of strategy at ING Investments, this afternoon.

VALENTIJN VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, ING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT: It has been the year of living dangerously, hasn't it? It is really spectacular. And to some extent you could say that after everything we have gone through, with respect to the euro crisis, these numbers are even not as bad as feared at the middle of the year.

QUEST: It was the middle of the year, wasn't it, when we saw those very sharp falls in August. And I still am not sure, as I reflect back, what caused it.

VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Well, it is. I think there is still a lot of discussion about that. Was it the debt ceiling discussion in the U.S. that sort of pulled the trigger? Or was it basically an accumulation of stories surrounding, you know, sort of disarray in Europe? Or was it basically a cyclical slow down? And I tend to feel it is a combination of the two later factors, whereas the debt ceiling discussion, in my opinion, hasn't been a dominant driver of markets in the summer.

QUEST: The fact that we are seeing equities at these depressed, index levels, or the indices at these depressed levels, two years after the recession ended, with a double dip recession next year, it does not give cause for much encouragement for next year, does it?

VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: No, it is going to be a very challenging year. I mean, of course, there is significant valuation and attractiveness in equity markets, if you look at it from a distance. But given the challenges ahead, given the ongoing drive for the deleveraging, in the public sector, and in a large part of the financial sector, amongst households, the growth prospects are simply too weak, and too uncertain to really have a strong view and a strong positive tilt in financial markets at this point.

QUEST: So where do we put our money next year? That is the-whether you have a $1,000 or $10,000, a million or a $10 million, question?

VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Yes, well, I think you want to at least be sure that you are getting some return, but not necessarily sort of gamble on too much return. So we tend to be relatively conservative in fixed income markets, for as long as you are outside the European peripheral markets.

But if you have a spread portfolio, a diversified portfolio, in Treasuries and also in high-yield bonds, emerging market debt, that is probably the areas where you get relatively nice returns and get well rewarded for the risks that you are taking.

QUEST: And if you-

VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: And in equities-

QUEST: Well, I was just about to say, if you do have to put your toe into the equity markets-I mean, the word I hear is, high-is value stocks. What the sort in the old day, you and I remember, we used to call the defensive, the non-cyclicals; the pharmaceuticals, the defensive stocks.

VAN NIEUWENHUIJZEN: Absolutely. Whether we call it defensive, lawful, value stocks, you know that is an area where you want to be invested. Although, I would like to point out that, you know, we have recently shifted from a very defensive stance in the middle of the year, to a sort of more "neutralish" stance comparing cyclical stocks to defensive stocks.

And we are doing this in anticipation that somewhere in the first quarter, maybe early second quarter, we will get some better cyclical back drop and we will get a sort of better-although it might be temporary, but a better environment for cyclical or high Beta stocks.

So be prepared to be dynamic and switch your positions because holding on to one style will be way too costly and risky.


QUEST: How many of us tonight are looking at our portfolios over 2011, and thinking he is absolutely right, that chap Valentijn. I wish I had checked earlier in the year and actually not just left everything to chance. Easy to say, we'll talk more about that in a moment.

Where we will be live, we will be in New York. The curtain comes down on, ironically, the best market of the majors. The Dow Jones was up about 6 percent for the year.

We will be in Madrid, where the government has painted a bleak economic picture. It is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS-(DESK BELL CHIMES)-last trading day of the year.


QUEST: Wall Street may be wrapping up the last day of the year in two hours. A volatile and tumultuous day for traders in the United States. Alison Kosik is in New York and joins me now.

Alison, I'm going to interrupt you in about 30 seconds for the communal singing of "Wait 'Til The Sun Shines, Nelly", which I know you'll want to join in.

But in a word, before the singing, yours is the only market up 6 percent.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The Dow, yes, the Dow, but the Nasdaq looks like it is going to end at least 1 percent lower. The S&P 500, you know, what we're going to have to wait for the closing bell to really see where the S&P 500 ends up. It really is going to be a last- minute showing for the S&P.

You mentioned it earlier. It has been one of those trading years, where it has been like we've been running on a treadmill. You know, we've been going hard. The heart is pounding fast, but we were ending up standing right where we started. That is really, I mean, despite even though the Dow is up 6 percent from last year, overall it has been a pretty lackluster year when you tally up the numbers, Richard.

QUEST: Until you put it into the context of the other markets, and then you realize that the U.S., the corporate results were good, the performance was good, and there is a lot to be gained from the Dow, perhaps, next year.

They are about to started singing, "Wait 'Til The Sun Shines, Nelly". A song that goes back to the Great Depression era.

KOSIK: I see them.

QUEST: Yes. It is a song of hope.

KOSIK: They are over my shoulder.

QUEST: It is a song of hope and it looks like they are about to begin. Let's join the New York Stock Exchange and we'll show you the words.



QUEST: Right. Let's look ahead at 2012.

KOSIK: Richard, Richard, can you still hear me?

QUEST: Right! Yes, go on.

KOSIK: I love that touch that you have there. You put the lyrics up and you followed them and you danced. I'm highly impressed, Richard, at your performance.

QUEST: Let's just see if my bosses still as impressed if I'm looking for a new job by Easter.

Alison, 2012, what happens next?

KOSIK: 2012? It is getting a little loud here. Usually after they've played the song, by the way, there is a little instrumental going on.

Looking forward, the economic outlook for next year, it looks a little bit more optimistic. CNNMoney, a survey of economists that they put out; they are forecasting that the economy is going to grow 3.3 percent for this current quarter, and about 3.2 percent for all of next year. Believe it or not that is about double the rate of growth that we have had so far this year. It is much closer to what is considered healthy. That is good news.

But you know this, three big worries are going to be weighing on Wall Street as we go into 2012, Europe, jobs, and housing. Those are the big wildcards, Richard.

QUEST: Alison, have a wonderful, Happy New Year. And thank you for all the hard work that you-

KOSIK: A happy, healthy to you.

QUEST: And for all the hard work you have done every day for us, bringing us the markets. Alison Kosik, in New York.

Without Alison, our understand of the Dow and the markets, the S&P, much, much less.

Well, spending cuts, tax rises and a pay freeze, that's what Spain's government is promising in 2012. Now the government has outlined an $11.5 billion worth of austerity measures; $11.5 billion. Virtually no jobs will be created in the public sector and a wage freeze will run for another year.

Spain's deficit-this is extraordinary-the deficit in this year will reach around 8 percent of output. Now, previously, the government had said it would be 6 percent. You say, but wait, when you put it in percentage terms that is a seriously large increase over what was expected.

There is one piece of good news. December's inflation figure of 2.3 percent was lower than expected, down from 2.9 previously. So Spain is not suffering from, obviously, from inflation.

Speaking earlier the Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz De Santamaria, said today was the start of a new era for Spain.


SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA: DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): These measures are the beginning of the beginning. They are the beginning of a package of structural reforms which have a purpose to correct the public deficit and to strengthen our economy.


QUEST: The Spanish markets are down over the past year. Not as much as others. During the course of 2011 the IBEX has seen just under 9 percent wiped off its value. So, that is more than the London, but less than Frankfurt. Earlier I spoke to CNN's Belen Chiloesche in Madrid, about the government's plans.


BELEN CHILOECHES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) misery, and there is going to be more sacrifices ahead. Today the government announced some austerity measures, big ones. The salaries of the public employees, they will be frozen. Also will be frozen the minimum wage and also there will be no hiding in the public sector.

Bad news, the only good news today was about state pensions. But the worst of everything, the worst surprise, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), it is that the deficits from the country, the deficit is around 8 percent of the GDP. It is 2 points above what it is expected to be. And it is going to mean that the government today has announce another measure. That means that there will be more tax hikes.

QUEST: OK, but the Spanish people, having seen the situation, having had the election, having heard what Rajoy was going to do, they must have been expecting this. This won't be a surprise.

CHILOECHES: No, it is not a surprise at all. Obviously, Mr. Rajoy is not going to hear any flattering reviews from the Spaniards-from the Spaniards- but everybody understands here, there are like some things to be done. Something needs to be done with the economy. And there are going to be some sacrifices, some sacrifices ahead.

I think things are going to remain pretty calm until the budget is presented around March. And then the big issue here is around, is talking about the labor market reform. Then people are going to get (UNINTELLIGIBLE), for the government can only deliver bad news as today.

QUEST: So, they are prepared to accept austerity, what you are suggesting is it's when the long-term structural changes, labor reform, protections for jobs, and all those other things, then we could see a lot more opposition?

CHILOECHES: I think so. Right now the unions are silent. Right now, people, they really wanted to see some change in the country. Everybody is aware of the programs. Everybody is aware that the cuttings must be done, but the future, one thing is knowing that something is going to change; another thing seeing how your salary gets lower; that is one of the main parts that have happened today, lowering this minimum wage.

This is going to be painful and that is one of the measures that the government wants to do in order to get more completion in the Spanish labor market. It is going to be tough, for sure, right now, the Spaniards, they just are silent.

QUEST: OK, so my final question: How long do you think the Spanish people will give Mr. Rajoy before they finally say-or they start to say-enough is enough. We saw in Britain a new government. It had a very short honeymoon. How long is his honeymoon, do you think?

CHILOECHES: I don't know, but the thing, Richard, is that I think that everybody is aware that we are in a very difficult situation and if we don't do anything things are going to get much worse. So I think, probably just before the summer we will see which the impact. Right now, the key for the government is trying not to deliver as many bad news at the same time; trying not to anger everybody at the same time. Today, with those cutting measures, they were also some announcements regarding that they keep some of their unemployment benefits, some things that they were, just not so sure.


QUEST: And Olli Rehn, the Europe community's economics commissioner has put out a statement on Spain tonight. He says he regrets the fact that there has been a sizable fiscal slippage. That is the 6 to 8 percent of the deficit.

Which he says, "It is all more important now that Spain remains fully committed to the fiscal consolidation," that is austerity in language that you and I would use. "It is crucial to keep the momentum in reform, to take further decision for consolidation for more growth." That is from the European Commission.

In a moment, think of it this way, in the beginning was the word. Then we added the numbers, then you get kept changing them. It is the curse of the modern life: The password-(DESK BELL CHIMES)-after the break.


QUEST: Join me in the library as we look at the new year on the horizon. And with it, the new advances on the realms of technology. Each year IBM publishes its "Five In Five" report. It predicts how the world will change the way in which we live, work and interact over the next five years.

One of the things they predict, gadgets you can control with your mind. Now several companies are already working on technology. So instead of tapping screens or mousing, you'll just think the thoughts and for things like medicine and biotechnology and gaming, it might-or will-work in the future. I'm no longer skeptical about these things.

Also, people powered homes. If it moves, it can produce heat and it has the potential for energy. Allowing you to capture kinetic energy is improving. I once rode a bicycle, a static bicycle, that generated energy. I have to tell you, you had to ride the bike pretty hard to light a bulb, let alone heat a house. But this could be the "Five in Five".

Now, when we come to the end of the password, it cannot come quickly enough. IBM says the end of the password is on its way, and for good reason. All this week I've been Tweeting about it.

You know the problem. You have a password. Let's say my password is, Richard. Well the next one requires me to have a number. So, it becomes, Richard. But the next one requires me to have a capital letter, Richard. But then we start moving on from those passwords that really require you to have a capital letter, a number, and a digit, so by now you are doing, Richard, or you have to put a digit or a slash, or a thing.

Before long, you really start to see that remembering passwords, because this one is fine for one particular Web site, but the next Web site only wants you to have four-this all came to a head for me this week. With the OECD's Web site, which required me to have-you ready for this?-between 14 and 30 characters, it required a capital letter, a number, and a symbol, all on one Web site.

Not surprisingly, we are looking forward to it, as IBM says the password could be a thing of the past and replaced by devices, recognizing who you are biometric data, voice/face/iris recognition, and the like. It will be your own unique DNA password. Joining me now on how technology could shape lives, IBM's Vice President for Innovation, Bernie Meyerson.

I can't be the only person who has these horrendous problems with passwords.

BERNIE MEYERSON, VICE PRESIDENT FOR INNOVATION, IBM: No, Richard, you are far from unique. I was recently reading a magazine I received, which is, one of the "Consumer Reports" magazines. They did a survey and found 25 percent, or in excess of that, of people literally carry a list of their passwords around in their wallets. So take my word you are hardly unique.

QUEST: Right, and then, of course, "forget password" if I've clicked it once.

No, let's look to the future. What of your "Five In Five" mindreading, people power, what do you find the most exciting? What is realistically going to happen in five?

MEYERSON: One of the really tremendous opportunities is we are speaking about the elimination of the digital divide. As you know, the digital divide is basically the haves and the have-nots of the digital age. You fast forward five years at the present rate and pace, 80 percent of the world's population will have access to the Web. Now think of the opportunity that provides to basically debunk myths, to provide telemedicine, to just bring the world together at a much more effective pace. That is a truly exciting thing. And that expansion is happening now. That is a game changer that will impact society end to end.

QUEST: That is incremental. But I'm wondering, do you see anything in the next five years that is, I suppose-you know, look, you and are old enough to remember when you cut out things from the newspaper, you made telephone calls, you didn't have the Worldwide Web. What is the next thing of that level, do you think? If we even know what it is?

MEYERSON: At that level, something that is foundational, I think you have been chatting about it just now, which is the elimination of passwords. If you really think back, you can go back 500 years, we had passwords. We had these huge keys, we had tumblers on locks, that can go away.

Biometrics is incredibly powerful, but it is just now going out there. You see it in movies like "Mission Impossible" where there is an iris scanner the size of your head. These sort of things are getting to a miniaturization level where you can really in fact imagine a time when you will have a device, that once it is assigned to you, that device will know you and only you. So it can vouch for your identity and everything you transact it can legitimize without worrying about somebody walking off with your password, which is your mother's maiden name.


QUEST: Don't-who gave the game away? Who gave the game away?

Bernie, wonderful to have you on the program. Happy New Year. Thank you for giving us insight into what is likely to happen in the year ahead.

When we come, after the break, we've had the advice on getting rid of this lot. Well, what about if it is time to get a new job or at least improve the job that you are in? Advice for your career, after the break.



QUEST: In the course of this program we have looked at your wealth. We have certainly considered your IT. We really now need to look at-(DESK BELL CHIMES)-your careers. There is just one day left to set goals for 2012. What is it you want in 2012, from your job? Is it a new job? Is it a promotion? Is it a pay rise?

It is time now for us to make career resolutions for the year ahead. And there are three essential rules, as you will see here in the library. The first is to update your resume, even if you are not looking for a job.

Your CV can be a key at your performance review. Just show it to your boss, and even if you are not looking, it will give him the collywobbles that maybe he shouldn't take-or she-shouldn't take you for granted. Having your resume sends a subliminal message.

I love this one. Ask for a raise, don't wait for one to be offered. It is the 2012, economies are recovering in some parts of the world. Remind the boss when you last had a raise. And even if times are tough, talk about childcare, mortgages, talk about inflation in the shops, things that people can relate to.

As for the social media life, block your face book and keep it blocked. Even better, don't use it at all when you are looking for a new job. Potential employers will look you up and apparently, 50 percent will decide not to hire someone based on their Facebook page.

Now, we have been asking QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, Facebook friends to send us career questions so we can put them to our expert. And here is some of what you have been asking us.

Blair Bowman wants to know, "How can a graduate get into the job market?"

We'll certainly put that question, Ong Jun Wee, first would like to know the question, "First thing, is the matter of job security in 2012 how can we ensure our sustainability in that job?" From Ong Jun Wee.

And finally from Joe Kyle, "I'm over 40, have great expertise, education, yet I do feel some age discrimination as part of my lingering unemployment."

QUEST: So that is Joe Kyle

"Worried about a world run by 20 and 30-somethings." Joe Kyle, 40 worried about 20 and 30s.

So, here to answer your questions is the author and international headhunter Stephen Viscusi, who joins me now.

You heard some of those questions. We'll get to them in just a moment, Stephen.

But the first thing is, what was-for anybody making career goal resolutions now. We went through three of them. What say you, what is your number one?

STEPHEN VISCUSI, AUTHOR, "BULLETPROOF YOUR JOB": My number one thing is to have that resume ready. To quote you, it gives your employer the collywobbles, I like that word, to know that you could potentially be looking.

And let's face it most of us don't even have the same boss we did when we got the job. So it is important for your current boss to know what you are doing and the responsibilities that you are undertaking. Most of them have no idea. And many times we have a new boss by now.

Number two, as we said, it is very important to ask for that raise. Don't wait for it to come to you. Ask for it. The economy is recovered, it is time to ask.

QUEST: Blair Bowman, "How can a graduates get into the job market?" It looks like it has never been a worst time for graduates as we go into 2012.

VISCUSI: It looks that way, yet looks can be perceiving. Because remember, new people, recent graduates are cheap employees. And that is what people are looking for most. Sometimes people say, well, I just graduated from school. I have no experience. How do I show it? Don't worry about showing it. The fact that you graduated from school is the biggest plus going. And most employers want those people. Get some internships, get your foot on the ground, don't haggle about salary. When you are just out of school the important thing is the job, not the salary.

QUEST: All right.

VISCUSI: Undercut yourself necessary, just to get in the door.

QUEST: All right. The important thing isn't the salary, but this takes us to Ong Jun Wee's question, job security. How can we ensure our sustainability in our jobs? How can you-come on, Stephen. How can you ask for a raise, when there is a possibility of layoffs or job security questions?

VISCUSI: Well, it is very important, first of all, the chances of layoffs are not so great anymore. They really aren't. It is the psychology. It is the bosses trying to trick us, and relate to something all bosses can relate to. The price of petroleum has gone up, gasoline has gone up. There is no inflation. And it is very, very important for bosses to know how valuable you are. And there is no other way than to say to them, look, I'm not out looking but I do want you to know, because you were not my original boss, I want you to see my resume. I want you to see what I'm doing. There are responsibilities that you are doing that boss may not be knowing about

QUEST: OK. Joe Kyle, I'm over 40, have great expertise, education, I do feel some age discrimination as part of my lingering unemployment. Worried about the 20 and 30 somethings." I'm going to paraphrase Joe Kyle, call him Richard Quest.

I'm going to be 50 in 2012. And I could be worried. Should I be worried? What do I do about these worries of these youngster?

VISCUSI: Well, you-when you-you simply don't price yourself out of the market. Listen, age discrimination is very real. Let's not kid ourselves. Every single day. But do not use it as an excuse. People expect to make what they made three years ago. So I tell people over 40, over 50, in particular, the jobs are still there just don't cut yourself short.

In fact, if you go to my Twitter, under Twitter you can find me under Workplaceguru, I have a list of keys where people over 40 and under 30, and the over 40 and over 50 set, it is very important, low-ball yourself to get in the door. Don't use age as an excuse. Go buy some white strips for your teeth. Take your glasses off and look young. Look and act young, in addition to everything else.

QUEST: Right, glasses off! Thank you very much, Stephen. I'll tweet your Twitter, so our viewers know where to find you. Many thanks, indeed. Stephen joining us there-Happy New Year to you.

Actually, I've got to put them on, I can't read anything after that. A "Profitable Moment" comes after the break.



QUEST: Finally, on this program tonight. Tonight's "Profitable Moment".

The year has come to an end. And unless you are a professional investor, easily able to twist and turn your investments 2011 has been a horrible year. Most of us will be lucky to be neutral, let alone show profits throughout the year.

Now, I often got the feeling as 2011 progressed, when things were about to get better, but then those hopes were dashed as some political nonsense came along and set everyone back again. We enter 2012 with no such solution in the Eurozone crisis, or indeed for the U.S. state budget debacle.

China's growth remains a worry. In fact, emerging markets are not the sure bet they were this time last year. So there is not really much to be done, other than preserve capital and be ready to move fast when things start getting better.

Things start getting better, because they surely will. Well, they have to, don't they? Because that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for this day, this week, and this year. Thank you for your company. Thank you for making time to join us.

And remember whatever you are up to, in the year ahead, I hope it's profitable.