WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the past two years, the World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp., have scanned the globe to measure the extent and economic impact of business regulation. Their latest study, titled “Doing Business in 2005,” no doubt makes great reading for the policy wonk set. We think it has some merit for stock pickers too.
Why’s that? For one, the notion of a country’s “business climate” may sound a bit fuzzy, but it certainly carries weight in the markets. Look at the 163-point jump the Dow took last week once it appeared President George W. Bush had his reelection wrapped up.
Also, at the very least, knowing the best and worst locales for business can help you narrow your choice of overseas investments. On U.S. exchanges alone you can find 2,000 non-U.S. firms hailing from 70 countries.