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3 Numbers from This Week that Investors Need to Know

Figures in this article reflect prices as of market close on 12/18/2014, unless otherwise noted

In just one week, the German stock market treats us to literally millions of numbers. Add in economic data and overseas stocks, and the amount of numbers can be overwhelming! Fear not: here we’re going to focus on just the numbers that matter most.

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The price for a barrel of Brent Crude Oil, in euros, as of Thursday’s close.

There seems to be no bottom in sight for global crude oil prices, and some economists are even suggesting that we could see a price of 25 euros per barrel or lower before the end of 2015. Of course, the situation is not without its upsides. Car companies like Volkswagen (ETR: VOW)(FRA: VOW) or BMW (ETR: BMW)(FRA: BMW) may benefit, as lower gas prices for consumers allow them to upgrade to a larger vehicle. Lufthansa (ETR: LHA)(FRA: LHA) could also benefit from lower jet fuel prices. Finally, any company that operates a fleet of vehicles, like Deutsche Post (ETR: DPW)(FRA: DPW) will also stand to benefit. And, of course, as a net oil importer, Germany as a whole may benefit as well.


The amount to which Russia hiked its key interest rate late Monday night, from 10.5%.

This extraordinary measure was taken in an attempt to stop the collapse of the ruble, whichhas lost 50% of its value against the euro and the dollar so far this year. This is a direct result of two major factors: the aforementioned low global oil prices – oil is Russia’s major export and source of revenue – and crippling economic sanctions resulting from Russian incursions into Ukraine.

For now, the plan seems to have worked as the ruble has halted – at least temporarily – its record plunge. But in the long term, the move may prove costly, according to Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of “The Gartman Letter.” “All it is is a temporary stem in the decline of the ruble,” Gartman said on Monday in an interview on CNBC. “The problems that it’s going to create for the Russian economy, for the Russian people and for Mr. Putin, [will be] very severe.” The Kremlin sees trouble on the horizon as well, as it recently cut its growth forecast for 2015.


December’s preliminary German manufacturing PMI, which came in at a two-month high, beating the consensus estimate of 50.3, and handily outstripping November’s 49.5. But on the other hand, the German services PMI fell to a 17-month low of 51.4, down from November’s 52.1. This dragged the composite preliminary PMI down to 51.4 as well — its lowest level in 18 months.

After seeing the results of its monthly survey of manufacturing and services executives, the firm Markit Economics warned that an impending German downturn in 2015 is “more and more likely.” But others, like Thomas Harjes, senior European economist for Barclays, disagreed. “Germany should show modest growth in the near term and accelerate further down the road,” he said.

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John Bromels has no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BMW.

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