China became the world’s second largest economy in 2009, passing Japan, which has held this distinction for decades. The People’s Republic raised its growth forecast for 2008 to 9.6% from 9% which took the total to over $4.6 trillion. The Chinese government says it will have economic growth of 8%. The financial ministry has suggested that the 2009 number will almost certainly be revised up early next year.
Volatility is usually expressed as the annualized standard deviation in a stock's return. That translates to the degree of variance—up or down—from a stock's average price over a given period. If all you could know about a stock was this number, you might easily dismiss an investment as too risky. There is a metric that incorporates a stock’s return with its volatility to give you a sense of the issue's risk-adjusted return.
Jonathan Barratt, managing director of Commodity Broking Services, said “This is end-of-year optimism confronting fundamentals and it's the optimism that is carrying the day. But there's a holy hand grenade of potential troubles out there for next year.”