There's little doubt that the dollar's gyrations early this year left its stamp on global deals by multinational companies. As tallied by KPMG Peat Marwick, the value of cross-border acquisitions, joint ventures, and minority-stake investments announced in the first quarter hit $42.6 billion, up 39% from 1994's first quarter. But rising dollar prices of foreign assets obviously inhibited U.S. companies. The value of their foreign deals rose by just 12%, to $7.43 billion.

In contrast, the spectacle of suddenly cheap U.S. assets clearly whet the appetites of foreign companies, whose first-quarter U.S. purchases hit $14.4 billion (chart). Even Japan got into the act, boosting its U.S. outlays nearly sixfold, to $1.48 billion.

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