Weak Dollar, Weak Hearts

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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