For some people, even to discuss the impact on an economy, let alone financial markets, of a tragedy such as the Paris attacks is poor taste. But one of the aims of terrorists is to cause economic and financial damage; hence the attacks on Wall Street on 9/11 or on tourists in Tunisia earlier this year. So the issue is worth considering.
Shares in Walmart, the American retailing behemoth, have dropped by a third so far this year. But those of Walmex, its separately listed Mexican arm, are up 30 percent. This shaft of sunlight is surprising, for the mood south of the border has generally been glum.
Six companies dominate the business of farm supplies. The interest of Monsanto, the world's biggest seed producer, in buying Syngenta, the largest agrochemicals firm, had threatened to whittle them down to five. That raised worries about whether the reduction in competition would mean less innovation - and thus slower improvements in crop yields - as well as higher costs for farmers.
Africa's second-largest iron-ore mine, in Tonkolili, Sierra Leone, was snapped up by China's state-owned Shandong Iron and Steel Group in April. In fact, Chinese firms, it seems, are buying into the market while stocks are cheap. Hebei Iron and Steel Group is building a massive steelworks in South Africa; last month it received approval to takeover the Swiss firm Duferco's African steel processing and sales network.
Uber's mission is to offer "transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone". And perhaps "everything": it has begun experimenting with local delivery services, with the aim of becoming as disruptive in logistics as it has been in the taxi business.
China has become by far Africa's biggest trading partner, exchanging about $160bn worth of goods a year; more than a million Chinese, most of them labourers and traders, have moved to the continent in the past decade. The mutual adoration between governments continues, with ever more African roads and mines built by Chinese firms. But the talk of Africa becoming Chinese - or "China’s second continent", as the title of one American book puts it - is overdone.
Competition for job-creating foreign direct investment (FDI) is brutal these days in the European Union. Although it used to be the world's biggest recipient of FDI, its global share has now fallen from almost 29 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2013, according to UNCTAD. With European investment subdued, banks reining in lending and economies struggling to grow, foreigners with fat wallets are more than usually needed. Even France has engaged this year in a charm offensive to lure them in. So a recent study suggesting that only 12 percent of American companies with operations in France rate it positively as an investment destination is ruffling feathers.
Arms-makers are going through a lean period. Some big contracts, such as ones to make bombers, trainer aircraft and drones, are still up for grabs in America, the world’s biggest spender. But it and other rich-world governments, struggling to curb their deficits, are trying ever harder to get the most bang for the fewest bucks.