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The month of November was full of headlines spanning from the U.S. midterm elections to an FBI investigation of insider trading allegations. The former helped to bring more political certainty to the U.S. markets, as the Republican Party took control of the House of Representatives, while the latter brought more scrutiny to Wall Street.
Around the globe, tensions escalated on the Korean peninsula after a brief attack by North Korea on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island. Hostilities in the region have spiked this year, including the sinking of a South Korean battleship that killed 46 sailors. The latest incident has increased local market volatility, reinforcing investors’ concerns over potential conflict risk. Ireland’s sovereign debt concerns also drew attention while the global investment community awaited a European bailout. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen detailed a €15 billion ($19.9 billion) plan designed to cut Ireland’s budget deficit over the next four years, and the European Union subsequently approved an €85 billion ($112.53 billion) aid package. Portuguese and Spanish debt also came under scrutiny during the month, as speculators forced spreads higher on sovereign debt.
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