GLOBAL FORECASTING

THE WEATHER AHEAD LOOKS GREAT--WITH OCCASIONAL PATCHES OF OVERCAST, LOCALIZED STORMS AND A VERY SMALL CHANCE OF A MAJOR HURRICANE

Rising stock prices and profit gains are the fruits of canny investment, but the economic climate makes the harvest possible. What is the weather like in the regions into which U.S. investors are pouring funds? A panel of economic experts polled by TIME says the outlook is as good as it has been in a decade--with occasional patches of overcast, localized storms and a very small chance of a major hurricane.

Worldwide economic growth is expected to average 4% this year, up from 3.5% in 1996. The outlook for 1998 is equally rosy--4%--though the good news is not evenly distributed. Asserts...

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