Because the U.S. represents such a large percentage of the world’s total equity market, optimism on the part of U.S. investors will help to pull other countries out of recession, said Hubert Harris, chairman and CEO of Invesco Retirement Inc.

            Mr. Harris will participate in a discussion about the prospects for U.S. and world economic recovery on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 8-9:30 a.m., at the Southern Center for International Studies.

Other participants are Gerard Baker, the Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times; Robert Eisenbeis, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Jay Bryson, economist at Wachovia Securities.

            “If the U.S. market – which represents at least 50% of the world’s equity – improves, that will have a stimulative effect on other countries’ markets,” Mr. Harris told GlobalFax. “The world is so integrated today that when the leader is doing well, it tends to be encouraging to others.”

            Defining “the market” as projected earnings and dividends that companies pay, Mr. Harris predicted that the U.S. market should improve in the next six months, barring any catastrophic events. European markets will follow suit, boosted by efficiencies encouraged by the introduction of a single European currency, the euro, he said.

            Japan continues to take “one step forward, one step backward,” he noted, referring to the attempts of the Japanese government to revamp financial institutions and the real estate market. He said a tax reduction, rather than stimulative economic programs, might serve to stabilize the Japanese economy and foster more long-term confidence.

            Cost for the program is $20 for SCIS members, $25 for non-members, $15 for SCIS Young Professionals. RSVP to (404) 261-5763.