The United Kingdom is one of five trillion-dollar economies in western Europe. Its economic strength has allowed it to remain independent of the European Union, and public opinion polls have shown steady, substantial opposition to abandoning the pound for the euro.
Turkey has a volatile economy whose growth rate has exceeded 6 percent in many years (and reached 9 percent in 2004), but suffered sharp reversals in 1994, 1999, and 2001.
South Africa is a middle-income emerging market. Natural resources are abundant; the financial, legal, communications, energy and transportation sectors are well developed; and infrastructure is modern and efficient. The stock exchange is among the ten largest in the world.
Kenya is the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa. Agricultural output was reduced by a severe drought in 1999 and 2000, and recovery has been limited by widespread governmental corruption and by low prices for several primary exports. The International Monetary Fund has repeatedly suspended loans to Kenya (in 1997, 2001, and 2006) because of corruption, but GDP grew more than 5% in 2006.
China has changed over the last quarter-century from a largely planned system closed to international trade to a major player in the global economy.
Australia has a strong Western-style economy. Consumer confidence is high, exports of raw materials and agricultural products are profitable, and the budget has been in surplus since 2002.
Singapore, only about three and a half times the size of Washington, DC, has been positioned as southeast Asia's financial hub. Singapore enjoys a per-capita GDP equal to that of the four largest countries in Western Europe. Its economy is heavily dependent on exports, particularly consumer electronics and information technology products.
Japan has developed the second most technologically powerful economy in the world after the United States, and the third-largest overall economy, after the U.S. and China.
Italy has a diversified, primarily industrial economy with roughly the same total and per capita output as France and the UK. In recent years, it has pursued a tight fiscal policy to meet the requirements of the European Union and has benefited from lower interest and inflation rates.
India possesses a diverse economy that ranges from traditional village farming to advanced technology. Its major challenge is a huge and growing population, posing social, economic and environmental problems.
Germany's two-trillion-dollar economy emerged from a long period of stagnation last year to post a 2.2% growth rate, cutting unemployment to about 7%. The last two decades have been dominated by the modernization and integration of the economy of the former East Germany, a costly, long-term process.
France is transitioning from an economy featuring extensive government ownership and intervention to one that relies more on market mechanisms. Many large companies have been partially or fully privatized, with the government relinquishing stakes in such big firms as Air France, France Telecom, and Renault. The government continues to hold major interests in the power, public transport, and defense industries.
What keeps a five-star fund earning its stars? Ask Turner Investment Partners portfolio manager Frank Sustersic. He's in charge of the 5-star Turner Emerging Growth Fund, which is up nearly 20% year-to-date.
John Burns says staying the course is the only smart path to prosperity. Burns, founder and chief investment officer of Burns Advisory Group, joined CNBC's "Power Lunch" to offer his insights into how to play the market today -- and how to prepare for tomorrow.
Planning for retirement? Then forget the "margaritas by the pool" and start spending less, says Ivory Johnson, director of financial planning at The Scarborough Group. She joined CNBC's "Power Lunch" to discuss sound retirement strategy -- and took the opportunity to criticize Federal Reserve policy.