Foreigners don't have a high opinion of the United States, owing to the war in Iraq, but that hasn't done much to deter a ferocious appetite for American goods and services, as had been expected.
Last year, U.S. multinationals posted record earnings in virtually ever region of the world and rose to a total of $291.5 billion -- a 170 percent jump from 2001's cyclical low -- Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Corp., noted in a report on Monday.
Those figures run counter to the global image of America. A 47-country survey released in late June by the Pew Global Attitudes Project documented wide anti-American sentiment since the survey was launched in 2002 and found those attitudes deepening this year.
The United States' favorable ratings declined in 26 of the 33 countries for which a comparison was available, with negative views particularly strong in the Middle East.
Anti-Americanism has rarely been as prevalent and widespread as in the past five years, said Quinlan. These circumstances have led many, ourselves included, to worry about a possible boycott or backlash against U.S. goods and services.
But boycotts and backlashes have yet to materialize.
U.S. global brands continue to inspire deep loyalty among foreign customers, Quinlan said.
In a recent ranking conducted by BrandZ, eight of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 most valuable brands in the world were American.
Among the top brands according to BrandZ are Web search leader Google Inc., General Electric Co., whose products range from jet engines to turbines, and software maker Microsoft Corp. .
The boom in global earnings also reflects Corporate America's peerless global reach and the extraordinary success of U.S. firms in building global networks and leveraging global resources while tailoring goods and services to local tastes, Quinlan said.
A weakening U.S. dollar has also boosted the earnings of multinationals during the past few years.
Foreigners' appetite for U.S. products and services isn't likely to ease any time soon.
In the first quarter of 2007, U.S. earnings of multinationals soared 12 percent from the same period a year ago, rising to a quarterly record of $75.7 billion. This is a trend that flies in the face of the anti-U.S. findings of the Pew survey and many others like it, summed up Quinlan.