You're no doubt feeling the sting of rising prices on the essentials, like food and gasoline. Well, companies are feeling that same pain, as soaring costs for raw materials such as oil and copper threaten their bottom lines.
Luxury these days is a tale of two markets: consumers continue to snap up high-priced Louis Vuitton bags even as they balk at paying full price for Coach handbags. The same can be said of demand for works of art.
The living is richer when you're the boss. But you don't need to spend years climbing the corporate ladder if you start your own business. We've taken the first steps for you, talking to entrepreneurs and experts to find new business and franchise opportunities poised to capitalize on trends that will pay off now and in your golden years.
Among the companies on the list this year, energy and defense firms jump out as the big winners--for obvious reasons. But the 100 companies represented here also offer a few less intuitive success stories, businesses that don't operate in a booming industry yet manage to generate their own momentum.