More on Related Themes
2014-04-18 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
In a currency war, everyone loses. Should monetary policy be coordinated across countries? The International Monetary Fund is at a crossroads.
2014-04-16 A Classic Barometer by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Investors seem a bit too eager to tout emerging market equities. Much as they did with technology stocks during the early-2000s, investors today are looking for the best re-entry point. Data clearly do not support anymore the notion that emerging markets are a superior growth story, yet investors seem to be ignoring the classic warnings signs for fear of missing out. One such classic warning sign is the slope of the yield curve. Historically, steeper yield curves have been reliable forecasters of stronger overall nominal economic growth and stronger profits growth.
2014-04-12 Every Central Bank for Itself by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Whether the FOMC can actually turn the taper into a true exit strategy ultimately depends on how much longer households and businesses must deleverage and how sharply our old-age dependency ratio rises, but markets seem to believe this is the beginning of the end. For now, that’s what matters most. Under Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s leadership, the Fed continues to send a clear message to the rest of the world: Now it really is every central bank for itself.
2014-04-11 Why China's A-Shares Matter Now by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia
Although we often receive questions on mainland China’s A-share equities, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, we currently invest in Chinese equities primarily via Hong Kong-listed companies and also by way of U.S.-listed Chinese firms. China’s domestic A-share market remains largely closed to foreign institutional investors. The only way for foreigners to participate in this market is to enroll in China’s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program or invest via a manager who has a quota in this program.
2014-04-07 First Quarter of 2014 Brings Many Reversals, Regressions to the Mean by Ron Surz of PPCA
Unlike 2013, diversification worked in the first quarter of 2014. As revealed in our 2013 market commentary, U.S. stocks dominated with a 33% return while diversifying assets like commodities lost 10%. As shown in the graph on the right, diversification into real estate and commodities was handsomely rewarded in the first quarter.
2014-04-05 The Lions in the Grass, Revisited by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Today we explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not quite so obvious. The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see lounging in plain view that are the most insidious threat, but rather that in trying to avoid those we may stumble upon lions hidden in the grass.
2014-04-01 U.S. Growth Offers a Tailwind for the Region by Mohit Mittal, Ed Devlin, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO
PIMCO expects growth in the U.S. to improve due to a reduction in fiscal drag, although the Federal Reserve’s tapering and slowing growth in China are risks. While higher U.S. growth should offer a boost to exporters, Canada will likely face headwinds from a housing correction and drop in consumption. Latin America has fared relatively well amid the recent volatility in emerging markets, but differentiation across credits and markets continues to increase.
2014-03-28 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
The outlook for the developed economies in North America remains healthy while the emerging economies of Latin America continue to face headwinds. Though recent data from the U.S. and Canada have indicated moderation in economic activity, most of the slowdown was likely caused by adverse weather conditions in the region.
2014-03-28 Asia's E-Commerce Trends by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia
On a recent research trip, I went to Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Melbourne and spoke with Internet companies in industries as diverse as automotives, travel and real estate. I also met with several e-commerce companies with varying Internet penetration rates. As growth rates for new Internet users across parts of Asia level off, comparing these firms offered me an interesting glimpse into the potential opportunities and challenges facing the region's newer Internet firms.
2014-03-28 Four Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.
2014-03-24 Michael Cirami on Ukraine: It May Just Be Spring Training for Putin’s Hardball Tactics by Michael Cirami of Eaton Vance
Earlier this month, Michael Cirami, co-director of Eaton Vance’s Global Income Group, offered his views on the immediate crisis surrounding the seizure of Crimea by Russian and pro-Russian troops, having been in Kiev just two weeks prior. In this Viewpoint, he adds some perspective to how events have unfolded since and how they may going forward in the wake of that event.
2014-03-22 China\'s Minsky Moment? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
In speeches and presentations since the end of last year, I have been saying that I think the biggest macro problem in the world today is China. China has run up a huge debt, and the payments are coming due. They seem to be proactive, but will it be enough? How much risk do they pose for the global system?
2014-03-21 World Industrial Production Finished 2013 At An All-Time High by Team of GaveKal Capital
The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis publishes a monthly report called "World Trade Monitor". This report tries to quantify the seemingly unquantifiable; world industrial production and world trade volume and prices. Either later today or early next week the CPB should come out with the first statistics for 2014. Today, however, we are going to take a look at world industrial production for 2013.
2014-03-21 China's Evolving Health Care Landscape by Hayley Chan of Matthews Asia
China has begun a long-term transformation of its health care industry. Much of this industry is still fragmented and in the early stages of consolidation. China’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, for example, account for a combined market share of approximately 20% versus more than 60% in the U.S.
2014-03-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
After a weak start to the year, emerging market equity prices recovered in February as concerns about slower than expected global expansion and a further decline in Chinese economic growth subsided.
2014-03-15 Follow the Money to Asia\'s Tech Hub by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
China’s slower economic data points and a surplus in copper and iron ore drove many commodities lower this week, while gold rose. In the short term, until the copper and iron ore surplus is liquidated, or absorbed at a slower pace, the base metals market will likely be sloppy. As the second-largest economy in the world and a huge driver of commodities demand, it’s not surprising China provoked such a significant response from world markets. Interestingly, most of the media thought it was geopolitical fears from Ukraine that chopped up the market and lifted gold.
2014-03-14 An Exhaustive Debate by Colin Dishington of Matthews Asia
Australia, which is among the largest polluters per capita in the developed world, is exploring ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and has set a target for reducing emissions at 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. One of its current initiatives, the carbon pricing mechanism often referred to as the carbon tax requires polluters to pay an amount proportional to the carbon dioxide equivalent emitted during a given year.
2014-03-13 Emerging Markets: Will Ukraine fallout become contagious? by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments
Jeff Hussey, global CIO, outlines Russell Investments’ views on the conflict in Ukraine and how it might impact the markets.
2014-02-28 Korea's Changing Consumer Patterns by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
Following a recent research trip to Korea, I was able to spend some time there with my family. Three consecutive weeks away afforded me the opportunity to observe changes in spending patterns among Korean consumers as well as the improving competitiveness of the country’s service industries.
2014-02-28 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.
2014-02-22 Going for the Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Everyone wants the gold. Around the world, athletes train for years to compete for a gold medal. In Hong Kong and China, the Love Trade seeks gold coins, bars and jewelry.
2014-02-20 American Industrial Renaissance Revisited by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We first wrote about The "American Industrial Renaissance" in 2012, and it remains one of our favorite investment themes. We continue to implement this theme through small US-centric industrial companies and small financial institutions that lend to public and private industrial firms. It remains unlikely that the United States will be the manufacturing powerhouse that it was during the 1950s and 1960s, but many factors are suggesting that the US industrial sector will continue to gain market share.
2014-02-20 International Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity markets have started the year on a difficult note, as concerns about the robustness of economic growth in the U.S., Japan and Europe have made investors more cautious. Though the U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace during the last quarter of 2013, recent data reports from the labor market have not been as healthy.
2014-02-20 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.
2014-02-14 Turkey, Doves, Hawks and Owls by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
The current market sentiment is something of an albatross around Asian economic and market performance. Whilst it is never safe to assume the currency speculators have gone away, the region’s economies have put in enough hard work over the previous decades to earn some goodwill.
2014-02-10 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices saw a modest correction for the second successive month in December, as investors remained cautious about the outlook for some of the emerging economies. Select countries such as Thailand in Asia and Turkey in Europe continue to face difficult political environments, with large demonstrations against the governments. Their currencies have reacted negatively to the latest developments, making investors fearful of a repeat of the volatile market movements seen during the third quarter of 2013.
2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco
As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, We’re often asked how this affects our view of international markets and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers , so we;re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.
2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco
As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, we’re often asked how this affects our view of the international market and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers, so we’re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.
2014-02-07 What\'s the Game Changer for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
What will break gold of its losing streak? Will inflation, which is a lagging indicator, be stronger than expected? In one of my most popular posts last year, I said that based on the jobs market, the limited housing recovery and regulations slowing down the flow of money, the Fed would have no choice but to start tapering and raising rates very gradually to keep stimulating the economy.
2014-02-07 Two Questions for Japan Inc. by Kara Yoon of Matthews Asia
During my last research trip in November, we visited mostly consumer-facing companies in Japan where we took the opportunity to pose two key questions to the management teams we met. The first was-"Are you planning to increase prices for products or services after Japan’s consumption tax hike (scheduled for April)?" And secondly: "Will you raise employee wages?"
2014-02-06 Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.
2014-01-31 A Surprising Gift for Chinese New Year by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
Beijing-based China Credit Trust Company, a firm that operates as a non-banking financial institution in China, announced this week it reached an agreement to restructure a risky high-yield product that had earlier ignited worries over the health of China’s trust industry. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, investors in the troubled trust may receive a big (metaphorical) red envelope-a monetary gift traditionally given during Chinese New Year or other special occasions-or at least avoid a financial hit.
2014-01-29 Bear Raid? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
I should have guessed that something was wrong when I checked into the Langham Hotel last Thursday only to be told by the valet, "There is a bear on the loose in the neighborhood so watch out." At first I didn’t believe him, but when I turned the TV on there it was, and as the cameras rolled the news anchor said, "Pasadena police and wildlife officials are warning residents to be on alert for a black bear after it was spotted wandering through backyards. The animal appears to be moving from home to home."
2014-01-24 India\'s Rising Aspirations by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia
India’s newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a spectacular debut in recent state elections. Its leader became the chief minister of the state of Delhi. The election results seemed to indicate a fundamental change-voters now perceive politicians not as "rulers," but as professionals with a limited mandate to serve. The AAP ran on an anti-corruption agenda, and Delhi’s new chief minister seems to "walk the walk." He uses public transport to commute to work, a refreshing change from the typical politician in India who is usually seen riding in a convoy of vehicles.
2014-01-17 Asia\'s Evolving Science and Tech Space by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia
The main growth drivers of Asia’s science and technology industries are changing to become more domestically driven and service-oriented. These changes are happening as rising disposable income enables more Asian consumers to embrace new technologies.
2014-01-15 Positive Economic Surprises Are Back by Team of GaveKal Capital
Recently each day, especially in the US, it has felt as if the economic data has been a bit better than expected. The Citi Economic Surprise Index corroborates that feeling as it has now reached it’s highest level since February 2012.
2014-01-10 Hasenstab: Fed Tapering Was Inevitable by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton
The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its decision to reduce its $85 billion monthly asset purchase program by $10 billion starting in January 2014. What might the eventual end of the Fed’s policy of aggressive money printing mean for fixed-income investors? Michael Hasenstab, Ph.D, executive vice president, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, believes there’s no reason for investors to panic. He outlines why he thinks that’s the case, and where on the map he’s spotting fixed income opportunities.
2014-01-10 Exploring Ceylon Tea Country by Jodi Morris of Matthews Asia
Riding by train through the Sri Lankan highlands recently, I found it difficult not to be mesmerized by the views of mountains blanketed in tea plantings and cool mist. My days spent exploring Sri Lanka’s mountainous interior were among my favorite as a first-time visitor to the country.
2014-01-06 2013: A Review of the Past, the Present and the Future by Ron Surz of PPCA Inc
This commentary is divided into three sections. I begin with a review of current U.S. and foreign stock markets, examining the year 2013 and the past six years, including the crash of 2008. This perspective serves as a launch point into the future, specifically 2014 and the remainder of this decade. I conclude with a review of the past 88 years of U.S. stock and bond markets.
2014-01-03 A More Market-Friendly China by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
My last visit to Beijing happened to coincide with the Communist Party’s Third Plenum Meeting. General business sentiment was just as upbeat as it had been earlier last autumn. But through my discussions with different businesspeople, I came away with a distinct new optimism over the leadership’s more market-oriented stance on policies.
2013-12-20 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: Riding the Cross-Currents of Higher U.S. Growth and the Fed by Mohit Mittal, Lupin Rahman, Ed Devlin of PIMCO
In the U.S., lower fiscal drag and the possibility of higher consumer and corporate spending should drive growth higher in 2014. Supported by higher U.S. growth and stabilization in Europe and China, Latin America is set to grow 3%-4% on average, but with a large dispersion across countries. Canada should benefit from the U.S. recovery but will likely lag U.S. growth due to lower consumption and residential investment.
2013-12-13 Disruptive Innovations in Indian Politics by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
The sweeping victories for India’s pro-business opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in recent state elections were largely expected. But more stunning, to say the least, were unexpectedly strong gains in Delhi by a nascent, novice and underfunded political party known as the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party.
2013-12-11 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
In our last commentary, we noted the slow holiday week that did not provide us with much economic fodder. This week, the unemployment rate dropped to 7% and payrolls jumped more than expected. Third quarter GDP rose more than expected, and hit its highest mark since Q1 2012. Although the status of the U.S. budget remains up in the air, many expect Janet Yellen to maintain Chairman Bernanke’s accommodative policies. With the hectic holiday schedules nearing, it is difficult to predict what we will see this month.
2013-11-29 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That’s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.
2013-11-27 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Equities Gain as Currencies Remain Stable and Data Trends Show Positive Signs.
2013-11-26 Elections in Chile by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
On November 17, Chileans went to the polls to vote on a new president and parliament. In this report, we offer short biographies of the two Chilean presidential candidates, focusing mostly on Michelle Bachelet. From there, we will provide a short history of Chile, primarily to highlight the tensions between the forces of liberalization and reaction. An examination of the Allende-Pinochet period will detail the factors that have affected Chile’s political structure over the past five decades. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
2013-11-26 Dig Deep - Then Dig Some More - to Uncover Risks in EM Corporate Debt by Shamaila Khan of AllianceBernstein
Emerging-market (EM) corporate debt returned big numbers for investors in recent years, as the sector rode a general wave of optimism about the future. But those days are gone. In 2013, successful investors have had to take a more painstaking path.
2013-11-25 Sir Isaac Newton by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
In 1711 the Earl of Oxford formed the South Sea Company, which was approved as a joint-stock company via an act by the British government. The company was designed to improve the British government’s finances. The earl granted the merchants associated with the company the sole rights to trade in the South Seas (the east coast of Latin America). From the start the new company was expected to achieve huge profits given the believed inexhaustible gold and silver mines of the region.
2013-11-08 Bubbles Without Borders? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia
If you are a wealthy person living in Asia, you might be tempted, with good economic reason, to look overseas to diversify your asset base. Overseas markets often offer good diversification as they are typically exposed to different economic cycles and also give exposure to different currencies. But while overseas stocks, bonds and other financial instruments all offer diversification, few asset classes seem to have the same allure as overseas propertythat is, overseas property in the right cities.
2013-10-31 Third Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital
Despite the recent shenanigans in Washington concerning funding the government and raising the debt ceiling, as well as the constant news coverage of the quantitative easing “taper” that the Federal Reserve may or may not begin, we are going to spare (at least for this quarter) both you and us another long discussion of these very real issues.
2013-10-25 Environmental Awareness in Asia by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia
I traveled to China in September, quite possibly one of the best times of the year to visit in terms of weather. The air quality in both Beijing and Shanghai was actually pleasant and was very different from how it seemed during my previous visits as well as from the typical accounts one usually hears of the notorious smog in China’s major cities. It made me think about growing up during the industrialization of my home country, South Korea.
2013-10-25 Why Growth is Deep in the Heart of Texas by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
TIME Magazine’s cover this week features an engaging collage of the 50 states reassembled to fit within the boundaries of Texas. With a growing number of solid-paying jobs, affordable housing, and low taxes, “the Lone Star State is America’s Future,” declares economist and writer Tyler Cowen.
2013-10-18 Formosa: Back to Beautiful by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia
When the Portuguese first landed on Taiwan, they called it Ilha Formosa or “Beautiful Island.” However, Taiwan’s route to success has been far more prosaicit rapidly industrialized by mass producing a wide range of consumer goods, including textiles and footwear, toys, bicycles, appliances and computer chips. It famously grew its economy via an export-driven model, making the “Made in Taiwan” label ubiquitous.
2013-10-18 Trying to Stop a Bull Market Has Risks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
U.S. stocks have been on a tear. The S&P 500 Index has climbed a surprising 20 percent so far this year, as a global synchronized recovery takes shape and funds flow back to equities. As I often say, investors take risks when they try to stop a bull run, and plenty of data suggest you might regret taking that action this year.
2013-10-17 Global Brand Companies: Well Positioned to Deploy Incremental Capital at High Rates of Return by Jenny Hubbard of Diamond Hill Investments
Achieving an optimal balance between growth and return on invested capital is critically important to value creation. Many discretionary product companies attain this equilibrium for a short period of time, but fickle and geographically divergent consumer preferences make it challenging to sustain over the long-term.
2013-10-08 Absolute Return Letter: Heads or tails? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners
Demographics captivate me. There are around 7.1 billion of us occupying planet earth today, going to 10 billion by 2050. I often think about how good old mother earth will cope with the additional 3 billion people we are projected to produce between now and 2050. More people translate into increased pressure on already scarce resources, but that is only part of the story and a story well covered by now.
2013-10-05 Pinch Yourself. U.S. Stock Markets Have Grown 145% in Four-Plus Years by Ron Surz of PPCA
Thankfully, 2008 has become a distant memory. We’ve made back its 37% loss and a lot more. Things are good, but are they going to stay that way? We still face anemic economic growth, burgeoning debt, global social unrest and more. The S&P 500 has returned 145% in the past 55 months (4.5 years).
2013-10-04 New Experiment in Shanghai by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
In an attempt to further liberalize China’s economy, central government officials have created an experimental new free trade zone, which officially opened for business this week. The zone combines four existing but smaller development areas within Shanghai that are already exempt from import and export tariffs.
2013-10-04 Is the Pump Primed for Emerging Markets Investors? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
The vulnerabilitiesor rather, perceived vulnerabilitiesof emerging markets have been the focus of heightened discussions over the past few months. Concerns about the health of emerging markets came on the heels of political upheavals in Egypt, economic deceleration in China and protest demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey this summer.
2013-10-03 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: A Slow-Moving Fed Benefits Economies on Both Continents by Mohit Mittal, Lupin Rahman, Ed Devlin of PIMCO
PIMCO expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.0%2.5% over the next year. However, a continued government shutdown would be a drag on growth. In Latin America, we see growth picking up to 3.0%3.5%, but the outlook varies by country. Mexico should fare well, but Brazil’s story is more mixed. In Canada, we believe the housing correction will be less severe than many are predicting, and we expect GDP to grow 1.5%2.0% over the cyclical horizon.
2013-09-30 Fourth Quarter Outlook: A Turning Point? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group
It seems sometimes that the outlook for the global economy and the markets has been unchanged for years. Since the end of the recession, each year has commenced with forecasts that the United States economy would break out of its below-trend growth mode, only to see expectations dashed. Meanwhile, Europe has been mired in its own recession as it struggles with heavy post-crisis debt burdens. Growth has slowed in the emerging markets, ending the commodity boom of the first decade of this century.
2013-09-28 The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Contrary to the thinking of fretful dollar skeptics, my firm belief is that the US dollar is going to become even stronger and will at some point actually deserve to be the reserve currency of choice rather than merely the prettiest girl in the ugly contest the last currency standing, so to speak. But whether the Chinese RMB will become a reserve currency is an entirely different question.
2013-09-27 Bridging the Gap: Global Listed Infrastructure by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton
Simply spreading your investments across a smattering of asset classes with the idea that diversification should automatically produce a positive result is an approach that’s maybe a little too similar to a roll of the dice. For investors hunting for classes to diversify into, Wilson Magee, Director of Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Securities, Franklin Templeton Real Asset Advisors, and co-manager of Franklin Global Listed Infrastructure Fund, has one word: infrastructure.
2013-09-27 Celebrate with Tokyo by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
Many in Tokyo erupted with delight and excitement following the recent news of the city’s selection as host to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Following a failed bid in 2016, Tokyo edged out rivals Istanbul and Madrid on its way to becoming the first Asian city to host the Games for a second time.
2013-09-27 How to Profit from a Changing China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
We believe China’s rebalancing is positive for investors who selectively invest in its stocks. As Jim O’Neill puts it, “When a country is embarking on a significant compositional change to its economy, stock-pickers rather than index-trackers have the upper hand.”
2013-09-24 The U.S. Deficit Shrank, but Will It Come Back Bigger Than Ever? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton
The U.S. deficit has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. Experts weigh in on how this will affect upcoming budget negotiations.
2013-09-16 Russia is Tough to Love, Easier to Hate, Hard for Investors to Ignore. Here\'s Why by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Russian President Vladimir Putin created a stir recently when he shared his thoughts with Americans in an op-ed printed in The New York Times. According to The Times, very few pieces written by heads of state have been published by the paper and very few received the attention Putin attracted.
2013-09-13 Open for Business Down Under by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia
Swiftly after fighting off what most observers deemed to be a fairly weak incumbent Labor opposition in the recent Australian election, the leader of the Conservative coalition and the country’s newly crowned Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, firmly declared Australia to be “once more open for business."
2013-09-06 The Emerging Markets Debt Evolution by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments
My colleagues Mauro Ratto, Head of Emerging Markets, and Yerlan Syzdykov, Head of Emerging Markets Bond & High Yield, offered these thoughts on emerging markets.
2013-09-06 India - A World of Contrasts by William Hackett of Matthews Asia
Recently, I had the opportunity to join one of our Matthews Asia portfolio managers during a research trip to India, and was reminded of both the importance of such on-the-ground visits as well as the rigor required to conduct them.
2013-09-05 India and Indonesia by Team of Matthews Asia
Comments from the Federal Reserve to begin reducing its stimulus operations have weighed heavily on markets across Asia in recent weeks. Growing investor concerns have largely centered on those economies that have been running current account deficits and that are likely to be further impacted by lower growth forecasts and reduced capital inflows. More short term, speculative flows from investors into fast-growing Asian economies have also fallen as expectations for higher interest rates in the U.S. have risen.
2013-08-30 Ramen for Everyone by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
Matthews Asia’s investment team members regularly travel across Asia to conduct research. Between meeting with management teams, touring factories and catching flights from one destination to the next, we do, on occasion, need to eat. Sometimes it’s room service at midnight while typing up meeting notes, other times we may try some local food. For me, as a ramen lover, the growing number of ramen restaurants across Asia has been a real treat. Apparently, I’m not alone in that thought.
2013-08-29 Earnings: Just Good Enough by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Corporate profits aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the rate of growth should be sufficient to support further equity market gains.
2013-08-23 5 China Charts That Look Bullish for Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Over the past few months, investors have seen better economic data coming out of Europe. Consumer confidence in the continent has been rising, manufacturing data is improving and the fiscal situation is on the mend. Now, China appears to be strengthening as well, which could signal better times ahead. Below are five charts that look bullish for China and commodities. While not meant to be comprehensive, they do point to areas where investors might want to pay close attention.
2013-08-09 A Surprising Way to Play a Europe Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
After a lengthy period of stagnant growth and lackluster results, the gradual crescendo of improving economic data that’s been coming out of Europe lately certainly commands attention.
2013-08-06 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.
2013-08-05 Two Charts Illustrate How to “Follow the Money” by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Too often investors get caught up in their political allegiance or parties, focus on the negative and lose confidence in stocks. As a result, they can miss great bull markets. I believe when it comes to finding investment opportunities, it’s not about the political party, it’s about the policies, both monetary and fiscal.
2013-08-01 Lack of US Economic Growth May Slow Fed Tapering by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management
While we are encouraged that the U.S. economy has been growing, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, for 15 consecutive quarters starting in the third quarter of 2009, we are concerned that the growth rate has been below that of previous economic recoveries and the economy appears to be stalling and struggling to get back above a 2% growth rate thus far in 2013.
2013-07-26 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary June 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices declined appreciably on heightened investor concerns over an early withdrawal of the monetary stimulus measures in the developed world. The most recent policy statement issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was more optimistic about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy, and comments by Fed officials seemed to suggest that the central bank is preparing to wind down its bond purchase program.
2013-07-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Income inequality is rising, but it’s not clear what to do about it. Brazil’s struggles come at a delicate time. Detroit’s road to bankruptcy does not set a path for others to follow.
2013-07-15 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
For the half year to end June the index was buffeted, falling 3.1%. In contrast, the portfolio managed a gain of 8.3%, more than 1,000 basis points better. During the month of June, the Emerging Market index was whacked by 6.4%; the portfolio’s value also fell, but by a lesser 6.2%. The relative year-to-date and longer term falls in some of the regional indices have been grim (Chart 1, p.4): for example, in the first six months of 2013, EM equities underperformed those in developed markets on a total return basis by 16%, and by 14% over the last 12 months.
2013-07-12 Hasenstab: Emerging Out of the Consensus Trade by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments
Just when is a potential long-term reward worth the short-term risk? Investors are often most focused on the short-term pain of a particular event (hard to blame them), losing sight of possible outcomes farther out into the future. That could partially explain what’s going on in the emerging markets right now, at least according to Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.
2013-07-12 Commodities 2013 Halftime Report: A Time to Mine for Opportunity? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
It was a challenging first half of the year for most commodities, with only two resources we track on our Periodic Table of Commodities Returns rising in value. Natural gas and oil rose 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while silver lost a third of its value and gold lost a quarter of its price from the beginning of the year.
2013-07-12 Global Markets at Mid-Year by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Most investors based in the U.S. are walking around thinking “the market has gone way up this year.” They are rightif they are talking about certain indexes within a big wide world of markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. But the disparity (i.e. lack of correlation) among markets has been striking. I think that the best way to convey this to you is to simply show you how a small group of market indexes have done for the year-to-date yesterday along with brief commentary, in bullet point form.
2013-07-09 U.S. Stocks Continue to Dominate – What’s Next? by Ron Surz (Article)
U.S. stocks earned 2.5% in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date return up to a lofty 14%. By contrast, the EAFE index lost 1% in the quarter, bringing its year-to-date return down to 4%. In fact, as shown in the following graph, no other asset class comes even close to the return on U.S. stocks so far this year.
2013-07-03 Getting Back to “Normal” by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Fed’s plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. The primary risk to hedge is now economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. It’s not too late for investors to move away from defensive positioning and back toward a standard allocation.
2013-07-02 Stay the Course as Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Traders stampeded out of gold, emerging markets and bonds this month, setting record monthly outflows in June. Ever since the Federal Reserve hinted in May that signs of a stronger economy could allow for a slowdown of stimulus, markets have protested the news.
2013-06-28 Stay the Course As Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
We maintain that gold is in extremely oversold territory and mathematically due for a reversal toward the mean. Yet when gold prices plummet, fear takes over and some investors forget the fundamental reasons to own gold: Gold is a portfolio diversifier and a store of value. It is a finite resource with increasing global demand.
2013-06-21 What\'s an Investor to do in Markets like These? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
What should an investor do after a day like yesterday? Stay calm and invest on, as I believe there is opportunity in picking up what the bears left behind. Here are a few ideas to ponder.
2013-06-18 The Snowden Affair by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Over the past two weeks, revelations published in The Guardian and the Washington Post reported on a massive data gathering program that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been operating since 2001. The NSA, created during the Truman administration, mostly monitors signal intelligence and is the primary cryptographer for the U.S. government.
2013-06-14 The Evolution of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds for U.S. High-Grade Fixed-Income Investors by Todd Kurisu, Thomas Brennan of William Blair
Emerging market (EM) investment-grade corporate bonds are an important and growing segment of the core ﬁxed-income universe. These bonds have evolved to be more like U.S. investment-grade corporate bonds than high-yield or traditional emerging market debt (EMD) securities. This sector has demonstrated favorable risk, return, and diversiﬁcation beneﬁts in the context of a broad market ﬁxed-income portfolio. Today’s ﬁxed-income investors must have a framework for evaluating new opportunities subject to prudent risk management
2013-06-14 Looking for Growth? Go Small and Global by Liliana Castillo Dearth, Bruce Aronow of AllianceBernstein
In the hunt for growth in today’s low-growth world, up-and-coming small- and mid-sized companies are a good place to start. But you need to look everywhere, from Indiana to Indonesia.
2013-06-12 Cyclical Stocks Appeal After Defensive-Led Rally by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein
This year’s equity market rally was initially led by defensive stocks, as macroeconomic concerns persisted despite improved risk appetite. With valuations in these sectors looking stretched and cyclically oriented stocks starting to rebound in May, is a bigger shift starting to unfold?
2013-06-12 Bond Realities: The Changing Landscape for Fixed Income and the Death of the Agg' by Andrew Johnson of Neuberger Berman
Earlier this year Andrew A. Johnson, Neuberger Berman’s Chief Investment Officer for Investment Grade Fixed Income, led a series of discussions with institutional clients about the state of the fixed income market and key ideas in approaching opportunistic fixed income investing in the current environment. Here, Mr. Johnson has adapted, and elaborated on, the concepts described at those meetings.
2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now
2013-06-05 Will Green Shoots Flourish in U.S. and Latin America? by Josh Thimons, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO
The US economy is much further along the road to repair relative to its developed market peers, but it is still dealing with an unsustainable fiscal situation. Latin America is closely coupled to the rest of the world. What happens in the U.S., China and Europe over the secular horizon is especially critical. Our secular investment outlook calls for a more defensive posture toward risk. In U.S. fixed income, this suggests positioning for alpha rather than capital appreciation.
2013-06-04 Wounded Heart by Bill Gross of PIMCO
Joseph Schumpeter, the originator of the phrase “creative destruction,” authored a less well-known corollary at some point in the 1930s. “Profit,” he wrote, “is temporary by nature: It will vanish in the subsequent process of competition and adaptation.” And so it has, certainly at the micro level for which his remark was obviously intended. Once proud, seemingly indestructible capitalistic giants have seen their profits fall short of “everlasting” and exhibited a far more ephemeral character.
2013-05-24 The Love Trade for Gold is Still On! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The more important demand for gold, in my opinion, comes from the enduring Love Trade, as countries like China and India buy the precious metal out of love and tradition.
2013-05-23 ING Fixed Income Perspectives May 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management
How do you like them apples? By pointing out some Excel blunders in the data of Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff, a UMass-Amherst grad student appears to have gotten their number and in the process discredited their seminal work touting the merits of austerity. Though Good Will Hunting fans may be amused to see a couple of Harvardians get their comeuppance, you don’t need the titular character’s wicked smarts to deduce that harsh government spending cuts may not be the best way to pick up your economy.
2013-05-21 Capitalism and Democracy by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In the Italian elections, the party that showed the strongest results was the Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo. Despite this strong showing, the party failed to form a government and refused to participate in any coalitions. This decision not to participate in the political process has been exhibited by other protest groups, such as Occupy Wall Street, the Israeli Tent Movement, and the Spanish “Indignant” movement.
2013-05-17 Finding Opportunity Far and Near by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Would it surprise you to learn that a vast majority of equity valuation models state that stocks should head much higher over the next five years?
2013-05-16 Investors Living in Emerging Markets are a Bullish Bunch! by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Part of my job involves putting myself out on a limb at times, and I have taken the risk of being subject to contrary (sometimes enthusiastically so) viewpoints. I’ve even been accused of being too optimistic about emerging markets, perhaps partly because my views often represent a stark contrast to dramatic news headlines. So when I took a look at the findings of Franklin Templeton Investments’ 2013 Global Investor Sentiment Survey (GISS),1 I was pleased to discover my longstanding optimism about emerging markets seems to be spreading among investors.
2013-05-14 Nouriel Roubini: Four Reasons Investors Should be Worried by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Despite a modest recovery from the nadir of the financial crisis, the global economy still faces tail risks, according to Nouriel Roubini. Roubini’s forecast is not as gloomy as the one that earned the moniker “Doctor Doom,” when he correctly predicted the housing market collapse and the ensuing global recession. But, in a talk May 1, he identified today’s biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.
2013-05-13 Americas: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Weaker global demand and prices for energy and commodities, as well as softer than expected domestic consumption have restricted the growth outlook for most economies in the Americas region during the first three months of the year. Fewer monthly job additions in the U.S. have dented consumer confidence, and growth for the current year is now forecast to be moderately lower than earlier expectations.
2013-05-10 2013 US Financial Markets: Part 2 - The TINA Hypothesis by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group
Contrary to the “Bernanke Illusion” (money market funds are a zero return investment), history indicates that money market funds are likely to provide investors with returns approximating inflation over the next decade. As I pointed out in our last letter, the markets are pricing in inflation levels significantly higher than the prospective total returns of 10 year TBonds. The small additional return achieved by corporate bonds or US stocks (at current prices) is unlikely to compensate a buy and hold investor with sufficient gains to justify the interim risks.
2013-05-07 Niall Ferguson: Four Reasons Why the U.S. is Failing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Niall Ferguson is the champion of anti-Keynesian economists. Last week, he explained why America’s pursuit of Keynesian policies is leading to disastrous consequences.
2013-05-07 Mutual Fund Companies Need to Prepare for a Changing Environment Fund Industry Turbulence Ahead by Paul Franchi (Article)
The mutual fund industry grew explosively from the 1980s on a rare tonic of a low-inflation credit expansion powered indirectly by international trade flows. That run reached a peak in 2008 when the application of quantitative easing (QE) served to prevent industry collapse with a softer form of transition, which continues today but must end when inflation returns.
2013-05-01 There Will Be Haircuts by Bill Gross of PIMCO
It has been the objective of the Fed over the past few years to make even more innovative forms of money by supporting stock and bond prices at cost on an ever ascending scale, thereby assuring holders via a “Bernanke put” that they might just as well own stocks as the cash in their purses. Gosh, a decade or so ago a house almost became a money substitute. MEW or mortgage equity withdrawal could be liquefied instantaneously based on a “never go down” housing market. You could equitize your home and go sailing off into the sunset on a new 28-foot skiff on any day but S
2013-04-30 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers responded to Robert Huebscher’s article, The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.
2013-04-26 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman
Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while China’s growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.
2013-04-26 The Yin and the Yang of Commodity Price Trends by Team of Northern Trust
In recent weeks, financial press headlines have centered on the sharp drop in the price of gold. Of greater importance, however, are the significant price declines of oil, wheat, corn and copper. The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is down 6.1% year-to-date after a nearly steady reading in 2012 and gains exceeding 20% in both 2010 and 2011. It is essential to recognize the different nuances buried in these commodities’ price trends. First we will focus on the implications of declining commodity price trends and then discuss gold specifically in more depth.
2013-04-26 A Playbook for Investors: How to Shoot, Score, Win by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
So, in the competitive spirit of the NBA playoff season, I’ve gathered a series of plays that investors can use to shoot, score and win during this year’s market. I’m happy to say they include all the elements of an exciting game, including a comeback kid, an upset and an underdog.
2013-04-24 Europe's Sovereign Debt Problem: A Call for a Clear Destination by Andrew Bosomworth, John Henning Fock of PIMCO
Without political commitment to a common fiscal destination, the long-term instability and market distortions within Europe’s capital markets are likely to intensify. To preserve the euro, the eurozone must develop federal fiscal policies that tackle significant economic, cultural and societal differences and define a credible roadmap to achieving structural reforms, a banking union, political union and fiscal union. Historical precedents in Europe may help guide the way.
2013-04-19 F.I.R.S.T.: Bond Market Outlook by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management
Amid heightened political uncertainty in Europe and subdued global growth expectations, global investors owe Hiroki Kuroda a big domo arigato for his pledge to inject about $1.4 trillion into the moribund Japanese economy by the end of 2014. The newly appointed BOJ governor’s unprecedented plan to buy Japanese government bonds,
2013-04-19 India\'s Gas Sector Dilemma by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia
In India, the fertilizer sector has long depended on gas as a key input. Over the last decade, several power plants that run on gas have been set up as well. Demand has grown 10% each year since 2002 while supplies, largely managed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), have failed to keep pace. Inefficient capital allocation, lack of incentives and populist policies aimed at maintaining low prices have led the country to import 25% of its gas needs. This has further exacerbated India’s current account deficit, which now stands at 6.7% of GDP.
2013-04-19 Gold Buyers Get Physical As Coin and Jewelry Sales Surge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Even with the gold price dropping, why are gold coins selling at a premium? It’s Economics 101: The coin supply is limited and the demand is high. This buying trend isn’t only occurring in the U.S. In Bangkok, Thailand, for example, crowds of buyers were filling stores, eagerly waiting in multiple lines to purchase gold jewelry and coins.
2013-04-18 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
The benefits of focusing on attractively priced, well managed and growing businesses, irrespective of their inclusion in an index, continued to aid fund performance. Thus it was virtually flat in March, capping a strong quarter in absolute and relative terms with a gain of over 10%, again beating the 5% gain by the index. These - achieved through a combination of a valuation discipline that sets the entry and exit prices and the focus on quality businesses. Not surprisingly, stock selection has been a consistent factor behind the outperformance, both this year and previously.
2013-04-17 What\'s Driving Emerging Markets? by James McDonald, Daniel Phillips, Phillip Grant of Northern Trust
Emerging market (EM) equities have historically outperformed as the global economy gained momentum, as shown in Exhibit 1. After a great catch-up rally in the second half of 2012, the stocks finished the year as global outperformers only to lose that momentum in the first quarter of 2013. What is behind the recent underperformance, and what does it say about the outlook? Our research points to a number of contributors to the recent weakness.
2013-04-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities corrected for the second successive month in March, on concerns that continuing weakness in European demand could hurt export growth for several countries in Asia and Latin America. These economies had seen a revival in their export fortunes during the second half of last year as U.S. consumer demand turned healthier. However, the moderation in U.S. consumer sentiment during March has somewhat dulled the optimism.
2013-04-16 The Asian Economic Crisis and the IMF by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In May 1997, a speculative run against the Thai baht became the first clear signal that a problem was developing in Asia. Over the next three years, Asia and other emerging markets, including Russia and Brazil, were rocked by a historic financial crisis. These nations recovered strongly in the following eight years and generally made it through the 2007-09 global financial crisis in relatively good shape. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis remains a major factor in the behavior of these emerging nations.
2013-04-16 2013 US Financial Markets by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group
In the fall of 2012 the S&P 500 came close to our forecast high (S&P- 1500) Last year we suggested that not only was the S&P likely to reach 1500, but also speculated that renewed bullish sentiment could take us back to the old highs of 1565. When the S&P touched 1563 a couple weeks ago, I started getting client calls complimenting my prescient forecast.
2013-04-12 Asia\'s E-Commerce Evolution by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia
Korea and Japan have been trailblazers in terms of making the virtual marketplace platform, through which merchants and manufacturers of all sizes can sell goods to consumers, an e-commerce model in Asia. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, where many retailers sell directly to customers from their own websites and handle the details of commerce themselves, most Asian e-commerce takes place on “megasites” or virtual markets.
2013-04-11 Global Investing in 2013: Policy Dominance, Active Management and a New Paradigm in Currencies by Scott Mather of PIMCO
We expect that the impact of ongoing global policy experimentalism on real economic growth and financial markets will likely vary substantially from country to country, creating both risks and opportunities. With flexible, active global strategies investors can potentially benefit from a broader opportunity set and the ability to go off benchmark in an effort to both avoid risks and tap opportunities.
2013-04-11 Emerging-Market Debt: Pure High-Yield Strategies Come of Age by Marco Santamaria of AllianceBernstein
We believe investors should be thinking about emerging-market debt in terms of credit quality buckets (investment grade or high yield) rather than sectors (sovereign or corporate). For some types of investor, pure high-yield strategies can offer significant advantages.
2013-04-05 Could Consumers Change Japan\'s Tide? by Team of Matthews Asia
This year, investor attention has focused on Japan and its macroeconomic policy with hopes that rising inflation expectations might spur businesses to invest and consumers to spend. Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained power late last year and proposed more aggressive monetary policies, including an ambitious inflation target, the yen has weakened more than 20% against the U.S. dollar and more than 15% against the euro.
2013-04-05 China's Uncertainties Won't Stop Renminbi's Rise by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
Recent data releases and the transition to new political leadership have created some uncertainty about China’s short-term economic outlook. While positive growth surprises are unlikely in 2013, we still think nothing can stop the long-term appreciation of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB).
2013-04-04 Absolute Return Letter: The Need for Wholesale Change by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners
The seeds of the next crisis have probably already been sown as a consequence of the lax monetary policy currently being pursued. Frustrated with the lack of direction from political leaders, most recently witnessed in the handling of the crisis in Cyprus which was a complete farce, central bankers from around the world are likely to demand change, but politicians will have to be pushed into a corner before they will respond to any such pressure. Hence nothing decisive will happen before the next major crisis erupts.
2013-04-03 When Does The Great Recession Become the Great Rotation? by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management
Given the strong flows into the bond market over the past few years, many pundits have pondered the beginning of the “Great Rotation” when bond investors begin to move money into the equity market. Investors fear that this shift could cause losses in bond funds as investors flee. Indeed since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, investors have plowed into bond funds as an alternative to equity volatility.
2013-04-03 A Man in the Mirror by Bill Gross of PIMCO
Am I a great investor? No, not yet. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?” But the thinking so and the reality are often miles apart. When looking in the mirror, the average human sees a six-plus or a seven reflection on a scale of one to ten. The big nose or weak chin is masked by brighter eyes or near picture perfect teeth. And when the public is consulted, the vocal compliments as opposed to the near silent/ whispered critiques are taken as a supermajority vote for good looks.
2013-04-01 Currency and Emerging Markets: What Can We Expect? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments
Currency markets are making headlines again after taking a low profile amid the crises and the turmoil in financial markets of the last five years or so. I asked Greg Saichin, Head of High Yield and Emerging Markets Fixed Income Portfolio Management here at Pioneer, to provide his views about what is going on, and what he sees as the drivers of investment flows into emerging markets.
2013-03-28 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
The increases in the portfolio’s net asset value continue easily to beat the hardly exacting returns from the index. The fund has gained 10.4% gross for the year to date (to 22 March), vs. a 3.0% rise for the MSCI Emerging Index. This outperformance (replicated over rolling 1- and 3-year periods) has been achieved by choosing investments irrespective of index country or sector weightings or where they are listed, so long as they derive the majority of income and profits from developing countries.
2013-03-28 What Maslow and Rand Would Tell Investors Today by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
While gold’s performance in the short term has been counterintuitive, I plan to stick to my own advice. I simply feel safer with a small weighting in gold as insurance.
2013-03-27 What Happened to That Export-Led Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO
With nearly 50% of the UK’s total exports going to Europe, an economic area constantly flirting with its own recession, it is no surprise to see that UK trade performance has been challenged.As the US continues to re-heal, and trade becomes more geographically diversified, we should see exports start to grow once more, albeit off a modest base. The easing in sterling is undoubtedly welcome and will improve prospects for exports, but it is unlikely to be a “game changer”.
2013-03-20 Global Real Estate StocksTime to Get Out? by Eric Franco of AllianceBernstein
Real estate stocks have now rebounded from the crash during the global financial crisis. But we think valuations are still reasonable, especially as property fundamentals continue to improve in key markets.
2013-03-19 Keeping Up With Changes In Emerging Market ETFs by Jun Zhu of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management
In this report, we highlight benchmark changes in a major player, a potential substitute (with cheaper fees) for another major player, a new player with an innovative weighting scheme and provide an overview of the Emerging Market ETF space available to investors.
2013-03-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities saw a moderate correction in February, broadly similar to the rest of the world. Prices reacted negatively to renewed concerns of a worsening European fiscal crisis as the results of the recent Italian elections turned out to be inconclusive.
2013-03-15 China\’s Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That’s the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!
2013-03-12 U.S. Dominates World Markets for the Trifecta by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
While large-cap indices get all the headlines, mid and small caps have continued to excel. Frontier markets have picked up the slack as major emerging markets stumble. Global risks persist, though U.S. fundamentals appear solid. The move toward U.S. energy independence should soon result in a trade surplus, boosting GDP.
2013-03-08 How to Keep Calm and Invest On by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The market noise of today will not be going away. However, investors can gain confidence in the following wisdom of the crowd. As famous investor Benjamin Graham said, "The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator. Keep calm and invest on.
2013-03-07 80's Bull Redux by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We have thought for some time that the current bull market might be one of the strongest of our careers, and could potentially rival the 1980s bull market. Although this current cycles construction is quite different from the 1980s bull market, there are many aspects of this market that are curiously similar.
2013-03-06 U.S. Sequester: How Significant is it for the Global Economy? by Team of Thomas White International
Since the U.S. has been one of the brightest spots in the current global economic environment, any negative development that restricts activity in the U.S. could have a magnified impact on the economic prospects for the rest of the world.
2013-03-01 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.
2013-02-22 Uncovering 'Diamonds in the Rough' in Today's Credit Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
There are still good opportunities for yield and total return in the credit markets, but there has been a shift in where and how investors can find them. A "diamond in the rough" is a credit that is under-covered, or not actively followed or researched by many investors. At PIMCO, we identify these opportunities through our top-down and bottom-up investment process. We've identified a number of sectors that appear poised for above-average growth.
2013-02-22 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.
2013-02-19 Too Great Expectations by Richard Golod of Invesco
Global investors entered the year with newfound enthusiasm. Across the board, global equities traded higher in January, and retail money flows into global equities were the best in 17 years. Media reports about a "Great Rotation" from fixed income into equities are raising expectations about the possibility of a new secular bull market. However, I believe a little perspective is in order.
2013-02-16 When It Comes to Gold, Stick to the Facts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
During short-term gold corrections, its much more important to focus on the facts, including the fact that gold is increasingly viewed as a currency. Rather than buying real estate, lumber or diamonds, central banks around the world are buying gold. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), over 2012, central bank demand totaled 534 tons, a level we have not seen in nearly 50 years.
2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.
2013-02-15 Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories by James Montier of GMO
In the past, Ive admitted to macroeconomics being one of my dark, guilty pleasures. To some value investors this seems like heresy, as Marty Whitman1 once wrote, Graham and Dodd view macro factors...as crucial to the analysis of a corporate security. Value investors, however, believe that macro factors are irrelevant. I am clearly a Graham and Doddite on this measure (and most others as well).
2013-02-13 Global Economic Overview January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Global economic trends continued the moderate positive momentum from earlier months and helped sustain investor sentiment in January. The unexpected decline in U.S. economic output for the fourth quarter of last year was mostly due to a sharp fall in government spending and a smaller inventory buildup, while consumer and business spending exceeded forecasts. Also, recent data suggest that U.S. labor market gains during last year were better than earlier estimates.
2013-02-12 The Milton Friedman Centenary: One Hundred Years of Surprisingly Little Solitude by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
Milton Friedman was once a lonely voice for capitalism in a collectivist era, and seemed doomed to a hundred years of solitude. Instead, he arguably became the preeminent public intellectual of the hundred years that followed his 1912 birth.
2013-02-11 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating New Opportunities Across Sectors by Team of Thomas White International
Both corporates and the federal government have started investing heavily on overhauling Brazil's infrastructure.
2013-02-07 Investing in the Robot Revolution: Part 2 by Catherine Wood, Michael Shavel of AllianceBernstein
From manufacturing to services, a step change in automation is underway. Investors will want to get a share of a market that could be worth $400 billion by 2020 but, more than ever, they will need to be well advised.
2013-02-04 2013 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group
It's that time again. January will be over by the time you read this which means we are out of holiday excuses or "just ramping up for the new year" reasons for not getting back to work. Having said that, I'd like to offer my excuse for the Annual Forecast getting to you in February instead of the first week of the year. Hand over my heart, we started early this go-round.
2013-02-01 Dow To 14,000 and Beyond? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
So will the Dow go beyond 14,000? Although you cant predict how hot the weather will be this summer, the clouds appear to be parting to reveal the sun today. Make sure your asset allocation positions your portfolio to shine.
2013-01-25 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The outlook for most economies in the Americas region improved during the fourth quarter as domestic consumption growth was sustained and the anticipated revival in global demand has lifted the prospects for export growth this year. Partly helped by fiscal and monetary policy measures introduced since 2011, consumer demand has held up across most countries in the region.
2013-01-25 Resource Investors: Why You Can Expect Sunnier Days Ahead by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
During the current commodity supercycle, there have been occasionstoo many to countwhen investor psyche has been damaged by reports about slowing U.S. growth, a hard landing in China or a debt crisis in Europe. Yet just behind the gloom, significant and positive trends are taking hold, causing the storms to start dissipating.
2013-01-22 Ten for '13 by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman
Last year, despite the noise surrounding the U.S. elections and the ongoing European debt crisis, the main drivers of asset prices arguably were the large-scale bond-buying programs put in place by global central banks to alleviate systemic pressures. In 2013, we anticipate fewer aggressive central bank actions as the pace of global growth gradually picks up. We believe the largest influential factors to our outlook are premature fiscal tightening in the U.S. and a potential resurgence of eurozone problems.
2013-01-22 Latin America: Europe's Pillar of Strength by Team of Thomas White International
European firms are shaking off pressure at home through various business transactions in Latin America.
2013-01-18 Equity Investment Outlook January 2013 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Despite many headwinds and amid great uncertainty, both the U.S. economy and stock market enjoyed a rather good year in 2012. Real Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") grew around 2%, and the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, returned 16%. At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013.
2013-01-17 International Equity Commentary December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices made robust gains in December, as further improvement in economic trends across most regions lifted the outlook for 2013. Policymakers in the U.S. managed to put together an agreement at the last minute and averted the 'fiscal cliff', one of the major risks that had restricted investor sentiment during earlier months. In Europe, though economic signals remain largely weak, the further fall in bond yields of the troubled countries has helped sustain optimism about resolving the region's fiscal crisis this year.
2013-01-16 Global Economic Overview - December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The global economic outlook brightened further in December, as economic data from most regions indicated sustained, though moderate, improvement in both domestic and external demand. Europe showed further signs of stabilization in the financial markets, as bond yields of the most troubled countries continued to decline in response to the earlier assurance by the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds.
2013-01-15 Demographics and the Decline of Equity Mutual Funds by Paul Franchi (Article)
Until the last few years, mutual fund flows followed performance. Recently, however, money has flowed disproportionately into bond funds and out of US equity funds despite a strong rally in the equity markets. Changing demographics explain this shift, which has important implications for advisors and the mutual fund industry.
2013-01-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities outperformed during the month of December, helped by signs of further improvement in the economic growth outlook. Economic data released over the month were largely positive for most emerging countries, and strengthened the optimism that these markets could see a moderate improvement in growth rates during 2013.
2013-01-14 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.
2013-01-11 Special Edition: The Outlook for 2013 by Team of Northern Trust
At this time of the year we typically get warm and generous wishes for the New Year and, of course, numerous questions about what our crystal ball has in store for 2013. While many economists publish their perspectives prior to January 1, we opted to wait in the hope of having a clear fiscal picture for the United States. A lot of good that did us...
2013-01-10 A New Years Vantage Point: Michael Hasenstab by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments
As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. In the first few weeks of January, Beyond Bulls & Bears will be featuring a series of investment commentaries from select Franklin Templeton investment management teams. These professionals provide their insights on the market ups and downs of 2012, and the potential challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead from their respective vantage points. Today we hear from Michael Hasenstab, portfolio manager and co-director of the International Bond Department.
2013-01-08 2012: Resumption of the Stock Market Recovery by Ronald Surz (Article)
Let's take a close look at the details of what occurred in 2012 so we can assess the opportunities and prepare for the surprises that 2013 will bring. I'll give you my opinions, and you should form your own.
2013-01-03 2013 Forecast: Good Economy, Challenged Markets by Douglas Cote, Karyn Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management
We enter 2013 bombarded by conflicting signals. While fundamentals have been mixed of late, longer-term themes our "tectonic shifts" like the energy revolution are gaining momentum and promising to make positive contributions sooner rather than later. And while salutary measures taken by policymakers have eased global risks and lessened fears of Armageddon, there is considerable work yet to be done.
2012-12-26 Assessing ISG's "Ten for '12" by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman
Earlier this year, we offered a forward-looking view of 10 macro themes that we anticipated for 2012. These ideas were meant not to be "surprises" but rather guideposts within the context of a longer-term strategic allocation. At year-end, we are pleased to note that seven of our 10 themes fully materialized. We provide a brief look below.
2012-12-24 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: November 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Sustained domestic demand growth and a revival in export demand are anticipated to drive expansion next year.
2012-12-21 Lights, Camera and Action in China by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
More than a decade ago, China reached a turning point in its film industry with the co-production of its first internationally acclaimed movie hit, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The film, directed by Academy Award winning Taiwanese American director Ang Lee, raked in more than US$213 million globally, and became the highest grossing foreign language film in U.S. history. Pretty good for a movie made in China on a US$17 million budget.
2012-12-13 2013: A Year in Emerging Market Debt (Relative Strategies) by James Barrineau of Schroders Investment Management
Perhaps the biggest positive for emerging market debt investors is the deteriorating fiscal and economic fundamentals in the developed world. As the asset class has evolved, the opportunity set for investors has grown rapidly. Local currency in emerging markets has attracted tremendous interest but we think returns will moderate in 2013, possibly significantly.
2012-12-11 Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan on the Macro and Fixed Income Outlook by David Schawel, CFA (Article)
In this interview, Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan discusses the fixed income universe, Fed policy and issues facing the global macro economy. Eagan is the co-manager, along with Dan Fuss, of the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund and he manages the Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Bond Fund.
2012-12-11 Tax Reform: A First Step by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group
I rarely use this space to rant about political issues, but the recent election made it obvious just how dysfunctional the American political process has become. The ongoing financial crisis in the US will never get fixed as long as both political parties remain focused on solutions that make the problem worse. The Democrats want to give people more money to spend, claiming this will grow the economy. The Republicans want to cut taxes, so that people have more to spend, claiming that will grow the economy
2012-12-05 Resilient Markets Mask Greater Concerns in Real Economy by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
Though equity markets have been calm, the real economy tells a different story. If our leaders in Washington arent able to arrive at a compromise, January 1 will mark the beginning of the countrys first scheduled recession, though third quarter corporate earnings suggest a global slowdown is evident. Dont be surprised to see a Christmas rally should Congress kick the fiscal can down the road and the Fed extend Operation Twist.
2012-12-01 A Fresh Start (Hopefully) by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
For years I kept these memos away from anything related to politics. But more recently I began to discuss issues facing the US, and this has required some mention of policy and thus of politics. Ive tried very hard to be non-partisan, with a goal of not having readers know my leanings. I hope Ive succeeded; at least no one has complained. Because I found Americas recent presidential election and especially the results so fascinating, Im going to move explicitly to the field of politics, but with the same goal of non-partisan expression.
2012-11-27 A Critique of Grantham and Gordon: The Prospects for Long-term Growth by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
The vigorous global economic growth of the last two centuries is over, according to Jeremy Grantham and Robert Gordon. That prediction, if correct, has profound and worrisome implications for investors. And the short-term trend is indeed disquieting: Growth has been close to zero over the last decade in advanced countries. But the most likely outcome is that per capita GDP growth going forward will approximate its U.S. historical average of 1.8%, and it will grow faster in developing markets.
2012-11-23 Five Amazing Global Consumer Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Fifth Avenue no longer the worlds most expensive retail location. China set to be the second largest luxury market by 2017. Viva Macau is gaming capital of the world. Inexpensive Indian Aakash 2 could revolutionize tablet industry. Emerging market residents don't need a bank account to pay with their mobile wallet.
2012-11-15 New Leaders, Same Steady Hand on the Chinese Economic Tiller by Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein
The media spotlight is on China's new president, Xi Jinping. But investors should be watching Li Keqiang, the new premier. It's Mr Li who will be responsible for combating the country's slowing economic growth and, with it, potentially the fate of the world's economy.
2012-11-13 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
"If you want to enjoy life, go to Buenos Aires. If you want to do business, go to Sao Paulo," the saying goes. It is hard to get an impression of a country by going to a city of 20 million people. It is like visiting New York City and thinking you can understand the United States. But I never fail to enjoy myself in Brazil.
2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.
2012-11-09 Roots of Economic Karma by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia
I'm a strong believer that bad governance (yes, bad) is a natural part of the process of socio-political empowerment, and one that is actually necessary at times in order for some democracies, such as India, to achieve faster economic growth. Typically, during times of great socio-political transformation economic governance takes a backseat as newly empowered segments of society view redistribution of power and patronage as the first order of business. Their attention turns to good economic governance only after they feel fully assimilated. Allow me to explain.
2012-11-08 A Delicate Balance by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who argues that balance is a bad thing, but in this time of austerity versus growth and political us-versus-them, you'd be equally hard-pressed to find agreement on how to achieve balance. Right now the U.S. economy is teetering on the edge of the much-publicized so-called "fiscal cliff," a one-two punch of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect in 2013, and which threaten to tip the nation into recession.
2012-11-02 Who Will Lead America Over the Next Four Years? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
If President Obama is reelected, it could be a negative for certain energy companies involved in natural gas fracking, says International Strategy & Investment (ISI). Conversely, a Governor Mitt Romney win could be significant for energy companies. In its Romney Portfolio ISIs rationale is that Romney and the GOP will try to do more to promote traditional forms of energy, including offshore drilling, approving the Keystone pipeline, and exploiting the nations coal resources.
2012-10-30 The Yield Hunt by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The high-yield market is not in danger of imminent collapse as some have argued. As long as defaults remain relatively low, and interest rates remain invisible, investors will continue to chase yield. But a few things could cause a sharp sell-off in the near future.
2012-10-26 The China Debate by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
It seems to me that pretty much the only thing you can get Democrats and Republicans to agree on these days is that China is bada job-destroying exporter of cheap goods. And indeed, at the most recent two presidential debates, both candidates spoke of the trade deficit with China and described China as a rule-breaker, including the way it has managed its currency. They phrased their views as if trade were a competition between nations and that exports are obviously superior to imports. U.S. manufacturers might agree but consumers may demur.
2012-10-19 Educating India by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia
India has long been a country where entrepreneurs have stepped in to fill gaps in the market, and their role in primary education has been no different. Over the last decade, an estimated 300,000 low-cost private schools have sprung up across India. And as counterintuitive as it seems, many poor parents are willing to pay for their children's schooling to avoid the country's free education system.
2012-10-05 Economic Recovery and Debt Reduction: Faster, Please! by Chris Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments
It's tough to be patient in an age of instantaneous communications and instant gratification. We all want immediate answers to our questions and quick fixes to our problems. When it comes to real world tangles like the global economy, though, Chris Molumphy, CIO of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, reminds us that patience, not a magic pill, is the order of the day when it comes to European and U.S. struggles to cure their economic ailments. He's realistic about these problemsbut isn't waiting to act where he does spot investment opportunities.
2012-10-05 Harmony and Turmoil by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
Since Japan's recent purchase of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands a few weeks ago, anti-Japan protests erupted in various Chinese cities, with some turning violent and targeting Japanese shops, cars and factories.
2012-10-03 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Economic Armageddon by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
After the recent announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) that they would begin to engage in what has been deemed "QE3," there has been a lot of skepticism that such a plan could actually work. The Fed is attempting to carry out their dual mandate of price stability and full employment by engaging in a new round of asset purchasing targeted at the mortgage market.
2012-09-21 There is a Lot of Value in this Market: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Whenever there is a rise in stock values as we have experienced over the past year or so, it seems to be human nature to automatically assume that valuations have become too high. However, although it is possible that this is true, it is not necessarily so. A lot has to do with where valuations were before the run-up occurred. For example, if valuations were extremely low, then even after a rise, they can continue to be low or perhaps only have risen to becoming fairly valued.
2012-09-21 Testing Indonesia's Coal Boom by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia
On a recent trip to Indonesia, small talk with my taxi driver led to an interesting proposal: an offer to buy a coal mining license. I wasn't in the market for one but it just goes to show how much Indonesia's coal mining industry has grown in recent years. The country's rapid and significant development in this area has been due partly to privatization efforts, but more so to a sharp uptick in demand from countries like China. Nearly 80% of the output from Indonesian mining firms is exported, with China as the largest individual importer.
2012-09-17 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities saw a marginal price correction during the month of August, as concerns about growth moderation in these economies persisted. The economic downturn in Europe, one of the largest markets for export-oriented emerging market countries, continues to force policy makers in emerging economies to come up with programs to support domestic growth. However, renewed optimism over aggressive policy action to stem the fiscal crisis in Europe helped the emerging markets in.
2012-09-11 The Problem of Proxies by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In this report, we will discuss the role of proxies and their use by governments, including a historical perspective of their positive and negative aspects. A short discussion of the regional factors of the Syrian situation will follow, focusing primarily on Iran's problem if the Assad regime is replaced by a Sunni-led government. Interestingly enough, these regional factors also affect the proxy groups, making them more difficult for their sponsors to control.
2012-09-10 Better Policy, Better Recovery by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Politicians always shift the blame. So, hearing them say that "no one" could have cleaned up the so-called mess and fixed the economy in just a few years is not surprising. What else do you say when after three years of recovery the unemployment rate is still at 8.1% -- down only 1.9 points since the peak almost three years ago and real economic growth has averaged a tepid 2.2% for three years of economic recovery?
2012-09-10 Back to School: Summer Vacation Ends for Central Bankers by Andrew Boczek of Sentinel Investments
The heady days of "Maestro" Alan Greenspan may be long gone. Nonetheless, most of us still take for granted that similarly wise men and women, aloof from the pressures of politics and short term market fluctuations, have the capacity to set the proper price of our most precious commodity: time. Or said another way, to set an effective interest rate policy that encourages either savings or spending, today or in the future, to help manage long term economic stability.
2012-09-08 Why Germany Should Lead or Leave by George Soros of Project Syndicate
If Europe is to escape its crisis, its leaders must awaken Germany to the misconceptions that are guiding its policies. At this point, that will not happen unless they persuade Germany to make a choice: become a benevolent hegemon or exit the eurozone.
2012-09-07 Eating Las Vegas' Lunch by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia
Since opening its casino industry to international companies in 2002, Macau has become a global gaming center. In 2011, Macaua special administrative region of Chinabrought in US$33.5 billion in gaming revenue, more than five times that of the Las Vegas Strip. Gaming operators have gladly built multibillion dollar facilities in Macau because each new casino seems to attract increasing mass market and VIP gamblers.
2012-08-31 While Everyone Worried About Europe by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
We all do it. We all refer to Asia as an export-driven economy. It's one of those seemingly useful bits of shorthand. Unfortunately, I believe it has come to do more harm than good. Along with "emerging economies," I would like to banish the phrase to the ranks of outlawed jargon.
2012-08-24 Half the Sky in China by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia
I was recently asked what it's like to be a woman working in a male-dominated field, particularly since my job involves traveling throughout China and meeting mostly male corporate managers. Since women are still typically treated as inferior to men in many Asian societies, some people may assume that I frequently experience uncomfortable situations. But in truth, I have rarely noticed. I think many may have misconceptions about China's attitude toward women.
2012-08-21 Is Now the Time to Take Stock in Europe? by Norm Boersma of Franklin Templeton
Being a value manager in the equity space this year hasn't been an easy job. When investors are focused on capital preservation and risk is said to be "off" the table, the value proposition can certainly require some conviction. Templeton Equity Group CIO Norm Boersma knows that when certain sectors are out of favor, that's often when the best opportunities surface. To position for a time when risk is back "on," he is embracing the low market valuations present in Europe and elsewhere.
2012-08-21 Young Americans: The Death of Equities May be Exaggerated by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
PIMCO founder Bill Gross believes the "cult of equity is dying" let me take the other side. Mutual-fund flows suggest that we may have lost a generation of investors. However, demographics suggest there may be another generation that could be the stock market's savior.
2012-08-17 My (Government-subsidized) China Vacation by Christian Halvorsen of Matthews Asia
As part of my month-long stay in mainland China and Hong Kong, my wife, three daughters and I embarked on a five-day tour of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi. This part of our trip, which was partially subsidized by the Chinese government, included three meals a day and stays at luxury hotels. The price tag? An amazingly low US$49 per person.
2012-08-14 Maybe This Time is Different by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors
This Time Is Different, the catchy title of the popular book by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, has also become a catchphrase summing up the world-weary wisdom of our time. Reinhart and Rogoff, in recounting eight hundred years of financial follies and investment bubbles, gleefully point out that in every case experts offered plausible arguments for dispensing with traditional rules of valuation, i.e., "this time it's different."
2012-08-14 Oil: Does Supply and Demand Matter? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
We believe the long-term demand for oil will be greatly influenced by where the world gets its best future growth. As the chart below shows, the US has cut by 50% the amount of energy which is required to generate each dollar of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
2012-08-13 Commodities to Power Emerging Markets Higher by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Funds
In Latin America, Brazil leads as a natural supplier of copper and crude oil, which it is now able to extract and export on competitive terms. Nations rich with natural resources perform well during times of global economic expansion. In particular, countries rich with industrial commodities tend to outperform those without.
2012-08-10 Global Telecom Stocks Lose Luster by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
As their prices have increased in recent months, global telecommunication stocks have started to lose some of their luster. Russ K explains why factors such as valuation and profitability have prompted him to change his view of the sector.
2012-08-09 Viva Reforma en Mxico by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Elections come and go, but the real test of a candidate might be whether the promises made on the campaign trail are actually put into place. Enrique Pea Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) emerged victorious in Mexico's July 1 presidential election on the promise of reform and the end to old, "undemocratic" ways.
2012-08-01 China's Growing Pains by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Many feel that China is the engine for the world economy and that if it slows down, we may be doomed to a recession or even a depression. Yes, China's growth is decelerating from the double-digits of recent years; various forecasters are predicting a possible GDP growth range of 7-8% this year. However, I think it's important to emphasize that would still represent an impressive pace, and remember that China isn't the world economy's only locomotive.
2012-07-27 Revisiting Malaysia by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
In the market turmoil of recent months, Malaysia's equity market has held up comparatively better than some of its Asian counterparts. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index was up 1.4% during the second quarter in local currency terms. During the previous quarter, Malaysia had seen several large initial public offerings that raised capital totaling more than US$3.3 billion.
2012-07-27 Who is Muhammad Lee? by John Scott of Saturna Capital
Who is this Muhammad Lee? (So named, as these are the most common first and last names in the world.)1,2 Where is he from? How many brothers and sisters will Muhammad Lee have in the future? What are the implications of his arrival for U.S. investors?
2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.
2012-07-20 The Evolution of Beijing's SoHo by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
With each visit to New York Citys SoHo art galleries over the past 15 years, I have grown stronger in my suspicion that the freshest, most interesting contemporary art is coming from mainland China. The old guard of expatriate Chinese artists, with their sly indictments of Mao, has been gradually replaced by a new generation who remain in China. Their work is visually exciting and accessible, even for unschooled portfolio managers.
2012-07-20 America's Competitive Spirit by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
We believe there are many great American companies to invest in. We like those that are growing their top line revenues and paying robust dividends. Currently 47 percent of the S&P 500 stocks pay a dividend yielding more than a 10-year Treasury, demonstrating the resiliency and strength of American enterprises.
2012-07-13 Moving to Indonesia by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
I just returned from a two-week trip to Asia, meeting with companies in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. One notable change I observed in Tokyo - and confirmed in Jakarta - was the emergence of Indonesia as an investment destination for Japanese companies. All of the auto-related companies I met with in Japan were either building or had plans to build new capacity in Indonesia.
2012-07-13 Chile at a Crossroads by Russell E. Hoss of Euro Pacific Capital
Chile's accession to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in 2010 was more than just a confirmation that they'd earned the right to join the world's top ranked economies. As the first South American country to be accepted into the OECD, it was also a symbolic affirmation of several decades worth of market-oriented reforms that transformed the country from an illiberal backwater to what is arguably one of Latin America's most stable and thriving nations. As a result, we feel that Chile qualifies as a good choice for international investment.
2012-07-06 Designed in California, Made in Manila by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
When I saw the hit animation film The Incredibles a few years ago, little did I know that some of the animation was done by artists in the Philippines. Pixar, the American film studio that outsourced this work to the Philippines, is just one of many global companies to have taken advantage of the island nations thriving business process outsourcing (BPO) industry - contracting out work related to back office operations for cost savings.
2012-07-03 A Crisis Is Not An Emergency by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments
Some crises linger for years. The sterling crisis began in 1964 and, despite periodic respites, was not solved until the early 1990s. The oil crisis burned for over ten years until the political and economic stars realigned and restored order. Latin America lingered for over ten years before a breakthrough of sorts...not for everyone though, as Argentina's GDP per capita is the same as it was in 1960. A crisis is not the same as an emergency.
2012-07-03 Gleanings by Jeffrey Saut, Art Huprich, Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
With this Gleanings report, we begin a monthly chart presentation and discussion, which attempts to pull together the separate disciplines of Economics, Fundamentals, Technical analysis, and Quantitative analysis. The report contains what we think are currently some of the most important charts. We will have an overview and then highlight some of the key near-term variables that we believe could have a measurable effect on where the various markets are going.
2012-07-03 The Next Frontier by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
In a recent interview, I was asked whether I was becoming a frontiersman in my quest for the next big investment opportunity. Its true that many of my recent investment adventures have taken place in frontier markets the smaller, less-developed cousins of the emerging markets.
2012-06-25 Perspective; or where you stand is a function of where you sit! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. And last Thursday the stock markets perspective changed abruptly. The day started out well enough with an opening 20-point pop to the upside, but from there the Dow Dive commenced. The causa proxima for the dive was more softening economic reports from China and Germany followed by a lame Philly Fed report, which saw that index accelerate its swoon from Mays -5.8 reading to -16.6.
2012-06-18 Mood by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
M-O-O-D: That is the important word right here. And, what a difference a few weeks makes for last week the markets seemed to switch from the glass being half-empty to half-full leaving Mr. Market in a more forgiving mood. Importantly, market mood frequently sets the near-term trend. If the mood is positive, all things are possible; if it is negative, little is.
2012-06-15 Falling Equity Prices Reflect the European Crisis and Slower Economic Growth by Team of Thomas White International
Heightened concerns over the European fiscal crisis and slower economic growth dragged down emerging market equity prices during May. The emergence of political parties opposed to short-term austerity measures in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece has upset the political consensus that paved the way for an agreement on tackling the crisis last year. Borrowing costs of some of the troubled countries such as Spain have increased substantially, while countries that are in better fiscal health such as Germany remain hesitant about the issuance of common euro bonds.
2012-06-15 Remembering Hainan Development Bank by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
With tropical weather and white sand beaches, Hainan Island is often referred to as the Hawaii of China. Popular particularly among Chinese honeymooners, Hainan attracts tourists from around the world. Few, however, recall the islands darker days when it was mired in the failure of Hainan Development Bank (HDB). In June 1998, Chinas then regulator of commercial banks announced the closure of HDB, which was saddled with bad debts.
2012-06-12 Frontier Markets: The New Emerging Markets by Allan Conway, Edward Evans of Schroder Investment Management
In this paper, we summarise the attractive investment case for frontier markets both over the long term but also for an investment today. Frontier markets provide access to some of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world, supported by strong secular growth drivers. The investment opportunities are similarly benign as market liberalisation is accelerating and valuations look attractive in absolute terms and versus the developed and emerging world.
2012-06-11 Atlas Shrugged?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The call for this week: Over the weekend the eurozone agreed to lend Spain up to 100 ($126 billion) to shore up its teetering banks. That decision prompted this from my friend David Kotok, captain of Cumberland Advisors: The fact is the absence of banking collapses is good news. That is correct. Good news! We establish that good news by what we DO NOT see on TV. We do not see banks collapsing and failing to pay depositors. This means we may not witness the euro system collapsing and failing. Bank runs and deposit failures are symptoms of liquidity constraints.
2012-06-04 1-800-GET-ME-OUT?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The call for this week: Friday was the first day of hurricane season here in Florida, yet the storm didn't hit our beaches but rather blew onto the Street of Dreams with a 275-point "storm surge." The media attributed Friday's Flop entirely to the disappointing employment numbers, but the truth was the market was already headed down before the release of those numbers. And when the SPX's 1290 level was breached, the rout was on. And despite the break below my 1290 pivot point I can't shake the feeling that all of this is just part of the bottoming process.
2012-06-04 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Nothing good to report here so why even try to spin it. (Effective politicians may beg to differ.) The once promising labor picture just turned from bad to worse; manufacturing is no longer the one staple in the economy; Spain may be replacing Greece as the poster child for what ails the EU (and thats not because things are looking up in Greece). Stocks suffered their worst day of the year to end the week and the gains of the first quarter have been long forgotten. (Even the Astros stink again.)
2012-06-01 Civil Disobedience Hong Kong Style by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Walking around Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by the citys own version of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Directly underneath the HSBC tower, in the center of Hong Kongs vibrant financial district, is a small paved area, a portion of which is home to Hong Kongs anti-capitalist, anti-Wall Street movement. In the skyscraper above, thousands of banking and financial employees toil away daily, not overly disturbed by the protesters directly beneath their feet. Why? Because the civil disobedience below is just sowell, civil.
2012-05-30 The What-Why-When-How Guide to Owning Emerging Country Debt by Tina Vandersteel of GMO
As GMO looks forward to its 20th year managing emerging debt portfolios, we offer our perspectives on the frequently-asked questions that have come up over the years, including: What is meant by emerging debt (external, local, corporate)? Why and when to own it: portfolio fit considerations, alpha, and absolute and relative value. How to own it: dedicated external, local, or corporate; blended; or multi asset (including emerging equities).
2012-05-29 The Bargains in Europe's Great Oversell by Bob Veres (Article)
When was the last time we saw negative headlines drive valuations as low as they have in Europe? Evermore's David Marcus, who succeeded Michael Price as manager of the Mutual European Fund, says this period of obsession with Greek debt, bank restructuring and single-digit P/Es may be known as The Great Oversell.
2012-05-29 Being There by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The call for this week: I am out of the country seeing institutional accounts, so these may be the only strategy comments for the week. In my absence the stock market will likely resolve its near-term directionality because the "selling stampede" is now 18 sessions long and such stampedes tend not to last for more than 17 to 25 sessions. Despite the decline, by my work there has been no Dow Theory "sell signal," although there are some Wall Street wags who are using very short-term pivot points and believe otherwise.
2012-05-25 India's Demographic Dividends by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
Fortunately, Indias vast population of 1.21 billion, considered a time bomb not long ago, is increasingly being viewed as a positive. While its population has grown by roughly 18% over the past decade, the percentage of its children has actually fallen during this same period.looking to base manufacturing operations in other countries.India would do well to realize that this period of demographic shift is not merely a stroke of luck, but a window of opportunity. For growth to be sustainable requires some reforms in the way people live and work.
2012-05-25 There's No Place Like America by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Investors arent endorsing U.S. equities today. With all the positive aspects mentioned above, todays low participation in the U.S. stock market is perplexing. Here are two more reasons to invest today: 1) About 620 companies in the S&P 1500 Index are growing their revenues at more than 10 percent; and 2) 428 stocks in the index have an annualized dividend yield higher than the 10-year Treasury.
2012-05-21 I Should Have?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The brilliant Lee Cooperman, captain of hedge fund Omega Advisors, quoted Joe Rosenberg on CNBC last week, You can have cheap equity prices, or you can have good news, but you cant have both! Clearly, we currently have bad news, which in my opinion has resulted in cheap equity prices. Playing to that quote, my father always told me, Good things tend to happen to cheap stocks. As stated, the real question is, If we get a rally from this oversold condition is it the start of a new up leg, or is it just a compression rally that will be brief followed by still lower prices?
2012-05-11 Looking to China to Fire Up its Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Following on the heels of renewed concern over Europes debt situation, China released its monthly economic data. Fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales all rose in April, yet growth was not as strong as analysts anticipated. Weak is the word to describe Chinas April figures, says CLSAs Andy Rothman in his Sinology Report. But China wants the ability to manage a stable decline to promote medium-to-long-term structural reforms as well as avoid a hard landing, says CEBM.
2012-05-10 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices were subdued for the second successive month in April as renewed concerns over the European fiscal crisis dulled the outlook for exports from some of the leading emerging economies. The moderate correction in energy and other commodity prices also dampened the optimism over economic growth in some of the leading resource exporting countries. Among the major emerging markets, Brazil declined the most followed by India and Taiwan. Most emerging markets in Europe also underperformed during the month.
2012-05-10 Global Overview: April 2012 The European crisis continues to cloud global outlook by Team of Thomas White International
Global equity prices corrected marginally for the second successive month, while energy and other commodity prices have also moderated in recent weeks. However, led by the U.S., China, and India, global factory output continued to expand in April. Consumer demand remains healthy in most major economies, except Europe, and data from Japan suggests that a healthy recovery is underway as expected. In its updated forecasts, the IMF has increased its global GDP growth expectations for the current year to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent earlier.
2012-05-09 Going Global Can Pay Dividends by Brad Kinkelaar, Cliff Remily and Raji Manasseh of PIMCO
In todays low yield environment, many investors now include dividend-oriented equities in their portfolios in an effort to reach their income goals. U.S. investors with home market bias risk severely limiting their income potential because in the U.S., dividend payout ratios are on the decline, taxes are potentially on the rise, and valuations in sectors that typically offer attractive dividends are near historical highs. In our view, global equities can provide more attractive dividend income opportunities and offer potential for additional benefits, including diversification
2012-05-08 A New Economic Era: The Usual Rules No Longer Apply by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services
Against this backdrop of economic woes in the U.S. and Europe, business activity in Asia and Latin America is on the rise. The developing economies and emerging markets are where we see the better metrics, not in the US, Europe or Japan. One needs to look at the BRIC countries connection to commodities growth, and understand how they are getting on top of inflation. We believe China will lead the emerging markets in 2012. They will lean towards easing so their consumers will not be hurt by the less than healthy European export business as well as the weaknesses in the exports to the U.S.
2012-04-27 What are ETF and Mutual Fund flows telling us? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management
On the ETF front, while we did see some positive net flows into bond-oriented ETFs (notably High Yield Bonds), we also observed significant funds flowing into domestic and international emerging market equity products. In terms of outflows, or redemptions in this case, funds were flowing out of a wide variety of Morningstar categories, albeit only slightly on the bond-oriented front. I believe that the divergence in fund flow information for the first quarter of 2012 may primarily be related to the types of investors who generally invest in the products.
2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.
2012-04-17 How to Invest in the Best Equity Region in the World by Monty Agarwal of MA Capital Management
I believe that over the next several years, the single best region to buy and hold patiently will be Africa. Africas biggest lure are its vast hordes of natural resources. It is home to: 13% of the global reserves for oil, 50% of proven gold reserves, 50% of proven iron ore reserves, and 60% of cobalt. China, perhaps one of the hungriest consumer of natural resources and a savvy investor, is buying up mining rights and signing land deals everywhere in Africa. Here are a few more metrics that look very attractive for Africa.
2012-04-17 Mind the Gap by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy
There is almost always a gap between price and value. Over the next few years price volatility is likely to be the source of the gap as sentiment waffles from overly exuberant to downright pessimistic. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, high frequency trading, and an ever shortening investor attention span, prices move fast. Markets are emotional creatures and have a tendency to boom and bust. There have been occasions when underlying changes of value have gone unrecognized for sustained periods, and the gap was not primarily a function of price volatility.
2012-04-12 Evolution, Impact and Limitations of Unusual Central Bank Policy Activism by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO
I will speak in a central bank and to central bankers about the role of their institutions particularly the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in todays highly complex, perplexing and historically unusual policymaking environment. I will go further and try to link actions to motivations. And, when it comes to implications, I will attempt to put forward questions and hypotheses that, I believe, are critical for the future of the U.S. and global economies but for which I, like others, have only partial answers.
2012-04-11 Time to Exit Emerging Markets? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Is it time to sell emerging market equities? Thats what many investors are wondering given that emerging market stocks are up significantly since fall lows and have modestly outperformed developed markets year to date. Despite emerging markets strong recent performance, I believe there are two major reasons why investors should still consider overweighting select countries relative to their weight in the MSCI ACWI benchmark. Cheap Valuations and Falling Inflation.
2012-04-10 HBS Research: The Role of Business in Society by Michael Edesess (Article)
Many people believe that society needs to change for market capitalism to be sustainable - and it turns out a surprising number of business leaders are among them. That's the finding of a recent series of forums, organized by three Harvard Business School professors. Based on these discussions, the HBS professors advance a bold proposal - that business itself - not government, or even public-spirited nonprofits - should lead the charge to make the necessary changes to our capitalist system.
2012-04-04 Drilling Into Fuel Prices by Team of Franklin Templeton
Gasoline, deodorant, dishwashing, liquid, eye glasses, crayons.What does this list of seemingly random items have in common? They are all made from refined crude oil.1 So even if you dont feel pain at the gas pump, you probably rely on more products made with or from crude oil than youd think. And of course even non-oil based products are generally shipped via fuel-consuming transport vehicles, so youre bound to feel the pinch in the form of fuel surcharges or price hikes sooner or later.
2012-03-22 Brazil Retail Sector Riding the Wave of Middle Class Growth by Team of Thomas White International
Even in the late 1990s, Brazil was just like any other emerging economy, characterized by extremes of wealth and abject poverty with no social class dividing the bridge between. A decade and more down the line, the effervescence in the middle cannot be missed. Yes, the great Brazilian middle class defined as those who earn between $690 and $2,970 a month has arrived and is here to stay. If Brazil has made a name in the global retail sector, it had better thank these late comers, empowered with good purchasing power and access to credit.
2012-03-21 Falling Treasuries: A Currency Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
What are the implications for the U.S. dollar and investors portfolios if bond prices continue to fall, as they have of late? Within that context, should investors care whether the U.S. retains its status as a reserve currency? Should it effect the way investors think about their own cash reserves?
2012-03-19 Emerging Markets Equity Product Commentary February 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The renewed market optimism that surfaced towards the end of last year persisted in February as well, as emerging market equities again outperformed the developed markets. Though GDP growth forecasts for most emerging economies have been scaled lower for the current year and for 2013, it is widely expected that the risk of a further slowdown in economic activity is limited. Emerging markets in Europe and the Middle East continued to lead during the month, followed by Asia and Latin America. Egypt sustained its recovery during the month while Thailand, Russia, and Chile also outperformed.
2012-03-16 Taking Rising Dividends to the Bank(s)! by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
Yesterday, the Fed was moved to release the latest round of stress test results for the largest 19 banks in the US one day early. Midday, JP Morgan announced a significant dividend increase which gave the appearance of jumping the gun so the Fed chose to make all of the results public late yesterday. The news caused prices of most U.S. banks to rise as the tests confirmed the continued progress being made towards strengthening their businesses. We believe that this is simply the beginning of a renaissance of the U.S. banks and their ability to grow earnings and dividends in the next few years.
2012-03-15 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
The Fed gets together next week as analysts eagerly await the (more transparent) recap of the behind-the-scenes discussions between the (dissenting) parties. Rumors have policymakers debating a new type of bond buying program (sterilized QE) in which the Fed would print money to purchase long-term securities, but investors would face certain restrictions over how those proceeds can be used. As always, the Feds aim is to keep rates low and encourage more spending and investing by consumers and biz.
2012-03-14 Par for the Investing Course by Team of Franklin Templeton
Theres a certain Hollywood mystique around the quest for The Next Great Investment. The un-glamorous truth, of course, is that unearthing hidden opportunities actually takes equal parts elbow grease and know-how. Par Rostom, is that roll-up-the-sleeves kind of guy. Hes not looking to invest in companies just because they are household names with splashy advertising campaigns. The companies are the ones he feels are best in their particular niche, but that youve probably never heard of. Surprisingly, hes finding some of them in the eurozone, a place the crowd is largely avoiding today.
2012-03-13 Europe's “Back-door QE”: Good News for Global Bond Investors by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (Article)
By restoring confidence in the global financial system, the European Central Bank's Long Term Refinancing Operation has allowed global bond investors to participate in attractive opportunities around the world.
2012-03-13 Europe Needs a Good Crisis by Michael Edesess (Article)
When it comes to economies in general and financial crises in particular, it's remarkable how little we actually understand. While global financial actors struggle to restructure Greece's debt and to avoid contagion throughout Europe's periphery, we should recall the lessons of the Asian-Russian crisis 15 years ago. As the writings of Joseph Stiglitz and Martin Wolf remind us - and those events illustrate - crises are part of an evolutionary process, and the afflicted economies often emerge with surprising vigor.
2012-03-09 Long-Short Funds Lead Greenwich Indices in February by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
Hedge funds turned in another month of gains across all major strategies, notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President. Results from Long-Short Equity funds show that managers are increasing net exposures as they become more confident about economic conditions. Although some managers continue to expect a market correction, most believe it will be mild as institutional investors are still waiting for opportunities to add to their positions.
2012-03-08 Putting Colombia on the Global Investment Map by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Colombias real GDP is projected to grow by between 5% and 6% by end 2011, and inflation to end 2011 at less than 4%. The primary caveat: lack of infrastructure remains one of the main challenges for the country; past guerrilla conflicts made large parts of the country inaccessible, a hurdle the country has not quite yet overcome. However, as security has improved, the central government has gained more access to the countryside, enabling it to make some progress on infrastructure improvements.
2012-02-27 Weekly Market Commentary by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
The spectre of Dow 13,000 haunted the market last week. In the midst of a political debate, a moral dilemma, and a global debt conflagration, nothing could be less significant than a numerical integer whose relevance is highly overrated. As numbers crunchers go, there are integers and there are integers. More to the point is the location of the integer and the trend within which it is contained. For example, if Dow 13,000 represents the end of a cycle, a destination, then its significance is diminished as opposed to a breakout on the way to somewhere else.
2012-02-18 The Enduring Popularity of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
For thousands of years, pharaohs, explorers, rulers and investors have been attracted to gold, as the precious metal has been a vital tool in building and protecting wealth. While gold naysayers focus on the day-to-day fluctuations in price, I believe gold equities and bullion will continue to enjoy maximum popularity, as the Oracle of Omaha puts it, for years to come. The allure of goldwhether it is from Fear or Lovecannot be underestimated.
2012-02-14 3 Reasons to Underweight South Africa by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
In my opinion, investors should consider minimizing their exposure to emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, otherwise known as EMEA. The big reason: emerging markets in EMEA generally have close economic ties to the euro zone, which as we all know is going through a rough spot and is likely to experience at least a mild recession this year. Drilling down to the stocks of specific emerging market countries within EMEA, Im particularly focused on South Africa as its the largest country in the MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA index.
2012-02-10 Indices Show Hedge Funds Off to Strong Start in January by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
"US equities rallied significantly to begin 2012 and Long-Short managers are the best performers thus far. Hedge funds focused on Market Neutral strategies were also surprisingly strong as both Arbitrage and Event-Driven managers posted their best results in months. Despite investors being drawn into risk-on sectors of the market, most funds remain cautious with the economic situation in Europe still unresolved, notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President.
2012-02-10 Theres Value in Russias Future by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Increasingly, Russian companies have begun paying dividends, with some companies paying as much as a 10% annual dividend. As interest rates around the world will remain low or even negative for years to come, dividends offer investors the opportunity to earn income with the potential of appreciation. Although political risks remain, we believe Russia continues to be a hotbed of opportunity for emerging market investors.
2012-02-09 Driving Forward: A Case for Autos in 2012 by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors
The fallout from the credit crisis and subsequent bear market in equities from 2008 through Q109 cut deep, but few industries faced challenges as profound as the auto manufacturers. Frightened consumers simply stopped buying cars. Banks implemented stricter lending standards for those still interested in purchasing a vehicle. These were unchartered waters to be sure. But the worst appears to be behind us.
2012-02-07 Order and Progress on the Rise in Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
My worldwide pursuit of good investing bargains takes me to some magnificent countries. In my view, Brazil is certainly among the most beautiful and economically vibrant in the western hemisphere. Its Portuguese-speaking multiracial population of almost 200 million1 represents a growing and upwardly mobile consumer market. Brazil is the fifth most populated country in the world and is chock-full of natural resources and rich farmland. Appropriately, the countrys name comes from the wood that grows along the coast, which was greatly valued by the European textile industry.
2012-02-06 Capturing the ECB by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate
There are several explanations for the ECBs insistence on a "voluntary" restructuring of Greece's sovereign debt, none of which speaks well for the institution. Indeed, as we have seen elsewhere, institutions that are not democratically accountable tend to be captured by special interests.
2012-01-31 2012 Tale of Two Bond Markets Handicapping the Bull and Bear Case for Bonds by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
2012 will likely be the tale of two bond markets. You have the high-grade debt market that has been the recipient of a huge flight to quality and fear trade. The prices of these obligations have skyrocketed and yields plummeted. Additionally, the Fed has turned out to be the biggest buyer of longer-dated Treasuries in the markets today. It is rumored that they might engage in a mortgage buying campaign later this year. That would have the effect of lowering mortgage rates further than the record lows where they are at. In short, the world has sought refuge in the U.S. bond high-grade market.
2012-01-28 The Transparency Trap by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
We look at the shift in Fed policy, and at the balance sheets of central banks, US GDP, Portugal and the ECB, the LTRO policy, and yes, theres even a tidbit on Greece. Unemployment will be higher than we are comfortable with; it is just a product of the current environment and simple math. The US economy is in a Muddle Through range of around 2%. If not for a potential shock coming from a serious European crisis and real recession, the US should not slip into outright recession this year.
2012-01-27 What the Bond Market Knows That You Dont by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog
On the back of improving US economic data, equities have rallied off of autumn lows, and yet US Treasury yields have continued to surf bottom with the 10-year note trading below 2% for the first time on record. Why havent interest rates recovered in support of improving data? Do US Treasury investors know something that equity investors dont? The answer may lie across the pond in Europe. The European crisis intensified significantly in the fall, causing equity markets (and most risky assets for that matter) to sell off and US Treasury rates to fall, despite the August downgrade.
2012-01-26 Peering Through Exxons Looking Glass by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The emerging world will push global energy demand 30 percent higher by 2040, according to ExxonMobils Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040. The report contains some interesting projections on what may be in store for the energy sector in the coming decades. The global population is expected to reach a staggering 9 billion over the same period, but it isnt population growth that will drive the increase in energy demand. Instead, rising affluence and higher living standards in regions such as Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and India will be the biggest factors.
2012-01-26 The Price of a Good Nights Sleep by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Even with the recent market rally, investors are still placing a significant premium on those assets perceived as safe. Case in point: the US Treasury market. By one measure-real yields measured against core inflation long-dated Treasuries are offering the worst returns in over 30 years. The flip side of this trade is a persistent aversion to assets perceived to be the most risky, particularly Europe. Even in the more stable, northern parts many markets are trading at 8 times earnings, with dividend yields at 4% to 5%. In a low yield world, this strikes us as a long-term opportunity.
2012-01-24 Contrarian Concern Too Much Bullishness? by John Buckingham of AFAM
While we expect volatility to remain elevated this year, and we have to concede that the markets have come a long way quickly, we see no reason to alter our 1400 year-end S&P 500 price target. Of course, that level actually might be a little low, considering where we stand today, but we focus our attention on the companies in which we are invested. After all, we own businesses like International Business Machines (IBM - $188.52), Intel (INTC - $26.38) and Microsoft (MSFT - $29.71), all of which posted impressive Q4 results last week, and not index funds.
2012-01-24 The Global Economic Outlook: Diverging Paths by Thomas D. Higgins of Dreyfus
The global economy can weather a mild eurozone recession, but is too fragile to absorb a severe financial shock such as a breakup of the euro. Higgins expects Central and Eastern Europe are likely to be most negatively affected by a eurozone recession, followed by the UK, the US and other advanced economies, given their respective trade dependencies. The least vulnerable regions would be Asia and Latin America. Long-term value in popular safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries and gold, preferring to focus on U.S. non-financial corporate credit as well as emerging market local currency debt.
2012-01-24 The Plain Facts by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management
We believe that, while Europe will suffer a recession in 2012 on its painful path to recovery, with or without Greece, the U.S. and Canada will likely see accelerating growth this year, as will China, India and Latin America. In fact, global growth should be above 3%, supported by record high total household wealth in the world, which has doubled since 2000. China and India provide half of the worlds economic growth. And manufacturing in India and China grew in December and should continue to do so from renewed government stimulation.
2012-01-20 On Mexicos Homes by Kate Jaquet of Seafarer Capital
Mexicos macroeconomic backdrop has been surprisingly benign for more than a decade now. The country has experienced stable growth, low unemployment, low levels of government debt and it has managed inflation relatively well, as evidenced in the table nearby. The country also enjoys very capable policy management, a burgeoning middle class, stable mortgage markets, strong housing demand and a wide field of homebuilders to cater to that demand. No one knows whether or when the violence in Mexico might end, but behind the headlines, the housing market gives hope that a stable future lies ahead.
2012-01-20 After 2011 Hit, Are Emerging Markets Set to Recover First? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Our team has put together a great table ranking 19 emerging market countries by how their stocks have performed in each of the past 10 years. Most of the E-7 countriesthe most populous nations in the worldare listed, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Russia, as well as other resource-rich and growing Asian, Eastern European and Latin American countries.
2012-01-18 Americas Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
As the year 2011 ended, the clouds of pessimism about the economy lightened across the Americas region, as key data trends suggested that earlier fears of a steep downturn were unfounded. Financial markets stabilized as investors turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2012. Concerns over external risks, particularly about the European fiscal crisis, also calmed down as hope was renewed that enduring political solutions will be found for the fiscal challenges facing the developed countries.
2012-01-17 Thinking About the Implications of Rising Euro-Exit Risks by Myles Bradshaw of PIMCO
Even if the euro survives this crisis intact, the market will price in uncertainty as the crisis evolves. Scenario planning is indispensable for investors. Politics may prevent the European Central Bank from buying government bonds, but it could provide funding support via a special government or banking intermediary. This balance sheet expansion could be a negative for the euro. Within the eurozone we believe investors should look at alternatives to the government sector, including agency, regional government and covered bonds.
2012-01-14 The End of Europe? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The peripheral countries have no choices that allow them to grow and prosper without first suffering (for perhaps a long time) some very real economic pain. Leaving the eurozone has severe consequences; but the economic pain of leaving would go away sooner and allow for quicker adjustments, than if they stayed. However, the initial pain would be worse than the slow pain they'd suffer by staying in the euro. Their choice is, simply, which pain do they want or maybe, which pain do they think they want? Because whatever they choose, they are not going to like it.
2012-01-13 The Year that Was and The Year to Come by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
From a long-term perspective, we continue to have a positive outlook on emerging economies. In our opinion, balancing growth, inflation and global competitiveness will be the task ahead for many emerging countries in the months to come. We believe that emerging stock markets could be much larger than they are today, and over the long term, their combined value could potentially exceed the combined value of the U.S., Japanese and European equity markets.
2012-01-12 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Policy makers globally face the challenge of supporting growth while managing debt levels, and still remaining aware of inflation. The Eurozone crisis is a further complication, and has the potential to make matters more difficult. That being said, there is still growth in the world economy, though perhaps more disparate than in previous cycles. Given the inter-connected nature of countries in the globalized world, there are few areas truly insulated from turmoil. However, there are safer-havens where clearer policy frameworks and the ability to enact solutions more robustly are helpful.
2012-01-11 Aberdeen Chile Fund, Inc. Fund Manager Interview by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Chile has developed a middle class quicker than many of its Latin American peers and consequently, more robust domestic consumption trends. Chile has formed close ties with China in recent years and in 2005 became the first country in Latin America to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the Asian nation. Chile has proven to be a model to the Latin American region in regards to good corporate governance and transparency. Though Chile will not be fully insulated from the global downturn, the countrys longterm fundamentals remain sound.
2012-01-11 Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index Slips 15 Points in December by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
US equities ended 2011 essentially unchanged but endured significant volatility throughout the year. Hedge funds focused on market neutral strategies were above average performers for the month and the year as they were able to withstand the market uncertainty. Looking forward, we expect Directional and Long-Short strategies to have better performance as the global economy continues to stabilize
2012-01-06 Pioneering Frontier Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
While emerging markets were considered a niche or exotic investment when I started investing in the late 1980s, many investors are now familiar with them and Im seeing more and more investors turning to emerging markets as a way to diversify their portfolios. Yet, emerging markets themselves are not a homogeneous zone. Within the emerging markets universe, we believe frontier markets as a whole have begun to take an impressive lead in terms of growth.
2012-01-06 What Will 2012 Bring? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
In 2011, financial news was dominated by the turmoil in Europe. Looking ahead, the ongoing crisis will be addressed by a global money printing jamboree and coordinated funding from central banks in the developed world, including the Fed. When the money starts rolling off the presses, the liquidity infusion will create some genuine buying opportunities for American, European, and Asian stocks, as well as selected commodities. Liquidity infusions are like a rising tide of money available to buy assets. Buy stocks, commodities, and primarily gold to protect the buying power of their assets.
2012-01-05 2012 Market and Economic Commentary and Outlook by Multiple of Various
This is a compilation of economic and market forecasts from managers at 14 individual mutual fund companies.
2012-01-04 Fundamentals March on Despite Global Risks in 2012 by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
The two primary drivers of market performancefundamentals and global risksacted in opposition in 2011. It is critical to understand the hierarchy of influence of these drivers in order to understand the current market and to forecast its future direction. Although spikes in global risk may make headlines and cause temporary shocks to investor confidence, the markets path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals. We expect 2012 will mark the third consecutive year that fundamentals relentlessly march forward despite ample global risks.
2011-12-23 Outlook 2012: Living In Interesting Times by Victoria Marklew, Asha G. Bangalore, James A. Pressler, and Ieisha Montgomery of Northern Trust
Setting aside the debate over the appropriateness of various policy directives, this Outlook considers which countries or regions are vulnerable as we head into 2012. Not surprisingly we start off with Europe, then go through the U.S., industrialized Asia, and Latin America, finishing with a brief discussion of the political powder keg that is the Middle East.
2011-12-20 NewsLetter - December 2011 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz
No question the markets have been scary and whenever that happens youll read about the value of diversification. The good news is, it works. It may not work day-to-day but over economic cycles, it works. Still, most investors do not really understand what a real diversified portfolio looks like so I did a quick and dirty evaluation of E&Ks typical investment portfolio and found: Stock positions in well over 12k different companies. The largest single position was Exxon at about 0.8% in an all equity allocation. Companies based in over 40 different countries.
2011-12-15 Fragile and Unbalanced in 2012 by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
The outlook for the global economy in 2012 is clear, but it isnt pretty: recession in Europe, anemic growth at best in the US, and a sharp slowdown in China and in most emerging-market economies. Restoring robust growth is difficult enough without the ever-present specter of deleveraging and a severe shortage of policy ammunition.
2011-12-13 Tale of the Tape U.S. Markets Back on Top by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital
As investors say goodbye to a year that will be remembered in the history of financial markets for its volatility and investors obsession with it one of the most battered, bruised and, yes, volatile, markets has quietly reclaimed its spot as the worlds best performer. It is, of course, the U.S. Through November 15, the S&P 500 is up 1.8% year-to-date; the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 6.9%; and the NASDAQ, 1.3%. Meanwhile, the rest of the worlds major equity indices are covered with red arrows, all pointing down.
2011-12-09 Emerging Markets Bonds and Currencies in an Uncertain World by Ignacio Sosa of PIMCO
Even if global risk deteriorates significantly, emerging markets may continue to offer compelling risk-adjusted return characteristics. Emerging markets external sovereign debt, along with receiving interest rates in higher-quality EM countries, could be the best relative performers. EM currencies would likely sell off sharply in risk-off periods but would also tend to rebound robustly when risk appetite returns. Several Asian currencies are likely to be the best relative performers. Emerging markets assets remain a risk asset class and will not be immune to waves of global jitters.
2011-12-09 Greenwich Hedge Fund Indices Post Modest Losses in November by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
Hedge funds as measured by the Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index posted losses in November, losing ground during the latter half of the month on weak fundamentals in European markets. The GGHFI shed 1.05% compared to global equity returns in the S&P 500 Total Return (-0.22%), MSCI World Equity (-2.69%), and FTSE 100 (-0.70%) equity indices. European headlines continue to dictate the mood of global markets and cause increased volatility in equities. Hedge fund managers have decreased leverage and exposure to mitigate market risk but are still exposed to broader moves
2011-12-08 Global Economy and Market Summary Third Quarter 2011 by Stephen Hammers of Compass EMP Funds
The world economy has continued to slow during the last few months. The next several quarters are likely to be weak for three reasons. First, fiscal policy will continue to be restrictive as plans to trim excessive federal budget deficits continue to unfold. Second, private sector demand looks gloomy because households will continue to deleverage from high debt levels while unemployment remains a problem. Third, the uncertain future of the Euro-zone debt situation remains a major setback to future economic growth.
2011-12-01 Return of the Comandante's Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Back in August, we discussed the precarious proclamation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was shipping his countrys gold reserves home for safekeeping. On Friday, we learned Chavezs chosen transportation method for Operation Gold was through the air after the first shipments arrived to much fanfare in Venezuela. Some believe Chavezs announcement of Operation Gold was a catalyst for the August run up in gold prices, but there is no way to be sure. However, the impact could be significant if other countries employ a similar strategy.
2011-11-29 Sometimes We Lose Perspective by Scott A. MacKillop (Article)
It's been a rough ride lately for investors. Looking back over the course of my lifetime, however, what has been particularly exceptional is not recent market swings - these come and go - but rather the return one would have earned if they had been continuously invested in the stock market over the past 60-plus years.
2011-11-28 The Global High Yield Opportunity by Matt Eagan, Kathleen Gaffney and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles
The shifting characteristics of US, European, Asian and emerging markets high yield assets have contributed to an expanding opportunity set. This has prompted many institutional investors to broaden their high yield investment guidelines, often giving portfolio managers the ﬂexibility to include exposures to these markets within one portfolio. The days of silo investing, in which non-US investors sought exposure to US high yield and emerging market debt through separate mandates, may be giving way to an era of sector allocation driven by investors.
2011-11-26 The Case for Optimism: Our Top 25 Dividend Growth Stocks are Dirt Cheap by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Within each challenge there has also been accompanying opportunity.And in most cases, the opportunities tend to dwarf the risks. The opportunities that we believe our recent challenges are bringing us are unnecessarily low valuations on some of our highest-quality companies.Yet, it is a fact that investors are flocking to bonds in droves at precisely a time when the risk of owning bonds is perhaps the greatest it has ever been. Most investors want to defy the cardinal rule of investing-buy low, sell high.
2011-11-25 Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Angela Merkel is leading the call for a rule change, a rewiring of the basic treaty that binds the EU. But is it both too much and too late? The market action suggests that time is indeed running out, and so well look at the likely consequences. Then I glance over the other way and take notice of news out of China that may be of import.
2011-11-15 A Strategy with a 25-year Record of 25% Returns by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Indiana-based SBAuer Funds launched its inaugural mutual fund in December of 2007, after having established a successful track record with a separately managed account business. I spoke with Bob Auer, who has employed the same stock selection system used by the fund for the last 25 years, over which time returns have averaged 25% annually.
2011-11-15 Capital Flows: Asias Quiet Revolution by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
As markets evolve, so do regulations. The reflexive rebuke of capital controls once voiced by Western regulators has given way to a more flexible approach in times of extreme volatility. Asias regulators have observed the efficacy of volatility-dampening measures, and thus far, appear to have avoided the worst excesses. As fears continue over diminishing U.S. dollar power, Asias bonds remain attractive diversifiers for their yields and good credit ratings. However, one should never forget the volatile history of currencies in Asia.
2011-11-15 In a World Dependent on Crude, is Natural Gas the Savior? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
It will be a busy week in the US with reports on inflation, retail sales, industrial production and housing starts. Inflationary pressure is likely to show further signs of easing in October, particularly as food costs continue to stabilize. Retail sales were quite strong in September, but gains for October are expected to be more muted. Earnings season is winding down, with quarterly reports expected from UniCredit, Dell, Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Vivendi, Dollar Tree and Gap. The only major central bank to meet this week is the Bank of Japan, which is unlikely to change rates.
2011-11-11 Off With Their Heads! by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors
It is hard to know now whether deflationary or inflationary forces will prevail. But we dont have to know. I do not expect that central banks will be able to get monetary policy just right and so it is clear to me that the current environment of low, stable inflation around the world is going to be short lived. This outlook combined with the extremely low interest rate environment cause us to focus on the preservation of capital. Avoiding losses is very important now. With yields so low, offsetting or recouping any losses is very difficult and would take much longer than is typical.
2011-11-09 Greenwich Global Index Hedge Funds Bounce Back in October by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments
Hedge funds as measured by the GGHFI posted strong results in October, benefitting from a rebound in equity prices during the month. The GGHFI gained 2.27% compared to global equity returns in the S&P 500 Total Return +10.93%, MSCI World Equity +10.26%, and FTSE 100 +8.10% equity indices. 67% of constituent funds in the GGHFI ended the month with gains. Concerns over Europe began to lift in October and hedge funds were able to benefit from the rise in equity prices. Long-Short managers performed well given their cautious stance entering the month.
2011-11-05 Fund Manager Interview by Nick Robinson of Aberdeen Asset Management
The popular perception of Latin America as a region of weak political systems and economies is changing. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies have helped many countries stabilize their economies. The region came through the recent credit crisis relatively unscathed. Good-quality companies trading at attractive valuations can be found in the region. A local presence helps bolster our research.
2011-11-04 3 Drivers, 2 Months, 1 Gold Rally? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Combine the central bank purchases of gold with the fact that we are now entering the strongest months of the year for gold. While the spot gold price has differed from the S&P/TSX Composite Index of gold equities during the first 10 months of the year, their historical pattern is very similar during the last two months. November has historically been the strongest month of the year for gold equities, with mining stocks increasing 8.1 percent.
2011-10-28 Et tu, Berlusconi? The Daunting (But Not Always Insuperable) Arithmetic of Sovereign Debt by Rich Mattione of GMO
This paper sets itself two tasks. The first is to construct a simple model that would arithmeticize the dynamics of sovereign debt so as not to get hung up with all of the acronyms and programs designed to save the world. The second is to put this into the context of the European sovereign debt problem and hazard some opinions as to which options can work, and which cannot. Grand solutions may yet come, but they probably will not come soon enough. Now is the time to separate the daunting from the insuperable, and to fix both sets of nations.
2011-10-28 How China Drives the Global Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The Chinese economy is not a bubble, but that does not mean a significant slowdown wouldnt affect the global economy, especially natural resources. This is because Chinas economic transformation over the past few decades has cast the country into the forefront of demand. PIRA Energy Group says that, in 1990, Chinas share of oil and GDP was less than 5 percent; its share of world energy was just under 10 percent. Since then, Chinas share of energy, GDP and oil has risen dramatically, with each expected to be approximately 28 percent, 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively, by 2025.
2011-10-25 On Mexicos Shores by Kate Jaquet of Seafarer Capital
Investors must exercise caution when approaching Mexico. The countrys fiscal position appears to be eroding, and this may induce greater dependence on inflows of foreign capital to cover the deficit; and this in turn may make the peso more volatile. However, with scant few safe havens left and as the flights to quality and liquidity continue across the financial markets, I am optimistic that industrial production in Mexico will be a bright spot in the emerging markets in the coming years.
2011-10-21 Emerging Markets Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
Emerging market real estate stocks were hit hard in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The asset class underperformed its developed-market counterpart, which also had a double-digit decline amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt crisis. Slowing global growth is taking some pressure off emerging markets in terms of inflation containment. A trend of policy easing appears to be underway. This could result in improved performance for recently problematic sectors. We have been incrementally adding to such sectors.
2011-10-21 Do Bullish Investors Have an Ace in the Hole? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
You may not be able to count cards at the blackjack table, but counting historical trends of the stock market and discovering inflection points are not only legal strategies, they are essential to successful investing. One card worth counting is the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures the manufacturing strength of any given country. A rising PMI indicates a growing economy and is considered a leading indicator.
2011-10-19 Americas: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Financial markets faced significant volatility as the global economic outlook weakened and concerns about the European crisis worsened. Markets in the Americas region were also affected by the erosion in investor confidence, though the developed markets in the region fared relatively better. Latin American currencies saw steep falls against the U.S. dollar, as the weaker economic outlook is expected to force the central banks to cut interest rates in the future, potentially reducing the relative attractiveness of these markets to global investors.
2011-10-19 Global Overview: October 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Global financial markets have partly recovered from Septembers extensive price declines, helped by hopes of stability in the Euro-zone and moderately better economic data from major countries, including the U.S. Volatility in the currency markets has also eased somewhat after last months steep fall in international currencies against the U.S. dollar. Commodity prices have seen similar trends as well, though concerns about global demand persist. Monetary policy in major economies has seen significant shifts over the last month, as central banks have lowered their economic outlook.
2011-10-17 The Happiness Dilemma by Kevin Feldman of iShares Blog
Princeton professor Angus Deaton studies the impact of the financial crisis on Americans state of mind. The good news? We may be unhappier than we should be. We all know that the financial crisis has been difficult, and I imagine its made most of us unhappy at various times. 60% of American households saw their wealth decline between 2007 and 2009. Deaton wanted to examine more precisely the relationship between the crisis and American happiness-self-reported subjective well-being, or SWB. Which parts of the crisis hit people the hardest?
2011-10-06 Global Investment Outlook: October 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global growth momentum continues to decline but is worst in Europe. Solvency of national governments and now banks is creating fears of a crisis. Coordinated policy action is key to stemming adverse market reaction. Although economic data has continued to demonstrate slower business activity, this is most obvious within Europe which has suffered from fiscal contraction as well as diminishing export demand from the emerging world. Unemployment levels remain elevated, and the reluctance to create new jobs is proving the Achilles heel of policymakers efforts to kick start private sector demand.
2011-10-01 Tough Choices, Big Opportunities by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
There is a pattern, and the United States is no different than Greece or Ireland or Italy or Japan or any other country in history. Highly indebted governments, banks, or corporations can seem to be merrily rolling along for an extended period, when bang! confidence collapses, lenders disappear, and a crisis hits. There's a limit to how much the bond market is going to let us borrow. As we approach that limit and we're not there yet, we have time, thank God we can make choices about how we want to deal with the problem. But the problem is too much debt and too high a deficit.
2011-09-30 Extreme Divergence Between Coal Rocks and Stocks Unwarranted by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Coal was relatively flat for the quarter, but whats interesting is that coal companies were severely discounted. Over the last two years, coal stocks and the commodity have closely tracked each other, until this summer, when worries about a global slowdown caused coal stocks to fall off a cliff, not once, but twice, in August and again in early September. This extreme divergence between coal companies and the commodity seems unwarranted when the long-term drivers of coal remain supportive.
2011-09-30 Is a More Integrated Europe the Answer? by Andrew Goldberg and David M. Lebovitz of J.P. Morgan Funds
Germany has voted for an expanded EFSF to stabilize the European Sovereign debt crisis, an important step towards reducing near-term concerns. However, broader problems still loom. In recent weeks, mounting skepticism has exacerbated fears of recession in developed economies, sending risk assets plunging and volatility soaring. In the following update on the situation in Europe, well consider: The underlying issues plaguing Europe, A summary of steps taken to address them thus far, A look at possible next steps and solutions and a few thoughts on investing in such difficult times.
2011-09-29 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Growth Risks, Policy Polarization and Rethinking Returns by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO
Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect the global economy to expand at a very modest real rate of 1% to 1.5% Global imbalances have continued to rise in the post financial crisis environment, global leaders continue to fail in their policy coordination efforts, and deleveraging and reregulation continue to be critical over the course of our cyclical horizon. We are transitioning into a world where we believe the incentives of policymakers and the divisiveness of politics will become the predominant drivers of investment returns and economics.
2011-09-16 China as an Asset Class by Henry Zhang and Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
China's economic expansion over the last 30 years has allowed many enterprises to prosper. For a number of investors, Chinese stocks have also grown in importance. As modern capital markets have taken root in China, stock markets have become one of the primary channels for companies to raise capital. While China's capital market is still early in its development and has its own risks and challenges, the country is expected to continue to grow and increasingly influence world economies. For a variety of reasons, we believe China is emerging as an investment asset class in its own right.
2011-09-16 Perfect Storm Creates Tidal Wave of Gold Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
In the East, gold is not only celebrated, acquired, worn or displayed during holidays or special occasions; it is seen as an everyday symbol of wealth. Increases in demand from China and India have driven a 7.5 percent increase in demand for gold jewelry during the first half of the year despite a 25 percent increase in the price, according to a report released this week from GFMS. However, much of Indias potential gold demand remains untapped.
2011-09-14 Asian Bonds Fund Manager Interview: A Misunderstood Opportunity by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global investors remain under-invested to Asian bonds. Exposure is often made through global debt benchmarks; however, these benchmarks typically have low allocations to Asia, may not be particularly active, have allocations to less creditworthy countries and possess limited local currency exposure. Many investment opportunities in the Asian region have been overlooked. Asia provides a diverse set of markets and a broad set of country issuers across the credit spectrum, offering what we believe are good opportunities for investors to enhance portfolio yields.
2011-09-09 Americas: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
While markets have calmed after the anxiety caused by S&Ps downgrade of U.S. debt, economic indicators for most countries in the Americas region remain subdued. 2nd quarter growth declined for most countries and full year forecasts are being revised lower. The subdued global growth outlook has dulled the prospect for continued growth in export earnings while consumer spending in some of the larger economies is increasingly being restrained by higher interest rates and the heightened economic uncertainties. Nevertheless, inflationary risks have declined, except most notably in Brazil.
2011-09-09 Brazil and Chile | One for Now, One to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Earlier this month, as part of my changed view of emerging markets. I initiated an overweight view of Brazil and noted that I am paying close attention to Chile. As promised, here are more of my thoughts regarding these two emerging market countries.There are a number of reasons why I like Brazil. First, from a valuation standpoint, Brazil looks attractive relative to both its own history and to other MSCI ACWI countries. I am not yet establishing an overweight view of countries in Latin America beyond Brazil, but I am watching Chile closely.
2011-08-30 Brazil and Chile | One for Now, One to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Brazil looks attractive relative to both its own history and to other MSCI ACWI countries. The MSCI Brazil index is currently trading at 1.4x book value, versus its average of 2.1x book value over the past five years. In addition, from September 2008 to July 2009, the OECD composite leading indicator for Brazil was lower than it is today; yet the Brazilian market appears cheaper today than it did during that period on average. While Chile is starting to look interesting and we currently hold a neutral view of it, there is no need to rush in.
2011-08-26 Valuation Gap Makes Gold Miners Attractive But All Miners Arent Created Equal by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Goldwatchers were reminded golds volatility works in both directions this week, with prices falling more than $100 an ounce in just one day. We forecasted the selloff last week, explaining a 10 percent correction would be a non-event. Once again the CME Group hiked the exchanges margin requirements for gold investment to shake out overleveraged speculation. This is a positive for long-term investors.
2011-08-23 A Fundamental Investment Strategy for Today\'s Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We spoke with Tim Hartch and Michael Keller, who are co-managers of the Morningstar 5-star BBH Core Select Fund (BBTEX) from Brown Brothers Harriman. The fund's strategy is strictly bottom-up, with investments in established, cash-generative businesses that are leading providers of essential products and services with strong management teams and loyal customers.
2011-08-19 Who Will Take Over China's Role as the World's Factory Floor? by John Scott of Saturna Capital
As China moves up through the economic chain by outsourcing many of its low-cost, low-value-added consumer goods to places like Vietnam and Indonesia and begins producing more value-added products, it is highly likely that prices of these intermediate consumer goods will fall. We anticipate that the price levels of basic consumer goods in the West will likely rise in the future, but they will be offset by a decline in the price levels of mid-tier consumer goods. This will benefit the middle and upper-middle income segments of our population at the expense of low-income households.
2011-08-19 Emotion in Motion by Rob Isbitts of Carson Wealth Management Group
We don't normally feel compelled to discuss short-term market activity. However, once in a while a month comes along that is very different from most other months. This is one of those months. With the S&P 500 down over 12% for the month of August (as of 2:30PM on Friday, 8/19/11), and Europe's economic and banking system woes weighing on the markets again, here are our current thoughts on global markets and our current positioning.
2011-08-19 The Silver Lining for Markets and the U.S. Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
There is a silver lining: Despite all the negative news out there, the global economy will continue to grow. In fact, the U.S. economy has had several positive developments recently. The four-week average for unemployment claims dropped to 402,000 during the week ending August 13. There is still a large chunk of America unable to find a job, but that group has shrunk 13 percent since August 2010 and is about 40 percent of peak 2009 levels.
2011-08-15 Americas: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected in the U.S.. Canada is also expected to report slower second quarter growth, but may regain some of the lost pace by the second half. Slower growth in the U.S. will likely have a restrictive effect on economic activity in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Colombia, which have relatively deeper economic ties with the U.S. For the resource exporters in the region, the expected decline in global demand growth for commodities and industrial material is likely to be a dampener.
2011-08-15 Is Capitalism Doomed? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial and economic crisis caused by too much private-sector debt and leverage led to a massive re-leveraging of the public sector in order to prevent Great Depression 2.0. But the subsequent recovery has been anemic and sub-par in most advanced economies given painful deleveraging.
2011-08-12 Another Look at China's Property Market and Financial System by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
There continues to be much debate over whether Chinas growth is balanced and sustainable, and many observers will demand you side with one camp or the other: extremely bullish or bearish. This month, Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks, PhD, takes a more nuanced view in examining the drivers behind Chinas real estate market and evolving financial system.
2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO
Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.
2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO
Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.
2011-08-02 Russ K.s Market Calls | Developed & Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
I started the year with a bias for developed market equities over emerging market equities. Year-to-date, developed equity markets have outperformed emerging markets by roughly 4%. I had two main reasons for favoring developed market equities. Emerging market equities looked expensive relative to their developed market counterparts and I felt that emerging market inflation would be a more persistent problem than the market was discounting. Now, however, these major rationales for broadly favoring developed markets no longer hold.
2011-07-30 The 2011 Gold Season is Just around the Corner by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
September has traditionally been the beginning of the gift-giving season for gold. This is the time of year when gold jewelers are the busiest. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins in August and concludes with generous gift-giving in early September. Then its Diwali, known as the festival of lights in India, Christmas in the U.S., and Chinese New Year. The key to this seasonal strength over the past few years has been demand from China and India.
2011-07-22 Will China?s Real Estate Market Become the World?s Problem? by James Pressler of Northern Trust
There are significant imbalances in the Chinese real estate market and that this constitutes a large asset bubble that is reaching the end of its run. While there may not be one defining event that marks its collapse, over the next twelve months we expect a marked rise in NPLs within the smaller provincial and regional banks, and some high-profile defaults. And while this will not necessarily mark the end of the Chinese miracle, it will provide a substantial shock to development policies and perhaps a renewed drive toward a more sustainable, domestically-driven economy.
2011-07-18 Are Emerging Markets Ready to Lead the Global Economy? by Lupin Rahman of PIMCO
We forecast emerging economies will expand at a faster pace than advanced economies over the secular horizon. The challenge for emerging market central bankers is to remain ahead of inflation expectations and retain credibility on inflation targeting. We feel they are well positioned for this. We believe global investors remain significantly underweight emerging market assets. We expect this underallocation to decrease, providing multiyear support for the asset class.
2011-07-15 On Brazilian Investment by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital
In my last commentary, I presented some basic evidence that suggested that Brazil’s long-term record of capital investment is not particularly impressive. Specifically, Brazil’s rate of “fixed capital formation” was cumulatively 16.9% of GDP over the past two decades. This is the lowest rate among the vaunted “BRIICS” emerging markets; it also falls below that of the U.S. at 18.2%. In my view, this figure is both surprising and disappointing. It’s surprising because a developing country such as Brazil should have great scope for productive investment.
2011-07-12 Americas: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The economic growth outlook in the region has moderated, as both global demand and domestic consumption growth are slowing down. Consumers are less confident than earlier this year, public spending remains restricted due to continuing fiscal challenges, and businesses have become more cautious in their hiring and investment plans. Commodity and energy prices have corrected, while manufacturing activity growth has slowed down. Even in this environment, inflation risks remain significant in some of the large emerging economies where monetary policy is being tightened further.
2011-07-08 Argentina by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Argentina has been experiencing steady growth throughout the years despite the country’s economic problems, from double-digit inflation to a shrinking trade surplus. We saw one good example of the improvements in the country when we arrived at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, which is in much better shape than it was in the past. Besides the bright and airy new wing, the customs and immigration process was quick and efficient. We then checked into a modern hotel in the Puerto Madero area in Buenos Aires, which is another good example of Argentina’s transformation.
2011-07-08 Don't Miss Your Chance to Catch a Bull Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Many people missed the market’s enormous appreciation during the latest equity bull market because they were late to the game or chose to sit on the sidelines. The sideline is a crowded place these days as investors have been reluctant to fully embrace equities. Household savings for the past 12 months totaled $711 billion, the highest level ever recorded in dollar terms. You can see from the chart that’s roughly double the amount of savings recorded following the Tech Bubble. In fact, household debt-to-savings ratios are currently at levels so low, they’ve not been seen since the mid-1990s.
2011-06-25 The Contagion Risk of Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Europe would be better off just taking the money they are giving to Greece and using it to recapitalize their banks. Let Greece go. Give it up. Let them enter a 12-step program or whatever it is that insolvent nations do. That is harsh, but it is also the truth.
2011-06-23 Greek Drama and the Eurozone's Future: Wharton's Franklin Allen Weighs In by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
After a week of political drama within his Socialist Pasok party and a new wave of violent riots in the streets, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a vote of confidence, helping to pave the way for his plans to unleash further austerity measures to keep the country afloat. It has been just over a year since he shepherded in a multibillion-euro rescue package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which commits Greece to several more years of drastic budget cuts and will save it from defaulting on its staggering debt.
2011-06-22 And That’s The Week That Was … by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The stock and other financial markets were focused on Greece - as opposed to the other bankrupt European nations of Ireland, Portugal & Spain. As such the currency, interest rate and stock markets all traded on the back and forth of news headlines, which proved to be without substance. Stocks in the absence of earnings or other specific news just went along as the futures markets dictated. The result was that the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke its six-week losing streak by gaining .44% while the NASDAQ fell just over one percent as earnings warnings and slowdown fears took their toll.
2011-06-22 High net worth families still “scared to death” of stocks by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
US earnings reports start the second week of July. Research in Motion’s negative pre-announcement this week is the only earnings miss worth mentioning. Earnings among financial service stocks are under pressure. Without junky mortgage backed securities to sell, not much profit on Wall Street these days. Excluding financials, earnings are expected to grow 11% in Q2, though year over year revenues are expected to be flat. Most economists expect GDP growth to accelerate in the second half of the year as the Japanese supply chain issues are sorted out and commodity prices moderate.
2011-06-20 Sector Insights Focus: Producer Durables by James R. Margard, Peter M. Musser and Carlee J. Price of Rainier Funds
Growth and value labels tend to be fairly subjective, and over time opportunities for growth and value tend to migrate and shift as conditions change. The producer durables sector has not historically been viewed as a “traditional growth” sector; however, there have typically been pockets of growth. Recently, this sector has begun to take on more consistent growth characteristics. We believe that the growth in producer durables could potentially be as good as other sectors of the market over the next few years. Much of this forecasted growth can be attributed to growth in the emerging world.
2011-06-13 Americas: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
In North America, the U.S. and Canada saw contrasting economic trends during the first quarter. While first quarter GDP growth in the U.S. slowed when compared to the previous quarter, growth accelerated in Canada. The U.S. housing market remains weak while the housing recovery in Canada started last year, and the labor market has also seen a similar divergence. However, the economic outlook for the two countries is expected to converge more in the coming quarters. As growth accelerates in the U.S., Canada may find it difficult to maintain its first quarter growth pace.
2011-06-09 Is Peru's Humala Jekyll or Hyde for Mining? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The Peruvian stock market has had a very strong reaction to the recent outcome of the country’s presidential election. With Keiko Fujimori’s surprise loss to Ollanta Humala, many Peruvian stocks saw share prices sink before quickly recovering the following day. Grana y Montero, a large engineering company in Lima, reached a three-month high shortly before the election, and then plummeted 20 percent just after. We digest the outcome and discuss the implications a shift in Peru’s government policies would have on the country’s economy and largest industries.
2011-06-03 Economic Whiplash by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The political winds in Europe are shifting. The crowd that runs the various member countries today will not long survive the changes. There will be new politicians with different mandates as it becomes clear that the costs of the bailout are going to fall on the backs of the solvent countries and that austerity is going to mean hellishly bad deflation, high and rising employment, and depression in the indebted countries. And with the US economy slowing down, it might not take much to push us over the edge.
2011-06-01 An Investment in Infrastructure by Team of Columbia Management
Neglecting infrastructure can have tragic consequences. Think about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, levees breaking in Missouri or the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. These and many other examples illustrate the type of destruction that can occur if the country’s aging infrastructure is not addressed. At the same time, demand for new infrastructure is growing exponentially in emerging markets. Data highlighting the scale of construction, transport, logistics and communications development are so large they render relevant context difficult to comprehend.
2011-05-19 Chart of the Week: Emerging Europe's Middle Class by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Middle-class, affluent, bourgeois - they describe a group of people who enjoy a comfortable life, have access to healthcare and, have discretionary income. And across developing nations, there is a growing group that are just settling in to this lifestyle. A few weeks ago we discussed how economic power is gradually shifting eastward and highlighted a McKinsey Global Institute report that showed China, Latin America and South Asia are projected to account for most of the middle class children by 2025. Those regions aren’t the only ones. A surging middle class exists in Eastern Europe as well.
2011-05-17 Inflation What Me Worry? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
Despite rampant hysterics about "runaway inflation" in recent months, core inflation has remained at a moderate level, inflation expectations remain well-anchored, and there is little inflation pressure coming through the labor market. Is it time to declare victory? Not just yet, but the inflation outlook still does not appear to be particularly troublesome.
2011-05-13 Three Reasons to Believe in $100 Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
After selling off nearly 14% last week, oil prices finished this week slightly higher at $99.65 per barrel. While the end result was a net positive, the volatility continued. Oil reached $104/bbl, then fell to around $96, before nesting just below $100. As an investor, this volatility can be difficult to handle. Throw in the uncertainty of today’s geopolitical environment, and investors feel the need to downsize their positions in commodity investments, such as oil. Markets could remain volatile in the short-term, but here are three long-term indicators to support $100+/bbl oil prices.
2011-05-10 Americas: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Rising inflation remains the major policy concern across most economies in the Americas region and is attracting stronger policy responses, as energy and commodity prices remain elevated. While some of the Latin American countries continue with monetary policy tightening, Canada is widely expected to start hiking interest rates later this year. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will end its quantitative easing program by the end of this quarter, though interest rate hikes are not expected until early next year.
2011-05-07 Don’t Turn Out the Lights on Commodities Just Yet by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The prices for many commodities suffered the worst week in recent memory this week. Oil prices dipped below $100 per barrel, gold fell below $1,500 an ounce and silver gave back much of the past month’s gains by falling to the $35 an ounce level. The prices for other commodities such as sugar, tin, nickel, aluminum, lead and copper also pulled back. Immediately, headlines on websites such as Marketwatch, Bloomberg and SmartMoney read “Has the Commodity Bubble Popped?” and “Imploding Commodities Complex.” In our opinion, not likely.
2011-05-05 Corn Price Increases Tell a Story About Why Commodity Prices Are Rising by Team of American Century Investments
In case you haven’t been watching, the price of corn for delivery in July (a futures price set on the Chicago Board of Trade) rose 35% just in the month of April from $216 to $293 per metric ton. As both a commodity and agricultural product, the demand and pricing of corn can provide interesting insights into whether inflation is rising, why and (if so) what factors are driving it. In this Weekly Market Update, we’ll take a look at the market dynamics for corn, what is driving recent price increases and how this is likely to unfold over the remainder of this year and beyond.
2011-04-29 Coal Use in China Shines Light on Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
International coal prices hit $124 per ton this week, the highest levels in five months, as strong demand from reconstruction projects in Japan and reduced supply from flood-ravaged Australia has made coal supply tight. The floods in Queensland, Australia cut the country’s output of coal by 15 percent and other big coal producers such as Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia are experiencing similar production cuts due to floods of their own.
2011-04-19 Americas: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The economic repercussions to the Americas region from Japan's earthquake are expected to be limited. Though Japan is a large trading partner the percentage share of Japan in their total external trade is low. However, some of the large manufacturers, especially in electronics and automobiles, may face slower output because of shortage in supplies from Japan. Similarly, the escalation of political unrest in the MENA region, have not yet caused a flare up in energy prices. Though retail prices of gasoline have risen, they are not considered high enough to cause damage to consumer spending.
2011-04-16 Will China's Economy Overheat? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
China’s GDP growth continued at a blistering pace during the first quarter of 2011, rising 9.7 percent from the previous year. Once again this outpaced many forecasts and reignited the discussion of China’s overheating economy. While its robust growth may raise a few eyebrows, the economy isn’t in danger of “red-lining.” Andy Rothman points out that the first quarter growth figures “[aren’t] dangerously high given the GDP growth rate and strong income growth” After rising nearly 8 percent during 2010, inflation-adjusted urban incomes rose 7.1 percent during the first quarter.
2011-04-08 Spotlight: Pivotal Peru Election by Frank Holmes and Jacek Dzierwa of U.S. Global Investors
Peruvians will take the first step in electing their new president on Sunday. The top-two finishers in this round will compete in a runoff election next month. The outcome is meaningful to improving the quality of life in Peru, continuing its strong historical GDP growth and making the most from its ample natural resources. Politics in Peru have a history of surprises and this year’s surprise is how left-wing candidate Ollanta Humala is leading in the polls, though one-third of Peru’s population is still undecided. Several local news services show Humala well ahead of opponents.
2011-04-07 China Part II — Looking Beyond Its Shores by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
China’s latest 5 Year Plan is focusing on growing the domestic economy with a focus on harmony. A lot of the foreign investments and the large capital inflows into the Chinese market have all been focused on tapping into one of the world’s largest consumer markets. However, what many are missing is that China is the world’s fifth largest investor in terms of outbound direct investment at about US$56.5 billion in 2009. Last December, China announced US$16 billion in deals in India and this year, Chinese officials pledged to purchase as much as 6 billion Euro worth of Spanish gov bonds.
2011-04-05 The Future of Investment Manager Due Diligence (and a Look Back at Q1 Performance) by Ron Surz (Article)
Despite the continuing global financial crisis, the uprisings in the Middle East and the Japanese disaster, global stock markets delivered positive results in the first quarter of 2011, as described in this capital market review. In the second part of the article, you'll discover what due diligence procedures need to change and why.
2011-03-30 Middle-Class Middleweights to be Growth Champions by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Over the next 15 years, the number of children in middle-class households in emerging market cities around the world may grow 10 times faster than those in developed countries. This future generation living in places such as China, Latin America and South Asia should drive the demand for goods and services, housing and transportation that extend beyond the basic necessities of life. In McKinsey's report, “Urban world: Mapping the Economic Power of Cities,” the researchers focus on demographic and economic trends to determine which cities will provide the most economic growth in the future.
2011-03-26 How Capture Ratios can Help you Prepare for the Next Downturn by Isbitts of Rob Isbitts
Alpha and Beta tell us a lot, but they also lead us to an even more useful measure of performance and manager acumen, which allows you and your client to better understand the range of possibilities they are bound to experience in different types of market environments. That is what we call “Capture Ratio,” and that special topic is what we’ll focus on here.
2011-03-25 Unrest and Turmoil = Rising Oil Prices by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Nine of the eleven nations sharing land or water borders with Saudi Arabia (SA0 have had demonstrations. Trouble is likely to surface in SA because much of the country’s wealth is located under lands where Shia Muslims are in the majority. The ruling House of Saud is Sunni Muslim. The distrust and bad blood between the two sects predates oil discovery and is not likely to be solved with oil money. The political events are about freedom from repression but also represent a basic struggle between these two Muslim groups for control of revenues from the huge oil fields in that part of the world.
2011-03-25 Quantitative Easing: How the Rest of the World Reacts by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
The decision was made to implement new purchases of $600 billion in U.S. Treasurys by June 2011. The transactions would expand the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve to about $2.9 trillion, a multiple of the $800 billion dollar level it was at in September 2008. This paper examines how the countries which have been recipients of the newly created liquidity have responded to the Feds move. While the Fed explained that its purchase of securities was intended to make riskier assets, the excess liquidity also made its way to foreign countries to take advantage of attractive interest rates.
2011-03-24 European Debt: Another Domino Falls by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
Portugal will be the third European country to be bailed out in recent months following Greece (May 2010) and Ireland (November 2010). It also follows a pattern of individual governments and the EU repeatedly asserting that no bailout is necessary, that the high bond yields and rating downgrades are unjustified, and that speculators are largely to blame for Europes problems.
2011-03-15 Consumers Right the Ship by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
A confluence of macroeconomic events created selling pressure during the week, sending the S&P 500 Index lower by 1.3% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1%. Releases on the domestic economic situation continued to show positive momentum, ranging from improvement in retail sales to a pickup in consumer credit. There was some concern about weaker consumer confidence figures and deterioration in weekly jobless claims, but it was clear last week that consumer balance sheet deleveraging continues. Retail sales for Feb increased 1% from Jan for a total increase of 8.9% in 12 months.
2011-03-11 Middle East turmoil not yet a significant threat to the global economy by Team of Thomas White International
The political unrest spreading across the Middle East and the resultant disruptions to the regional economy are not considered very significant for the global economic prospects for this year. Though oil prices have reacted on fears of lower supplies from the region, there have been no actual disruptions so far and any perceptible deceleration in global economic growth is expected only if prices shoot up further. It is widely believed that, unless the agitations spread to the region’s major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of a sustained upsurge in energy prices is limited.
2011-03-09 Readers’ Questions Answered Part VI by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
It’s been a while since I answered some readers’ questions. Questions addressed: What are your main criteria when picking a sector and the company in a particular sector? Most of the small companies in India are family-owned. Does this create a problem? What are your thoughts on Africa? What is your view on the Baltic States? Which sectors do you think are the most interesting? What is your view on the Brazilian and the Mexican equity markets for 2011?
2011-02-28 Oil that is by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
“Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea,” Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) got rich in the hit series The Beverly Hillbillies by discovering oil on his property. Similarly, investors have become enriched recently by owning oil stocks. Verily, crude oil has surged from ~$84 per barrel in mid-February into last week’s peak of $103.41 with an ascent for most oil stocks. As stated in Friday’s verbal strategy comments, “Libya is particularly troubling because I think there is a fifty-fifty chance that Gaddafi, rather than cede power, will begin blowing up Libyan oil pipelines – it’s either me or chaos.”
2011-02-25 Asia Insights from EM Analyst Conference by Allan Lam of Franklin Templeton
Many tend to focus on China and India, the two rising Asian economic powers, and there are reasons why we believe both, which are currently among the top five largest economies in the world will likely be among the top three in 2020. Land and labor costs remain cheap in China. In addition, the country appears to have a competitive edge in terms of work ethics, relatively flexible labor laws and excellent logistics. India’s strength is in its young, growing and increasingly well-educated population, which is fluent in English. This has enabled the country to become a leader in IT consultancy.
2011-02-08 Conundrum Investing by James G. Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors
The range of possible outcomes for the economy and market is still wide. We believe QE2 is simply a continuation of a boom-and-bust regime. Fundamentals are good now but are unlikely to be sustainable. Printing money to support asset prices cannot go on forever and usually ends in disaster like it did after both the technology and housing busts. Therefore, we dont believe this is a time to be aggressive. We are maintaining our strategy of emphasizing steady-growth businesses, with strong balance sheets, healthy dividends, attractive valuations and exposure to emerging economies.
2011-02-03 Regime Change: A Global Domino Effect? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
We are bullish for commodities, stock markets, and for income-earning real estate. It will be most felt in those countries where governments are stable and democratic. For stock investments throughout the world, we base our recommendations on careful study of individual companies and industries, always keeping in mind that companies and sectors are at differing stages of growth. We recommend continuing to hold shares of growing companies in Canada, South Korea, and the U.S. We favor technology, metals, auto and auto-related, agriculture-related, and energy, including oil and coal.
2011-01-26 World Bank Says Developing Countries Driving Global Growth by Team of American Century Investments
During the recent Great Recession, developing countries such as China and India played a key role in sustaining global economic growth, while developed economies struggled to cope with issues such as the subprime market meltdown, sovereign debt issues, and soaring unemployment numbers. In the coming years, developing nations will continue to play an increasingly important role in driving the global economy.
2011-01-22 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
With another corporate earnings season moving into high gear and equities riding a seven week winning streak, a healthy bit of skepticism (not necessary pessimism) has crept into the investor mindset. Some analysts still want to see more revenue growth as opposed to cost-cuts in the earnings reports. Others fear that “the trend is your friend” may be a nice guide, but investors may be disregarding the ongoing debt issue in the EU and the rise in interest rates throughout emerging markets.
2011-01-18 A Market Story by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
It is not the headline rates of growth in Asia that excite me—it’s the profit-making opportunities within those economies that are necessary to sustain reasonable rates of growth and support the changing lifestyles of Asian households. And that, I hope, is a sentiment with which both the old and the reformed Scrooge might embrace.
2011-01-11 2010: A Truth Odyssey by Ron Surz (Article)
I review some of the lessons learned in the last two years. I review the last year, discuss 2008's lessons, and conclude with my traditional review of the longer-term history of U.S. markets over the past 85 years.
2011-01-11 Global Outlook and Strategy by Team of Loomis Sayles
After being challenged in November by renewed Eurozone sovereign debt concerns, global risk markets ended 2010 on a strong note. The key to the late-2010 and early-2011 optimism was the potential for the two biggest engines of global growth – the US and Chinese economies – to pull together this year.
2011-01-10 Q4 Bond Market Review and Outlook by Teri L. Mason of Loomis Sayles
The US economic picture brightened as policymakers announced additional steps to stimulate the economy. Bond yields rose, causing many sectors of the bond market to lose ground in the final quarter of 2010, though high yield bonds, selected currencies and equity markets roared ahead.
2011-01-05 Things Are Looking Up in LatAm by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics
In our 2011 Outlook, we revised up our growth forecasts for Latin America, in anticipation of resilient domestic demand, improved external conditions and elevated commodity prices. We now envision annual growth rates of 4.7% in 2011 (compared to the forecast of 4.1% we set in September) and 6.1% in 2010 from 5.7% previously. If we are correct, 2010 will mark Latin America’s strongest economic performance of the last decade and its fastest growth since 1980.
2011-01-05 And That's The 'Year' That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
While the consumer has emerged from hibernation, an improved labor picture would boost this favorable trend. The Fed hopes that QE2 will help build on the recent economic momentum, though many doubters surely remain. Earnings comparisons get more difficult in the coming quarters, though analysts expect improved revenue growth to contribute to the positive results. The tax “compromise” means a continuation of the bullish mindset in equities (for now). Developments abroad will impact the domestic markets as the EU looks to move beyond its debt issues, and China leads the global recovery.
2011-01-05 Off With Our Heads! by Bill Gross of PIMCO
American politicians and citizens alike have no clear vision of the costs of a seemingly perpetual trillion-dollar annual deficit. Meanwhile, policy stimulus is focused on maintaining current consumption as opposed to making the United States more competitive in the global marketplace. Dollar depreciation will sap the purchasing power of U.S. consumers, as well as the global valuation of dollar denominated assets.
2011-01-02 Hangovers by Isbitts of Emerald Asset Advisors
The overhang of US unemployment, long-term inflation, and risks of temporary overheating in the Commodity and Emerging markets is a wicked one, so the best posture for 2011, and most years for that matter, is to be invested, but with a net to catch you when you fall. However, the longer out one looks, and the wider the breadth of investment themes one is permitted to consider, the more the truly dynamic secular investment opportunities become visible. The ability and willingness to see the "forest" over the ever-present "trees" is the best advice I can give you.
2010-12-29 Deciphering Debt by Dr. Victoria Marklew, Richard Thies, James Pressler and Dr. Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
2011 is likely to raise more issues about debt, with periodic market panics about debt sustainability and bailouts. We offer this primer on the issue of debt – specifically the various measures and the roles they play in determining a country’s risk of facing some form of debt-related crisis. Metrics to assess indebtedness of nations are classified as solvency and liquidity measures. Each are discussed, as is the special topic of the banking sector and its relation to public debt. We give our view of global public-debt-related challenges in 2011.
2010-12-29 2011 Here We Come! by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
There are two major trends in place that set the stage for world economics in 2011. The first is China’s continued rise. Although the U.S. remains the most powerful economic force on earth, China will soon be replacing Europe as the second most powerful economic force. China’s power is not built on sheer size alone: indeed, China’s statesman-like behavior during the current economic crisis in U.S. and Europe has highlighted its maturity and greatly enhanced its image. The second major trend going into 2011 is the rise of inflation.
2010-12-17 Kicking the Can Down the Road by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
A collapse of a major European bank could trigger counterparty mayhem in the US banking system, at least among our major investment banks. The ECB is now earnestly continuing to kick the can down the road, buying ever more debt off the books of banks, buying time for the banks to acquire enough capital. If the ECB were to keep this up, even in a deflationary, deleveraging world it would eventually bring about inflation and the lowering of the value of the euro against other currencies. One country after another in Europe is coming under pressure. This week the debt of Belgium was downgraded.
2010-12-14 Year-end Letter to Clients: Investment Advice from Winston Churchill by Dan Richards (Article)
For the past 18 months, my draft letters have been designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors with an objective, positive outlook - the draft year-end letter for 2010 continues with that goal. In it, I borrow from Winston Churchill's insight into the difference between optimists and pessimists.
2010-12-14 A Notable Year of Emerging Market Growth by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
I view 2010 as a year of economic resurgence. Many emerging markets recorded strong GDP growth as they continued to recover from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. In several cases, robust domestic consumption, government expenditure and intra-regional trade offset weak external demand from developed markets. This led many countries in Asia and Latin America to return to pre-crisis growth levels much faster than expected. China and India were among the world’s fastest-growing major economies during the year, with China overtaking Japan as the world’s second-biggest economy.
2010-12-03 The Dirty Dozen by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
In the following I list a number of risk factors which I believe investors should give serious consideration, but I do not for one second pretend for that list to be exhaustive. Neither should you read anything into the order of which those risk factors are listed. If you want my assessment of how to rank the various factors, you need to take a look at the risk scatter chart at the end of the letter.
2010-11-24 A More Integrated Latin America by Claus Born of Franklin Templeton
Chile, Colombia and Peru are planning to integrate their stock exchanges, providing local investors with more investment opportunities and also allowing companies to access a broader investor base. We are likely to see increased foreign investor participation with improved liquidity. Once fully integrated, this new regional exchange should have the highest number of issuers in Latin America (before Mexico and Brazil), the region’s second-largest market capitalization (after Brazil) and its third-largest trading volume (after Brazil and Mexico).
2010-11-18 Europe Will Be The Next Region to Create Liquidity for the World by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
The coming European bailout of Ireland and Portugal will have to include some method of quantitative easing (QE), or the printing of new money. The European Central bank will claim they are not using QE, but using newly created money must be a part of the plan. Often, when hiding their bond-buying, governments will use means to disguise their actions. Clearly, very few professional investors have an appetite for Portuguese or Irish bonds unless they are put under some political pressure, so the buyer of last resort will be the governments and European Central Bank.
2010-11-17 A Tale of Two Countries by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Argentina’s economy has been growing at a steady pace since the 2001-2002 economic crisis, typical of a recovery following a period of depression. The country has also benefited from a global environment that has allowed it to enjoy the best terms of trade in more than a century. While the external environment remains favorable, adjustments are needed to sustain Argentina’s economy in the long run.
2010-11-11 Leadership Changes in Latin America by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
In Latin America, we are seeing a large and young population moving up rapidly to the new “consumer” middle class, but at the same time having one of the lowest loan penetrations in the world. The rise of this consumer middle class and growth in per capital GDP is resulting in an increase in domestic spending, which drives the domestic economy. Secondly, the region has vast resources available at low cost.
2010-11-11 Global Markets Up, Up, Up and Away by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
The world markets moved like Superman last week. They lifted off and moved higher in a decisive manner. In the ongoing contest between bulls and bears, the bulls have had the upper hand in many markets. Wall Street also moved firmly into the bullish camp with U.S. stocks eclipsing their April 2010 peaks. To us this means that the technical short-sellers who had been bearish on U.S. stocks and expecting a correction bought back their short positions and took their losses.
2010-11-09 Latest GDP Growth Report Points to Continued Economic Weakness by Team of American Century Investments
After one quarter of robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth late last year - characteristic of an economy snapping out of a recession - the trend that has followed has been very uncharacteristic, with a substantial downward shift in GDP growth. American Century Investments investigates quarterly shifts in consumer spending and investing and other factors that effect GDP.
2010-11-05 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Investors should keep gold for long-term investment, as well as oil-related holdings. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are poor long-term prospects. Investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans and farm suppliers. Finally, investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally.
2010-11-03 Four Rather Sick Patients by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
The world is in an unprecedented situation in which all four major trading currencies (EUR, GBP, JPY and USD) face serious challenges. Not all four major currencies, however, can fall at the same time. Currencies are unique in the sense that they are relative as opposed to absolute trading objects. You don't just buy dollars. You buy dollars against some other currency. The scaremongers may have their day in the sun, but ultimately common sense will prevail and currency traders will have to go back to focus on housing starts again.
2010-10-29 Be Careful What You Wish For by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Q3 GDP numbers were unimpressive, and it would not surprise Mauldin to see GDP growth be closer to 1% in the 4th quarter, unless we start to see evidence of more inventory building. That is not good for jobs, personal income, tax collections needed to cover deficits at all levels, or consumer confidence. A further threat is posed by large numbers of people whose 99 weeks of unemployment will soon expire. Republicans face big challenges once they gain power, and Mauldin says a VAT is the only way to reduce budget deficits.
2010-10-28 What the G-20 Achieved by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
A key item on the agenda last weekend during the meeting of G-20 finance ministers was the U.S. desire to have member nations' current account deficits and surpluses limited to 4 percent of GDP. A country with a bigger surplus (e.g., China) would have to let its currency appreciate. The United States, however, cannot insist on deciding on the size of QE2 based purely on domestic considerations, accuse Chinese authorities of currency manipulation, and expect other countries to provide a level playing field for American exports all at the same time.
2010-10-27 Convertible Strategy Q3 by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors
Recent earnings growth stems from the economic leadership of developing countries from Asia to Latin America. When those economies soften, the recent improvement in earnings will be called into question. Meanwhile, with interest rates already at rock bottom, equity prices are even more susceptible to future earnings hiccups. The most profitable investment approach over the next several years will therefore be to reduce risk following periods of strong returns, and add risk only when markets have weakened sufficiently.
2010-10-27 Maddison’s Forecasts Revisited: What Will the World Look Like in 2030? by Andrew Mold of VoxEU
Developing countries have enjoyed strong economic performance over the past decade – often growing twice as fast as OECD economies. This column asks whether developing countries will continue to outpace rich countries over the coming two decades. Updating Angus Maddison's famous projections, it forecasts a world starkly different from that of today. The world's poor countries, according to the forecast, will account for nearly 70 percent of global GDP in 2030.
2010-10-27 Where Inflation is Higher than Interest Rates, Liquidity Will Flow by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally. Long-term U.S. liquidity formation through QE will create demand for many assets, including U.S. stocks. Short-term U.S. stock market indices are near resistance areas, and so traders can consider taking profits. Investors should also continue to hold gold for long-term investment, as well as oil, and food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans, and farm suppliers. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are all poor long-term prospects.
2010-10-26 Emerging Market Uprising: What it Means for Investors by George Magnus of Boeckh Investment Letter
This special report by George Magnus, a senior economic advisor at UBS Investment Bank, takes a look at some key economic and investment issues regarding emerging markets and China. Magnus, who has just completed a book on emerging markets, argues that while EMs have boomed in recent years, there are a number of unresolved problems which suggest the past may not repeat, and investors must be careful.
2010-10-25 It's All About Earnings by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The equity market has now managed to climb three weeks in a row despite the fact that the U.S. dollar has done likewise in a classic countertrend rally from oversold conditions. Almost one-third of the S&P 500 universe has reported, and the year-over-year earnings growth rate is now running at plus-28 percent from plus-24 percent last week. Fully 83 percent of the companies have beaten their bottom-line estimate, which is far above the historical norm of 62 percent; although barely over 60 percent are bettering their revenue estimates, which is below average.
2010-10-22 Fed Forces Interest Rates Lower by Jim Ulland of Ulland Investment Advisors
Demand for fixed income securities is so great that companies with strong credit ratings, like IBM and Microsoft, can issue debt at record low interest rates. It is therefore remarkable that trust preferred securities issued by the largest U.S. and European banks continue to yield upwards of 7 percent. Because of these historically wide spreads, a defensive growth strategy using trust preferred securities earn vastly superior returns than any combination of CDs, cash, money markets, muni-bonds, corporate or government securities.
2010-10-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Low yields, high corporate debt issuance, increased monetary stimulus and the rising dollar do not mean that growth will accelerate any time soon; the outlook of a slow and meandering recovery still holds. Corporations continue to rebuild balance sheets and margins at the expense of hiring and investment. While this bodes well for future debt repayment, the outlook is not rosy for job seekers. When the job outlook does change, however, and the economic pulse quickens, the era of low interest rates could end quickly.
2010-10-13 Evolution of the Asia Bond Market by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
One of the most profound developments in the history of Asia's capital markets has been the deepening of the domestic bond markets over the last decade. The largest Asian issuers can now diversify their funding sources across both international and domestic currencies. While China's bond market is the largest in Asia outside of Japan, it remains largely inaccessible to most foreign investors. Korea's local currency-denominated bond market is the next-largest at just under U.S. $1 trillion, making it the single-largest bond market readily accessible to offshore investors.
2010-10-07 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Inflation, which has heated up in countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and many others, will eventually make its way to the U.S. and Europe. Attractive areas for investment include Chinese consumer stocks and currencies, stocks and bonds of growing countries in Asia and Latin America, U.S. stocks and gold. The Japanese yen is a short. Japan's quantitative easing, when combined with the QE going on elsewhere, provides a strong impetus for price increases in commodities, gold and stocks.
2010-10-05 A September to Remember by Ron Surz (Article)
In his quarterly market analysis, Ron Surz notes that September has historically been the worst performing month for US stock markets, losing 1% on average over the past 85 years, while the average return in the other 11 months was a positive 1.3%. Not so this September. Surz reviews global market performance and provides his thoughts on peer group analysis and target date funds.
2010-10-05 Win, Lose or Draw: Do We Have a Win-Win Scenario? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
U.S. stocks are not expensive and they're most certainly under-owned. Most individual investors are either pessimistic or indifferent about the stock market, suggesting the 'wall of worry' - the contrarian nature of the market to perform best when pessimism is highest - is alive and well. In the near term, the stock market is likely overbought, and a little pullback to improve the sentiment picture would be helpful. On the other hand, however, strong stock market would be a terrific confidence builder, as Alan Greenspan noted last week.
2010-10-05 Cyclical Outlook by Paul McCulley of PIMCO
The influence of emerging economies is on the rise, while developed countries are retrenching. Monetary policy in the developed countries will remain extraordinarily accommodative for an extended period, with policy rates pinned close to zero and use of quantitative easing. PIMCO will therefore position its duration and curve strategies accordingly: overweight investments in the developed world, concentrated in the 'belly' of yield curves. In contrast, an increasing share of its positioning in the 'spread sectors' will be allocated to the emerging markets, including their currencies.
2010-10-01 Liquidity Flowing into Asia and Western Latin America by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Liquidity will flow into the Asian region raising consumer spending, stock prices and currency values. In the following countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and China much new liquidity will enter. It will be in the form of foreign direct investment and investment money moving into stocks and bonds. With the exception of China, which is being singled out for a trade battle by the U.S. Congress, all of these countries will see their currencies rise and their economies grow.
2010-09-24 The U.S. Stock Market by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The U.S. stock market is rallying, and the U.S. dollar is slowly declining in value relative to a basket of other currencies. Although inflation may not occur for another six to 12 months, it will eventually increase demand for assets with growth potential, such as income-producing real estate, gold, global growth stocks, and the world's better-managed currencies. Meanwhile, it is possible that we will see a small rally in bonds during late 2010. Many are expecting a slowdown in U.S. economic activity in early 2011.
2010-09-21 Diminished Expectations, Double-dips, and External Shocks: The Decade After the Fall by Carmen M. Reinhart and Vincent Reinhart of VoxEU
Is the global economic recovery about to grind to a halt? This column provides evidence on economic performance in the decade after a macroeconomic crisis. It finds much slower growth, as well as several episodes of 'double-dips,' as well as many instances of plain 'bad luck' that strike at a time when the economy remains highly vulnerable.
2010-09-10 Do Countries 'Graduate' From Crises? Some Historical Perspective by Rong Qian, Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of VoxEU
Are declarations of victory against the global crisis premature? This column argues that 'graduation' - the emergence from recurrent crisis bouts - is a long and painful process which neither developed nor developing countries look close to completing. Two centuries of evidence suggests that most countries need 50 years before the chances of further crises subside.
2010-09-04 The Last Chapter by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin presents content from his forthcoming book. He reviews some fundamental precepts of economics, focusing on the Keynesian approach the US is taking to revive the economy. He presents data from Woody Brock showing that the US debt may rise by as much as $1.5 trillion per year. Ultimately, he says, the bond market will revolt and interest rates will rise and the results will be very unpleasant. Using taxes or savings to handle a large fiscal deficit reduces the amount of money available to private investment.
2010-09-02 Learning From Past Crises by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Although it is unrealistic to assume that the structural changes implemented in some emerging markets can completely shield them from the effects of future global crises, they seem to have borne the most recent global financial crisis reasonably well. While risks have not disappeared, things look a lot better today than they did 20 years ago. The growing use of derivatives contracts is just one of the many reasons to remain cautious, but some emerging markets' strong fiscal health is cause for hope and optimism.
2010-08-24 Urbanization, Past and Present by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
The discovery of an 18th century ship reminds us that the United States was once itself an emerging market. This suggests cues for today's investors as the world's population fills more and more megacities. Continued urbanization will have important implications for resource use and infrastructure development.
2010-08-20 EM Corporate Debt: Ready for Prime Time by David I. Robbins and Javier Segovia of TCW Asset Management
Emerging Market corporate debt is rapidly growing into a significant asset class backed by the world’s fastest-growing economies. These bonds benefit from strong fundamentals, improving credit quality, declining default rates and superior prospects for economic growth across most of the emerging world. One of the most compelling aspects is their consistent outperformance relative to other fixed income asset classes since 2002. Currently, they offer a yield pick-up over comparably rated corporate issues in the U.S., despite the fact that they frequently enjoy stronger credit fundamentals.
2010-07-27 Active Managers Add More Value in Bull than Bear Markets by Jane Li, CFA, CAIA (Article)
In this guest contribution, Jane Li of FundQuest argues that both active and passive investing have their strengths and weaknesses; it depends on the market segment in question and on the economic climate. Active managers tend to add value in bull markets, but their value is shakier in bear markets.
2010-07-23 So What Else are the Bulls Looking at Right Now? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
This is still a meat-grinder of a market. The bulls have the upper hand, but only until the next shoe drops in this modern-day depression and post-bubble credit collapse. The best we can say is that we do have a tradable rally on our hands and that we are at a critical technical juncture at the 50-day moving average on the S&P 500 - but remember, in a secular bear market, these rallies are to be rented, not owned. To be sure, 140 companies have reported so far and the news overall is good … but earnings are a coincident, not a leading indicator.
2010-07-09 Emerging Market GDP Growth: The Past Two Decades, and Our Projections for the Next Decade by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Even with all the problems currently experienced in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., some parts of the world continue to grow vigorously. Guild's focus will be on the countries above which have strong prospects for growth. They will also focus on high-yielding income stocks which earn cash flows from the production of oil, and from gold, which will provide an anchor to windward in the current turbulent economic times. Today's markets will continue to produce those opportunities in the form of price weakness if we remain patient.
2010-07-09 Potholes in the Recovery Road – Reduce Speed Ahead by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust
The second-half GDP growth forecast has been lowered to 1.8 percent and Q4/Q4 GDP growth in 2011 will be 3.2 percent. This is a business cycle unlike any other in the post-war era. In prior cycles, as the Fed raised the funds rate, growth in bank credit slowed. In the current environment, even with the Fed holding the funds rate at less than 25 basis points, bank credit continues to contract. Thus, we are going to utter the six most dangerous words in economic forecasting: This time it might be different.
2010-07-06 Stock Markets and a Sea of Change by Ron Surz (Article)
Ron Surz provides his award-winning market commentary, analyzing performance across global markets during the first half of this year. He also addresses several other topics, including the fiduciary standard, developments in target date funds, and distortions in style assignments created as a byproduct of the financial crisis.
2010-07-01 Summer Forecast (and Beyond) by The Emerald Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
With Spain and its PIIG friends continuing to cause anxiety in global investment circles, it's a good time to focus on the potential risks and rewards facing investors right now. In reviewing our commentary released on February 1st of this year, we find that little has changed in the reward/risk tradeoffs we see. Themes identified earlier this year are now starting to play out and come into focus, as often happens simply with the passage of time. So, here is a brief update on those themes and more importantly, how they are influencing the management of the portfolios we run.
2010-06-22 Navigating Fears of the Bond Market by James Pressler of Northern Trust
The need to keep the bond market happy while implementing often far-reaching fiscal reforms is most acute across Europe, where the outlook is for weak real GDP growth into 2011 – albeit with significant variations between countries. Conversely, the recoveries in Asia and in the Americas have effectively eliminated fears of sovereign defaults but now concerns over economic overheating will dominate. The U.S will eventually have to address its own public debt overhang, but for now is enjoying a temporary safe-haven status.
2010-06-21 China's Currency Shift Not a Game-Changer by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The big news over the weekend was the move by China to end the yuan peg to the U.S. dollar. This delink will allow the People’s Bank of China to pursue its own independent monetary policy. In turn, this will help to ease global trade imbalances, ward off the threat of trade protectionism, alleviate domestic credit strains and inflation pressures and accelerate the Chinese shift from export-led to consumer-led growth. It also suggests that the Chinese authorities have confidence in the sustainability of the global recovery.
2010-06-08 The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Quants by Michael Lewitt (Article)
In the latest issue of the HCM Market Letter, Michael Lewitt draws the parallels between the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and financial reform - both, he says, demonstrate our inability to learn from our mistakes. Lewitt also comments on quantitative trading strategies, economic recovery and the capital markets.
2010-06-01 Europe: Value or Value Trap? by Dan Trosch, CFA (Article)
European equities seem much cheaper than in the US, says Dan Trosch of Fortigent in this guest contribution. Europe trades at a 26% Price to Book discount and a 20% Price to Cash Earnings discount to the US. Some European industries and stocks are deservedly cheap and value traps; other industries and stocks are attractive and will benefit from global growth in exports and other macro trends.
2010-05-25 Ken Rogoff Expects Slow Growth and Sovereign Defaults by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Among the crush of analysis devoted to the financial crisis, perhaps none has been as influential as that of Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, co-authors of the book This Time is Different. Looking back at 800 years of data on emerging and developed economies, they showed that financial crises - and the recoveries from those crises - follow a highly predictable pattern, and the title of their book was a jab at those who suggest otherwise. Rogoff also spoke at the CFA conference.
2010-05-21 Take Your Pick - A Tale of Two Investment Trends by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The developed world is deleveraging and Europe is moving toward deflation and depression. Meanwhile, the Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian-led developing world is growing and experiencing inflation. Guild’s portfolios are largely in cash and, and they will spend it as bargains appear. Investors should consider buying gold and begin looking at China’s market, which is becoming attractively priced. In the case of oil, Brazil, India, Korea, and Singapore Guild plans to wait until the fear subsides and use the correction as an opportunity to buy into these markets.
2010-05-12 Eight Hundred Years of Financial Folly by Carmen M. Reinhart of VoxEU
This column, first posted on April 19, 2008, argues that sovereign debt crises have historically followed financial crises. Although data covering only the last thirty years might have given few hints about Greece's current problems, the Reinhart-Rogoff database spanning eight centuries reveals that today's event are very much in line with historical experience.
2010-05-12 A Typical European Response To An Atypical European Problem by Victoria Marklew of Northern Trust
Markets heaved a sigh of relief this week after European Union officials announced their $1 trillion rescue plan to save the euro. European states, however, will still have to face medium-term problems concerning fiscal deficits and economic restructuring. Demands that Spain make a renewed commitment to fiscal austerity suggest a new level of cross-country intervention. And the big issue has been swept under the carpet: how to ensure prudent fiscal policy-making across the 16 members of a monetary alliance with strong national identities and prickly memories of past hostilities.
2010-05-10 The Technicals Were Ripe For a Correction... by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
Last week's sell-off clearly resulted from a buildup of tension in technical factors coupled with overriding concern about the unfolding debacle in Europe. Numerous signs were flashing the caution light prior to last week. On the other hand, even though the technical factors were ready for a breakdown, a majority of the economic releases from last week suggest the recovery is still in its infancy. Investors should brace for another volatile week following the announcement that Europe will ready nearly $1trillion to bolster its capital markets.
2010-05-06 Chipan? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
In this commentary, Emerald responds to a reader question about China and Japan. Emerald says that equities in both countries are overvalued, but that this is less important than the fact that buying pressure is still outweighing selling pressure. The long-term ascension of the Chinese economy is one of the most prominent secular themes in today's markets. Japan, on the other hand, like the U.S., faces an obvious mess. The ultimate ruler is price, however, and Japanese stock prices have stubbornly risen for many months without a long-overdue correction.
2010-05-04 Many More Chapters Left in the Greece Drama by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO
Sunday's loan announcements from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will not mark the end of the Greek debt crisis, nor will they constitute a much-needed turning point that can be sustained for many months. Instead, they will part of the multi-stage process that still has a few rounds left. If design and implementation issues emerge, future rounds may involve a reopening of negotiations and a recasting of the approach in some areas.
2010-05-03 Triumph of the Euro? by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors
Because Greece uses the euro, devaluation is not an option to solve the country's budget problems. As a result, Greece’s pain will be concentrated in the sector that is causing most of the problem: government. The conditions of the bailout, decided by the EU and IMF, require Greece to freeze government salaries, eliminate bonuses, and lift the retirement age to 60 for government workers, as well as raise value-added and excises taxes. While the tax hikes are disappointing, the focus on restraining government spending, rather than using devaluation, represents a triumph of the euro.
2010-04-30 A Green Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Brazil’s export and domestic markets are booming, and economic growth could be as high as 5.5% this year. Brazilians have become more sensitive to environmental issues, particularly since the nation’s extensive natural resources in iron ore, oil, steel, coffee, oil, soybeans, sugar and beef have historically been a source of both export and domestic consumption on a major scale.
2010-04-29 Bleak Job Outlook, Consumer Reality Check and Bailouts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
What really stands out in this recession is the permanency of job decay. The National Association of Manufacturers just announced that fewer than 30 percent of the manufacturing jobs lost in the sector will be recouped in the next six years. If this holds true for the economy as a whole, and assuming a normal cyclical upturn in the labor force participation rate, then the nationwide unemployment rate will be 15 percent in six years' time. How anyone can believe that we can squeeze inflation out of that scenario is a mystery.
2010-04-28 Focusing in on Latin America by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
Latin American economies will expand in 2010 after contracting more than 2 percent in 2009. Better global growth prospects and solid commodity prices will support growth in the region. Inflation will grow, but will remain within central bank target ranges, except in Mexico. Current account deficits will widen and surpluses will narrow as growth in domestic demand outpaces external demand. Wider growth and interest rate differentials, as well as a relatively weak U.S. dollar and solid commodity prices, will continue to support currencies.
2010-04-22 U.S. Politics and Bank Reform Legislation by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Election years often bring wild political actions as politicians defend their poor records by blaming anything that comes to mind. If the rhetoric against banks is not too strong, the rally could continue. If the rhetoric gets out of hand, we will see a market correction for a few weeks with a resumption of stock price increases later in the year. Guild continues to invest in Asian growth countries, oil, gold, and export driven companies who can grow earnings while shipping products worldwide.
2010-04-21 Reading the Tea Leaves for Q2 and Beyond by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
While the second half of 2009 brought signs of stabilization in growth rates and industrial production for many economies and early 2010 has brought continuing strong global trade and improvement in output, the path to a self-sustaining recovery is not yet clearly shaped, at least in advanced economies. The recovery will be multi-speed. Most advanced economies, weighed down by debt, excess capacity and slack in labor markets will grow well below potential and in many cases, their potential output growth has fallen.
2010-04-19 Complex Structural Changes in China and the Global Economy by Michael Spence of PIMCO
China has come to a point where its size and global impact are large. Policy in China will have to be set within a delicate balancing act between domestic growth and development and distributional challenges on one hand, and recognition of global impacts on the other. The large developing countries need to understand better than they currently do that their growing size and presence in trade in goods and services is forcing uncomfortable structural change in the advanced countries as well.
2010-04-19 Demographic Trends for the Long Term by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
The world is entering a period of rapid aging unlike any we have previously seen. According to a recent report by Neil Howe and Richard Jackson there are several key implications due to an aging population. As populations age, decreased mobility and adaptability will restrain economic growth and entrepreneurship, leading to higher public deficits as governments shoulder a greater percentage of health and retirement costs. Fortigent also examines the impact of the SEC investigation of Goldman Sachs on equity markets, and the week ahead.
2010-04-14 Where is Inflation Going? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Inflation is going down. Fully 87 percent of the time, for five decades, U.S. core inflation has been lower the year after a recession ended, while core inflation has been down 75 percent of the time two years after a recession ended. This is because, even as the economy moves off the bottom, the output gap lingers and exerts downward pressure on inflation. In addition, nominal GDP growth rates have been in the 3-4 percent range in U.S. and Canada over the past five to 10 years. This has big implications for assumed returns in pension funds as the population ages.
2010-04-01 And That's the Quarter That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Ron Brounes' recap of the prior quarter's market activity.
2010-03-30 Multisector Strategies in a Rising Rate Environment by Dan Fuss, Kathleen Gaffney, Matt Eagan and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles
For three decades, the prevailing direction for interest rates was down. This made life easy for bond investors, since principal held up well and even grew for the most part. The cost of these falling rates, however, was steadily lower coupons. One of the best defenses against this reinvestment risk is to maintain a long duration in a bond portfolio with good call protection. The good news is that reinvestment risk appears to be waning as declining interest rates possibly prepare to reverse, and this could create potential for better yields.
2010-03-29 Central Banks in 2010 - The Cacophonous Sound of Exit Music by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
Recent developments suggest that the uncertainty of the past three years has left central banks skittish. Otherwise strong economies have been slow to normalize rates and central banks that are following inflation targets have been more willing to risk breaches than growth. The remainder of the year will be characterized by differing exit strategies and their intended and unintended consequences. As central banks around the world begin tightening before the Fed and the ECB, there will be further implications for global capital flows and exchange rates.
2010-03-22 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
Last week was quiet as concern over the Obamacare vote caused investors to head to the sidelines. The economic news remains mixed, but profits are doing fine. As a result, the market held up overall. Unfortunately, the federal health care plan will present investors with a number of long-term issues by increasing taxes on investments, increasing regulation, and raising the cost of labor. This could make a negative impact on employment. McIntyre also examines recent hopeful signals from Boeing and Pioneer Drilling.
2010-03-20 The Threat to Muddle Through by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin criticizes Krugman's call for a 25% tariff on Chinese imports, and instead predicts that China will allow its currency to appreciate 5-7% per year for the next several years. Protectionism, he says, is the biggest threat to global recovery. In defense of his argument, Mauldin says similar tariffs could be imposed if the euro, Yen and the Canadian dollar continue their current trends. The larger problem is the growing US deficit, which must be dealt with in the medium term, or there will be no long term.
2010-03-08 Follow-up on Greece: A Lesson on Iceland by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
Voters in Iceland rejected a referendum on a $5.3 billion debt repayment arrangement with British and Dutch depositors in the failed Icesave Bank. Iceland's real GDP declined by 7 percent in 2009, and voters feared that the debt burden, along with austerity measures from the IMF, would make economic prospects even worse. Similarly, whether Greece receives loans from France and Germany or meets its $31 billion April and May funding requirements from bond investors, the country's debt burden will probably increase and constrain future growth prospects.
2010-03-02 A Day in the Life of a Fixed Income Analyst by Elisabeth Colleran of Loomis Sayles
This article follows a day in the life of Elizabeth Colleran, a fixed income credit analyst covering global telecommunications. News headlines, market movements or new deal offerings can quickly reshape the day of a fixed income analyst. While their day-to-day focus is on company and industry modeling, SEC filings, discussions with company management and industry developments, they must be prepared for whatever is hitting the tape. Reaction time is critical.
2010-02-23 Jason Zweig on Protecting your Wealth by David Raileanu (Article)
Jason Zweig is a senior writer and columnist for Money magazine and frequently writes for the Wall Street Journal. In this interview, he discusses strategies for protecting client wealth, proper asset allocation, and the role of advisors in a fiduciary relationship.
2010-02-16 Emerging Economies Continue to Show Promise by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Despite recent financial turmoil in response to policy initiatives in Washington and fears surrounding the finances of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, markets are up since the beginning of 2009, and are likely to grow this year. Emerging markets have the best prospects for growth, but their success depends on the precarious recoveries in the United States, Europe and Japan.
2010-02-16 Emerging Economies Continue to Show Promise by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Despite recent financial turmoil in response to policy initiatives in Washington and fears surrounding the finances of Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain, markets are up since the beginning of 2009, and are likely to grow this year. Emerging markets have the best prospects for growth, but their success depends on the precarious recoveries in the United States, Europe and Japan.
2010-02-13 Between Dire and Disastrous by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin discusses the Greek debt crisis and the options for resolving it. A Greek default "would bankrupt the bulk of the European banking system," but that is unlikely, he says. He cites Niall Ferguson's recent article in the FT and argues that the Greek crisis is a precursor to other countries facing similar sovereign debt problems.
2010-02-10 Global Trade in Recovery Mode by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics
In an update to its Q1 2010 global economic outlook, Roubini Global Economics says that world trade will grow by between 4.5 percent and 5 percent in 2010, led by fiscal stimulus spending, inventory restocking and slight improvements to global demand. Global trade volumes shrunk by an estimated 13 percent in 2009 in the first decline since 1982 and the sharpest in the post-war period.
2010-02-04 Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires: Happiness Research, Economics and Public Policy by Graham of VoxEU
What measures of human wellbeing are the most accurate benchmarks of economic progress and human development? This article presents new research suggesting that while people can adapt to be happy at low levels of income, they are far less happy when there is uncertainty over their future wealth. This may help explain why different societies tolerate such different levels of health, crime, and governance, and why US happiness plummeted during the global financial crisis but has since been restored despite incomes remaining lower.
2010-02-02 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)
In a letter to the Editor, a reader responds to a commentary recently posted on our site.
2010-02-01 A New Landscape Creates Opportunity by Team of Alliance Bernstein
This is a mostly bullish survey of global capital markets.
2010-01-30 Watch Out for Spam! by Bill Mitchell of Billy Blog
Bill Mitchell is an Australia-based economist. This commentary is a direct rebuttal to many of John Mauldin's arguments, particularly regarding the message of Reinhart and Rogoff's book, This Time is Different.
2010-01-05 Perspectives on 2009 and Beyond by Ron Surz (Article)
We are again privileged to provide Ron Surz' award-winning market commentary. Surz examines global performance in Q4, 2009 and the prior decade.
2009-12-22 Staggered Return to Global Growth by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust
2009-11-10 Roubini: Fed Policies are Destabilizing the Financial System by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nouriel Roubini, the once-obscure economist who gained celebrity and the title "Dr. Doom" after correctly forecasting the financial crisis, believes that current Fed policies are destabilizing the markets and pushing the economy toward another collapse.
2009-11-03 Absolutely … Maybe by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Since Putnam introduced its absolute return funds earlier this year, over 4,200 advisors and $650 million in assets have flocked to the new financial products. Putnam's four funds seek to beat inflation by 100, 300, 500 and 700 basis points, and their performance over their first nine months (3.1%, 6.4%, 8.4% and 12.2%, respectively) was encouraging for their investors. Impressive as those results may be, the question is whether they are sustainable.
2009-10-14 Latin America Economic Outlook by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
2009-10-06 So Far so Good: The Decrepit Decade Winds Down by Ron Surz (Article)
Ron Surz provides his award-winning market commentary, covering performance in the US and global markets, broken down by style, sector, and other dimensions.
2009-07-07 Riding the Stock Market Wave in the First Half of 2009 by Ron Surz (Article)
Ron Surz provides his award-winning market commentary, reviewing the first half stock market performance around the world. He looks at the past decade, to set expectations accordingly. Have markets become cheap enough yet? He concludes with a realistic and sobering look at our current debt problems - a cause for concern for both young and old.
2009-06-30 Letters to the Editor: The Road to Zimbabwe by Various (Article)
In the second set of our letters to the Editor, we publish responses to to our article, The Road to Zimbabwe.
2009-04-28 Forecasting 100 Years Ahead by Robert Huebscher (Article)
George Friedman is CEO of the private intelligence and forecasting firm STRATFOR and advises clients on the important trends in geopolitics and their impact on world economies. Friedman spoke at the recent Altegris Strategic Investment Conference about the important trends for investors over the next 100 years.