More on Related Themes
2015-09-01 00:00:00 Investors Should Not "Buy the Dip" Because Macro and Market Risks Remain Elevated by Don Schreiber, Jr. of WBI Shares
The global market meltdown is turning into a rout as investors who ignored the warning signs of overvaluation, weakening earnings/revenue trends, and deteriorating internal market dynamics may now be heading for the exits. As advisors and investors try to rationalize asset allocation and equity market exposure, they may deem it appropriate to stick with investments in countries with the strongest economies. Reasoning, stronger eco-markets should behave better than markets in countries with economies under pressure.
2015-08-31 00:00:00 Making Sense of Market Volatility by Karen Dunn Kelley of Invesco Blog
On Aug. 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average entered a correction, falling 10% from its most recent peak, and reminded investors what volatility looks like after almost four correction-free years. While volatility exposes weaknesses in the market, in my opinion it also reveals the strength of high conviction managers who are skillfully navigating the market. Active management and smart beta strategies seek to surpass the “market averages” offered by traditional benchmarks, providing the potential not only for higher returns, but also for a smoother ride.
2015-08-31 00:00:00 Stay Calm and Carry On by Kenneth Kim of EQIS Capital
As most everyone is aware, the markets have been highly volatile, and mostly down, during these past few days. Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at China’s slowing economy as the cause. Before joining EQIS, I was a professor of finance at Renmin University in Beijing, China for many years. Recognized as one of the top 15 economists* in China, and a frequent economic commentator on the Chinese economy on China’s only English-language national television station, I can speak about, and address, this current market condition that places blame on China.
2015-08-28 00:00:00 Don't Panic: Putting Market Turbulence in Context by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles
Sharp declines in China’s equity markets have heightened fears about the country’s economic prognosis and what it might mean for global growth. While concerns center on the emerging markets, the tumult has spilled across global financial markets. Our advice: don’t panic.
2015-08-28 00:00:00 On Market Corrections, and Keeping a Calm Head by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Despite recent market volatility, we consider the long-term outlook for China’s market and economy to be good. We don’t view this recent correction as the start of any sort of economic or market collapse underway, and it doesn’t change our view on investing there.
2015-08-28 00:00:00 12 Attractive Fast-Growing Dividend Growth Stocks for High Total Return by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
The current market environment is presenting many challenges to the conservative retired investor in need of current income. Interest rates are near all-time lows and the valuations of many blue-chip dividend growth stocks have become extended. Consequently, it is becoming very difficult to find quality investment opportunities that can provide safety through sound valuation, attractive yield and the potential to fight inflation.
2015-08-28 00:00:00 Times Like This by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Times like this in the markets can be unsettling. We are accustomed to dealing with risk, or at least familiar with “normal” market swings from year to year. But when there is a sudden abrupt fall in markets, investors are often left to wonder “What is going on?” Are we seeing a repeat of 1997? 2013? Matthews Asia’s Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks, PhD, offers his views on recent developments, drawing from historical context but also noting the instances in which history can be misleading.
2015-08-28 00:00:00 China’s Economy Is Undergoing a Huge Transformation That No One’s Talking About by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Misconception and exaggeration are circling China’s economy right now like a flock of hungry buzzards. If you listen only to the popular media, you might believe that the Asian giant is teetering on the brink of economic disaster, with the Shanghai Composite Index’s recent correction and devaluation of the renminbi held up as “proof.”
2015-08-26 00:00:00 A Macro View of Recent Market Volatility by Michael Hasenstab and Sonal Desai of Franklin Templeton Investments
When we look at how much market panic there has been, you’d be under the impression China is headed full-speed into full-blown recession. That is not our call. We expect moderation in China’s growth and continue to see it as healthy.
2015-08-26 00:00:00 China Commentary by John Calamos: Market Reset, Not Recession by John Calamos Sr. of Calamos Investments
The global market selloff of these past days has tested the mettle of many investors—particularly as the turmoil has followed an unusual period earlier this year, where equities delivered healthy advances with very little volatility. While we’ve gone on record saying that we expected volatility to persist (including in our most recent Outlook), we have been surprised by how severe the downturn has been. However, experience teaches that there can be many opportunities in volatile markets.
2015-08-26 00:00:00 As Market Fears Grow, Stay Focused on the Long Term by Brad McMillan of Commonwealth Financial Network
One bad day doesn’t make a bear market. Two bad days, however, and the prospect of more to come, may well signal one.
2015-08-26 00:00:00 Markets Crashing, Gold Rising by Clint Siegner of Money Metals Exchange
U.S. Investors are on edge following last week’s and today’s sell-off in stocks around the globe. The carnage impacted equity markets in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. Interestingly, the U.S. dollar also weakened. And bonds and gold are getting most of the safe-haven buying.
2015-08-25 00:00:00 On My Radar: An Optimist Sees The Opportunity In Every Difficulty by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
2015-08-21 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
After a slump in consumer spending had raised concerns of an economic slowdown in Japan recently, there was a welcome uptick in indicators such as manufacturing activity and exports. However, slowing growth in China, a major trading partner, is widely expected to have a bearing on the economy in the near future. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates unchanged in its recent review as expected, thanks to subdued inflation, a stabilizing job market, and early signs of a pick-up in business investment.
2015-08-21 00:00:00 Gold Glimmers as Global Market Fear Grips Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Gold this week broke above its 50-day moving average as a fresh round of negative news from around the globe rekindled investors’ interest in the yellow metal as a safe haven. The Fear Trade, it seems, is in full force.
2015-08-21 00:00:00 Is a Stronger U.S. Dollar Really Bad News? Three Myths about Emerging Markets by Michele Mazzoleni of Research Affiliates
A strengthening U.S. dollar threatens emerging market economies—owes its plausibility to three myths. Let’s examine them.
2015-08-21 00:00:00 Pressure Mounts on China to Act by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners
Weak manufacturing data out of China indicate that its policymakers will have to act drastically to reverse its decline.
2015-08-20 00:00:00 Unattractive ‘Glamour Stocks’ Lead the Way in Asia Pacific by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog
Economic growth continues to decelerate across the Asia Pacific region. Domestic economies have not been robust enough to offset weakness in commodities and exports, and both revenue and earnings expectations were adjusted downward by 1% during the second quarter. Because growth is scarce, investors have been crowding into the highest-growth and highest-quality stocks; within Asia and Japan, this group of stocks is now trading at the highest premium to the rest of the market that we’ve seen in the past 20 years.
2015-08-19 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
While some of the emerging economies continue to face slow growth from lower commodity exports, the outlook for most developed economies has brightened in recent months. The U.S. slowdown during the first half of this year was not as bad as thought earlier, while economic trends from the Eurozone remain stable. Helped by sustained labor market gains, U.S. consumer sentiment is picking up again and should help aggregate growth during the second half of the year.
2015-08-19 00:00:00 One man’s weed... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
I spent time at the Woodward Dream Cruise this week in my brother Charlie’s 1985 Ford Mustang convertible (his first new car which he bought and has maintained since that year). I think the Cruise is the largest annual assemblage of classic cars on the planet. What a great time for anyone who enjoys historical vehicles and the memories they bring back, especially here in the Motor City.
2015-08-19 00:00:00 Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments
In his blog post, titled “Why the Yuan Devaluation Does Not Erode China’s Long-Term Investment Potential,” SVP and Senior Co-Portfolio Manager Nick Niziolek discusses the opportunities the Calamos team sees in China.
2015-08-18 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: July 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices were mostly unchanged during the month of July as gains in Europe were offset by losses in Asia and select other markets such as Canada. Further improvement in economic trends from the Euro-zone and the tentative agreement to provide additional financial support to Greece brightened investor sentiment in the region.
2015-08-17 00:00:00 Chinese Yuan Depreciates Further: What is the Endgame? by Rob Waldner of Invesco Blog
After China’s surprise devaluation of the yuan by 1.9% last Tuesday, the Chinese currency was devalued by another 1.6% on Wednesday. Policymakers appear to be following a pattern of setting the daily fix, which sets the center point for trading during that day, with reference to the market price at the close of the previous day. Invesco Fixed Income believes that further devaluations are likely as the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, acquiesces to market pressure and price movements over time.
2015-08-14 00:00:00 Your Economics (and Market Structure) Summer Reading List by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments
Global CIO Jeff Hussey offers an economics summer reading list (plus one book on market structure).
2015-08-14 00:00:00 The Shot Not Heard Around the World by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
China’s recent move to devalue the yuan has sent shock waves through the global financial markets and has convinced most observers that a new front in the global currency wars has begun. The move has caused...
2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Not Immune to Contagious Quantitative Easing and Massive Printing of Cheap Money by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
First it was the U.S. Federal Reserve. Then, in 2013, Japan launched what became known as Abenomics. The European Central Bank (ECB) followed suit in 2014. And now the People’s Bank of China has joined the parade. All of them in some way stimulated economic growth by initiating monetary quantitative easing (QE) programs.
2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Breaks into a New Range by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
For some time, analysts have suspected that China’s economic performance was trending well below targeted levels. The equity market correction that began earlier this summer seemed to confirm these concerns; only a substantial amount of official intervention prevented an outright crash. Now we can add exchange-rate uncertainty to the list of things that China will have to manage very carefully.
2015-08-14 00:00:00 China Currency Devaluation Update by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
What are the factors that prompted Chinese authorities to recently devalue the renminbi? Matthews Asia Portfolio Manager Teresa Kong, CFA, examines the lead up and implications of this development.
2015-08-13 00:00:00 3 Things: Freight, Deflation, No Hike by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live
We often look at broad measures of the economy to determine its current state. However, we can often receive clues about where the economy may be headed by looking at data that feeds into the broader measures. Exports, imports, wage growth, commodity prices, etc. all have very important ties to the health of the consumer which is critical to an economy that is nearly 70% driven by their consumption.
2015-08-12 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Winners and Losers: Q2 2015 by Jackie Lafferty of Loomis Sayles
Following positive performance in the first quarter, emerging markets (EM) came under pressure from macroeconomic factors in the second quarter, resulting in mixed returns for the asset class.
2015-08-12 00:00:00 Turkey’s Predicament by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management
It is our view that over the next few decades Turkey is well positioned to return to its status as a dominant regional power; however, the situation is much less clear in the near term. Turkey has been trying to run a foreign policy of having “no problems” with its neighbors. This stance has become impossible to maintain. Unfortunately for President Erdogan, Turkey is encircled by instability and is struggling to develop a response.
2015-08-10 00:00:00 The Emerging Markets Best Positioned to Withstand a Fed Hike by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock
Russ explains why not all emerging markets are created equal when it comes to weathering capital outflows associated with higher U.S. interest rates.
2015-08-07 00:00:00 Gold Holds Its Own Against These Media Darlings by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
A recent Bloomberg article points out that the gold rout has cost China and Russia $5.4 billion, an amount that would sound colossal were it not for the fact that U.S. media companies such as Disney and Viacom collectively lost over $60 billion for shareholders in as little as two days this week. Below are the weekly losses for just a handful of those companies. Compared to many other asset classes, gold has held up well, even after factoring in its price decline.
2015-08-06 00:00:00 Global Growth Forecast - Q3 (Infographic) by Rick Harrell of Loomis Sayles
Every quarter, we update our forecast map. What's different this time? We have shaved our US GDP forecast down to 2.3% from 2.9%, mostly on account of weaker exports, a strong dollar and the decline in oil prices. In emerging markets, we still believe Asia Pacific is currently a bright spot - but we expect China to slow further as easing measures fail to gain traction.
2015-08-05 00:00:00 Reflections on the Iran Deal by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Last month, the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations on a nuclear deal. In this report, we will offer some reflections on the agreement, including why it occurred, and the major reason why the U.S. negotiated this agreement and the underlying issues. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
2015-08-02 00:00:00 Is Now the Time to be Bearish on China? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
One of the world’s largest hedge funds has turned bearish on China, arguing that the recent stock market correction means ‘‘there are now no safe places to invest’’ in that country. I disagree. I respect Bridgewater as an investment house and their views require serious attention. But I think it worthwhile to explain some areas where my views differ.
2015-08-02 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia – 7/31/2015 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital
In today’s edition we highlight just a few data points: the South Korea Business Survey Index making a new low, Japan consumption expenditure having a very weak month, and Japan CPI headed back toward zero. The slowing of the biggest economy in Asia is really having a noticeable impact on the region.
2015-08-01 00:00:00 Gold on Sale, Says the Rational Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The leveraged gold futures derivatives market is knocking down the precious metal, yet in massive contrast, this drop has ignited a shopping frenzy according to gold coin dealers. I spoke with several friends and industry experts this week who confirmed the record sales numbers for the month. In fact, American Gold Eagle sales reached 161,500 ounces in July, the highest monthly figure since April 2013. What gives?
2015-07-30 00:00:00 A Midyear Look at Global Real Estate by Ivy Global Real Estate Team of Ivy Investment Management Company
There are many drivers of recent short-term price changes for publicly traded real estate companies in the current market environment. These include changes in the market’s outlook for economic growth, for interest rate movements, for central bank actions and even the issues surrounding Greece and Ukraine.
2015-07-29 00:00:00 Ten Quick Topics to Ruin Your Summer by Jeremy Grantham of GMO
Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham reviews "10 topics that really matter, at least in my opinion. They can all be viewed as problems: potential threats to our well-being"
2015-07-26 00:00:00 Chugging Along by John Osterweis, Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management
Sitting down to write this quarter’s Outlook we feel a bit sheepish. Despite all the headlines and drama around the world (e.g., Greece, Mid-East turmoil, China stock market bubble), not much has changed in our outlook for the U.S. economy or the U.S. financial markets. The U.S. economy appears to have rebounded in the second quarter from the first quarter swoon.
2015-07-25 00:00:00 International Economic Week in Review: IMF Lowers Growth Projections, Edition by Hale Stewart of Hale Stewart
At the macro level, the IMF lowered their global growth outlook. The first quarter slowdown in the developed world (largely the US but to a lesser extent Canada) led to decreased 2H15 projections, while the commodity slowdown will negatively impact the developing world. As further evidence of this, note that Latin American currencies are broadly selling off. Low inflation gives central banks plenty of policy room. The wild cards continue to be the cumulative impact of the Chinese slowdown along with certain geopolitical factors such as the Middle East turmoil and Greek situation.
2015-07-25 00:00:00 3 Reasons Why Gold Isn’t Behaving Like Gold Right Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The last time the metal descended this quickly was 18 months ago, on January 6, 2014, when someone brought a massive gold sell order on the market before retracting it in a high-frequency trading tactic called “quote stuffing.”
2015-07-25 00:00:00 Asia Insight: Online to Offline—The Great Technology Migration by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia
Asia has demonstrated an uncanny ability to leapfrog certain technological developments, making much quicker transitions to new technologies than Western countries: jumping from fixed line to wireless communications and moving away from desktop devices to mobile devices. Now, the latest interesting instance of technology leapfrogging that is happening in Asia is dubbed “Online-to-Offline,” commerce, or O2—an e-commerce model that combines offline opportunities with online platforms. Asia Insight explores.
2015-07-23 00:00:00 Mid-Year Outlook: Global Economy Likely to Withstand China, Greece by John Calamos, Sr. of Calamos Investments
The global markets and economy should be able to move higher for the remainder of the year, with accommodative monetary policy and well-contained inflation providing tailwinds. The U.S. looks set to extend its not-too-hot, not-too-cold recovery, while Japan is benefiting from stimulus and pro-market reforms. Although economic conditions in Europe remain fragile and uneven, growth looks to be accelerating overall, and we believe the European Union has the tools to prevent a broader Europe contagion should the Greek bailout resolution fall apart.
2015-07-22 00:00:00 The BOJ’s Policy: What’s Next, More Easing? Or Something Else? by Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO
Investors are now debating what the next step will be for the Bank of Japan. It is a dramatic turn, isn’t it? Earlier this year, the consensus view was that the BOJ would move forward with additional easing – the question was ‘when’, not ‘if’.
2015-07-22 00:00:00 Currencies Depend on Faith, Gold Doesn’t by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
In his July 17th Blog, Let's Get Real About Gold, author and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig likened investor interest in gold with the "Pet Rock" craze of the 1970's, when consumers became convinced that a rock in a box would provide continuous companionship, elevate their social standing, and give them something hip to talk about at parties. Zweig asserts that investor faith in gold, which he argues is just another inert mineral with good marketing, is similarly irrational, and has kept people from putting money in the much more lucrative stock market.
2015-07-21 00:00:00 Secular Outlook: Implications for Asia-Pacific Investors? by Eric Mogelof, Alan Isenberg of PIMCO
We hope you have had the opportunity to review the summary from our secular forum in May: “The New Neutral Revisited,” written by PIMCO’s Group CIO Dan Ivascyn, Global Fixed Income CIO Andrew Balls an?d Global Strategic Advisor Rich Clarida. In this analysis, the authors identify the six key themes that emerged from our discussion, as well as six risks.
2015-07-19 00:00:00 Imperial Germany by Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Last week, we analyzed the Greek/Eurozone negotiations using game theory as an explanatory tool. In this report, we will review the basic geopolitics of Europe, the political response and the evolution of the Eurozone. Using this background, we will examine Germany’s actions in the most recent Greek crisis. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
2015-07-17 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia – 7/16/2015 by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital
Yesterday saw a few more weaker data points out of Australia and South Korea that are worthy of mention. Namely, Australian consumer confidence dropped again to around the lowest it’s been since 2009 and South Korea unemployment remained at its cycle highs. No matter what the top line China GDP number was, there is no doubt that China is on a structurally slower growth trajectory and this is most definitely affecting its closest neighbors.
2015-07-17 00:00:00 Crude Oil Is the Best-Performing Commodity of 2015 So Far by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The widest expansion this year was made by none other than crude oil, the worst-performing commodity of 2014. As of June 30, oil posted gains of over 11 percent, rising to $59.47 per barrel. After falling more than 50 percent since last summer, though, it had little else to go but up. That oil claimed the top spot just highlights the reality that commodities are in a depressed state right now.
2015-07-17 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust
Last month we said that the odds favored some sort of “kick the can down the road” agreement between Greece and its creditors, and it looks like that may be coming to pass. While there’s still much work to be done, the tone of the current agreement seems focused on avoiding a euro exit and debt write-downs, while ignoring growth-oriented policies. With the hard decisions yet again put off for another day, this should be euro-weakening, all else equal.
2015-07-17 00:00:00 China's Rebalancing Continues by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
The rebalancing of China’s economy continued in the second quarter of this year, as services and consumer spending drove more growth than industry and construction. The inevitable deceleration of most year-on-year (YoY) growth rates also continued, but a booming stock market provided a temporary lift to headline GDP growth.
2015-07-16 00:00:00 China: Searching for a New Equilibrium by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments
Overall, based on our detailed analysis, we believe China will remain on course … while the economy shifts toward consumption, services and higher value-added manufacturing. This could have important implications for the global economy.
2015-07-16 00:00:00 Navigating Market Signals in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Rob Balkema of Russell Investments
Russell Investments’ Rob Balkema provides insights on how a portfolio manager looking at Japan might use market signals to manage multi-asset class funds.
2015-07-14 00:00:00 Correlation Among Stocks, Especially In Europe, Have Shot Higher by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital
Over the past several weeks, correlations among stocks have been increasing which makes it increasingly difficult for stock pickers to outperform. The most dramatic example of this is happening in Europe.
2015-07-14 00:00:00 Perspectives on China by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments
There are considerable opportunities in China for disciplined, fundamentally driven investors. China’s medium- and longer-term secular tailwinds remain intact. Our team continues to encourage investors to look past the short-term noise and remain focused on the longer-term potential. The economic transition that China is attempting is incredibly challenging. Right now, Chinese regulators have taken a kitchen-sink approach. While it hasn’t achieved the desired effect, it affirms the depth of China’s commitment to stabilize its markets.
2015-07-13 00:00:00 On My Radar: High Probability of a Global Recession by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group
Economists have a number of different ways to measure over and under valuation. Most measures currently show an overvalued equity market. Let’s just say the market is expensively priced.
2015-07-11 00:00:00 Global Investors: You Should Be Paying Attention to this Economic Indicator by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
In addition to our own macro models, BCA Research , a highly respected independent research company, pointed out that PMIs in developing economies have plunged to new lows. The International Monetary Fund also revised downward its global growth forecast for 2015. On this account, bad news is good news, as central bankers are scrambling to stimulate economic growth.
2015-07-11 00:00:00 China Market Update by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China’s equity markets have steadily declined for weeks, raising a torrent of questions and concerns. Given that China accounts for more global growth than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, this week Andy Rothman, Investment Strategist at Matthews Asia, answers some of your most pressing questions.
2015-07-10 00:00:00 More Evidence of China Slowing Permeating Asia by Bryce Coward of GaveKal Capital
Yesterday and today were host to a few more macro data points all signaling basically the same thing – a synchronized slowdown in Asia which appears to be driven by China. In the five charts below we show that Chinese CPI remains anemic while PPI just made a new cycle low, Australian unemployment ticked up, Japanese bank loans appear to be topping/rolling over, the Japanese economy watchers survey is rolling over, and Japanese machinery orders excluding ships keeps weakening.
2015-07-10 00:00:00 China Market Update by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China’s equity markets have been in steady decline for several weeks, raising a lot of questions about the potential impact on the world’s second-largest economy. Given that China accounts for more global growth than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined, this is an important topic for investors.
2015-07-09 00:00:00 While Attention Has Been On China, EM Latin America Keeps Taking It On The Chin by Eric Bush of GaveKal Capital
EM Latin America stocks are by far the worst performing stocks in the world this year. So even though all eyes are on China at the moment, as Bryce recently pointed out, the Chinese stock market doesn’t matter much for non-Chinese investors.
2015-07-07 00:00:00 A First-Half Letter to Clients: Robert Shiller on the Valuation Quandary by Dan Richards (Article)
Since 2008, I have posted a template for a client letter each quarter as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the period that just ended and some thoughts looking forward. This quarter’s letter addresses one of today’s most taxing questions for advisors and investors alike: How to deal with the quandary presented by today’s valuation levels on U.S. stocks.
2015-07-07 00:00:00 Asia Better Positioned to Handle a Hike by Sponsored Content from Invesco (Article)
It’s no surprise investors are concerned about whether a Fed rate hike will cause a replay of 2013’s taper tantrum meltdown in Asia. In our view, Asian markets are better positioned today to withstand short-term deterioration in global sentiment when the Fed decides to hike rates.
2015-06-27 00:00:00 $8 Trillion Alternative Energy Boom Is a Win for Copper by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
As the world’s population continues to grow, and as more people in developing and emerging countries gain access to electricity, the role alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal play should skyrocket. Between now and 2040, a massive $8 trillion will be spent globally on renewables, about two thirds of all energy spending, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Solar power alone is expected to draw $3.7 trillion.
2015-06-23 00:00:00 How Small Mistakes Can Boost Your Credibility by Dan Richards (Article)
An advisor struggled to convert meetings with prospects into clients. Then he began describing how he’d helped existing clients in a way that made him more credible and sincere.
2015-06-05 00:00:00 Recovery Rallies, Is Six Years Enough by Craig Callahan of ICON Advisers, Inc.
Contrary to the bearish headlines, we at ICON believe that we are in the midst of a long-term recovery. With our valuation methodology as our guide, we believe there is enough value in the market to sustain a continued recovery. Furthermore, as we saw with the post 1987 market recovery, bull markets can last longer than 6 years. We believe there is still room for market growth in the current environment.
2015-05-28 00:00:00 World War D—Deflation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics
Everywhere I go I’m asked, “Will there be inflation or deflation? Are we in a bull or bear market? Is the bond bulk market over and will interest rates rise?" The flippant answer to all those questions is “Yes.” And that can be the correct answer as well, but it depends on what your time frame is and what tools you use to measure the markets and inflation.
2015-05-21 00:00:00 Factoring in Politics when Investing by Robert Harvey of Matthews Asia
Factoring in political backdrops typically makes investment decisions more complex. What should investors consider in trying to mitigate political risk?
2015-05-18 00:00:00 Investor Sentiment Around the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
We certainly don’t want to jump to any conclusions about potential market performance based on investor sentiment (or any one indicator for that matter), but it reminds me of the late Sir John Templeton’s famous words: ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism and die on euphoria.
2015-05-15 00:00:00 “Wrestling with Something Else”: Why this Gold Bear Market Is Different by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure to appear on Jim Puplava’s Financial Sense Newshour radio program and discuss the state of the gold market. Along with my peers John Doody of the Gold Stock Analyst and Ross Hansen of Northwest Territorial Mint, I shared my thoughts on how we arrived in the current bear market, what factors might help us get out of it and the role real interest rates play in prices.
2015-05-15 00:00:00 Diagnosing China's Debt Disease by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China suffers from a serious case of “debt disease,” but the treatment and side effects may not be as severe as some expect, and dramatic credit tightening is very unlikely. Debt is concentrated among state-owned firms, while the private firms that generate most of China’s new jobs and investment have already deleveraged. The biggest risk is the high level of debt among real estate developers.
2015-05-12 00:00:00 Louis-Vincent Gave: The World's Most Crowded Trade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Investors are paid to adapt, not to forecast, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, and three changes are occurring globally that all portfolios must accommodate. One of them is a position that is missing from virtually every investor's allocation.
2015-05-11 00:00:00 On My Radar: Life is Great! by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group
The primary need of investors is shifting and the risk dynamics has changed. Gone are those wonderful defined benefit plans. This is the first generation of retirees retiring with control of their financial assets. That’s good news for your advisory business, yet, with zero bond rates and 10-year forward returns for equities in the 2% to 4% range, the challenges loom large.
2015-04-14 00:00:00 The Iran Framework by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
On April 2, the P5+1 and Iran announced a framework to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. The framework is a roadmap to establishing a final agreement in June and could be a major step toward delaying Iran’s entry into the “nuclear club.” This report begins with a short history of Iran’s nuclear program. Next, we review the details of the framework and address the broader policy issues surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. An analysis of the real issue, regional hegemony, follows along with a review of the political factors of the deal. We conclude with the potential market effects.
2015-04-08 00:00:00 Policy Paranoia by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates
The present version of policy paranoia encompasses concerns over impending interest rate hikes, the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, a bloated US government balance sheet, weak international economies and increased probability of a crisis in certain Latin American countries. While legitimate, we do not believe the current ghosts are any more imminently destructive today than over the past six years.
2015-04-08 00:00:00 Will a Weak Jobs Report and Poor Productivity Give the Fed Pause? by Jeremy Schwartz, of WisdomTree
Last Friday, Professor Jeremy Siegel and Jeremy Schwartz sat down with Sam Chandan, founder and chief economist at Chandan Economics, to discuss the unexpectedly weak jobs report, productivity, low interest rates and implications for the housing market.
2015-04-07 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part IV by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
The final installment of our series examines how, in light of winning the Cold War, policymakers have been unable to settle on a set of key priorities and offers glimpses of a new policy emerging. The US never wanted to be a superpower; its founding story is one of wresting independence away from a colonial power. Now that the existential threat of communism is over, the political class has struggled to create a foreign policy that can simultaneously provide the required hegemonic global public goods and create a working economic policy and political coalition that will build domestic harmony.
2015-04-06 00:00:00 Brobdingnagian Top? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
According to Wikipedia, “Brobdingnag is a fictional land in Jonathan Swift's satirical novel about Gulliver's Travels whose land is occupied by giants. Lemuel Gulliver visits the land after the ship he is travelling on is blown off course and he is separated from a party exploring the unknown land.” I thought of Brobdingnag as I stared at a chart of the D-J Transportation Average ($TRAN/8605.31) last week, which looks like it is making what a technical analyst would term a giant broadening top, or in my terms a “Brobdingnagian Top?”
2015-04-01 00:00:00 The Coming Chinese Crackup? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
Prominent China scholar David Shambaugh has turned bearish on the Middle Kingdom, which offers us the chance to review our own thinking about China’s prospects. As head of the China Policy Program at The George Washington University, Shambaugh is a respected analyst of Chinese Communist Party affairs, so his WSJ op-ed, “The Coming Chinese Crackup,” has received much attention. This issue of Sinology explores how Shambaugh’s view now is an about face from his prior analyses, and why his current arguments may be flawed.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 China to Take the Reins in Funding Regional Infrastructure Projects by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
This Tuesday marked the last day that countries could submit their applications to become founding members of the new China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As of this writing, a little over 40 nations have either already been approved or have applied for membership, including strong U.S. allies such as Britain, Germany and Australia.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 Small Korean Companies Punch Above Their Weight by Liliana Castillo Dearth of AllianceBernstein
South Korea’s cultural exports are spreading around the globe. While the country’s corporate landscape is dominated by huge conglomerates, we think small-cap companies stand to benefit most from the world’s growing fascination with all things Korean. It might be time for investors to take a closer look.
2015-04-01 00:00:00 For Canadian Pension Funds, It’s Time to Go Global by Erin Bigley of AllianceBernstein
Pension funds in Canada have long relied on a simple fixed-income strategy: buy Canadian. And for a long time, this worked wonders. But times are changing, and our research suggests that swapping a Canada-only approach for a more globalized portfolio will provide better risk-adjusted returns in the future.
2015-03-31 00:00:00 U.S. Isolated in Opposition to Chinese Bank by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
Over the past few decades while the economic power of the Chinese has grown exponentially, many observers have been surprised by the relative willingness of China to operate within the financial and economic framework established by the dominant Western order. But it should now be blatantly clear that Beijing prefers to act slowly, deliberately and quietly to advance its agenda.
2015-03-31 00:00:00 Exploring Four Myths by Byron Wien of Blackstone
In talking with investors, I find four concepts prevail among the consensus that I believe may be wrong. In the interest of full disclosure, it is fair to say that at various points in time I have subscribed to each of these ideas. They are: 1. American Exceptionalism is a thing of the past. 2. The price of oil is likely to stay low for a long time. 3. Europe’s economy is in a slow growth deflationary trap. 4. Abenomics is not working, and Japan is in danger of falling back into a recession. I decided to explore each of these
2015-03-31 00:00:00 Fit & Focused by Mark R. Kiesel of PIMCO
Many powerful forces are driving markets and asset prices; chief among them are global monetary policy, technicals and fundamentals. We use rigorous top-down and bottom-up analysis to identify the best sectors and companies around the world. We see opportunities in the U.S. (cyclical consumer and housing sectors), Europe (equities, bank capital securities, high yield bonds and corporate hybrids), China (property, technology and Macau) and Japan (cyclical industries, exporters and financials).
2015-03-30 00:00:00 Dividend Value Investing: No Time for Suspension of Disbelief, Part 2 by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog
While investors may be riveted by Hollywood’s surprise endings and cliffhangers, they generally aren’t fond of unexpected plot twists in the market. So here’s a spoiler alert. The operating results of companies in the current cycle have been quite strong, and many investors expect this to continue. But we’ve seen enough plot twists over time to know this can be a risky assumption.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: February 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Market Equities Emerging market equity prices advanced during the month of February on signs of improvement in global economic trends as well as expectations about quantitative easing in Europe and Japan. Encouraged by reduced inflation risks after the oil price decline, some of the emerging market central banks have also lowered interest rates in recent months.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Enjoying the Shade by Patricia Huang and The Matthews Asia Investment Team of Matthews Asia
As commentator Cherian George has said: “The legacy passed down to today’s Singaporeans isn’t one of random opportunism…There is nothing accidental about it.” Singapore’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, took charge of the city-state, transformed and drove it forward in the span of just a few decades. This week Matthews Asia pays tribute to this “giant of history.”
2015-03-27 00:00:00 In a Challenging Environment, Policy Easing Sweeps Through Asia by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Isaac Meng of PIMCO
The key change to our cyclical outlook for Asia: We have further downgraded our growth forecast for China to the low-6% range as real borrowing rates remain elevated. In Japan, we expect growth to recover from last year's technical recession, following the delay in the next value-added tax (VAT) hike and the increase in the Bank of Japan's easing program.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 REITs in a Rising Interest-Rate Environment by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton Investments
Wilson Magee, director of global real estate and infrastructure securities, Franklin Real Asset Advisors®, believes this environment is causing many investors to search for alternative investments that can add an income-oriented asset to their portfolio as well as gain exposure to global economic growth potential. He outlines why he thinks it’s an opportune time for many investors to consider diversifying into global real estate through an actively managed investment vehicle.
2015-03-27 00:00:00 Deglobalization Redraws the Investment Map by Hayden Briscoe and Vincent Tsui of AllianceBernstein
Divergence between economies and financial markets has been a key macroeconomic trend over the last few years, and reflects in part the deglobalization of the worldwide supply chain. We expect the big winners to be countries and regions with large internal markets; the losers will be smaller countries which have yet to move up the export value chain.
2015-03-26 00:00:00 Latin America Is Blowing Up Your EM ETF Performance by Team of GaveKal Capital
On an equal-weighted, USD basis, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is up just 0.99% YTD compared to MSCI World Index which is up 5.65%. So is this just a simple continuation of the trend of emerging market underperformance that has been in place over the last 4 years ? Yes, but with a caveat.
2015-03-25 00:00:00 US Economy Badly Disappoints Analysts' Expectations by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
Today we will talk about an economic indicator that I have not written about before, which is compiled and reported monthly by CitiGroup, the American multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Manhattan.
2015-03-24 00:00:00 The New World Order: Part II by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In the second installment of our four-part series we focus on two themes. First, we examine the global public goods the superpower provides, and second, we analyze how the U.S. has done so. The global hegemon often faces tensions between the desires of domestic constituencies and its foreign obligations. Every superpower negotiates these pressures and each tends to have its own ways of meeting both objectives. However, no superpower can subjugate the goals and aspirations of its citizens indefinitely. If the cost of hegemony becomes too high, a nation may be unable to maintain the position.
2015-03-20 00:00:00 Northern Trust Perspective by Team of Northern Trust
The long-telegraphed launch of quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) has added some accelerant to financial market trends in place so far this year. European stocks, which had been strong performers in local currencies, have continued their strong performance while European bond yields have declined even further.
2015-03-20 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015—Part III by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
In this final installment of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, answers the question: is China’s property market heading for a crash? He also discusses what he believes are the biggest long-term risks to growth and stability—an absence of the rule of law and trusted institutions.
2015-03-18 00:00:00 Global Economic Perspective: March by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments
IN THIS ISSUE: United States Prepares for Interest-Rate Hikes; But Much of the World Is Still in Monetary Easing Mode; European Outlook
2015-03-17 00:00:00 Japan: Why Stagnation Is the "Abe Normal" by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Until the prime minister draws the "third arrow"—structural reform—from his quiver, Japan's economic and investment prospects will remain limited.
2015-03-13 00:00:00 Prospect of U.S. Fed Hike & its Effect on Asian Assets, Part I by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
How close are we to a U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike? How would a hike affect Asian securities? These are the questions we explore in this two-part series of Asia Insight.
2015-03-13 00:00:00 Charting The Winners And Losers Of The Latest Surge In The USD by Team of GaveKal Capital
On March 4th we wrote in The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What It Means For Stocks that "for a variety of cyclical and structural reasons...stocks in North America tend to be the relative beneficiary of USD strength while stocks in other regions generally, but not always, tend to underperform. The negative correlation is especially strong for European stocks." Well, since then the USD has surged another 6% so we thought we'd review how things have played out.
2015-03-10 00:00:00 America's China Codependency by Michael Edesess (Article)
The massive Chinese investment in Treasury securities helps keep interest rates extremely low. This hugely increases the incentive for Americans to borrow. All that is needed is "collateral," and Americans will go out and borrow to their hearts' content and buy Chinese goods.
2015-03-10 00:00:00 On My Radar: Rut Ro Rastro by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group
At the beginning of each month, I like to look at a series of valuation metrics: Median PE, Price to Sales and Price to Operating Earnings. Let’s look at them today. The logic, of course, is simple. When expensively priced, reduce exposure and reduce return expectations. When inexpensively priced, overweight exposure and increase return expectations. Let’s also take a look at what has been driving the market higher. Some argue that individual investors are still on the sidelines. I don’t think so and I show evidence that they are almost as fully invested as they were at the 2000 and
2015-03-10 00:00:00 The 6th Anniversary of 676 by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
On March 9th, 2009, the S&P 500 made an intra-day and 20 year low at 676.53. Millions of Americans drew a straight line from the mid-September 2008 failure of Lehman Brothers through that March low and projected that the S&P 500 would be zero by June. Armed with that projection, average investors liquidated hundreds of billions of dollars in stock investments, never to return. Those investors will never be able to retire.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 Opportunities in Global Financial Disintermediation by Dave Gallagher of Calamos Investments
Increasing financial disintermediation is a strong secular theme providing tailwinds in several financial industries, but a likely arduous and complicated process warrants the need for a disciplined focus on both risk and reward. The financial system essentially performs one basic function—the direct or indirect movement of funds from savers to borrowers or investors. Although financial disintermediation is formally defined as the shifting of funds from indirect to direct financing, the term is more commonly used to describe the increasing role of non-bank intermediaries.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 Malaysia: Too Indebted to Spend? by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia
Many Asian households are dependent on debt. Malaysia has been working to reshape its economy while addressing the risk of high household debt levels. Asia Weekly examines this issue.
2015-03-06 00:00:00 China’s Reforms: Will They Work? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
The internationalization of China’s currency is proceeding hand in hand with the liberalization of the country’s capital markets. If China can surmount its short-term challenges, the impact of these reforms on global economies and markets should be profound.
2015-03-05 00:00:00 The Dollar Is Breaking Out Again And What That Means For Stocks by Team of GaveKal Capital
The ICE US dollar index looks to have broken out of what has been a rather short-lived consolidation after the massive move since the middle of 2014. If this is in fact the start of another round of dollar strength, then stock investors should carefully consider where in the world to deploy cash into stocks. For a variety of cyclical and structural reasons, certain regions of the world tend to outperform in periods of USD strength and others lag. We'll try to shed some light on that with the below charts.
2015-03-05 00:00:00 India the Best-Performing Emerging Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
India had an incredible banner year. The world’s largest democracy, home to 1.25 billion people, was the best-performing emerging market in 2014, delivering over 29 percent. It was followed by the Philippines in second place and Indonesia in third.
2015-03-03 00:00:00 Dan Fuss - The New Factor in the Bond Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dan Fuss' career in the bond market has spanned over 50 years. During that time, Fuss has spoken regularly at CFA luncheons. Last week in Boston, he began by warning that what he had to say would be markedly different from any of his previous talks.
2015-02-27 00:00:00 Could Apple Buy a Third of the World’s Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
So what’s Apple’s next trick? How about moving the world’s gold market?
2015-02-27 00:00:00 China’s New Generation of Entrepreneurs II by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia
China has long been perceived to be a breeding ground for business copycats, and has struggled with rampant intellectual piracy. Many businesses there have indeed been founded based on business models that originated in the U.S. or Europe. But what’s been overlooked in recent years is China’s rising “innovation machine.” More favorable government policies toward R&D have helped. This month, Asia Insight takes a look at developments in China’s grassroots-level entrepreneurship.
2015-02-27 00:00:00 Rhyming…but not Repeating. by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab
Stocks have recovered their January losses and have continued to move higher. While economic growth remains solid and we remain secular bulls, investors should be prepared for increased volatility and the potential for a near-term correction. Also, European stocks may be due for at least a pause and we suggest looking to add exposure to emerging market positions if needed. Staying well diversified and keeping an eye on rebalancing is the recommended strategy.
2015-02-26 00:00:00 Family-Owned Businesses: One More Reason Not to Neglect Emerging Markets by David Ruff of Forward Investing
At the end of a year in which the U.S. handily led the world’s equity markets, many dividend investors find it hard to rouse any interest in emerging markets at all. “Why even bother?” seems to be the prevailing sentiment.
2015-02-26 00:00:00 Investing in Volatility: Is Asian Volatility Poised to Rise? by David Jubb of Invesco Blog
Volatility is cheap these days. That may sound strange at first. But, the Invesco Multi Asset team views volatility as an investable asset type that can be included in our investment strategy. Why might this make sense? We believe volatility can provide additional diversification and return benefits when combined with our portfolio’s other asset exposures. For example, when volatility is low, markets may benefit. But when it rises, markets can come under pressure.
2015-02-25 00:00:00 China Levels the Global Playing Field by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
It’s a powerful vision for the world’s future. The US and China: two growth powerhouses; two major currencies.
2015-02-24 00:00:00 Debt Be Not Proud by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics
Some things never change. Here is Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, one of the founding intellectuals of the Austrian school of economics, writing in January 1914, lambasting politicians for their complicity in the corruption of monetary policy.
2015-02-21 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices were mostly unchanged during January as gains in both developed and emerging Asian markets were offset by weakness in Canada and select markets in Europe. Investors turned more cautious after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank lowered their global growth forecasts for the current year, contrary to expectations.
2015-02-21 00:00:00 Global Economic Overview: January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Concerns about the sharp fall in capital investments and earnings growth in select sectors resulting from lower oil prices continue to cloud the global economic outlook. While the decline in fuel prices is revitalizing consumer spending across all the major countries, the energy and mining sectors have already started curtailing their capital outlays.
2015-02-20 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economy Trends Update January 2015 by Team of Thomas White International
Japan, the biggest of the developed economies in the region, stands to benefit from cheaper oil as it should boost domestic demand and help some of the country’s key industries reduce costs. Still, the bigger advantage for the country seems to be the re-election of Prime Minister Abe, which has ensured continuity of the fiscal and monetary policies pursued by the government for the last two years.
2015-02-17 00:00:00 Search for Strength: EM Downturn Puts Focus on Fundamentals by Sponsored Content by Invesco (Article)
- Corporate earnings deterioration and a decline in return on capital have held back emerging market performance.
- Reversing weak performance depends on a return to stronger corporate earnings.
- Downside risks could lead to disappointing earnings growth, but positive fundamentals are unfolding.
2015-02-17 00:00:00 The Question that Quadrupled Response Rates by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week, my article described how an advisor uses case studies on tax saving strategies to get in front of prospects. Today, I will discuss the tactic that quadrupled participation in a Red Cross blood drive, and how this technique could increase your success when talking to existing and prospective clients.
2015-02-13 00:00:00 Global Airline Stocks Soaring, and Not Just Because of Low Oil Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The airline industry is notoriously competitive. There’s even an old joke: If you want to make a million dollars in the airline business, you need to start with two million.
2015-02-13 00:00:00 One Cheer for India: Hip, Hip but no Hooray? by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia
There has been a sense of optimism lately over India’s place in the world, and its markets demonstrated some enthusiasm over the seemingly good chemistry between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But should investors beware of chasing price momentum?
2015-02-11 00:00:00 Positive Economic Surprises in Europe, Negative in the U.S. by Team of GaveKal Capital
The Citi Economic Surprise index is a quick way to get a high-level look at the condition of economic data around the world. Calculated as a diffusion index, values generally range between 100 and -100 for the overall index, which is currently right in the middle of that range.
2015-02-11 00:00:00 China Just Crossed a Landmark Threshold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Back in July 2013, the think tank Heritage Foundation predicted that China’s outbound investment “could very well exceed $80 billion [by the end of the year] and is on course to breach $100 billion by about 2016.”
2015-02-07 00:00:00 The Power of Lower Oil Prices by Byron Wien of Blackstone
The Ten Surprises of 2015 have two prevailing themes. The more dominant is that the decline in the price of oil is generally a positive for the world. It puts money in the pockets of consumers everywhere and it is likely to force Iran and Russia to be more conciliatory in geopolitical negotiations because both countries are suffering not only from the drop in the oil price, but also from the sanctions imposed on them. The second theme is that in spite of notable economic problems in Europe, China and Japan, the United States equity market will have another good year.
2015-02-06 00:00:00 Key Questions for China Investors in 2015 by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
China raises many questions for investors. Last year, for example, GDP growth slowed to 7.4% from 7.7%, but China still accounted for almost one-third of global growth. Is this a healthy economy or an impending disaster? In the first of a three-part Sinology series, Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia Investment Strategist, addresses some key investor concerns.
2015-02-06 00:00:00 China’s Millennials: Have Money, Will Travel by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein
China’s millennials are better educated and more affluent than their elders. They also have a serious case of travel fever. Their favored destinations, and shopping habits abroad, could have far-reaching implications for a wide range of global companies.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Facing Reality by Questioning Some Common Beliefs by Ron Surz (Article)
I've decided to do something different in this quarterly commentary. I begin as usual with a review of first quarter market performance. Then I turn my attention to some commonly held beliefs that I regard as mistaken, as shown in the figure below.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Deflation: Consternation Not Elation by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
Deflation has been around ever since there was an excess supply of something or when demand had plummeted. The term “deflation” has now become mainstream in the general public’s lexicon, though the understanding of the declining economic growth that corresponds with it is often disregarded until it wreaks havoc on the consumer’s paycheck. When we see deflation permeating global economics, market movements and NFL games, the general public will become acutely aware of the other major impact from deflation, the increasing symbiotic nature of all the global economies.
2015-02-03 00:00:00 Retirement Realities and Contingencies by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares
Stites on Estates took an interesting look at retirement intentions versus retirement reality along with a reiteration of the dismal statistics about how little savings people who are working have accumulated as well as how few dollars people have put away when beginning their retirement.
2015-02-02 00:00:00 Portfolio Strategies 2015: Investing in an Age of Divergence by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics
Everyone is worried about being blindsided by a significant downdraft in the markets when maybe we should be thinking about making sure we don’t miss a bull market somewhere. These and several dozen other topics were on the table when the Mauldin Economics writing team gathered here in Dallas for 3½ days of intensive talk, interviews, and planning. Today we’ll go over a few of the highlights of this last week, and I’ll share a few reasons to be optimistic about 2015.
2015-01-26 00:00:00 How Global Interest Rates Deceive Markets by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics
When it comes to interpreting what current interest rates are telling us about the markets in various countries, I have to say that I do not think they mean what the market seems to think they mean. In fact, buried in that list of bond yields is ?false information? ? information so distorted and yet so readily misunderstood that it leads to wrong conclusions and decisions ? and to bad investments.
2015-01-25 00:00:00 Equity Investment Outlook: More of the Same by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
We are of the view that the conditions for further gains in the bull market that began in early 2009 are still intact and that the conditions for a true bear market are not. The market could, of course, be subject to corrections ? it always is ? but we believe the trend is still upward.
2015-01-25 00:00:00 Connecting to China?s New Equity Plays by Stuart Rae and John Lin of AllianceBernstein
Despite a slow start following its launch in November, the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect share trading scheme has significantly increased foreign access to China equities and created new investment opportunities. Two subsectors are particularly noteworthy for global investors.
2015-01-20 00:00:00 A Year-End Letter to Clients: How the World's Wealthiest Families Invest by Dan Richards (Article)
Here are the components of the year-end letter for 2014: An overview of 2014 performance; Some context on market valuations and how wealthy families are investing today; and brief thoughts for the period ahead.
2015-01-18 00:00:00 QE and the ECB: "Authorize" is a Slippery Word by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
The ECB will authorize a large QE program this week, but my impression is that the details will leave the ECB itself responsible for executing only a fraction of the announced program, with the remaining majority of the program (perhaps 60-75%) being nothing more than the option for each national central bank to purchase its own country?s government bonds, at its own discretion, and its own risk. Moreover, that option is likely to be limited to something on the order of 25% of the outstanding government debt of each respective country.
2015-01-17 00:00:00 Occupy Wall Street in Qing Dynasty, China by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia
What if a banker's family could be taken as slaves to repay losses arising from the banker's malfeasance? This may seem extreme now but it was part of a system that existed 200 years ago in a China's desolate Shanxi region near Mongolia. This week, Gerald Hwang, CFA, writes about this surprising birthplace for a banking system that served elite citizens and the treasury of the Qing dynasty.
2015-01-13 00:00:00 Market Outlook 2015: Double Digit Gain...Thank You, May I Have Another? by K. Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group
The U.S. stock market finds itself in rare territory as we enter 2015. For only the sixth time in the past 150 years, the U.S. stock market has registered a double-digit gain for three consecutive calendar years from 2012 to 2014. We will try to answer the question: ?Can the U.S. stock market post a fourth year of double-digit gains??
2015-01-06 00:00:00 Evaluating the Arguments for the Dollar's Demise by Seaborn Hall (Article)
From the great financial crisis and the massive escalation of sovereign debt and QE to the threat of currency wars to cries from pundits to exit the dollar and buy gold, it requires a discerning advisor to sift through the din and decide whether the dollar's reserve status is slipping. Could the dollar look strong and still be in danger? Several recent books, and papers from the BIS, IMF and Fed delineate the noise from the reality.
2015-01-06 00:00:00 Ides by William Gross of Janus Capital Group
Beware the Ides of March, or the Ides of any month in 2015 for that matter. When the year is done, there will be minus signs in front of returns for many asset classes. The good times are over.
2014-12-30 00:00:00 The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2014 by Various (Article)
As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months.
2014-12-29 00:00:00 Adam Smith or Jerry Goodman by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
I met Jerry Goodman, whose nom de plume was Adam Smith, late in my career. He was working at my friend Craig Drills money management firm along with another icon in this business, from an era gone by, namely Al Wojnilower. I have had many conversations with all three of these Wall Street legends around the conference table at Drill Capital Management. Jerry wrote The Money Game (1968), Powers of Mind (1975), Paper Money (1981), and The Roaring 80s (1988), but unfortunately we lost his wisdom on January 3rd of this year .
2014-12-27 00:00:00 Perspective on 2015: Maintain Yours by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet
In 2014, interest rates remained low, U.S. equities stayed strong, mid-year geopolitical events barely shook the markets, and a sudden, late-year drop in oil prices took many by surprise. What should investors expect in 2015?
2014-12-23 00:00:00 Growth Headwinds Continue to Blow Through Asia in 2015 by Adam Bowe, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO
This commentary discusses the conclusions from PIMCOs quarterly Cyclical Forum in December 2014 and how they influence our Asian outlook and investment strategy.
2014-12-11 00:00:00 OPECs Thanksgiving by Jonathan Waghorn of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting ended on 11/27/14, Thanksgiving Day, with the decision to leave their production quota unchanged and no clarity on when a cut might be forthcoming. The lack of any quota cut, combined with little indication that OPEC were particularly focused in the short term on quota compliance, caught the market by surprise. Crude oil prices and energy equities fell sharply.
2014-12-08 00:00:00 Inflection Points by Guy Scott of Janus Capital Group
U.S. equities surged over the last six years as the economy regained its footing after the financial crisis, and companies underwent substantial cost cuts to improve profitability. Today, many international companies and regional economies are early in the process of making similar positive, transformative changes.
2014-12-06 00:00:00 Will Two Key Sectors Survive Chinas Long Landing? by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
Based on insights from our teams recent trip to China, we noted that the country is likely headed for a long economic landing. What does that mean for its infrastructure and commodity sectors?
2014-12-06 00:00:00 Chinas Economy Gliding into Long Landing by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein
Chinas economy isnt headed for a hard or soft landinginstead, its more likely to be a long landing. Thats our perspective, based on our teams recent visit to China to get an up-close look at the economic landscape.
2014-12-02 00:00:00 The Tooth-Fairy Economics of Jeff Madrick by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
Incentives don't matter, tradeoffs don't exist and there are no limits to what the government can give you. Those who believe this dogma are likely to still have faith in the tooth fairy. In Seven Bad Ideas, a critique of the neoclassical revival in economics that surrounded Milton Friedman and that affected policy and politics worldwide for more than a generation, Jeff Madrick emerges as tooth-fairy economics' chief exponent.
2014-12-01 00:00:00 The Return of Currency Wars by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
The recent decision by the Bank of Japan to increase the scope of its quantitative easing is a signal that another round of currency wars may be under way. The cause of the latest currency turmoil is clear: In an environment of public and private deleveraging, monetary policy has become the only available tool to boost demand.
2014-11-22 00:00:00 Rolling AlongFor Now by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Jeffrey Kleintop of Charles Schwab
We remain optimistic that US stocks will likely continue to move higher, but warn against getting overly complacent as a pullback is always a possibility. The US economy is improving, the Fed is erring on the side of dovishness, and both corporate and consumer confidence are growing. The fall in oil should be a net positive for the US and global economy, and we are in a traditionally seasonally positive time of the year for equities. Global economies remain weak, but we are seeing a glimmer of hope from stepped up responses from foreign central banks.
2014-11-19 00:00:00 Indonesian Optimism by Tek Khoan Ong of Franklin Templeton Investments
Southeast Asia represents one of the fastest-growing regions in the world today, and is one that we are excited about as investors. The Templeton Emerging Markets Group held our semiannual analyst conference in Jakarta in September, and one of the key reasons for choosing that location was to observe and discuss the changes and challenges on the ground with the new regime of President Joko Widodo. Ive invited my colleague Tek Khoan Ong to pen some thoughts on the outlook and investment opportunities in Indonesia today.
2014-10-25 00:00:00 Swimming Naked by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
We have our swim trunks firmly tied around our waists, and the life preserver is tied to our hand. If nothing else, this is a time to remember that investing is a balancing act, regardless of what appears to be happening around us.
2014-10-21 00:00:00 Loomis Sayles Core Plus Bond Fund: Navigating Dynamic Markets with Tactical Flexibility by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)
The global economic cycle is a perpetual force influencing interest rates, credit availability and capital markets. For core plus managers who seek to generate total return by balancing liquidity and risk, these undulations pose a clear challenge.
2014-10-11 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Hong Kong gets occupied; U.S. corporate taxes: Fact, fiction and framing; Has the U.S. Treasury blunted the Fed's QE program?
2014-10-09 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management
John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), states in his latest quarterly letter on gold that "On a near term basis, this looks and feels like a bottom to us. On a longer term view, we are more bullish than ever." He goes on to write that "Expanding earnings and valuations, the underpinnings of the four year bull market in financial assets, may be approaching an inflection point. A reversal of this cycle would in our opinion restore interest in gold."
2014-10-08 00:00:00 A Japan Strategist Roundtable: What’s Next for Japan? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree
The start of 2014 was a challenging time for the Japanese equity markets. But recently things started to perk up. I recently spent time in Tokyo and want to share my observations from the trip.
2014-10-06 00:00:00 Emerging from the Global Competitiveness Ranks by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its annual Global Competitiveness Report, which details the strengths and weakness of 144 countries in myriad factors including education, infrastructure, health and technology. There arent many huge surprises in the developed markets, as most countries overall rankings were fairly stable from the prior year. There were, however, a few interesting shifts in the ranks among emerging markets: some making leaps forward, and others, regressing.
2014-10-03 00:00:00 Sector Rotations by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.
This year sector rotations were quite dramatic with late/early, recession and growth/value baskets swinging back and forth all along. By and large these rotations explain essentially all US equities market prices action at the level of sectors. We are taking a closer look at this year rotations, at this week action and where it can end up next as well as how to take advantage of it.
2014-09-30 00:00:00 Asset Allocation in a Time of Complacency by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners
Complacency is a dangerous mindset, especially for investors. Having been generously rewarded beyond their expectations, investors were coddled in the arms of complacency as 2013 drew to a close.
2014-09-19 00:00:00 Bad Breadth by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Investors have heard about record highs in the stock market for months now. Headline indices like the S&P 500 and the Dow 30 broke their record highs this summer, and are still quite close to them. But what about the other indices? According to a recent Bloomberg article, About 47% of stocks in the Nasdaq Composite Index are down at least 20% from their peak in the last 12 months while more than 40% have fallen that much in the Russell 2000 Index and the Bloomberg IPO Index. Some will refer to this as a two-tiered market. We prefer to call it "bad breadth."
2014-09-18 00:00:00 “You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat”: Alpha and Interest Rates by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments
Caution has been the dominant sentiment among investors in recent times even as equities have continued to march along. But as the prospect of rising US interest rates becomes ever more real, Brooks Ritchey, senior managing director at K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Solutions, takes a look at how some individuals and institutions are changing their guarded approach. He says alternative investments could find increased interest among savvy investors as interest rates start to tick higher.
2014-09-16 00:00:00 Authoritarianism versus Democracy: The Key Challenge to Chinese Ascendancy by Michael Edesess and Kwok L. Tsui (Article)
An intense debate has been underway for more than a decade about whether the East - China in particular - is in the ascendancy. Some argue this is so and that the West is in decline. Others say China's flawed political institutions will limit its monumental growth and render it precarious. This an especially opportune time to address these questions.
2014-09-13 00:00:00 Patiently Waiting for Mean Reversion by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Because small caps tend to have higher beta than blue chips, you would expect them to outperform in a generally rising market?which we?re currently in. So it appears that a major rotation out of these riskier, more volatile stocks has inexplicably occurred, leading to the wide bifurcation between small and large companies. The good news is that, based on 20 years of historical data, stocks in the Russell 2000 tend to rally in the fourth quarter and continue steadily until around the end of the first quarter. Over this 20-year period ending in December 2013, the Russell has generat
2014-09-13 00:00:00 Anarchy in the U.K. by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
This weeks blog borrows its title from one of the early anthems of the 1970s Punk Rock era. At a time when terrorism dominates the global newswire, another part of the world is erupting in what could become a market-moving chain of events. This is accompanied by an atmosphere that can appropriately be described as vicious (Baby Boomer alternative music buffs from their college days hopefully get the pun there).
2014-09-12 00:00:00 Distressed Corporate Credit: A Tale of Two Markets? by Sai S. Devabhaktuni of PIMCO
Middle market distressed credit may be an attractive source of higher returns in an overall low yield environment for investors able to access these opportunities. However, the higher return potential comes with greater risks. Imbalances in middle markets are building. ?Investors looking toward distressed credit markets should focus on companies that will likely be able to withstand periods of economic inertia, to undertake careful valuation practices and to strictly adhere to the absolute priority rule (in which senior creditors are paid in full before junior creditors).
2014-09-06 00:00:00 Roll Em if Youve Got Em by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Investors and their advisors have eased into the perceived comfort of evaluating investment results over standard, fixed time periods, such as year-to-date or the past 1-3-5 years. These are all valid time periods to review, but I dont think they are enough.
2014-09-04 00:00:00 International Equity Commentary: July, 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices saw a modest correction in July as geopolitical tensions worsened in Ukraine and the Middle East. The risk of these conflicts spreading to wider areas and pulling in more countries unnerved the markets.
2014-08-28 00:00:00 The World is in Crisis…the Markets Are Not by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet
Markets have been gyrating for the past months in the face of a wave of geopolitical crises. But the chance of any of these crises dramatically altering the behavior of markets beyond the short-term is very, very slight.
2014-08-15 00:00:00 Ready to Board the "Through Train?" by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
What is the significance of the soon-to-be rolled out ShanghaiHong Kong Connect, also known as the "through train?" This pilot program is designed to provide mutual access for equity investors between the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges. What will be the impact? While incremental, this could be an important step toward opening China's capital account and aiding in the liberalization of China's currency.
2014-08-12 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
During the first half of 2014, developed Asia Pacific economies faced challenges arising from lukewarm consumption and meek trade growth. Most countries in the region tried boosting their economies with a mix of infrastructure spending and loose monetary policies. Countries that had their trade skewed to China, Asias largest economy, faced prospects of slowing trade.
2014-08-09 00:00:00 What in the World?! (Sungarden’s Thoughts on Current News Headlines) by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Summer slowdown? No way! The news is full of compelling story lines. Some of them have investment implications, some do not. Here, we briefly sort them out.
2014-08-09 00:00:00 Important Reform Progress by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia
Last week's announcement that the Communist Party will reform the hukou, or household registration system, is an important first step toward reducing the contradictions and conflicts in Chinese society. Migrant workers were primarily responsible for China's rapid economic growth, and today account for the majority of the manufacturing and construction workforce.
2014-08-07 00:00:00 With US Volatility on the Upswing, Take a Look at Asia by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock
While the U.S. economy appears to be gaining steam, lofty stock prices and rising geopolitical risks are finally taking a toll. Russ discusses one area that still represents an opportunity: Asia, both developed and emerging.
2014-07-29 00:00:00 The Philippine Growth Story Looks Set to Continue by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments
We are optimistic that the Philippine growth story has several long chapters ahead, a view supported by the countrys progress in infrastructure investments and reform initiatives. Following a slow recovery from the Asian Financial Crisis, the Philippine financial sector is in a much better economic position for sustainable growth than many other emerging markets. The overall economic backdrop in the Philippines remains favorableas economic freedoms continue to increase so too will the flow of foreign capital, fuelling for the economic investments necessary to further develop thi
2014-07-29 00:00:00 Blowback: The Tragedy of Flight MH-17 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
On July 17, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 persons aboard. Evidence suggests that Russian-backed rebels fired the rocket, inadvertently attacking the civilian aircraft. In this report, we will discuss the recent escalation of tensions in Ukraine that led to the mistaken attack. We will examine the use of proxies in warfare between nuclear powers, both the costs and benefits. In terms of cost, the problem of blowback will be analyzed, with a focus on how this situation affects President Putin. We will conclude with market ramificat
2014-07-26 00:00:00 WIMPY Implications of Massive Government Stimulus by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
The question we have is how are we going to pay for all of this borrowed money? If you are the government and own the Mint, you can print more money. That pays your debts but devalues your currency, so you replace one problem with another. When you hear that the Fed is "pumping liquidity into the system" there is a good reason - they are the only ones left who can. The consumers financial condition is again fading into treacherous territory.
2014-07-15 00:00:00 The Dollar Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Over the past few years, various prosecutorial arms of U.S. government entities have brought charges against foreign banks that have violated U.S. sanctions that were placed on different countries. In this report, we will discuss the general nature of U.S. sanctions and how these banks violated American law. From there, we will reiterate the dollars reserve currency role from both a historic and theoretical perspective and show how this role makes the currency and the U.S. financial system pivotal in the global economy. We will conclude with market ramifications.
2014-07-13 00:00:00 Life has Changed in Burma by Patricia Higase of Link Road Capital Management
Changes come from within a country on a day to day basis and are happening far longer without being obvious. Life in Burma has changed drastically uncovering new opportunities. The changes are real and certainly isnt all hype.
2014-07-11 00:00:00 Hong Kong: A Rich Market for Long-Term Investors by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds
While largely out of favor, we are finding Hong Kong-listed Chinese companies that possess the characteristics we typically look for in our investmentshigh returns on invested capital, strong balance sheets, and attractive dividend yields. Portfolio Managers Jim Harvey and Dilip Badlani run through some names they currently like and talk about why the market is still appealing.
2014-07-07 00:00:00 Adapt or Perish: The Retirement Financial Decision by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Investors should pay very careful attention to how retirement investing has changed versus 10 or 20 years ago, get educated about it and then apply it to their specific situation. Financially-speaking, its a case of adapt or perish.
2014-07-05 00:00:00 Harnessing Solar in China by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
China has revised its solar energy targets several times in recent years. This year, it has set even more aggressive targets for solar deployment. But it still has a long way to go before large-scale adoption is possible. This week, Teresa Kong writes about her visit to a small town outside of Beijing to see a Greenpeace solar project that is encouraging households and enterprises to consider going green. What are the barriers to smooth implementation?
2014-06-26 00:00:00 You Don’t Have to Love Soccer by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull
The FIFA World Cup (for soccer aka football) is in full swing. There are 32 teams from around the world treating a world-wide audience of nearly 2 billion to a great show of sport. The teams are competing for $576 million in prize money. And while the U.S. will not likely make it to the final match, the tournament does offer some insight into diverse economies around the globe and why we should consider international investments as a pillar in any portfolio.
2014-06-20 00:00:00 Japan: Time to Give the Land of Falling Stocks Another Look? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock
So far, 2014 has been the year of the falling stocks in Japan. But according to Russ, Japan still stands out as one of the few potential bargains in the developed world. He explains.
2014-06-18 00:00:00 Getting in Gear for The New Neutral – What Does It Mean for Investors? by William Benz of PIMCO
Smart beta is increasingly important when returns are likely to fall short of what most investors need and expect. Active managers can use multiple tools to help generate higher returns. With outcome-oriented strategies, investors can align their portfolios toward meeting specific risk and return objectives. Investors with more aggressive income or return needs may benefit from bespoke, multi-asset solutions. ?
2014-06-17 00:00:00 Stiglitz: Europe's View on Inequality by Marianne Brunet (Article)
When you approach a crowd conversing over coffee at an economics conference, you don't normally expect to hear them giddily saying: "He's absolutely adorable! Adorable, and so sweet." But at a recent economics conference in Toulouse, France, participants were raving about Joseph Stiglitz like he was a movie star.
2014-06-14 00:00:00 Where's Voldo? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
When volatile markets come around, it is not the actual VIX level that is most important. Understanding of the way the rules of engagement for risk management and return strategies change (and they can change a lot), is the key. The difference between fearing volatile markets and capitalizing on them is, in our opinion, a key element to the long-term success of any investment strategy.
2014-06-13 00:00:00 Is the European Economy Turning Japanese by PJ Grzywacz of CMG Capital Management Group
Turning Japanese in todays macroeconomic environment means that your country is at risk of deflation which can turn into a 20 year battle, like in Japan.
2014-06-09 00:00:00 May Jobs Report: 4 Key Takeaways by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Allianz Global Investors US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper analyzes the May employment report, including what it means for monetary policy, markets and investors.
2014-06-09 00:00:00 And That's The Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Let the summer partying begin. With the ECB alerting its Fed counterparts (and investors everywhere) that its policymakers will take whatever measures necessary to aid its economy and combat deflation, stocks again moved to record levels on key indexes and even the small-cappers recovered from the perpetual April slide and turned "in the black" for the year. The manufacturing and labor sectors appears to have put the winter storms behind them and even the consumer has shown signs of thawing out in time for the summer. Vacation anyone?
2014-06-07 00:00:00 The Modern Portfolio Flat Earth Society by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates
Math and physics are rooted in equations that spit out precise answers; vagueness there is dangerous for the right reasons. That is why they are called exact sciences. Investing, despite being taught as an almost exact science, is far from it. It is a craft that falls somewhere between art and science.
2014-06-04 00:00:00 Another kind of “Birdland?” by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments
The market bulls have been maintaining their vigil. Stocks have soared over 100% since 2009, but now the bear looms above them.
2014-05-31 00:00:00 From Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey Has Never Been Better by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Every time he travels to Turkey, portfolio manager of our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX), Tim Steinle, says the country continues to develop. Although technically classified as an emerging market, one wouldn?t think to label the country as such upon arrival. The population is young and growing, there are improvements to infrastructure everywhere you look, beautiful green parks are more prevalent, and the professional staffs that run many of the shops and businesses are both well organized and thriving.
2014-05-30 00:00:00 Seoul Searching by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
South Korea's Sewol ferry disaster in April has not only been one of the country's most tragic events in recent memory, it is also one that is leaving an indelible mark on Korean society. The incident claimed hundreds of young lives, led to a public outpouring of anger, capital punishment charges and several key resignations, including that of the Prime Minister.
2014-05-30 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Reflections from a fortnight abroad;Last weekend's European elections will make cooperation more difficult
2014-05-27 00:00:00 Kyle Bass: The Looming Crises in Asia by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For the last several years, nobody has been more outspokenly bearish on Japan than Kyle Bass. In a recent talk, Bass reiterated his doubts about Japan's chances of averting a debt crisis. What's more, he also said China's economy will fall below expectations.
2014-05-23 00:00:00 Online Upstarts Challenge Chinese Banks by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
Chinese banks have long operated under a protective environment in which deposit and lending rates have been managed in a rather tight band by the central bank. One advantage of these controls for the banks has been fixed net interest rate margins. But Chinas traditional state-owned banks have been pressured recently to try to keep depositors from seeking the higher yield products now offered by online Chinese financing firms.
2014-05-20 00:00:00 Will Global Tensions Derail the US Recovery? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
It's not the Fed's monetary policy that investors should fear, but the "geopolitical tapering" undertaken by the Obama administration, contends Niall Ferguson, the Harvard historian. Ian Bremmer, the political scientist and chairman of the Eurasia Group, disagrees - despite some tactical missteps, he said, the current administration has achieved reasonable results.
2014-05-07 00:00:00 The Top Five Government Policies I’m Watching This Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Every morning when I meet with the investment team, we review the news of the previous day, the movements of the markets around the world, and corporate actions that may affect our funds. This is how we keep our ears open in order to manage money that shareholders like you have entrusted us with. We meet again at lunchtime, daily, to share ideas, because something happening in China may affect the U.S. markets, or an energy company might have news that can benefit our domestic funds as well as our resources funds.
2014-05-03 00:00:00 Housing may be returning to a bad neighborhood by Team of Northern Trust
The head of financial stability at the Bank of England recently called rising property prices ?the very brightest [hazard] light on its dashboard.? But he may have a difficult time getting his colleagues who are charged with promoting full employment to agree with him. And if they do, it is far from clear what they might do about the issue. Some favor supervisory curbs; others prefer the more-traditional method of raising rates. The recovery in global real estate has been pronounced. While it beats the alternative, one wonders whether the hard lessons learned in recent corrections have been su
2014-04-25 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review ? Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies showed increased resilience as loose monetary policies of the past two years helped create demand, boost employment, and increase output.
2014-04-21 00:00:00 Cast a Wider Net for Asian Income Stocks by Stuart Rae, Katsuhiko Mano of AllianceBernstein
Equity income has been a hot theme for Asian investors. But safer sectors that typically provide higher dividend yields are expensive. By casting a wider net, we think attractively priced income stocks can still be found in unexpected parts of the markets.
2014-04-17 00:00:00 Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds
Former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was well-known for his conservative offense-often quoted as saying, "There are only three things that can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." The two bad outcomes are either an incompletion or an interception. Instead, Hayes favored a methodical, grind-it-out approach, running the ball directly into the line: "three yards and a cloud of dust." What Hayes style of play may have lacked in pizazz, it more than made up for in results. The U.S. economy today is following a similar offensive playbook, but with less satisfying results.
2014-04-05 00:00:00 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.
2014-04-04 00:00:00 Pakistan?Reputation and Reality by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
I have been spending an increasing amount of time in ?frontier? Asian countries, exploring such fascinating locales as Mongolia and Myanmar. But only recently did I make my first trip to Pakistan. It is a country that has long piqued my interest and was a last, unexplored frontier for me. Through the years, we have debated the issues of safety and law and order there. For many in the West, the mention of Pakistan instills some fears, and many governments continue to warn their citizens to defer all non-essential travel to the country.
2014-03-19 00:00:00 Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are: A Look Back at the 1990s by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Human nature tells us to look back to help divine the future. Today's environment looks strikingly similar to the mid-1990s, which has pros and cons.
2014-03-18 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
Stocks were buffeted last week on the outcome in Ukraine (well founded), growing concern that the world does not know what happened to that missing Malaysian airliner, and of course, the ever-present worries about the global economy - especially in light of renewed concern over China, both its economy and its banking system.
2014-03-17 00:00:00 Restoring the "Virtuous Cycle" of Economic Growth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
The so-called ?dual mandate? of the Federal Reserve does not ask the Fed to manage short-run or even cyclical fluctuations in the economy. Instead ? whether one believes that the goals of that mandate are achievable or not ? it asks the Fed to ?maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.?
2014-03-14 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Global trade negotiations have stalled; This is a delicate time for Chinese finance; Where will Europes growth come from?
2014-03-07 00:00:00 Ukraine at Crossroads by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
In February, the winter Olympic Games brought athletes from around the world together in Russia, but in Ukraine, Russia's neighbor to the southwest, the story has been one of division. Violent clashes between pro-EU (European Union) protesters and government forces in the past few months have focused the eyes of the world on the former-Soviet state after (now former) President Yanukovych had refused to sign an Association Pact forging closer ties to the EU and decided instead to accept funding from Russia.
2014-03-06 00:00:00 Watch and Wait by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments
Vladimir Putin?s and Russia?s military action in the Crimea, formally a part of the Ukraine, made it hard to focus on much else Monday. Aside from the obvious and important humanitarian concerns, the military threat carries immense global risk and potentially significant economic consequences.
2014-02-20 00:00:00 Abenomics is Failing on Multiple Fronts by of GaveKal Capital
With each passing month it is becoming more clear that Abenomics is, at least so far, failing to meet one of its critical goals, which is to stimulate exports and bring the country back to a trade surplus. Indeed, the latest trade statistics revealed the largest single month trade deficit ever.
2014-02-20 00:00:00 The State of International Small-Cap by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
While some argue that domestic small-cap leadership in 2013 was a result of its heavy exposure to companies that tend to generate most of their income domestically, others contest that this greater focus on the U.S. may mean missing out on the benefits of faster-growing foreign economies. We, on the other hand, choose to focus our attentions on individual companies, particularly those in more cyclical areas of the market that are more closely tied to the global economy.
2014-02-04 00:00:00 Crisis in Ukraine by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
Since November, Ukraine has experienced widespread civil unrest. In late November, Ukrainian President Yanukovych decided not to join an EU-sponsored trade pact. This led to protests from Ukrainians who desired closer relations with Europe. In this report, we will begin by discussing the geopolitics of the nations involved, examining how nations have adjusted their policies over time to changing conditions. We will analyze the risks to the region from current unrest, including a look at the impact on emerging markets. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.
2014-02-01 00:00:00 Central Banker Throwdown by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The Federal Reserve is signaling that it is going to end quantitative easing at some point in the future; therefore, investors are trying to find the exits before the end actually comes.
2014-01-21 00:00:00 Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice: Bearish Forecasts from Two Top Strategists by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Its been nearly 18 years since Albert Edwards forecast an "ice age" in which bonds would outperform equities. Hes been right until just recently, when cumulative returns on the two classes converged. But Edwards insists that his thesis is still accurate - deflation will be the force to propel bonds over stocks, he says. Dylan Grice, meanwhile, warns that the markets operate on an unstable equilibrium that could devolve into apocalyptic conditions.
2014-01-21 00:00:00 Superstition Ain't the Way by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
When you believe in things that you dont understand, then you suffer.
2014-01-18 00:00:00 Forecast 2014: 'Mark Twain!' by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The surface of the market waters looks smooth, but the data above suggest caution as we proceed. Perhaps slowing the engine and taking more frequent soundings (or putting in closer stops!) might be in order. The cry should be "Mark twain!" Let’s steam ahead but take more frequent readings and know that a course correction may soon be necessary.
2014-01-17 00:00:00 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
The U.S. budget deal reduces policy uncertainty. The fiscal state of the states is better, but challenges remain. Meeting the new cast at the Fed.
2014-01-13 00:00:00 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter Year End 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management
John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that "Despite the painful decline in gold and gold shares that persisted throughout the entire year, we believe that the fundamental case for both remains strong." Hathaway writes that "the bullion market has been pressured all year by an artificial supply of paper gold with little or no connection to the underlying physical.
2014-01-10 00:00:00 Continuing a Winning Formula for 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
We believe there?s a way that increases the odds of winning. It?s by combining a bottom-up approach with a top-down strategy: Find great, fast-growing and shareholder-focused companies and focus on the best stocks in the sectors experiencing positive momentum.
2014-01-09 00:00:00 The U.S. Begins an (Un)employment Experiment by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments
Extended unemployment benefits stopped for 1.3 million people at year-end. This doesnt change their employment status...they just stop getting unemployment compensation. Extended benefits (of up to 99 weeks) was part of the recession-fighting fiscal stimulus package. A question was: did this create a dis-incentive to find a job (aka "funemployment").
2014-01-06 00:00:00 Value Stocks Beckon in Emerging Markets by Henry D'uria, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein
Years of playing defense have left many emerging-market (EM) equity portfolios laden with pricey safe-haven stocks. We think they risk missing the big opportunity thats brewing in value stocks, especially as EM economies begin to stabilize.
2013-12-30 00:00:00 Predictions for the 2014 U.S. Financial Markets by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services
Ive had so many phenomenal and diverse guests on my syndicated radio show, Financial Myth Busting, this year: Steve Forbes, Mort Zuckerman, David Stockman, Michael Belkin, David Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, Marc Faber, and even Ted Nugent. This is a very eclectic group, but they all have certain opinions in common. They all share the same concerns that the U.S. economic growth remains anemic and the continued economic instability and political deadlock along with business communitys mistrust of the U.S. government will continue to destroy Americas bottom line in the future.
2013-12-27 00:00:00 Year of Turmoil for China's Health Care by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia
2013 has been an eventful year for Chinas health care industry. There were several investigations into allegations of corruption and bribe-taking by doctors.
2013-12-24 00:00:00 The Price America Pays for Global Leadership by Bob Veres (Article)
Americas political debates inevitably default to finding ways to contain our federal deficits, and our investment debates focus on whether were facing a secular bear or bull market - and how to maneuver within that environment. I had never imagined that these two debates could be related until I heard a presentation by Bill OGrady, of Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, MO at the Insiders Forum conference in Dallas.
2013-12-23 00:00:00 China's Consumer Stocks: Opportunities Despite Slower Growth by Richard Flax of PIMCO
A weaker macro environment and curbs on spending by government bureaucrats have hit a range of consumer businesses and, in some cases, forced a reassessment of expansion plans. While Chinese consumption may be challenged in the near term, we think the impact will be felt most in the retail sector where slowing demand is compounded by oversupply. We see opportunity in other sectors that benefit from secular demand growth and constrained supply or strong brands, notably casinos and luxury sectors.
2013-12-20 00:00:00 Let's Get Physical: Gold Bullion and Bitcoin by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management
John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), discusses in his latest insights piece the disparity in price direction between gold bullion and Bitcoin, in spite of the strikingly similar rationale for holding the two. He notes that the "Bitcoin-Gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades."
2013-12-17 00:00:00 How a Simple Sandwich Got a Top Prospects Attention by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors generously support charities and good causes in their communities and around the world. Heres how to communicate that support to clients.
2013-12-16 00:00:00 The World We Live In by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management
For me, the final month of the year has always been a time to reflect upon the past as well as plan for the future. Analyzing the year soon to pass provides a valuable perspective with which to evaluate the important issues that will impact our country and economy going forward. In this context, 2013 sure has been a memorable year highlighted by horrific natural disasters, the deaths of Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela, and on the lighter side, the unforgettable ending to perhaps the greatest Iron Bowl ever played.
2013-12-06 00:00:00 Vibrant Vietnam by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
I recently made my first visit to Vietnam and spent several days in Ho Chi Minh City. Considered by the investment community to be a frontier market, Vietnam has a low per capita income (approximately US$1,600), a relatively young population and less mature capital markets.
2013-11-24 00:00:00 Game of Thrones - European Style by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The Eurozone crisis is not over, and it will not end quickly or soon. Even if it seems to unfold in slow motion - like the slow build-up in a Game of Thrones storyline to violent internecine clashes followed by more slow plot developments but never any resolution, the Eurozone debacle has never really gone away. The structural imbalances have still not been fixed; politicians and central bankers have still not agreed to solve major fiscal problems; the overall economy still disintegrates; unemployment is staggeringly high in some countries and still rising; and the people are growing restless.
2013-11-21 00:00:00 Some Small-Caps Are More Global Than Others by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
How much of a contribution have overseas revenues made to this years dynamic domestic small-cap rally? Part of the answer lies in where portfolios invest and where they do not. Portfolio Manager and Principal Francis Gannon notes the emerging strength shown by those more economically sensitive sectors that are closely tied to global economic activity.
2013-11-20 00:00:00 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments
Janet Yellens Senate testimony in last weeks confirmation hearings was very dovish and offered no real surprises. She did not signal or hint at any change in Fed policy (it was a confirmation hearing), but suggested that the best way to achieve an exit from unconventional policy is to deliver a stronger recovery . . . and the Fed has "more work to do" to support that recovery. The risk that she will not be confirmed is considered negligible.
2013-11-05 00:00:00 The Saudi Tribulation by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management
In this report, we will discuss the basic history of U.S. and Saudi relations, focusing on the historical commonality of goals between the two nations. We will detail how the aims of the two nations have diverged since the Cold War ended and use this to examine Americas evolving plans for the Middle East. We will discuss how the evolution of U.S. policy is affecting Saudi Arabia and the pressures these changes are bringing to the kingdom. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.
2013-11-01 00:00:00 Korea Raises Voice for Shareholders by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia
Corporate governance practices in South Koreas family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebol, find their roots in a social contract that was implicit in the process of the countrys economic development under military dictatorship, which began in the early 1960s. Koreas previously autocratic government initiated economic plans and wielded power in the private sector by assigning different areas of development to each of several chosen corporate families.
2013-10-25 00:00:00 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.
2013-10-23 00:00:00 Singaporean Consumer Consumption and Confidence is Weak - Should Investors Worry? by Team of Manning & Napier
Singapore is the worlds 35th largest economy by nominal GDP, yet ranks 6th in the world by GDP per capita, signifying its position as an advanced and highly-productive economy. With an efficient regulatory framework, low tax rates, and a flexible labor market, Singapore has a reputation for being one of the most business-friendly countries in the world.
2013-10-22 00:00:00 Bond Legend Dan Fuss on Rising Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, Dan Fuss can claim a unique achievement ? his tenure in the fixed income markets has spanned a full market cycle, from the great bear market that began in the early 1950s through the equally great bull market that commenced in 1981. Fuss said today’s environment most closely resembles what he confronted in the late 1950s, when long-term rates were 3% and beginning their march upwards.
2013-10-15 00:00:00 A Q3 client letter: Mike Tyson on Sticking to Your Plan by Dan Richards (Article)
Each quarter I post a template for a client letter, as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.
2013-10-15 00:00:00 The Science of Forensic Accounting by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia
The financial reporting of corporations in Asia is complex, and having a solid grasp of all the nuances involved in these accounting practices is critical when making investment decisions. This month Research Analyst Sudarshan Murthy, CFA, kicks off the first in a series of commentaries on the science of forensic accounting. This first issue focuses on the numbers, and examines what is considered in order to understand a companys accounting decisions and the implications they can have on financial reports.
2013-10-07 00:00:00 Shutdown, Debt Ceiling - Who Cares? by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
Driving home last week, the plight of furloughed Federal employees was on my mind. How could our elected officials in DC accept their pay for not doing their jobs while hurting folks that want to work but are told not to because the men and woman not doing their job (and still getting paid) shutdown part of the government? I was heartened to learn that Congress was going to take action but quickly realized that the fix paralleled the stupidity that got us into this mess. The legislation ensures that all furloughed employees will be paid for the furlough period.
2013-10-01 00:00:00 The Eight Principles of Value Investing by Scott Clemons and Michael Kim (Article)
In any environment, but especially one characterized by uncertainty, eight principles of investing are critical. These bedrock beliefs help guide our thinking at the levels of asset allocation, security selection and identification of the third-party managers we engage to help manage our clients’ assets.
2013-09-30 00:00:00 Government Shutdown Could Lead to a Buying Opportunity by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
As we approach yet another self-induced the sky is falling and the other guy is to blame environment, recall that this situation is not uncommon. We have had 17 of these budget debt ceiling deadlines and yet we have unbelievably (said with extreme rolling of the eyes) been able to overcome our elected officials calls for the end of the world. The most recent time when the U.S. government shutdown was in November 1995 concluding in January 1996,when arguably the animosity and polarization was as pronounced as it is today.
2013-09-28 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Achievement Awards Announced at the 2013 Insiders Forum Conference and Leadership Forum by Bob Veres (Article)
The first annual Insiders Forum conference attracted more than its share of industry leaders. But two of its more prominent attendees received special recognition for their contributions to the financial planning/investment advisory profession.
2013-09-27 00:00:00 Don't Cry for Me, Ben Bernanke by Simon Johnson of Project Syndicate
The Federal Reserve will decide on monetary policy for the US based primarily on US conditions. Economic policymakers elsewhere who are pleading for a postponement of US monetary tightening should understand this hard reality and prepare accordingly.
2013-09-24 00:00:00 Michael Aronsteins Warning to Fund Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Fixed-income investors may think rising interest rates are their biggest worry. But bond funds face a new risk, driven by their need for liquidity to service investors daily redemptions, according to Michael Aronstein.
2013-09-05 00:00:00 Dividends Matter by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Many people think of emerging market stocks as pure growth plays, and may not realize that there is a separate potential benefitdividendsthat can also be available to investors in these markets. A prolonged period of easy monetary policies in many developed nations (particularly the US) has left income-seeking investors searching for alternatives to traditional fixed income, including dividend-paying stocks. Many investors may not realize dividends arent just a developed-market phenomenon.
2013-09-03 00:00:00 Momentum in Europe by Janus Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group
We think now is a good time to be investing in Europe. European equity valuations are at the lowest level in more than 40 years, by some measures, and we are seeing green shoots in the regions downtrodden economy. Meanwhile, European companies in several industries have right-sized their cost structures or refocused their businesses, setting them up to be more competitive on a global scale.
2013-08-27 00:00:00 The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts by Bob Veres (Article)
Clients and the world at large give inordinate attention to downside scenarios, and nobody is calling our attention to the much larger upside of our business and investment landscape. The human brain amplifies this effect, because it is hardwired to notice threats much more than opportunities. I recently spoke with Dennis Stearns ? an advisor who happens to be an expert in scenario planning ? about the role planners need to play to counteract media-driven negativity.
2013-08-20 00:00:00 August Monthly Investment Bulletins by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
For the first seven months of the year the portfolio rose by 25.2% vs. 19.3% for the index. During the month, the 6.4% gain was 150 basis points ahead. Three trends continued: the gradual increase in fund flows into equity markets relative to other asset classes, slightly improving economic data across most developed countries, and a mild deterioration in many developing nations.
2013-08-09 00:00:00 Myanmar Rising by Team of Matthews Asia
After three decades under this military junta, Myanmar has thrown open its doors to change. Areas such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism all appear to be bursting with potential.
2013-08-06 00:00:00 We Shale Rise by Janus Equity Investment team of Janus Capital Group
The U.S. oil and gas boom largely underpinned the countrys economic recovery, but this is only the beginning. Dont underestimate what cheap oil and natural gas means for the U.S. economy, or how long this advantage could last.
2013-08-05 00:00:00 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.
2013-07-30 00:00:00 The U.S. Energy Revolution by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
In March 1971, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), which allocated oil production for the state of Texas, announced that producers in the state would be allowed a full allocation. This was the first time the TRC had allowed Texas producers to supply an unlimited amount of crude oil since WWII.
2013-07-30 00:00:00 Pennies from Heaven, Irrationality, and “Dys-information” by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital
If QE4 holds to course, ending, not just tapering, sometime in mid-2014, the U.S. will have spent 4+ years out of the past 6 living on monetary stimulus, all the while continuing to pile up ever more claims against future prosperity.
2013-07-26 00:00:00 China Property: A Tough "Bubble" to Pop by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
Irecently came across an old newspaper article from February 1989 that described Beijings residential property "bubble," with average selling prices then of about US$430 to US$510 per square meter. The article went on to say that, given that the average college-educated worker typically saved less than approximately US$13 per month, at those prices, it would take a century or so to be able to buy a two-bedroom apartment. The writer concluded that a housing bubble was underway.
2013-07-23 00:00:00 Fantasy versus Factors by Michael Nairne (Article)
Investors who wish to earn market-beating returns have a choice. They can indulge in the fantastical quest for alpha via high-cost active managers or they can construct factor tilts in their equity allocations via low-cost exchange traded or enhanced index funds. It doesnt take a PhD in mathematics to determine which route is more likely to take an investor to higher performance.
2013-07-23 00:00:00 Time to Kick the Ick Factor for Energy and Materials by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
Basic materials have been the biggest loser of an asset class for 2012 as well as thus far in 2013. Everything tangible, from gold and copper to coal and steel, has acquired an ick factor that makes the asset class nearly uninvestable. Shares of companies in these categories are trading at values not seen since 2009 market lows. We are beginning to see some very important developments that might make the group more palatable. In fact, we believe that metals, mining and energy could again become Wall Street darlings.
2013-07-16 00:00:00 Herbert Huebscher (1926-2013) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My dad passed away on July 8. My eulogy is below.
2013-07-12 00:00:00 Deregulating Korean Telecom by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia
Renowned as the worlds most wired country, South Korea has been quick to adopt and distribute cutting edge communications technology when it comes to both wired and wireless Internet gadgets.
2013-07-02 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2013-06-28 00:00:00 China's Near-Term Macro Outlook by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The key message from the recent Shibor volatility is that the Chinese government is now willing to tolerate slower near-term growth while carrying out reform to rebalance the economy for long term sustainable growth. The diminishing demographic dividend as a result of the aging population and One-Child Policy will result in slower potential growth for the economy.
2013-06-28 00:00:00 Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
Chinas economy has seen plenty of headwinds recentlyweak exports numbers, slower growth in both services and manufacturing and a weak recovery of corporate earnings despite rapid credit growth. Chinas equity markets have performed weakly too and have been extremely volatile. But much of the recent volatility has less to do with sagging growth and much more to do with a cash crunch and tight liquidity in Chinas banking system. What is going on?
2013-06-26 00:00:00 2 Ways to Play the US Energy Boom by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Russ offers two ideas one perhaps obvious and one perhaps not for investors looking to potentially benefit from the US energy renaissance.
2013-06-25 00:00:00 Despite More Downside Risk, Stick with Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Despite stocks recent declines and the rocky road ahead, Russ explains why he still prefers equities over bonds.
2013-06-21 00:00:00 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part II by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
While yields have come off their historical lows in the U.S. and Asia, there is substantially more room for rates to continue to rise. In terms of credit spreads, we have seen investment grade and high yield spreads widen. We believe that spreads will have some room to widen given a repricing of risk across the globe.
2013-06-18 00:00:00 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Affluent investors all over the world just arent getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Masons recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and theyre eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.
2013-06-17 00:00:00 Recent Volatility in the Foreign Exchange Market and the Strengthening Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
There are two issues underlying the increased currency market volatility; depreciation of the Yen may have resulted in worldwide competitive devaluation and concern about early tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the U.S. appears to have triggered currency depreciation for countries that are running current account deficits.
2013-06-17 00:00:00 Submerging Markets: What the Emerging Market Selloff is Telling Us by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Investing at its most basic level is about one thing: the return you seek on your investment and the risk you take to get that return. I often emphasize that the biggest risk to investors is volatility, because its the occasional shakiness of markets or market segments that causes investors (whether they manage their money or have someone else do it for them) to react emotionally instead of logically. That plays out every day in markets around the world.
2013-06-14 00:00:00 A Sweet Find on an African Adventure by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The heart of Africa has been beating strong in recent years due to elevated commodity prices and resilient domestic demand, despite the global economic slowdown. Among the sub-Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was the fastest growing country last year, according to the World Bank. Its economy experienced growth that is as rare today as Fancy Red diamonds. GDP increased a whopping 18 percent.
2013-06-12 00:00:00 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.
2013-06-11 00:00:00 How Asia's Growth Transitions and Policy Experiments Are Shaping the Global Outlook by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO
Our view is that Chinese GDP growth will downshift, averaging 6%-7.5% for the next five years as net exports and investment are reaching their limits. In Asia, Japan is perhaps the economy closest to the T-junction described in PIMCOs global secular outlook: The destination of Japans journey looks increasingly uncertain, with multiple potential outcomes that could stabilize or destabilize the global economy and markets.
2013-06-08 00:00:00 Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
In practice it may be harder for Japan to grow and generate inflation than it might be for other major nations. Today we’ll focus on Japanese demographics. While the letter is full of graphs and charts, it does not paint a pretty picture. The forces of deflation will not go gently into that good night.
2013-05-29 00:00:00 Is This the End of the World As We Know It? by Massimo Tosato of Schroders Investment Management
After five turbulent years of decline and unrelenting economic doom there are signs that change could be afoot.
2013-05-25 00:00:00 The Mother of All Painted-In Corners by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Japan has painted itself into the mother all corners. There will be no clean or easy exit. There is going to be massive economic pain as they the Japanese try and find a way out of their problems, and sadly, the pain will not be confined to Japan. This will be the true test of the theories of neo-Keynesianism writ large. Japan is going to print and monetize and spend more than almost any observer can currently imagine. You like what Paul Krugman prescribes? You think he makes sense? You (we all!) are going to be participants in a real-world experiment on how that works out.
2013-05-24 00:00:00 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesnt spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.
2013-05-22 00:00:00 Asia Brief: China's Car Fleet The Largest in the World? by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management
Car sales in China have grown rapidly since 2009 and it is on course to outstrip the US in terms of the size of its car fleet by the end of this decade. This presents a major challenge to the Chinese government, which must balance its peoples happiness and political stability with economic development in an environment which has already been compromised. The momentum of demand for new passenger vehicles is likely to make air quality worse and Beijing has introduced emissions and efficiency standards to address the problem.
2013-05-21 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.
2013-05-20 00:00:00 Global Real Estate Is Hot Again, but Where Are the Best Opportunities? by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco
In this low interest rate environment, yield-hungry investors have been moving out of bonds, and many are opting for real estate investment opportunities. Combine that with a structural undersupply of institutional quality real estate in many key cities across the globe, and an attractive case for investment starts to emerge. Heres where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.
2013-05-15 00:00:00 Yen Weakness: Buffett's "Shot Heard Round the World'" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
We returned recently from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. The most exciting and profound comment to us was what Warren Buffett said about the unprecedented actions the last three years by the Federal Reserve Board. Buffett was asked about the risks of the Federal Reserves current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.
2013-05-14 00:00:00 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. Roubinis 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 todays biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.
2013-05-14 00:00:00 Guide to Working with Monetary Napalm by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
Napalm is a highly incendiary form of jellied fuel. It was used extensively in the Vietnam War to quickly ignite massive fires over large areas of land. In the world of financial incendiaries, the Feds overwhelming monetary stimulus has ignited asset prices in the United States with the force and effectiveness of napalm. Is the fire short lived? Are the gains in asset prices temporary or can they be believed? Are the housing and stock markets on fire just because of the Feds quantitative easing (QE) or could there be a much more fundamental reason?
2013-05-13 00:00:00 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Equity markets remained strong and the portfolio continued to outperform well, with a monthly gain of 3.2% vs 0.6% for the index. After two decades of policy torpor, Japans government has rapidly adopted a trio of policies to kick start the economy: monetary and fiscal stimulus, plus a weak yen. This is shock and awe relative to GDP, being far greater than any experiment in any developed country since the Second World War.
2013-05-07 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2013-04-30 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Asia's Reverse Innovation Trend by Beini Zhou of Matthews Asia
In recent years, the rate of acquisitions of local Asian firms by multinational companies has generally increased, particularly in China. This has happened across many industries such as industrials, medical devices and consumer staples. In many cases, if the multinational firms are not acquiring an entire company outright, they are taking a controlling stake, rather than a minority stake as a passive shareholder.
2013-04-24 00:00:00 Growth From the Ground up in Iskandar by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
Our emerging markets team isnt too keen on following crowds. Part and parcel of Templetons contrarian approach is traveling to places others arent, and thinking about the long-term potential in specific industries and companies that may not be on others radar screens. One place weve had our eye on for several years now is Iskandar, Malaysia, which has recently been attracting more investor attention. I think it could be viewed as an example of the potential we see in Southeast Asia.
2013-04-17 00:00:00 Present and Emerging Risks to the Gold Trade by Amit Bhartia, Matt Seto of GMO
The notion of gold as a hedge against systemic risks is flawed. We believe that the concept of golds role as an insurance policy needs to be narrowed significantly.
2013-04-04 00:00:00 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.
2013-03-28 00:00:00 China Talks of Trimming the Fat by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia
Chinas new leaders are talking tough about fighting government corruption and imposing a culture of frugality among Communist Party cadres. Sensitive to growing criticism about government excess, incoming President Xi Jinping has promised to crack down on officials who abuse their power and engage in illicit behavior, regardless of their rank.
2013-03-26 00:00:00 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Masons just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.
2013-03-25 00:00:00 Still Bullish by Richard Golod of Invesco
Global equities (as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index) fell modestly in February amid reignited fears about the euros future, signs of distress in Chinas economy and the looming sequester deadline in the US. Nevertheless, I believe the US, Japan and emerging markets may offer compelling opportunities, while Europe requires a more selective approach.
2013-03-20 00:00:00 Chinas 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? Thats the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!
2013-03-18 00:00:00 Finding the Sweet Spot by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
Where is the investment sweet spot in todays global financial markets? The uneven global growth outlook means there are opportunities and risks for both credit and equity investors.
2013-03-18 00:00:00 Outlook for the Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
For several quarters ahead, we estimate that the Yen will remain range bound near the level of PPP (purchasing power parity), which is estimated to be between 90 to 95 Yen/USD. Though currency movements will be affected by various factors, we think the monetary policies of both Japan and the U.S. are the most important.
2013-03-13 00:00:00 Argentina on Sale by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
(From Cafayate, Argentina) There are some who worry whether the path that Argentina has taken to monetary ruin on multiple occasions (and that it seems intent on taking again) is one that the US may also find itself on. That worry has crossed my mind a few times, I must confess. Today we will look at Argentina more in depth. From a monetary perspective, it deserves attention. And once again there will be opportunity.
2013-03-11 00:00:00 Spring is in the Air, Who's Buying Fixed Income and Exports by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
This week we start with a look at some bizarre coincidences that have us wondering if it is Spring that is the cause. We next look at who is buying so much debt and to contemplate the implications for the muni market. We conclude with a look at Exports and a reminder that the world really is a small place.
2013-03-08 00:00:00 The Hustle of Hong Kong by Colin Dishington of Matthews Asia
The strength of the retail environment in Hong Kong has been well documented, but the scale of shopping malls sprawling through large parts of the city is somewhat staggering. In the more central districts, product offerings tend to cater to the high-end crowd with luxury international brands apparent on every street corner.
2013-03-07 00:00:00 Guanxi, Mianzi, and Business: The Impact of Culture on Corporate Governance in China by David Smith of Aberdeen Asset Management
There are two key cultural and sociological issues of particular importance when evaluating Chinese companies: guanxi (relationships and networks) and mianzi (face). When analyzing the potential of a Chinese company, it's important to understand how guanzi and mianzi affect transactions, board composition and deliberations, and shareholder engagement, among other issues.
2013-03-01 00:00:00 Is China's Health Care on the Mend? by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia
Despite the many challenges facing Chinas health care sector, I believe the recent initiatives and the markets continued growth could create many future investment opportunities in areas ranging from medical device manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceutical and a range of general and specialized care facilities.
2013-02-22 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Outlook: Will Emerging Markets Continue Their Run in 2013? by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital
A number of times we have been asked whether emerging markets will continue their run in 2013. Our response typically begins with the following clarification: "Emerging markets" may be a handy way to refer to the countries that constitute a generally recognized asset class, but this group is far from monolithic. Widely differing levels of development, economic drivers, opportunities to invest, and returns exist under the emerging markets umbrella. For this reason it's not entirely correct to imply that "emerging markets" had a run in 2012.
2013-02-22 00:00:00 Finding What's Real in Real Estate by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The U.S. financial crisis in 2008-2009 left many investors with a reluctance to take investment risks, particularly those related to any of the world's wilted housing markets. However, as your local real estate agent would likely tell you, the market in one location can be vastly different than it is in another. Wilson Magee, co-manager of Franklin Global Real Estate Fund would agree that the adage "location, location, location" applies not only to individual home buyers and sellers, but to investors seeking opportunities in the commercial real estate sector, too.
2013-02-16 00:00:00 In the Year of the Snake, Where Will Copper Head? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
With an improving global economy and Chinas new leadership ramping up projects, will base metals, such as copper, head higher?
2013-02-15 00:00:00 China's New Year for Shopping by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
This week's Lunar New Year celebration, also known as the Spring Festival in China, is not only a time of tradition for families during which they reunite over a feast, it is also one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year. As with Christmas in the West, the Spring Festival is a time of gift giving for friends and relatives. Children receive money in red envelopes as part of the tradition and stores often hold large-scale holiday sales to attract shoppers.
2013-02-13 00:00:00 Concerned by Recent Economic Data? Look Closer by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments
We've seen a lot of GDP data recently that, at first look, may seem a bit concerning. But if we take a moment for analysis, much of the news is actually good for the economy and the markets.
2013-02-08 00:00:00 A Different Playbook by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group
Asia's handset market is developing quite differently than in Europe or the U.S., creating an entirely different playing field for Apple and other handset makers. Major brands are being challenged by the rise of cheap, but very capable generic smartphones. If major brands cannot innovate above and beyond the new offerings of these emerging cheap smartphones, they will not be able to command the high prices, and corresponding high profit margins, that have underpinned their success.
2013-02-05 00:00:00 Currency War or Something Altogether Different? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners
"Who is afraid of currency wars?" asks Gavyn Davies in the FT. I have known Gavyn for 25 years and have to confess that he is way out of my league intellectually. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met and, thankfully, also one of the humblest. He rarely gets things wrong so, when I occasionally disagree with him, it always makes me slightly uneasy.
2013-02-01 00:00:00 Q412 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers
While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.
2013-01-31 00:00:00 Hasenstab: Little Value in U.S. Treasuries Right Now by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The financial markets may have let out a collective sigh of relief on January 1 when U.S. politicians managed to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, but the fact is the fundamental issue plaguing the U.S. still hasn't been addressed mounting debt. As a result, Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department and portfolio manager for the Templeton Global Bond Fund, says he doesn't see much value in U.S. Treasuries right now. He does see it elsewhere in the world, though, including Ireland and select emerging markets where fiscal houses appear in much better order.
2013-01-22 00:00:00 Puppet Show by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
What's fascinating is that in the presence of what are not thin strings, but massive cables supporting the economy like a puppet, the only response that Wall Street can muster is "Hey! He's walking!" as if the puppet is capable of motion without being propped up to a nearly reckless extent.
2013-01-15 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Japan: Tip of the Spear by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management
On Sunday, December 16, 2012, Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led his coalition to a decisive electoral victory in Japan. The LDP won 294 out of 480 seats and, with the additional 29 seats captured by its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, will control the lower house in the Japanese Diet. Abe was named the new prime minister ten days later.
2013-01-11 00:00:00 Abe's Return May Prod Japan Forward by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
Japan's politics have entered 2013 with a mixed freshness. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has clinched a rare second shot at the prime minister's post. His first term, which began in late 2006, lasted only about a year and ended with his sudden resignation. But following its landslide victory last month, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has secured a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat Lower House, giving it the constitutional power to override Upper House opposition, where no single party holds a majority, on almost all issues.
2013-01-03 00:00:00 Thailand: M&A Boom a Sign of Economic Resurgence? by Team of Thomas White International
Chaleo Yoovidhya was born in northern Thailand where his immigrant family scraped a living raising ducks and selling fruits. Without any formal education or vocational skills, he had nothing to fall back upon in his youth. But that didn't stop him from founding his own pharmaceutical company and developing what has turned out to be arguably the world's most popular energy drink Red Bull. In March 2012, Yoovidhya died aged 89 the third richest Thai and a towering figure in Southeast Asia's business community.
2013-01-03 00:00:00 Korea's First Female President by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
South Korea's president-elect Park Geun Hye will become the country's first female leader when she takes office in late February for a single five-year term. The tight December race drew much attention as well as the highest voter turnout (over 70%) for Korea in over a decade. Park defeated Moon Jae In, a human rights lawyer who was once jailed for opposing the dictatorial regime of Park's father, Park Chung Hee.
2012-12-18 00:00:00 Jeremy Siegel on 'Dow 15,000' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel was one of very few individuals to have correctly predicted the strong performance of the equity markets over the last year. The Wharton professor and author of the renowned book, Stocks for the Long Run, forecasts continued strong performance for the year ahead.
2012-12-11 00:00:00 Fine Wine - Why it's for More than Just Drinking by Mark E. Ricardo, JD, LLM, AAMS (Article)
For many investors, an ideal asset class would combine superior long-term absolute and risk-adjusted returns with a hedge against inflation and stock market volatility. There's a way to get all of that, in an asset class you might never have thought of until now: fine wine. Investment-grade wine deserves careful consideration, particularly now that - unlike other collectibles, such as art and rare books - it can be traded on a regulated exchange.
2012-11-06 00:00:00 The Prize for the Fiduciary Standard: Global Market Leadership by Stephen Winks (Article)
Tough times in the brokerage business are about to get tougher. A difficult investment environment and damage to its reputation are threatening the industry, and now it faces regulatory challenges under Dodd-Frank as it evolves from its current sales-driven culture to a professional services culture focused on advice and the fiduciary standard. Bold leadership will be necessary to navigate this challenge; without it, the brokerage industry and their clients will suffer.
2012-10-30 00:00:00 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.
2012-09-25 00:00:00 Investing in a Resource-Constrained World by Richard Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)
The potential consequences of stagnant oil production and climate change for society are written about frequently, but here is a simpler question that is important to our community: How are these and related facts likely to affect investment returns going forward? How can we even frame such questions usefully?
2012-07-17 00:00:00 Breaking Bad by Michael Lewitt (Article)
With our largest business and government institutions committing every conceivable act of legal or moral anomie, we have every right to ask who is going to protect the rest of us from those who have been entrusted with so much power and influence. The institutions that were supposed to be the lifeblood of our economy are the same institutions that inflicted the greatest harm on society. When the family has to be protected from the man who is supposed to protect the family, the family is in serious trouble.
2012-06-26 00:00:00 Jeremy Grantham: US Stocks are Expensive and Bonds are Disgusting by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Grantham, who has consistently identified overpricing in the US equity markets - he flagged both the Dot Com bubble and the irrational pricing that preceded the financial crisis, for instance - said last week that US stocks are 'a little expensive' and bonds are 'disgusting.' But his sternest warning to investors concerned the longer-term threat posed by global resource constraints.
2012-05-22 00:00:00 Niall Ferguson - The West's Six Killer Apps by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For five centuries, the West dominated Eastern economies. But, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the East has now caught up, according to Niall Ferguson. It did so by downloading six "killer apps."
2012-04-10 00:00:00 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.
2012-03-20 00:00:00 Bob Rodriguez on the Dangers in Today's Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bob Rodriguez is the managing partner and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based First Pacific Advisors. In this interview, he discusses how the challenges faced by the US economy will impact the capital markets.
2012-03-13 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2012-02-28 00:00:00 Woody Brock on Healthcare Reform and Trade Relations with China by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In the second part of this two-part interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and focuses on how to fix two of our nation's most pressing problems: the crisis in health care - made worse by ObamaCare - and our trade relations with China.
2012-02-07 00:00:00 Neel Kashkari on PIMCO's Equity Strategy by John Heins (Article)
Bond titan PIMCO has been methodically building its equity-investing expertise. Here the architect of that effort, Neel Kashkari, and his first major hires describe their strategy and how they're uncovering value in today's market.
2012-01-31 00:00:00 Barry Eichengreen on the End of the Dollar by Dan Richards (Article)
Barry Eichengreen is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a former senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he discusses the future of the dollar as the reserve currency and the role of the IMF in the Eurozone crisis. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-01-17 00:00:00 An Essential Client Conversation ?Will I be able to pay for my hip replacement at age 85?? by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors face a big challenge in planning for boomers. Your assumptions about how long they'll live and the nature and cost of their lifestyle as they age will dramatically impact your planning decisions. Conversations with boomers about those topics and about the implications of funding health care are difficult but important.
2011-11-15 00:00:00 Michael Aronstein on Today's Key Macro Trends by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Michael Aronstein is the president and chief executive officer of Marketfield Asset Management. Since its inception in 2008, his fund has returned 31% while the S&P has been down 15%. I spoke with him about the key macroeconomic and strategic issues facing investors today.
2011-10-18 00:00:00 Bob Doll: Why the US is Positioned Strongly by BlackRock (Article)
Investor unease has risen dramatically over the past quarter in the face of growing concerns about the world's economic and financial health. The focal point has been the intensifying debt crisis in Europe. The issues facing Europe are highly complex, but essentially are underscored by a single question: Is Europe facing a solvency crisis or a liquidity crisis?
2011-10-11 00:00:00 The Global ?Old Normal? by Michael Nairne (Article)
Amidst a torrent of dismal economic news and plunging stock prices, investment horizons have become increasingly short-sighted. The new normal of faltering growth and painful deleveraging appears to be only too true. However, investors capable of taking a long-term, global view will find forces at work that will likely drive resurgent world growth akin to that which occurred in the decades right after World War II.
2011-09-13 00:00:00 The Risks of Exchange-Traded Products by Dennis Gibb (Article)
Every major financial crisis has been foretold by timely but ultimately ignored warnings. At the end of mania, the rush to secure more fees, investment performance and status trumps common sense. In the last few months, the drumbeats of warnings from financial journals and regulators about exchange-traded funds have been sounding. Few seem to be listening.
2011-09-06 00:00:00 No Way Out by Michael Lewitt (Article)
There aren't enough Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerbergs to innovate our way out of the Everest of debt we have built for ourselves (and will continue to build for the foreseeable future). The good news (a purely relative evaluation) is that astute investors will find enormous opportunities in today's markets as they increasingly reflect unsustainable fiscal and monetary imbalances.
2011-08-23 00:00:00 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.
2011-08-10 00:00:00 Global Investment Outlook: Aberdeen's monthly outlook for economies and markets. by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Eurozone crisis threatens financial stability Global industrial production momentum may be turning back up Fiscal policy and sovereign indebtedness is the major medium-term issue Monetary policy remains accommodative with emerging countries becoming less restrictive
2011-08-10 00:00:00 Run, Ride or Buy? What Should Investors Do? Dont Sell on Mondays! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
With trillions of dollars in debt acting as a ball-and-chain for much of Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, must detoxify their balance sheets before hitting the ground running. On the other hand, emerging market economies carry low levels of debt and operate like a cash business, making them the final frontier for strong economic growth. A key reason is emerging market governments have the long-term policies in place to facilitate growth of their economies.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Does Government Intervention in Financial Markets Slow Economic Growth? by Michael Edesess (Article)
As we saw with the Dodd-Frank legislation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the question underlying the debate over financial regulation is whether it stifles economic growth. Leo F. Goodstadt's book, Reluctant Regulators, provides useful insights from the experiences of Hong Kong and China. It also causes us to ponder whether our measurement of economic growth is fundamentally flawed.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Don't Shoot the Messenger by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
With large-scale bond purchases announced, the ECB is moving closer to how the Fed operates in a crisis. In 2008, then NY Fed President Geithner conferred with Treasury Secretary Paulson whether to "foam" the markets. That referred to massive liquidity injection by buying Treasuries. Now the ECB may buy bonds of the largest European bond market, the Italian. The ECB has indicated it would sterilize any purchases. Let's not forget that some of the market tension comes from U.S. money market funds having dumped commercial paper issued by European banks after a lot of scrutiny.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Implications of the Debt Downgrade by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
As we had suggested in recent weeks, a U.S. downgrade was going to likely be more negative for the equity market than Treasuries, and that is exactly how the week is starting off. The reason is that history shows that downgrades light a fire under policymakers and the belt-tightening budget cuts ensue, taking a big chunk out of demand growth and hence profits. It is not just the United States the problem of excessive debt is global, from China to Brazil to many parts of Europe. And lets not forget the Canadian consumer.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Weekly Aisa Update by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Italys government bond yields have been spiking as investor concerns threaten to become self-fulfilling prophecies that raise the specter of default in Italy and dismemberment of the euro. While, China is stepping more than a little lightly on the monetary brakes, along with other countries across Asia, over fears that inflation is getting out of control. And the markets response is to push up the price of U.S. bonds and sell down equities across the globe. Obviously, slowing growth is of far greater concern to investors than the opinion of the rating agencies.
2011-08-09 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview July 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets in the Pacific Basin edged higher in July despite the ongoing sovereign debt issues troubling both Europe and the U.S. and the pressure from a slowdown in Chinas economy. Smaller ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) economies continued to provide support this month, so the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 1.33% and 0.03% higher, respectively.
2011-08-08 00:00:00 What does the Downgrade of U.S. Debt Mean? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
The downgrade potential was not mitigated with the overly dramatic yet not surprising game that Congress and the President partook in. Losing the AAA status has some fundamental and some theoretical impacts. The obvious facet is the increase in interest costs for the U.S. government and every interest based instrument. Estimates for increased interest expense have ranged from 25 billion annually to as high as 100 billion annually. Any measuring is sure to have flaws when one considers past rating cuts and the significance and uniqueness of the Treasury market.
2011-08-05 00:00:00 Portfolio Commentary Q211 by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors
The Fund's overall positioning and exposures have changed very little over the past few months as our managers continue to see almost all asset classes priced to deliver unsatisfactory long term returns. There is no real change in overall thoughts from our previous commentary except to add that many of the issues and risks we have discussed are starting to become more significant and weakening fundamentals are finally becoming more apparent to investors. Ironically, the things that have created short term rallies of late are largely noise and are less positive than they were 3-6 months ago.
2011-08-05 00:00:00 Striking Fiscal Balance in Indonesia by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia
The first thing that most people will notice when they touch down in Jakarta is the almost overwhelming volume of traffic that turns what should be a fairly short ride from the airport to the city center into a two-hour epic journey. The Jakarta road network is bursting at the seams. And its not just roads that need investment. Indonesia is rich in terms of natural resources and, although reserves remain high, getting coal and petroleum products out of the ground at an efficient price has also proved a tricky task over the last decade.
2011-07-30 00:00:00 An Economy at Stall Speed by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The economy is at stall speed, it is quite possible well see further downward revisions to the already anemic growth numbers, and Congress and the President are dithering over the debt ceiling. It will not take much to push us into an outright recession. We can go a few days, I think, with the latter problem, but not too long or the markets will throw up.
2011-07-30 00:00:00 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.
2011-07-30 00:00:00 Shifting Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Some economic indicators are starting to perk up while corporate earnings have been strong as we wind down reporting season. Stocks will move higher in the coming months once confidence is restored. Whatever the near-term outcome of the debt debate, the US still has deficit issues to deal with and hard choices must be made to ensure economic stability for years to come. Europe finally arrived at their debt deal, but it likely falls short of what will eventually be needed. Meanwhile, China is key to emerging market performance and continues to deal with inflationary concerns.
2011-07-29 00:00:00 Postcard from China by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
Chinas small companies are vibrant forces that are driving the countrys economy. Despite the challenges to investing in newer and unseasoned firms, small companies in China can present attractive long-term opportunities, and are increasingly playing a key role as China evolves as a service-oriented economy. On-the-ground research is a vital step in our investment and risk management process. This involves face-to-face visits with a firms staff to try to discern the health of a companys daily operations and the reliability of its managements claims.
2011-07-27 00:00:00 From Asset Allocation Nirvana to Asset Allocation Nightmare by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
We believe the next 10 years will be about money moving back into non-cyclical US large cap stocks and domestic companies which enjoy lower commodity prices and the repatriation of money from highly risky asset classes with poor odds. Being widely asset allocated today prepares folks for an under-performance nightmare In our opinion, bonds are expensive, commodities are outlandish, small caps trade at a huge premium and as Chinas economic contraction occurs, the crowd will flee emerging markets.
2011-07-27 00:00:00 Profit expectations in the square root recovery by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management
They always say that in the media, if it bleeds, it leads. Crisis and tragedy is gripping stuff, and there has been plenty to report in the financial press in recent years. Perhaps under-reported and less-celebrated has been the truly remarkable recovery of profits at American businesses in the wake of the Great Recession. Reacting to the pain of the downturn, corporate America did a remarkable job of tightening its cost belt. As a result, the rather modest recovery in economic growth has driven huge profit gains, as margins have leapt back to historical peaks.
2011-07-27 00:00:00 Read Chinas Lips by Stephen S. Roach of Project Syndicate
China, the largest foreign buyer of US government paper, will soon say, enough. Yet another vacuous budget deal, in conjunction with weaker-than-expected growth for the US economy for years to come, spells a protracted period of outsize government deficits. It is no longer willing to risk financial and economic stability on the basis of Washingtons hollow promises and tarnished economic stewardship. The Chinese are finally saying no. Read their lips.
2011-07-25 00:00:00 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
We remain concerned about the global economy and suspect of broad asset class valuations.However, in a world of tens of thousands of securities there are always opportunities.Absent a significant market correction, we are likely to continue to hold cash or dry powder.We also continue to look to hold assets that can perform well in an inflationary environment, as dollar debasement seems to be the political path of least resistance out of our current problems.The politicians appear happy to solve the problems maana. We on the other hand are happy to make hay when the sun shines.
2011-07-22 00:00:00 2011 Halftime Report: Oil and Copper by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Last week we recapped commodities performance for the first six months of the year and offered our outlook on gold. This week, were discussing our outlook for two other commodities that are poised to have an exciting back half of the year.
2011-07-22 00:00:00 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.
2011-07-22 00:00:00 Resource Limitations 2: Separating the Dangerous from the Merely Serious by Jeremy Grantham of GMO
Last quarter I tried to make the case that the inevitable mismatch between ?nite resources and exponential population growth had ?nally shown its true face after many false alarms. This was made manifest through a remarkably bubble-like explosion of prices for raw materials. Importantly, prices surged twice in four years, which is a most unbubble-like event in our history book. The data suggested to us that rarest of rare birds; a new paradigm. And a very uncomfortable one at that.
2011-07-22 00:00:00 Postcard from Vietnam by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Vietnam, may be something of an acquired taste for investors these days. It is going through its own trials and tribulations. The banking system is clearly stressed with very low levels of deposit growth, given recent nominal economic growth rates. This suggests a lack of confidence in the system after many years of high rates of credit growth. Symptoms of these strains can be seen in the high annual inflation rate of about 13%, a weak currency and borrowing rates of between 15% to 22%. I suspect that many smaller companies are also unable to get any access to capital.
2011-07-21 00:00:00 Making the U.S. Dollar Safer: Return ON Your Money by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
Todays debate may be focused on whether the debt ceiling will be raised, but its tomorrows debate that really concerns us. Last week, Standard & Poors made it clear that raising the debt ceiling would be one thing, but in order to withhold a downgrade to the U.S. credit rating, the U.S. must show that it is not maxed out. In other words, show that it would be able to manage another crisis, or a potential war. What would be the implications of a credit downgrade? And what policies would need to be engaged in, in order to avert a downgrade and strengthen the U.S. dollar over the long-term?
2011-07-21 00:00:00 China's New Generation of Entrepreneurs by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
As investors, we are presented with an expanding universe of small- and medium-sized entrepreneurial firms with innovative business models in China. At the same time, competitive pressures are also increasing with the growing presence of both domestic and international companies in the market. It has become increasingly critical to identify and differentiate companies with sustainable business models and viable long-term strategies.
2011-07-19 00:00:00 Earning 'Extra Credit' Through Short-Term Strategies PIMCO by Jerome M. Schneider of PIMCO
Given renewed concerns over liquidity and credit, investors can potentially do better by considering actively managed short-term strategies that invest beyond traditional U.S. money-market guidelines. The current credit situation in Europe is different from that in both 2008 and 2010 because initial liquidity conditions in the short-term markets are better. In our view, investors should evaluate potential investments within the wider scope of relative value opportunities and not simply for the incremental yield they may offer above risk-free returns.
2011-07-18 00:00:00 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.
2011-07-16 00:00:00 Commodities 2011 Halftime Report by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Commodities don?t all perform in the same way. In any given year, a particular commodity will go gangbusters and outperform the group. However, that commodity will typically come back to Earth and underperform the following year or the year after that. This is why active management is important when investing in commodities. Active managers can benefit from rotating from winners to laggards or by investing in the companies which produce, farm or mine commodities most effectively.
2011-07-16 00:00:00 Should You Bank on Turkey's Growth? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
While much of Europe?s economy remains stuck in the mud, Turkey expanded 11 percent during the first quarter of 2011. In fact, Turkey?s economic growth outpaced China?s this quarter and most of the world?s larger economies last year, leading The Wall Street Journal to declare the country ?Eurasia?s rising tiger.? Despite the acclaim, many investors have yet to warm up to Turkey. We?re not one of them.
2011-07-15 00:00:00 Thailand's First Female Prime Minister by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia
Phue Thai?s campaign, ?Thaksin Thinks, Phue Thai Acts? ran on a platform which tapped on Thaksin?s populist program for the rural poor. Thailand is one of Asia?s structurally polarized societies with divisions running along the lines of the affluent population in Bangkok and the South and the rural poor (often farmers) in the North. These divisions have been reinforced by one of the highest ratios of rural poverty in Asia. Although recent increases in agriculture commodity prices have led to a mini boom in the northern region, the income gap is still the widest in Southeast Asia.
2011-07-15 00:00:00 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.
2011-07-15 00:00:00 Earnings Heat Up by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Earnings season is heating up and will provide a status update on the "soft patch" and where companies' confidence level lies. Stocks have been more volatile but are they telling us something about potential future direction? Debt ceiling talks continue in Washington, with a deal still likely to come in the final days before the supposed August 2 deadline. The make-up of spending cuts, tax changes, and any entitlement reform may be key to longer-term market reaction. Contagion fears are growing in Europe and solutions are difficult to come by.
2011-07-14 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview ? June 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Faced with the imminent withdrawal of the Fed?s QE2 policy, the ongoing sovereign debt woes in the Euro-zone, and concerns over a slowdown in China, the Asian equity markets were at best only able to range trade during the second quarter. The broad indices remained relatively flat, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index declining by 0.50% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific declined 0.87%. As the immediate concerns over the sovereign debt crisis in Europe subsided, a steady recovery in domestic production also helped to lift the Japanese market and trigger a late rebound in equity prices.
2011-07-13 00:00:00 Thematic Investing: Forcasting Tomorrow's Forcast by Daniel Paduano, David Wilson and Sherrell Aston of Neuberger Berman
Thematic investing is all about anticipating and capitalizing on secular change. Major demographic, societal, technological and political developments around the world create abundant investment opportunities. The key is to position your portfolio to take advantage of the changing landscape before many of the changes actually happen. This requires substantial research and preparation to separate shorter-term fads from true paradigmatic shifts that have visibility of at least five to seven years. During tough periods, our themes guide our investments by providing a focus for our decisions.
2011-07-13 00:00:00 Treading Water by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors
While unemployment remains high, corporate balance sheets are healthier, Wall Street de-leveraging is proceeding, savings rates are up, and many strategists currently consider equities cheap.The lackluster performance of domestic equities in the quarter was associated with negative returns in financials, a symptom of the continuing de-leveraging process and new regulations worldwide. However, the underlying conditions for a long sustained business expansion do not seem in-place. A cyclical expansion, typically lasting roughly four years, seems a reasonable, though far from certain, scenario.
2011-07-12 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies continued to face headwinds in June as the outlook for demand from both developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, and emerging markets cooled. In the U.S., a lukewarm labor market caused concerns about the pace of economic recovery. In the emerging markets, persistent inflation fears were prompting higher interest rates. Both these factors are putting pressure on exports from Developed Asia Pacific economies. Japan, which specializes in exporting machinery and consumer durables, is feeling the heat of a slowdown in demand from consumer countries.
2011-07-12 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacific economies continued to be troubled by persistent inflation in June. Almost every country in the region had to either hike benchmark interest rates or bank reserve requirement ratios to rein in lending and credit growth. The monetary tightening effects are largely expected to make capital more expensive and this in turn is expected to crimp growth across many emerging markets. Inflation, which thus far has been more pronounced among food and fuel items, now seems to be spilling over to structural inputs like labor as well.
2011-07-08 00:00:00 And That's The "QUARTER" That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
April 2011 picked up exactly where the first quarter ended as equities enjoyed their best month of the year and bulls appeared to be firmly in control. Then a funny thing happened on the way to big gains (actually a few not-so-funny things)?Stocks tumbled and key indexes dropped for seven out of eight weeks as the quarter neared a close and investors looked to the safe-haven of treasuries (despite the credit rating concerns). And just when all hope seemed lost?a new Greek solution emerged, manufacturers seemed to get back on track, and the Fed ended the QE2 stimulus to little fanfare.
2011-07-08 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 India's Demand for Iron Ore Made of Steel by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Much has been made of China?s insatiable appetite for the world?s natural resources but demand growth from another Asian giant is changing the dynamics of the global steel market. Indian demand for steel grew 10 percent last year, helping push global demand to a record 1.4 billion tons in 2010. This rise has been driven by the Indian government?s focus on building out the nation?s infrastructure. According to an Urban Land Institute and Ernst & Young publication, ?Infrastructure 2011,? initiatives in India have been extensive.
2011-07-08 00:00:00 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey & David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles
We are experiencing a case of dj vu with another economic soft patch and a Greek solvency crisis. We saw this movie in the spring and summer of 2010, but then we got a major policy response (a European bailout, QE2, and tax cuts) that helped lift us out of the doldrums. There is no major policy response coming in 2011. In fact, many countries are pursuing tighter macro policies by raising interest rates or cutting public spending to reduce swollen budget deficits. The European response to the sovereign debt crisis has been messy, and that has been a major contributor to the recent anxiety.
2011-07-08 00:00:00 Postcard from China by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia
The machinery industry in China still lags that of Japan, Germany and the U.S. Different from the information technology sector, the machinery industry requires extensive resources, including mechanicals and electronics. The management of one Chinese machinery company has the ambition to become a global leader. While many other Chinese firms may share the same goal, what differentiates this company from others is that the management thoroughly understands not only the global competitive landscape, but also its own strengths and weaknesses.
2011-07-05 00:00:00 Chutes and Ladders by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
We are all playing a game of Chutes and Ladders where it is not at all clear which game-board is applicable. To believe strongly in a certain investment outcome is to imagine that there is only one correct model of the world, and that the correct model is in hand. Investors appear very eager to apply post-war norms to the economy, and to apply the elevated valuation norms of the past two decades to the stock market. I doubt that these models represent the correct view of the world, but our approach is to allow for these possibilities and dozens of alternate ones.
2011-07-05 00:00:00 Scarce Resources by Dennis Nacken of Allianz Global Investors
For decades, investors largely ignored the commodities segment. They can no longer afford to. Commodity production can scarcely keep up with the dynamic development in global demand. The supply bottleneck could remain a sustainable driver of higher commodity prices for the foreseeable future. This applies to energy, to commodities in general and agricultural products in particular: these resources are becoming scarcer?and this is a megatrend.
2011-07-02 00:00:00 China Opens World's Longest Cross-Sea Bridge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
When the new Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge opened to traffic this week in China, it made the Guinness World Records for the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. The 26.4-mile long and 110-foot wide bridge stretches across the bay, linking the Huangdao district to the city of Qingdao and Hongdao Island. China spent 17 years planning and designing the engineering marvel to be able to withstand the bay?s high salt content and icy winters. Yet, it only took four years to build, with at least 10,000 workers on the construction team.
2011-07-01 00:00:00 Eye on Washington: Oil and Food Price Manipulation by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
We have been saying for some time that the developing world is now exporting higher-priced products abroad and contributing to inflation. A recent WSJ article and video discusses how higher wages and higher commodity costs are resulting in the end of low cost goods from China. We recommend that investors repurchase Malaysian equities as their market looks poised to move higher. U.S. equities also look like they are set for a rally that could last four to six weeks, so we recommend them for a trade. We also remain committed to our bullish recommendations on Japan and India.
2011-07-01 00:00:00 On The Importance of Sustained Capital Investment Part 2 by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital
This commentary revisits the topic. It presents basic evidence to support the idea that sustained capital investment is critical in the context of developing markets. The data presented below is gathered from several countries, so as to allow for comparison across emerging markets. Admittedly, the workings of macro economies are highly complex, and drawing detailed conclusions about them is tricky. Nonetheless, national statistics do reveal the general outline of an economy and its underpinnings. That?s how I intend to use the data here ? to make broad inferences only.
2011-07-01 00:00:00 Investing Up the Value Chain by Mike Lin of Matthews Asia
Investors may be well served to look up the value chain in other industries where products may be trendy or have short cycles. Given this, we recently met with a leading manufacturer of mobile phone speakers and receivers that commands about a 30% market share in a duopolistic industry. Seeking exposure to the growing mobile phone industry in this way reduces the difficulty of having to identify the next winning handset maker but still taps the growth in mobile handsets. While companies that supply world-class brands may not receive much fanfare, investing in these companies can make sense.
2011-07-01 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
There are a little over 30 days left before the U.S. will technically default on its debt. Congress is still playing Russian roulette with the economy and the stock markets. We have seen what this type of Russian roulette has done to the stock market over the past eight weeks. The Republicans have talked about tax cuts and spending cuts, while the Democrats have pushed for increased taxes and smaller spending cuts. Although this would have been a perfect time for a serious debate on tax reform at both the individual and the corporate level, both of these seem to have been pushed to the side.
2011-07-01 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Dealing with Debt by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Global governments are dealing with rolling debt crises equaling shaky investor confidence. We are concerned that many of the solutions weigh on growth prospects, but are hopeful about short-term resolutions that restore business confidence and lead to more investment and hiring. The Fed continues to hold steady, keeping short rates near zero and likely reinvesting maturing Treasury securities after QE2 ends. Greece passed the austerity package required to get short-term funding but much more is needed. And while the focus has been on Europe, it may be time to focus on the Asian region.
2011-06-30 00:00:00 Sunlight on U.S. Banks by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
Among global banks, we believe U.S. banks are in a stronger position to absorb deterioration in the macroeconomic environment in Europe. U.S. banks also look attractive given their profitability, improving asset quality and capital position. Global banks vary dramatically in their asset quality and ability to meet capital requirements over time. As a result, we believe financial markets will continue to reward the strongest and safest banks and penalize the weakest. While we remain cautious on the U.S. housing market, U.S. banks appear to have the resources to manage further weakness.
2011-06-27 00:00:00 Will Japan?s Crisis Cause Force Long-Term Reform? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
For all the pain suffered by the Japanese as a result of the earthquake, the disaster and its ripple effects, offer them at least some smugness. The world, obsessed new, had for years dismissed Japan as a part of the past, preferring instead to enthuse over China and emerging economies. This horrible disaster has made one thing very clear: Japan still plays a critical role in the global supply chain and economy generally. How soon, if ever, will Japan recover its former productive role? And how will the shock of the recent disaster change the Japanese economy?s long-term direction?
2011-06-25 00:00:00 Playing Cat and Mouse with Global Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Oil markets took another dose of global geopolitics this week when the International Energy Agency (IEA) unexpectedly announced that it would be releasing 60 million barrels of oil from strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) around the globe. Thursday?s surprise announcement gave oil prices a 4.5 percent hair cut and oil prices closed Friday at $91.25, down 20 percent from their April 29 peak.
2011-06-25 00:00:00 The Malleable Market for Global Aluminum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Last week?s Investor Alert highlighted a Macquarie Research chart showing a recent notable upswing in aluminum production around the world. Following a huge dip in output in China and worldwide throughout 2009, China once again surpassed the rest of the world in producing the most aluminum. China?s massive production makes sense considering the country consumes the most aluminum. According to Jeremy Grantham of GMO, China uses 40 percent of the world?s aluminum as it rapidly develops its railway transportation, increasingly purchases automobiles and demands more energy.
2011-06-24 00:00:00 International Energy Association To Sell Crude Oil From Government Stockpiles by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
Today, the U.S. and IEA decided to sell 60 million barrels of oil over the next month, supposedly to make up for the 1.5 million barrels a day that was produced by Libya. This is a political maneuver which will have a short term effect on oil and gasoline prices. The authorities announced that this is meant to help the consumer, but it?s obvious that they also wanted to punish the speculators. The IEA has previously said that targeting the speculators will backfire, yet here they are doing just that. We find that hard to grasp that the consumer will get more than very temporary help.
2011-06-24 00:00:00 Postcard from Japan Revisited by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
I recently spent two weeks meeting with management teams from various firms across Japan during my first trip back since the March earthquake. My overall impression was that the environment there post-disaster is still quite mixed.
2011-06-24 00:00:00 The 3-D Hurricane and the New Normal by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates
Debt, deficit, and demographics?the 3-D hurricane? is heading to the shores of all developed economies. It threatens to derail the economic recovery and to alter forever the heretofore path of robust growth for the developed world.Emerging economies with healthy government and household balance sheets, responsible fiscal policies, and young labor forces will be the drivers for global growth and will compete with their developed counterparts for economic and political leadership. More importantly, the emerging economies will demand their fair share in the consumption of resources and goods.
2011-06-24 00:00:00 RCM China Update: Following in the Footsteps by Mark Konyn of Allianz Global Investors
China has replaced Japan as the Asian economic champion, causing some to suggest that China will follow many of the steps taken by Japan during its economic emergence. Dr. Mark Konyn says the dynamics of the relationship between China and Japan are critical for Asian prosperity.
2011-06-23 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2011-06-21 00:00:00 Turkey: A Rising Power Bridging Europe and Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Turkey is the land where the European and Asian continents meet. I asked Carlos von Hardenberg, who is based in Istanbul and oversees our frontier market strategies, to share his views from the center of Eurasia: Since the implementation of the customs union agreement with the European Union (EU) in 1996, Turkey?s trade with EU countries has grown substantially in certain areas. In particular, the Turkish automobile sector has been growing at a fast pace and has become highly competitive. Between 1999 and 2008, auto production in Turkey grew by 285% to 1.15 million vehicles per year.
2011-06-21 00:00:00 Euro: Safer than the U.S. Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
Which one is safer: the euro or the U.S. dollar? Before jumping to a conclusion one way or the other, let?s look at different sides of the respective coins. We have been warning for years that there may be no such thing anymore as a safe asset and investors may want to take a diversified approach to something as mundane as cash. We believe Greece has rather serious issues, but concerned investors may want to take a closer look at their dollar holdings for potential ?contagion? risks.
2011-06-20 00:00:00 Overseeing Systemic Risk: The 10 most systemically risky financial firms in the US by Viral Acharya, Thomas F. Cooley, Robert Engle and Matthew Richardson of VoxEU
As part of the US policy response to the global crisis, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act calls for regulators to identify systemically risky financial firms ? the sort that took the US financial crisis global. But how to identify these firms remains unclear. Some claim the task is impossible. This column begs to differ and names the 10 most systemically risky financial firms in the US.
2011-06-20 00:00:00 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.
2011-06-17 00:00:00 An Investor?s Road Map by Tim Shirata of Guild Investment Management
It looks as if banking regulators are finally showing some backbone. Here in the U.S. and in Europe, they are demanding less leverage. This will likely spread as there is no question that many large global banks are in trouble. The problem is that they are not addressing leverage from derivatives. It is too little and too late, especially after the moral harm created by the bank bailouts. To us, the big question remains this: what about controlling and clearing derivatives through a central exchange so the world of derivative holders and writers can clearly know the risks involved?
2011-06-17 00:00:00 China Braces for Summer Power Shortages by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
China's power usage has grown along with the GDP. Overall power consumption rose by about 12% in the first four months of this year?in line with average growth rates. However, the availability of power is an increasing concern for some Chinese manufacturing companies. The issue is particularly serious for China's eastern and central regions during peak power consumption months. While there are a number of factors affecting power shortages, chief among them are government regulations. China is determined to become more energy efficient, and power shortages may spur efforts toward that goal.
2011-06-17 00:00:00 Will Gold Equity Investors Strike Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
While the party continues for gold bullion prices, stocks of gold companies have been a no-show. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index (HUI) has fallen more than 13 percent year-to-date and the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) has toppled more than 16 percent. Companies such as High River Gold Mines, Jaguar Mining and NovaGold Resources are off 45 percent from 2007-2008 highs. This has been exacerbated in recent weeks making it a hot topic of discussion among investors. This chart shows gold equities of all market capitalization sizes were holding up quite well until late April.
2011-06-16 00:00:00 China is World's Largest Energy Consumer by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
World consumption of energy has increased 5.6 percent in 2010, according to BP?s Statistical Review of World Energy. This is the largest increase since 1973, which happened to be a memorable year in energy history. At the time, the U.S. was by far the largest consumer of energy, devouring 1,812 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe)?more than 30 percent of the world?s total?as the country faced an energy crisis, oil embargo and record high oil prices. In 2010, another pivotal moment occurred in energy history: The country consuming most of the world?s energy was no longer the U.S., but China.
2011-06-16 00:00:00 U.S. Investors Overexposed to U.S. Dollar Risk? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
The U.S. dollar has experienced significant weakness over recent years. And there is a risk the U.S. dollar will experience ongoing deterioration for an extended period of time. U.S. investors may want to take this possibility into consideration when assessing the U.S. dollar risk inherent in their investment portfolios. Our analysis into the aggregate financial asset holdings of the U.S. personal sector finds that the vast majority of investor?s financial assets are denominated in U.S. dollars and as a result, significant U.S. dollar risk exposure is evident.
2011-06-15 00:00:00 RMB Liberalization ?What All the Excitement is About by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia
Investors tend to be a fairly excitable bunch, always looking for the latest trends and themes to try to make a profit. But many trends have little relevance or impact over the longer term. During the past 12 months, one of those more ?exciting? topics that have been discussed is the initial stages of renminbi (RMB) liberalization in Hong Kong?a concept that allows foreigners to get their hands on, and trade in, Chinese currency for the first time. But how excited should long-term investors be? A roundtable discussion among Matthews? managers, on the same topic, is also included.
2011-06-14 00:00:00 What Fama and French?s Latest Research Doesn?t Tell Us by Michael Edesess (Article)
With the high name recognition and respect that the team of Eugene Fama and Kenneth French enjoys in the world of finance, anything they publish warrants attention. Their latest offering, Size, Value, and Momentum in International Stock Returns, offers some interesting data on global equity performance. But they fail to offer any insights that explain the reasons behind their findings.
2011-06-14 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Europe?s sovereign debt woes and inflation fears have plagued the Asian equity markets recently, sending indices lower during May. The eventual withdrawal of QE2 also became a real concern for the markets. Japan?s post disaster market downturn continued in May, but mainly due to negative international factors this time. Meanwhile, domestic concerns about the ongoing negative impact of supply-chain disruption on manufacturers? earnings and the political disarray caused by a divided parliament and a weakened prime minister have continued to weigh on the market.
2011-06-13 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies largely managed to boost output by leaning on exports in May. For some of the economies affected by natural disasters earlier this year, exports proved to be a blessing. Australia, which was affected by floods in February this year, not only managed to increase raw material exports but also gained by the investments associated with its export-oriented mining sector. Earthquake-hit New Zealand and Japan, however, faced difficulties in increasing output. New Zealand, which depends on food exports and tourism, suffered because of a strong domestic currency.
2011-06-13 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Aggressive interest rate hikes by emerging markets in the past twelve to eighteen months have started showing some results. Although food inflation in many emerging markets remains at elevated levels, the pace of inflation seemed to slow in some countries. Further, inflation expectations are expected to cool, primarily due to anticipation of record harvest of food grains in many countries. The threat from oil prices, which grew at a menacing pace during the first quarter of the year, also subsided a bit in May. Nonetheless, many central banks across Asia were cautious over monetary policy.
2011-06-10 00:00:00 Postcard from China by In-bok Song of Matthews Asia
On my recent trip to China, one common focus I found among the companies I met with was product branding. Chinese firms have been swift to recognize more sophisticated consumer patterns, researching consumer segments for their varying preferences.
2011-06-10 00:00:00 Pause or Panic? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Economic data has deteriorated to the point that talk of a double dip recession has returned. The risk of another recession is low as most indicators remain well in expansion territory. Several factors are contributing to a soft patch, but a rebound is likely in the latter part of 2011. Along with talk of recession risk, chatter about the need for QE3 by the Fed has increased. The bar is quite high for QE3, but it is very likely the Fed will not let its balance sheet shrink in the near-term. Global growth is decelerating as well, with China tightening and Japan dealing with reconstruction.
2011-06-07 00:00:00 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold by Dan Richards (Article)
The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the transcript of the interview.
2011-06-03 00:00:00 Five Misconceptions Squashed by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
DSK is not the only one in need of a bailout! As the sovereign crisis intensifies - and it will - bond yields in some countries will go higher. But they won?t go higher everywhere. Demographic as well as technical factors (e.g. Solvency II) will drive ever more money towards bonds, and that money will have to go somewhere. Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia are probably the safest bets in terms of where sovereign bond yields could fall further. You should also expect high quality corporate bond yields to trade through sovereign yields in many countries. The trend has already begun.
2011-06-03 00:00:00 Renminbi Liberalization by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia
As the U.S. economy continues to stutter, the rumblings of discontent from senior U.S. politicians over the Chinese government?s pegged exchange rate policy and closed capital account continue to garner momentum. But this is only one side of the story. One of the most important developments within Asian capital markets over the last 12 months has been the moves of the Chinese government to utilize the world financial center of Hong Kong in a bid to begin globalizing China?s currency, the renminbi.The most transformational of these steps is the allowance of foreigners to get their hands on RMB.
2011-06-03 00:00:00 And That?s The Week That Was? by Team of Brounes & Associates
Congress failed to pass a bill to raise the government?s debt ceiling and help avoid a default in early August. Republicans refused to support any legislation that is not tied to specific deficit reduction, even though there is a potential downgrade on US debt without any progress on a deal. The bickering continued in the aftermath of the unemployment data as both parties blamed the other for the weaker results. Republicans questioned the ?binge of taxing, spending, borrowing and over-regulating,? while Democrats claimed their counterparts are too focused on ?tax breaks for millionaires.?
2011-06-03 00:00:00 Natural Resources Q&A with the Global Resources Fund Team by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
This week Frank Holmes and the co-managers of the U.S. Global Investors Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), Evan Smith and Brian Hicks, participated in a special webcast for the Peak Advisor Alliance. Here are some candid portions of the Q&A: Q. How are interest rates currently affecting commodity prices? A. The magic number for real interest rates is 2 percent. That?s when you can earn more than 2 percent on a U.S. Treasury bill after discounting for inflation. Our research has shown that commodities tend to perform well when rates fall below 2 percent.
2011-06-02 00:00:00 Still Chugging Along: The Market that Could by Team of Eagle Asset Management
The global economic recovery is moving along but there remain some areas of concern. Our managers? discussion included such things as rising commodity prices, real estate problems and perhaps most interesting to readers, how they have investment portfolios positioned. Included in the roundtable were Bert L. Boksen (Small/Mid Cap Growth); James Camp (Fixed Income); Ed Cowart (Equity Income/Value); Todd McCallister (Small/Mid Cap Core); Jack McPherson (Small Cap Core Value); Eric Mintz (Small/Mid Cap Growth); Richard Skeppstrom (Large Cap Core); and Stacey Serafini Thomas (Small/Mid Cap Core)
2011-06-02 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
As the first of the Baby Boomers begin to turn 65, they are being greeted with some bad news concerning Medicare and Social Security, especially since they hope to enjoy a longer time in retirement. Social Security is now scheduled to be exhausted by 2036, a year earlier than was projected last year. In addition to longer life spans, the 2% reduction in Social Security tax this year was a major factor in this updated information. As bad as things are for Social Security, things are worse for Medicare, which is projected to be bankrupt by 2024, five years sooner than was projected last year.
2011-06-01 00:00:00 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.
2011-05-28 00:00:00 Global Infrastructure a $6 Trillion Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Each week, more than one million people are either born in or migrate to cities. Much of this rapid urbanization comes from the emerging world, putting tremendous pressure on that country?s feeble infrastructure. Merrill Lynch estimates that $6 trillion will need to be spent by selected emerging market countries over the next three years to meet the basic needs of these citizens. Water, transportation and energy investments will consume the bulk of these funds, 82 percent of total projected spending. Nearly every emerging market country Merrill researched will make an investment in all three.
2011-05-27 00:00:00 On Stockpiling and the Commodity Cycle by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital
Commodity prices have been in a secular bull market for the better part of a decade?subject only to temporary, albeit violent corrections. Three main explanations have been offered for the trend. The first is that demand from emerging markets is fueling price increases, as the developing countries consume tremendous amounts of raw materials in pursuit of growth. The second is that the dollar is being debased, which in turn is stoking inflation in hard assets. The third argument is that the world is facing a crisis of limits: commodity prices are surging as finite resources are being depleted.
2011-05-26 00:00:00 Why Asia is the Epicenter of Oil Demand Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
A few weeks back we highlighted the strong link between GDP growth and oil consumption by showing you how oil consumption per capita has risen in selected countries as per capita incomes rise. Specifically, we noted the potential for China?s oil consumption?already the second-largest oil consumer in the world?to catch up on a per capita basis with other Asian countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. That?s where we think China?s oil consumption is headed, but this shows how strong oil consumption per capita growth has been over the past 50 years.
2011-05-25 00:00:00 Double-Invoicing and the Yuan by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital
It?s widely held that the Chinese yuan is a ?cheap? currency, and that it is undervalued relative to the U.S. dollar. I agree, especially in light of how expensive some foreign currencies appear to be. However, I would quickly caveat my opinion by clarifying that it applies only to a long-term horizon. If you are looking for pessimism regarding the yuan, there is no shortage of popular arguments against it, but I will leave that aside for now. By examining a little-known practice called ?double-invoicing,? we can observe commercial traders? preference for the yuan versus other currencies.
2011-05-24 00:00:00 Inflation?Which Prices Aren't Changing by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Inflation has been one of the big buzzwords in Asia's markets this year. Wages, interest rates and prices for commodities, assets, goods and food have all been on the rise. The problem with much of the discussion is that it treats inflation in all these areas as though they were the same?a single phenomenon that is an unqualified evil. In my view, not enough has been done to distinguish between cause and symptom. Perhaps this is because when one does try to distinguish between cause and symptom, the topic of inflation becomes much more complex.
2011-05-24 00:00:00 Debt Ceiling Jeopardizes Dollar?s Reserve Status by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
While borrowing costs for the U.S. government have not yet risen, irreparable harm may have already been done to the U.S. dollar and its status as a reserve currency. Ironically, it?s not a plunging, but a rallying bond market that is a symptom of the problem. Most observers believe that a) the Treasury has a big bag of tricks to continue servicing the debt; and b) politicians will play a game of chicken, but eventually do what they always do: agree to spend more money. We don?t know how the bond market will react; but we do know that policy makers are playing with fire.
2011-05-20 00:00:00 Common Misperceptions about Asian Investing by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
During my recent travels and meetings with investors around the world, I have found that interest in Asia is abundant. But what has struck me most is that certain perceptions about investing in Asia permeate regardless of whether we speak with investors in Europe, the U.S. or even Asia itself. I find this an opportune time to address three of the common "misperceptions" about investing in the region. 1: The best way to invest in Asia is by investing in multinational companies 2: To invest in Asia, I must accept higher valuations and 3: When investing in Asia, market timing is very important.
2011-05-19 00:00:00 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.
2011-05-18 00:00:00 Oman by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
I recently visited Muscat, the capital of Oman. Oman has a very strategic position in the Middle East, controlling the tip of the Musandam peninsula even though the peninsula is separated from the rest of Omanby land belonging to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). That tip points right into the Straits of Hormuz, which is the choke point for oil leaving Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Kuwait, Iraq and the UAE from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, leading to the Indian Ocean. On a clear day, you can see Iran from the tip of the peninsula. Oman?s military, therefore, has to protect that waterway.
2011-05-13 00:00:00 Policy Reforms Pave Way for Indonesia by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Known as the world?s largest archipelago, Indonesia is made of 17,000 islands?eight major ones?between the Indian and Pacific Oceans with the most volcanoes in the world. Almost half of the country?s population lives in an urban environment. Jakarta, the capital and largest city, is home to more than 9 million people. Literacy in Indonesia is high: 90 percent of the population aged 15 and over can read and write. Yet this highly literate country lags nearby southeastern Asian countries when it comes to infrastructure, according to a recent report by Morgan Stanley.
2011-05-13 00:00:00 Postcard from Vietnam by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
The use of both the U.S. dollar and Vietnam?s currency, the dong, is widespread in Vietnam. Just as easily as you might pay for a new pair of jeans with cash or with credit in the U.S., you could do so in either dong or dollar in Vietnam. Over the last two decades, currency depreciation, in combination with bouts of hyperinflation, has led to Vietnam?s use of the U.S. dollar and gold as primary stores of wealth. Unlike China, which has experienced appreciation relative to the U.S. dollar over the last two decades, Vietnam has seen a drastic depreciation of its currency over the same period.
2011-05-13 00:00:00 Visiting a West African Gold Mine by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
This week I?m back on the continent of Africa. Along with 20 analysts from investment firms around the world, I spent a total of 17 hours traveling to Tasiast, Mauritania, kicking the tires and checking out Kinross Gold?s open pit operations there. Kinross is among the top 10 gold mining production companies in the world. According to the CPM Gold Yearbook 2011, the company produced 2.2 million troy ounces of gold in 2009, nearly 3 percent of the world?s total.
2011-05-13 00:00:00 Market Turbulence Increasing by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
We are entering a traditionally tough period for the market and economic data has been raising questions about the sustainability of the recovery. While still optimistic on the longer-term outlook, there could be more choppiness in the near term as markets adjust to a changing environment. The Fed continues to buck the global trend by maintaining loose monetary policy, which contributed to a weaker dollar. But lately the dollar has gotten a lift as QE2 comes to an end, contributing to a rout in commodity prices.
2011-05-13 00:00:00 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.
2011-05-12 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets in Asia continued to gain ground in April after a volatile first quarter of 2011. Stock markets ended higher as companies reported strong earnings, while expectations that inflation may have peaked out also helped to support market sentiment. Disruption to manufacturing industry supply-chains and ongoing problems surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant have continued to weigh on Japanese stock prices, although the market was able to stabilize from the massive sell-off that followed the Tohoku earthquake.
2011-05-11 00:00:00 The Strong Bond Between India and Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Casey Research?s BIG GOLD newsletter recently published a great interview that I?d like to share with you. BIG GOLD editor Jeff Clark interviewed Shanta, the mother of U.S. Global consultant and longtime friend Jayant Bhandari, on how strong the cultural bond between gold and Indians is, especially women. "When it comes to supply and demand, what you?ve been told about gold jewelry is wrong. That?s a strong statement, but I?ve got a firsthand account to back it up."
2011-05-10 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Faced with persistent inflation, central banks across emerging Asian economies turned more active in the foreign exchange markets during April, aggressively raising interest rates. However, these actions have coincided with a loose monetary policy in the developed markets. Consequently, the investment capital, which typically chases high interest rates, continued to flow from the developed markets to emerging markets, pushing up the value of the currencies of emerging markets. To prevent a sudden appreciation of their respective currencies, central banks turned into buyers of the U.S. dollar.
2011-05-10 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies that were hit by natural disasters during the initial months of 2011 registered mixed economic performance with some countries in the group recovering faster even as other countries are still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. While Japan, finalized a fiscal and monetary plan, investment-led growth was helping Australia recover from floods. New Zealand, which also suffered a devastating earthquake, showed a considerable rise in dairy exports. Other advanced economies continued to do well, although strong growth has been stoking inflation.
2011-05-07 00:00:00 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.
2011-05-06 00:00:00 Postcard from Taiwan by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
Taiwan?s economy has been known for its strength in technology-related hardware manufacturing. An intricate network of vendor and supplier relationships, coupled with a relentless discipline to be cost-efficient, has allowed Taiwan to spearhead the global growth of the hardware supply chain. While that has provided growth in past decades, Taiwan faces new challenges for sustainable economic growth. While Taiwan is unlikely to surpass Hong Kong's in tourism anytime soon, it is encouraging to see the amount of economic activity that Taiwan could possibly derive from attracting more tourists.
2011-05-06 00:00:00 Opportunities in Southeast Asia (video) by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Asia presents a wealth of investment opportunities. Economic giants like China and India, with their increasing demand for commodities and natural resources, play a pivotal role for growth in the region, including emerging markets in Southeast Asia. I think the outlook for Southeast Asia remains very positive. Countries like Thailand and Indonesia have seen very rapid growth in the last decade, and frontier markets like Vietnam and Laos, with their strong growth potential, are also very interesting to us.
2011-05-05 00:00:00 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.
2011-05-05 00:00:00 A Roadmap For The Coming Changes In Fed Policy by Will Denyer of GaveKal
Last week?s FOMC statement, and Bernanke?s first press conference, were predictably anticlimactic. But they did confirm what the FOMC plans to do this summer, and what they currently think should be the next steps thereafter. Based on this apparent plan, market participants would be right to assume that Fed policy will continue, well after QE2 ends in June, to weigh on the Dollar and support the already elevated Euro, commodity prices, commodity currencies, etc? In other words, the Fed?s telegraphed trajectory would continue to contribute to the world?s biggest macro risks today.
2011-05-03 00:00:00 The Dollar: It?s Payback Time! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
It?s payback time for Ben Bernanke. In some ways, this should neither surprise, nor scare anyone. Unfortunately, it might do both. In any open market, information is absorbed into asset prices, including exchange rates. Indeed, exchange rates may be the best pricing source to assess the impact of the relentless involvement of policy makers? ?print and spend? mentality in the markets. When trillions are spent, markets are likely to move. However, an unintended consequence has been that a broad range of assets are now moving more and more in tandem, giving investors fewer options to diversify.
2011-05-03 00:00:00 Q1 2011 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors
In a nutshell, the Fed-induced "risk trade" is once again at a crossroads with commodity/oil prices and the real economy. You know the endgame is near when the Bernanke/Yellen team dismiss the "bad stuff," much like they did with sub-prime. Investors should be prepared for a possible reversal of some of the above trends as they relate to the US dollar, European Union difficulties, and the potential ending of the credit boom across Asia. Given the high sensitivities and correlations across most global asset classes, diversification can be incredibly difficult.
2011-05-03 00:00:00 Financial Markets Offer Conflicting Opinions by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
Another week of encouraging corporate earnings reports allowed the equity market to continue its recent strong run. On the housing front, the disappointing streak continued. New home sales increased from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 270,000 in February to 300,000 in March, according to the Department of Commerce. Although the gain was sizeable at 11.1%, new home sales are mired at abjectly low levels. Homebuyers are finding favorable opportunities in the form of distressed properties, reducing the chance of a significant rebound in new home sales in the months ahead.
2011-05-02 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Making Sense of a Mixed Bag by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Earnings season is winding down and is largely positive and CEO confidence is high. This points toward a continued improving labor outlook but could mean more grinding in the stock market. Housing remains moribund but the market seems to be largely dismissive. A ratings warning on US debt rattled the stock market but bond markets were relatively unmoved. Issues need to be addressed, but they are more likely to affect money flowing into the economy and highly unlikely to result in failure to pay obligations. Meanwhile, the Fed is striving to communicate more effectively-but about what?
2011-05-02 00:00:00 Extreme Conditions and Typical Outcomes by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
As of Friday, the S&P 500 has advanced to a point where it is either within 0.1% or fully through its top Bollinger band on virtually every horizon. We can define an "overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields syndrome" a number of ways. The more general the criteria, the better you capture historical instances that preceded abrupt market weakness, but the more you also encounter "false positives." Still, as long as the criteria capture the syndrome, we find that the average risk profile for subsequent market performance is negative, regardless of the subset of history you inspect.
2011-04-29 00:00:00 Comparing Korea and Taiwan by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
On a research trip to South Korea and Taiwan, I had the chance to compare the social, cultural and economic characteristics in both countries. Both enjoy educated workforces and a similar per capita GDP of about US$20,000 though South Korea?s population (50 million) is double Taiwan's. Both face challenges of low birth rates and a aging society. They also share similar economic development models, which focus on exports and specific industries. One key difference, however, is that Taiwan?s economy has been led by strong small and medium-sized enterprises while Korea?s large conglomerates.
2011-04-29 00:00:00 We Are Not Perma-Bears, But We Are Cautious Now by Team of Litman Gregory
To understand the potential upside for stocks it's important to evaluate the factors that drive returns and how they might behave over our investment horizon. The three key variables are dividends, earnings growth, and changes in the price/earnings ratio. Our analysis focuses on assessing these key factors under several broad economic scenarios. This allows us to estimate return ranges for stocks, and to weigh these potential returns against the risks we see to make informed portfolio allocation decisions.
2011-04-29 00:00:00 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.
2011-04-26 00:00:00 Africa: Challenges and Outlook by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
In this post, I will discuss what I think are Africa?s key challenges. Corruption is a major problem in Africa. However, accusations of corruption against African governments could also be lodged against entities in the developed world that seek to buy the influence of these governments. One important development has been the Cardin-Lugar amendment to the Dodd-Frank finance reform bill in the U.S., requiring that oil, natural gas and mining companies registered on the New York Stock Exchange disclose any payment made to a foreign government for the purpose of the commercial development.
2011-04-22 00:00:00 Internet: Land of the Free? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Cell phones, computers, laptops, tablets and portable media players have freed Americans to access the Internet wherever they are and at whatever time of day. World markets are now updated every minute, news feeds change by the second, and the free flow of business communication never stops. While the U.S. and freedom seem to go hand-in-hand, it may surprise you that the U.S. actually ranks second behind Estonia in Internet independence. A new report, Freedom on the Net 2011, charts different countries? Internet activity against accessibility, revealing some rather important clusters.
2011-04-22 00:00:00 Don?t Fear a Pullback in Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The S&P credit agency sent shockwaves through the global financial system on Monday. This sent markets lower and the prices of commodities such as oil rocketing back above $110 per barrel and both gold and silver to new highs. It should be clear the S&P announcement was just a warning, the rating was affirmed at AAA. The fears quickly subsided and U.S. markets hit fresh three-year highs. Essentially there?s only a one-third chance of a downgrade and anyone who?s ever listened to the weather man knows that a 33 percent chance of rain means you probably don?t need your umbrella.
2011-04-21 00:00:00 South Korean and Taiwanese Electronics Giants Fight for Global Influence by Team of Thomas White International
The East Asian nations of South Korea and Taiwan have transformed themselves from being the manufacturing backyards of US and Japan into high-tech giants in the past four decades. Their growth in the field of electronics has been impressive especially since the late 1990s. Currently, South Korean and Taiwanese firms are not only engaged in the manufacturing of the highly-commoditized chips but also in the production of hi-tech electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, televisions and personal computers.
2011-04-21 00:00:00 China's New Prescription by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
China?s health care reform has seen positive changes to the industry since the government announced its US$125 billion health care reform plan in 2009. One major change has involved improvements to the intellectual property protection for new pharmaceutical products, which are broadly defined as drugs that have never been marketed in China, including ?first-to-market? generics. Demand is strong for generic drugs in China and account for 70% of all drugs prescribed. A new breed of smaller and medium-size pharmaceutical firms have become specialty players in ?first-to-market? generics.
2011-04-21 00:00:00 Africa: Opportunities in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Those who are optimistic about Africa say that after many years of colonialism, it is beginning to demonstrate its potential. The continent does have its detractors, who say that while it may have been free of colonial rule for 60 years, the continent continues to battle poverty, corruption, AIDS and armed conflict. However, while Africa does have challenges, I am encouraged by another side of Africa that is gradually emerging with the development of capital markets, consumerism and technology.
2011-04-19 00:00:00 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Inflation continued to be the watchword for the emerging Asia Pacific economies in March. The world?s second largest economy, China, has slowly but firmly gained control over its banks, whose relentless lending had stoked inflation. Consequently, fears about excess inflation affecting China?s economy are expected to come down over the next few months. However, worries over the damage done to Japan by an earthquake could affect a number of export-based emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region. In other emerging Asian economies, monetary tightening continued at an accelerated pace.
2011-04-19 00:00:00 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
During March, most developed Asian economies faced headwinds to export growth. Continued efforts to tighten credit in China, inflationary pressures and strengthening currencies were some of the factors affecting export growth across many developed Asian economies. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Japan in early March disrupted supply chains across Asia. Japan, which accounts for 9 percent of the worlds GDP, plays a crucial role in the functioning of the global auto and electronics industry. It is estimated that Japan will require another 2-4 quarters to recoup the losses suffered.
2011-04-19 00:00:00 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The turmoil in the Middle East region continues, with Libya exploding into civil war, and troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council being called in to suppress the protests in Bahrain. In terms of the economic repercussions, stock markets in the MENA are estimated to have lost around $140 billion in market capitalization during the last month. According to the Arab Monetary Fund, the market capitalization of 16 Arab bourses was valued at $862 billion on March 4, compared with $1.002 billion on January 25, a day before the political crisis in Egypt triggered upheaval across the Middle East.
2011-04-19 00:00:00 Rear View Mirrors by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors
It was another positive quarter for U.S. equity investors. The market?s resilience in the face of the Fukushima earthquake, Middle East rebellions, and euro uncertainties was remarkable. The U.S. economy continued to demonstrate significant signs of recovery with new jobs in March and a 1% drop in the unemployment rate since November. While European markets were up 6.5% in dollar terms, Asian indices were down 2%. Bond market was mixed, with treasuries down and diversified indices flat. Oil prices were up over 16% while the dollar fell 6.4% relative to the euro but up 1.3% to the yen.
2011-04-16 00:00:00 The Cure for High Prices by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Today we once again think about the inflation/deflation debate, turn our eyes to Europe and the very interesting election happening there this Sunday, and speculate a little about what could derail the US economy. The old line is that the cure for high prices is high prices. When prices rise, businesses tend to respond by producing more. If the price of something gets too high, then people buy less, which then leads to too much supply, which lowers prices. Rinse and repeat. Last week I wrote about what I think is the potential for inflation in the US to rise to uncomfortable levels (4-5%)
2011-04-16 00:00:00 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.
2011-04-16 00:00:00 Inside Information by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Earnings season gives an 'insider' look at economic growth. Businesses see and react to changes in the economy before the broader macro data show a clear trend. The Fed has floated some trial balloons about reining in its extremely accommodative policies, the time for which is overdue. Budget issues remain a problem at all levels of government, but likely wont derail the recovery at this time. Despite ongoing debt problems in peripheral European nations, the ECB hiked interest rates. Europe still faces significant issues that make it more likely to underperform other areas of the world.
2011-04-15 00:00:00 Will Precious Metals Survive the Double Dip? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
It is rare for precious metals to appreciate in parallel with the broader stock market. Yet, this has been the case in the two years since the stock market began coming back from the 2008 financial crisis. Although metals have outperformed US equities over that time frame, it is noteworthy that stocks have gone up at all. Since January 2, 2009, the S&P is up about 50%. While gold is up 68% and silver is up a staggering 267%. With rising interest rates, oil at over $100 a barrel, and the recovery running out of steam, many investors are wisely asking if the markets are set for a sharp pullback
2011-04-15 00:00:00 Postcard from Surabaya, Indonesia by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia
While many of my colleagues have experience working through Indonesia?s economic cycles, I recently made my first trip there. During past research assignments related to Japan, I have noted Indonesia?s increasing importance in the Asian economy. For instance, its natural resources aided the sales of Japanese mining equipment makers and this arguably led those Japanese firms to climb out of the recent global recession earlier than their U.S. competitors. About 70% of Indonesia?s landmass is occupied by rainforest, and the country is the largest exporter of thermal coal and natural gas.
2011-04-14 00:00:00 Four Examples of China's Amazing Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
It?s hard to grasp the growth China has had over the past few decades. The country?s GDP has grown tenfold since Deng Xiaoping?s reforms ushered in a new economic era in 1978. However, pessimists point to the very low base economic growth began and the fact that Beijing has manufactured this GDP growth via government subsidies. True, China?s economy in the 1970s was barely on the global radar, and the government has kept the country?s economy afloat when activity started to contract. However, these naysayers can?t deny that nearly every aspect of Chinese life has experienced a transformation.
2011-04-14 00:00:00 U.S. Dollar ? Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds
We believe that continued U.S. dollar weakness may be a consequence of the diverging monetary approaches central banks are taking around the globe. While many international central banks have been on a tightening path, raising rates (i.e. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, to name a few), the U.S. Federal Reserve has been conspicuous in its continued easing monetary policy stance. Indeed, while other central banks have been shrinking the size of their balance sheets, the U.S. Fed?s balance sheet continues to expand on the back of ongoing quantitative easing policies.
2011-04-14 00:00:00 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Asian equity markets began the year in a particularly volatile state as they came to terms with regional inflationary pressure, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and the natural disaster in Japan. Notwithstanding these negative factors, most markets in Asia rebounded in late March to end the quarter on a positive note. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan, however, decreased by 1.4% in the first quarter of 2011, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index increased by 1.5%.
2011-04-13 00:00:00 Japan's Production Shortfall Drags on EM Asia Supply Chain by Michael Manetta, Arpitha Bykere and Adam Wolfe of Roubini Global Economics
The amplified shock from Japan?s March 11 earthquake, then tsunami, then nuclear crisis has rippled through the supply chain of its emerging Asia (EM Asia) neighbors. Production shutdowns and weakened demand in Japan began to register in Asia?s trade channels in the weeks following the disaster. As the extent and duration of disruptions to production in Japan become more apparent, the severity of regional supply chain interruptions and the effects on EM Asia's industrial production and export volumes and prices through 2011 can be better anticipated.
2011-04-13 00:00:00 Powering Up Asia by Team of Matthews Asia
Energy is a fundamental building block of all modern economies. As such, it should not be an overstatement to say that the availability, or lack of energy has been a primary driver of growth. This is why it has been imperative for all nations, to secure stable sources of energy. With Japan?s current nuclear crisis and high oil prices causing concern, the topic has drawn recent attention. And as Asia's population continues to climb, the region?s energy demands are also set to soar. China and India, are expected to develop ever greater appetites for energy sources, such as nuclear power.
2011-04-12 00:00:00 Ten Trends that will Reshape the Fund Industry by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For advisors scouring among thousands of mutual funds, bargains and inefficiencies will be harder to find in coming years. Intense competition among funds for shelf space will not translate to lower fees, and the new class of broad asset allocation funds is unlikely to live up to its marketing promises. Those were among the surprising forecasts from Geoff Bobroff, with whom I met last week.
2011-04-11 00:00:00 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey, Teri L. Mason and David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles
The power of easy money policy to dampen volatility is evident in the global bond markets. There has not been any systemic credit spread widening or major jump in risk aversion on the back of the significant political upheaval or natural disaster. The collective investor conclusion seems to be that the impact of the losses will not derail global growth, and Japanese reconstruction may even contribute to it later this year. Specifically, Chinese growth still looks on track for a strong year, and labor markets in the US have at last begun to show something like a normal recovery.
2011-04-08 00:00:00 Postcard from Indonesia by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
During a recent research trip to Southeast Asia, I spent time meeting management teams in Bangkok, Jakarta, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. I always find it valuable to be able to compare growth opportunities and challenges facing various industries and companies within the region while I am on the ground. Compared to a decade ago, these Southeast Asian cities have all developed relatively high levels of urbanization, affording residents and visitors the modern comforts and conveniences of such things as public transportation, financial services and easy access to fast food chains.
2011-04-07 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Inflation Worries? Commodities May Help by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Many of you may remember the movieThis classic shed some interesting light on the world of commodities.Commodities include natural resources, industrial metals, precious metals, and agricultural products. Or, as Duke explained to Billy Ray Valentine, "Commodities are agricultural products...like the coffee you had for breakfast...wheat, which is used to make bread...pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, which you might find in a BLT sandwich. And then there are other commodities, like frozen orange juice...and gold. Though, of course, gold doesn't grow on trees like oranges."
2011-04-05 00:00:00 Does a Weak Dollar Cause Inflation? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
Should investors be concerned that a weaker U.S. dollar causes inflation? The price at the gas pump should be a stark reminder that a weaker dollar may contribute to higher prices. Yet, economists tell us that food and energy inflation does not count. Why do economists have such a baffling sense of logic? Are economists really aliens in disguise, locked up in ivory towers? Let?s shed some light on the logic and why it may not merely be strange, but wrong.
2011-04-04 00:00:00 Confessions of an Investor by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
Woody Brock is advocating a regime change. Throw away the generally accepted approach of two generations of investment ?experts? and start again, is Woody?s recommendation. As a practitioner, I certainly recognise the limitations of MPT and I agree that, in the wrong hands, it can be a dangerous tool, but there is also a discipline embedded in MPT which carries a great deal of value. And, in fairness to Woody, he does in fact agree that you can take the best from MPT and mix it with a good dose of ?common sense? and actually end up with a pretty robust investment methodology.
2011-04-02 00:00:00 Above the Fray by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Attacks on Libya and recovery efforts in Japan have dominated the headlines, but behind the scenes US economic growth remains solid and we remain optimistic on the stock market. Commodity prices have backed off a bit and the Fed is likely to see QE2 through to its June 2011 end. Of particular concern is the unwillingness or inability for Congress to agree on a budget that addresses the growing deficit issues in the US. Japan has a significant debt burden with which to deal as it rebuilds, while Europe is struggling to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the eurozone debt crisis.
2011-04-01 00:00:00 Postcard from China by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia
During my recent company visits in China, management discussions continued to include the topics of wage inflation and manufacturing labor shortages. As we have previously written, the phenomenon of rising wages for a declining young generation is expected to last into the foreseeable future and should profoundly impact China.
2011-04-01 00:00:00 The Strong Link Between GDP and Oil Consumption by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Global crude oil and liquid fuel consumption grew at its second-fastest pace in over three decades in 2010, rising 2.8 percent to 86.7 million barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In fact, worldwide oil consumption surpassed 2007 pre-recession levels. For 2011 and 2012, the EIA forecasts that, around the world, we?ll use an annual average of 1.6 million barrels of oil per day. The EIA says this increase is expected to be driven by rising demand from the emerging world, mainly China, Brazil and the Middle East.
2011-04-01 00:00:00 The Bedrock of the Gold Bull Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Naysayers started calling gold a bubble back when prices hit $250 an ounce and though gold?s bull market has tossed and flung the bubble callers around for almost a decade now, their voices have only gotten increasingly louder as prices broke through $1,000, $1,200 and now $1,400 an ounce. However, gold prices appear asymptomatic of the signs generally associated with financial bubbles.
2011-03-31 00:00:00 Why Africa, Why Now? by Larry Seruma of Nile Capital Management
There are a number of reasons that Africa is an excellent investment opportunity ? Nile discusses a few that highlight why now is a good time to invest in African markets.
2011-03-30 00:00:00 Andrew Balls Discusses PIMCO?s European Cyclical Outlook by Andrew Balls of PIMCO
Europe?s outlook hinges on limiting contagion from the most troubled peripheral countries. The European Central Bank has signaled its intentions to start tightening, which could complicate the outlook for the more distressed countries. We think the Bank of England will begin to tighten rates over the summer. The UK outlook depends on the impact of fiscal tightening.
2011-03-30 00:00:00 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.
2011-03-30 00:00:00 ?Agri?-vation by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management
Recent events in the Middle East, combined with weather, have put tremendous pressure upon raw materials prices. The fear is that cyclical pricing pressure might become secular (generational) trends, accelerating inflation in energy prices, foodstuffs, and industrial components, thus undermining a tenuous uptick in consumer spending, global trade, and consumer confidence. While Wall Street rejoices that something, anything, has stimulated trading activity and profit margins, the world watches as surpluses contract and statistics become human convoys of disaster.
2011-03-29 00:00:00 American Consumer Sputtering in Q1 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The U.S. consumer spending and income report for February was a bit of a mixed bag. First, personal income in the U.S. did eke out a 0.3% MoM gain in February, but it was below expected and failed to keep up with the rise in inflation, which are largely, but not exclusively, being driven by food and fuel prices (accounting for half the increase). The personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price deflator rose 0.4% MoM and as such real income - straight up, net of taxes and excluding personal transfers - fell 0.1% in the first contraction since last September.
2011-03-28 00:00:00 The Profit Boom is Over by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
A seven-quarter run of positive profit growth ? six were double-digits ? came to an end in the fourth quarter as pre-tax corporate profits in the U.S.A. sagged at a 10% annual rate (looking at corporate earnings before tax without inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments). That was the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2008. The YoY growth rate is still healthy at +16% but off the boil, that is for sure.
2011-03-26 00:00:00 Unintended Consequences by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Governments around the world need to be alert and make difficult choices to deal with a world excess liquidity. From an investor?s point of view, enjoy the current ride in emerging markets but recognize that they are high beta to the U.S. economy and stock markets. The next time the United States goes into recession?and there will be a next time?it is likely that emerging markets will suffer significant losses. So, emerging markets are a trade and not a long-term investment.
2011-03-26 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 Bullish Sentiment Entrenched by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
A mini corrective phase in the equity market came and went. Investors have been groomed to buy the dip this cycle, and this is not just a mere observation. The flare-up in the Middle East, the tragic nuclear disaster in Japan, and not even a recent slate of poor U.S. economic data have put much of a dent in what is still an extremely positive sentiment readings. Bob Farrell?s Rule 9 seems to be facing a stiff headwind from the Fed?s overt policy stance on lifting valuation levels for risk assets. The bulls are fully in control and can now see new highs in sight for the major averages.
2011-03-25 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2011-03-25 00:00:00 Barbie's Lesson from Shanghai by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
Mattel?s Barbie store in Shanghai closed March 7, 2011. The sudden closure of the Barbie store left many baffled. The U.S. toy maker has stated that it is reorganizing its China strategy. Others, however, argue that the store is closing because Barbie?s classic western appeal has not caught on in China where girls tend to prefer cute animated characters, such as Hello Kitty, over a womanly life-like doll. Barbie?s price point (US$15 to US$30) has also been criticized as too high, particularly for a toy with limited brand recognition or nostalgic factor for parents who hold the purse strings.
2011-03-25 00:00:00 What's Driving Russia's Outperformance? by Frank Holmes, John Derrick and Tim Steinle of U.S. Global Investors
All ten sectors of the S&P 500 Index increased this week. The best-performing sector for the week was energy which rose 4.08 percent. Other top-three sectors were technology and materials. Financials was the worst performer, up 0.50 percent. Other bottom-three performers were utilities and healthcare.
2011-03-24 00:00:00 Revolution is in the Air: What Upheaval in the Middle East Means for China by Edmund Harriss of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management
The long term growth story in China and Asia remains unchanged. Economic reform and liberalization accompanied by investment and rising wages are creating consumer markets in the world?s most populous region. Higher oil prices inevitably hurt a region that is based so heavily on manufacturing and has a high dependency on imported oil, but this will not result in sustained damage to the economic model. The region?s finances are strong both at the national and at the corporate levels. After good stock performance in both 2009 and 2010 we believe this could provide a good entry opportunity.
2011-03-23 00:00:00 Seismic Window by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
It is not the threat of earthquakes that keeps me cautious on the stock market. Despite the fact that we still have not had more than three consecutive down days since Sep 1, 2010, and therefore the Buying Stampede remains intact, I can?t shake the feeling it ended on Feb 18. Stampedes (both up and down) typically last 17 ? 25 sessions before they exhaust themselves. Previously the longest stampede chronicled in my notes was a 52-session upside skein, of course that is until the Sep 2010 to Feb 2011 affair, which if ended on Feb 18 was legend at 117 sessions. If not, today is session 137.
2011-03-23 00:00:00 The Insidious Effects of Japan's Disaster by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
While the world?s attention has been focused on the physical destruction wrought by the Japanese earthquake, the attempts to contain the fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and the problems that Japan faces to rebuild its infrastructure, few have illustrated how long-lasting the radiation's effects may be. There has also been little mention of how large radiological events could impact economies of countries outside the immediate fallout zone. In reality, the disaster could make as much of an impact on investors in New York, London, or Sao Paolo as it makes on an investor in Tokyo.
2011-03-22 00:00:00 Emerging from Developed Profit Pools by Gregory A. Nejmeh of HS Management Partners
Much has been debated about the anticipated growth of the emerging markets and the tectonic shifts in political, economic and military force that such changes may yield. While the implications are significant, we are also mindful that economic activity in developed markets not only make them worthy of investor attention, but provide the stability of cash flows that will facilitate multinationals ability to invest in developing markets. We take a holistic perspective and appreciate the size and scope of developed market profit pools as a means of self funding developing economic participation
2011-03-21 00:00:00 This Is, Because That Is by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
The market action of the past two weeks contrasts with the generally uncorrected advance of recent months. I suppose it's possible for investors to characterize the recent decline as a "panic" if they press their noses directly against their monitors, but in that case, they really do have a short memory. The pullback has been negligible relative to the action of the past several months, and is indiscernible in the big picture. As of Friday, the market remained in an over valued, bullish, rising-yields syndrome that has typically been cleared much more sharply than anything we saw last week.
2011-03-21 00:00:00 World Near Tipping Point? by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO
Much of the potency of policy responses has been used up in the successful efforts since 2008 to avoid global depression. The longer the persistence of supply disruptions, the greater the risk of core inflation increasing. Questions about the end of quantitative easing in the U.S. pose a challenge for policymakers.
2011-03-19 00:00:00 Middle East Politics and Oil: The Influences on Global Interest Rates, Credit Spreads & Stock Prices by Tom Fahey, Ryan McGrail, Richard Skaggs and Joseph Taylor of Loomis Sayles
The market has added a substantial risk premium to the price of oil given the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Prices have increased by more than 20% since December 2010; half of that increase occurred during the past three weeks in reaction to unrest spreading to Bahrain, one of the Gulf States. Market participants have raised their probability calculations for black swan events. There may be excess pessimism in the market, as reflected in increased concerns about unrest spreading to the other Gulf States. Those concerns are potentially overblown.
2011-03-19 00:00:00 How the VAR Model and Japan?s Tragedy Affect Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The threat of disaster from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant unleashed a ferocious sell-off of Japanese equities, but the damage to other major markets has been limited. Already experiencing a slight pullback prior to the events on March 11, U.S. equities and emerging markets have held up quite well. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has only pulled back 2 percent since the earthquake and the S&P 500 Index only 3 percent.
2011-03-19 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
March Madness (basketball) could not have come at a better time. For weeks, folks have focused on developments in the Middle East as prospects for (some sort of) Democracy spread, but oil prices ballooned and investors fear Saudi Arabia may fall victim to revolution as well. Then, Japan pushed Libya to the backburner as fears of an economic slowdown (and nuclear radiation exposure) raised concerns across the globe. Markets reacted to the headline, often on mere speculation as no one knows how the global developments will play out.
2011-03-19 00:00:00 Japan Update by Team of Matthews Asia
As reports of Japan?s nuclear crisis grew bleaker this week, Japan and the world continued to grapple with one of the country?s worst natural disasters. While fears are high, thus far, elevated radiation readings have not been recorded outside the government-imposed exclusion zone around the nuclear plant in Fukushima.
2011-03-18 00:00:00 China's Urbanization Driving Housing Demand and Car Sales by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
It?s been an eventful week in Asia. The world turned its attention to Japan as it copes with the most powerful earthquake in the country?s history. The markets reacted, with Asian shares declining and uranium sentiment negative as investors rethink nuclear power. We are optimistic that a resilient Japan will turn from tragedy to opportunity by stimulating its economy through a reconstruction of the nation. This week, China was recognized for an achievement of its own. The country has resumed the leadership as the world?s top manufacturing country by output over Britain and the US.
2011-03-18 00:00:00 Has the Game Changed? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This is otherwise known as Newton?s first law of motion. In market parlance, this implies that a trend remains in force until such time as an exogenous shock causes it to either stall or reverse. Economic, geopolitical, and natural disaster events aside, equity markets around the world have definitely broken their intermediate-term uptrend.
2011-03-18 00:00:00 Australia: Impact of Japanese Earthquake by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
The Australian corporate sector could be a major beneficiary of Japan?s restructuring effort. In absolute terms, Japan is Australia?s second largest trading partner. What Australia loses in consumer exports, such as fine wool, it could gain in LNG and coal exports, as well as iron ore. Some Australian firms in these sectors have seen a positive impact on share price in recent days, as the market moves beyond reaction to information toward digestion of the same. With diminished use of nuclear power in Japan, we see a growing, if still undetermined, demand for energy resources from Australia.
2011-03-15 00:00:00 The Latest, and Most Devasting Supply Shock by Louis-Vincent Gave of GaveKal
It has been a rough year so far in Asia, with unprecedented floods across Queensland, droughts in Sri Lanka, southern India and northern China, the Christchurch earthquake and now, most devastating of all, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Of course, there is already no doubt that in terms of human suffering and economic cost, this latest tragedy dwarfs all the others; at times like these, it is very hard to not feel either highly emotional, or completely despondent. As such, in an attempt to gain clarity, it is normal to fall back on history, and rely on it as a guide.
2011-03-15 00:00:00 U.S. Government: Evermore Reliant on Foreign Investors by Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds
Despite the Fed recently surpassing China as the largest owner of U.S. government debt, the U.S. remains heavily reliant on foreigners to fund the government?s ongoing fiscal largess. Geithner?s Treasury Department has firmly focused new issues at the mid to longer end of the yield curve. Despite the Treasury taking advantage of the ultra-low interest rate and funding environment, there are substantial refinancing issues over the near term; moreover, many of these maturing issues are foreign owned.
2011-03-14 00:00:00 Japan: In the Face of Tragedy by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
On Friday March 11, 2011, the largest earthquake on record in Japanese history struck northeastern Japan. A devastating tsunami followed with 30 foot waves swallowing entire cities across the Pacific coastline. The full scope of the damage is still unknown, though the confirmed death toll has already exceeded 1,600, and is expected to rise significantly. Several cities and villages remain completely isolated, accessible only by helicopter. I was on a flight over the Pacific heading into Tokyo when all of this was happening. Passengers were informed of the tragedy an hour before landing.
2011-03-12 00:00:00 Domestic Equity Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The figure below shows the performance of each sector in the S&P 500 Index for the week. Four sectors increased and six decreased. The best-performing sector for the week was utilities which rose 1.5 percent. Other top-three sectors were telecom services and consumer staples. Energy was the worst performer, down 4.0 percent. Other bottom-three performers were materials and technology. Within the utilities sector the best-performing stock was Constellation Energy Group which rose 6.8 percent. Other top-five performers were Exelon, First Energy, DTE Energy, and Duke Energy.
2011-03-12 00:00:00 Volatility on the Rise by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Geopolitical unrest and rising inflation concerns have conspired to increase market volatility. We remain bullish on US stocks and believe that this recent increase in consternation will ultimately be healthy for stocks. The US government keeps kicking the debt can down the road, while the Fed seems unconcerned about inflation and is intent on completing QE2. We believe changes are needed at both entities to foster sustainable economic growth. The European debt crisis is bubbling up again, while the ECB is talking interest-rate hikes. Future growth depends on the path of both issues.
2011-03-11 00:00:00 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.
2011-03-11 00:00:00 Asia Pacific: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Asian economies recorded some of their best performance for the full year 2010. In particular, Southeast Asian nations witnessed a banner year, clocking their best performance in recent memory. However, although the full year record was exemplary, growth in the final months of 2010 began to cool off. While a rising currency continued to trouble export-based economies, inflation haunted almost all central banks in the region. Central banks, having to choose between raising interest rates and attracting foreign capital, opted to hike rates.
2011-03-11 00:00:00 Cross Selling in Asia by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia
I recently spent about two weeks in Asia, primarily visiting technology-related companies in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. It was nice to be able to contrast these firms in the context of the three capital cities?each at distinctively different stages of their development. Even the difference in air quality levels was visibly evident. While traffic in Beijing wasn?t as bad as I had feared following the recent lunar holiday, it was obvious that China?s automobile culture has taken off, and air quality has suffered as a result. Japan, on the other hand, seemed the most orderly and clean.
2011-03-10 00:00:00 Stock picking is dead? Long live stock picking by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management
A recent frontpage story in The Wall Street Journal was titled ?Macro Forces in Market Confound Stock Pickers.? The article quoted a prominent Wall Street strategist as saying, ?Stock picking is a dead art form.? The article is now prominently displayed on my office bulletin board as I believe it (and similar articles and research notes) marks a high in skepticism regarding active investing. I also believe these sentiments will be proven dramatically wrong in the months and years to come, as certain active investors take advantage of the inefficiencies that this very skepticism is causing.
2011-03-09 00:00:00 Gold or Goldilocks? by Kevin Feldman of BlackRock Investment Management
After a roller coaster January, gold prices have been soaring to nominal highs again of late. Given the recent rise in price, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the case for having a small amount of gold in your portfolio. Investors flocked to gold in 2009 and 2010 because of worldwide concern over the stability of the financial system, and as a result the precious metal?s price skyrocketed, passing $1400 an ounce. Last month, Barron?s warned its readers that the gold rush is over. Suggesting investors were likely to search for assets with greater expected returns than gold.
2011-03-09 00:00:00 Searching for Growth in Asia by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
There are many ways one might define ?growth? and go about uncovering it. There are a few key elements I look for: main drivers of growth, sustainability and scope of growth, and market expectations. Many global investors today are seduced by the last several years of strong stock performance in China and India, fueled by robust economic growth. However, economic growth alone does not guarantee good stock performance. In fact, many studies argue that, historically, there has been little correlation between stock market performance and economic growth.
2011-03-08 00:00:00 The Sweet Spot by Michael Nairne (Article)
Today?s low interest rates and lackluster stock valuations suggest portfolio returns going forward will be modest. Investors in search of higher return opportunities need to consider small-company value stocks. We explore how this asset class can improve portfolio performance for long-term, patient investors and deal with its risks and limitations.
2011-03-08 00:00:00 Consumer Confidence Turns Back Down by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
According to an RBC consumer outlook poll, one in three U.S. households is already ?significantly? cutting back on spending because of rising gasoline prices. And this was a survey taken at a time when the national average price at the pumps was around $3.20 per gallon ? wait and see what happens when it costs four bucks to fill up the tank ? that is the pain threshold for 41% of the consumer sector as per this poll.
2011-03-08 00:00:00 Will the Global Recovery be Brought to its Knees by Commodity Prices? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
There is a dangerous trend developing in food and energy costs, one that threatens to derail the global recovery. Thus far, consumers are able and willing to accept higher commodity prices. With consumers still feeling the effects of the worst recession in nearly a century, though, there is only so much that people will be willing to tolerate and the second half of the year may be too far away, at least when it comes to crude prices.
2011-03-07 00:00:00 Random Post-Employment Thoughts and Consensus On Oil Impact by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The consensus is that the U.S. labor market is healing. That may well be the case but the slack in the job market remains huge allowing for a structural rise in the unemployment rate. Only 15% of the recession job losses have been recouped despite the fact that expansion has surpassed the downturn. The consensus is that the world economy has gotten used to high levels of oil prices so this latest run-up in crude poses little risk to the economic outlook. But it is change that matters to growth, not levels. As for the macro impact, do not understate the potential for economic contraction.
2011-03-04 00:00:00 Malaysia's Deregulation Train by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia
After touching down in Malaysia last week, I was greeted with the less-than-welcoming sight of an apparently never-ending immigration line. As I progressed toward the front of the line, I began to realize the structural source of the problem?only two staff members were manning immigration booths for hundreds of passengers coming off a number of different flights. Although clearly a minor grievance, it did serve as a strong metaphor for the constraints and inefficiencies that foreigners still face when doing business in Malaysia
2011-03-04 00:00:00 Are Emerging Markets Still by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Political unrest in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East, along with surging food prices around the world, has provided fresh reminders of the inherent risks of investing in emerging markets. Indeed, while the U.S. stock market has been inching steadily upward in recent months, emerging markets have been struggling. Year-to-date through February 28, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is down -3.79%, while the S&P 500 Total Return Index has gained 5.88%.
2011-03-03 00:00:00 What Happens If There is No QE3? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
?who picks up the slack if the Fed stops its bond-buying program?? The answer is hardly complicated since we have a template for this. It is a very simple guidepost. Last year, from April 23rd through to August 27th, the Fed allowed its balance sheet to shrink from $1.207 trillion to $1.057 trillion for a 12% contraction as QE1 drew to a close. Go back a year to the Federal Open Market Committee minutes and you will see a Federal Reserve consumed with forecasts of sustainable growth and exit strategy plans. A sizeable equity correction coupled with double-dip fears were nowhere to be found.
2011-03-03 00:00:00 Multi-Asset Real Return: Assessing & Exploiting Price Pressures in their Many Forms by Kevin Kearns, Laura Sarlo and James Balfour of Loomis Sayles
An asset manager?s challenge is to preserve and grow the purchasing power of investors? portfolios under a variety of economic conditions. Understanding the breadth of global inflationary or deflationary trends that can occur, and the ways different assets might perform in these environments, is critical to this objective. Based on our research, we have determined that no single asset class can protect investors from inflation. On the contrary, we believe the flexibility and diversification offered by a multi-asset-class strategy is necessary to help weather changing inflation regimes.
2011-03-01 00:00:00 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The good: The manufacturing data in the U.S. continues to improve, at least within the confines of the major diffusion indices. The bad: The U.S. income and spending numbers were hardly stellar. It remains to be seen how much of the weakness was weather-related, but consumer spending dipped 0.1% in January ? the first decline since Apr 2010. The fact is that consumers kept a lid on their spending even with the fiscal windfall in Jan, pushing the savings rate up to a four-month high of 5.8% from 5.4% in both Nov and Dec. The ugly: The housing sector remains in the dumpster.
2011-03-01 00:00:00 The Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
Two remarkable events unfolded during the month of February. One cleared the front pages all over the world. The other one barely got a mention - outside of its home country that is. Both have the ability to derail the economic recovery currently unfolding. The first one is not surprisingly the uprising in the Middle East and North Africa. The other one is perhaps less obvious; we are referring to the Irish elections. We take a closer look at both of those events and what the implications may be for financial markets.
2011-02-28 00:00:00 Random Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The combination of sharply higher oil prices, the global food crisis, the accelerating geopolitical risks abroad, and the switch in the United States from fiscal stimulus to restraint ? all will serve to complicate the macro and market outlook further. Valuation may not be at an extreme, but most measures of market sentiment are. And some folks are beginning to notice that the wheels are starting to fall off the tracks.
2011-02-25 00:00:00 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.
2011-02-25 00:00:00 Inflation: Coming to a Store Near You by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia
During the past decade, consumers (and central bankers) in developed economies have grown accustomed to the cost benefits of outsourcing their manufacturing to Asia. This resulted in lower prices at the cash register, which in effect gave households in the U.S. greater purchasing power. The outsourced manufacturing model has historically hinged upon the availability of relatively cheap labor, undervalued currencies, access to preferential tax treatments and ongoing improvements in productivity. However, it has become apparent that this model may be under some strain.
2011-02-24 00:00:00 Will the Oil Price Be a Game Changer? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
First Tunisia. Then Egypt. And now Libya. What makes Libya different from a market?s perspective is that we are now talking about an oil exporter in the sudden grips of political upheaval. In this domino game, the next critical country we have to keep an eye on is Bahrain. The risk of further unrest is rising, especially with sectarian issues in full force in Bahrain. This means that oil prices at a minimum will retain a geopolitical risk premium. Bottom line: there is still more near-term upside potential than downside risk for the oil price (and most energy stocks).
2011-02-23 00:00:00 Reevaluating ?Chindia?: The Story of the Elephant and the Dragon by Arpitha Bykere, Adam Wolfe and Arnab Das of Roubini Global Economics
The emerging market powerhouse known as ?Chindia? is becoming a focal point of global attention as China and India show themselves to be growth dynamos of the coming Asian Century. But examining these countries? intrinsic differences is more illustrative than listing their similarities?and the two countries are likely to be on a divergent path over the next five years in the areas of growth, economic policy and politics.
2011-02-23 00:00:00 It's All About the Timing by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The calendar of events that could create recurring bouts of market volatility is coming into closer view: February 25: Irish elections. Is a default coming? March 4: U.S. government shutdown; this is the date that the latest resolution expires. The hardliners in the GOP are digging in their heels over $60 billion of spending cuts. April 1: U.S. nonfarm payroll report for March. The jobless claims data suggest no improvement from poor February results. Then end of QE2 and the knowledge that movements in the Fed?s balance sheet in the last 14 months have had an 86% correlation with the S&P 500.
2011-02-23 00:00:00 2011 Outlook: Private Equity by NB Alternatives private equity team of Neuberger Berman
As a result of the financial crisis, for the latter part of 2008 and all of 2009, very few new private equity transactions were completed and portfolio company monetization was minimal. However, the operating performance of existing private-equity portfolio companies was better than generally expected and investment returns were superior to public equity benchmarks. Although some of this outperformance can be attributed to the resistance of some private equity firms, we believe the majority of the outperformance was the result of effective cost cutting, cash conservation and debt reduction.
2011-02-23 00:00:00 Don?t Know Much about Geography, Don?t Know Much Trigonometry, But Sarah Palin Does Know Her ... by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust
On November 8, 2010, Sarah Palin commented that the Fed?s quantitative easing monetary policy was tantamount to printing money out of thin air. Sarah Palin may not know much about geography, but she does know her Fed policy. I would phrase quantitative easing a little differently. It is the Federal Reserve creating a specific amount of credit figuratively out of thin air. Theoretically, the Federal Reserve can create an unlimited amount of credit out of thin air. Of course, there would be dire economic consequences if the Fed were to create an unlimited amount of credit out of thin air.
2011-02-23 00:00:00 Asian Emerging Markets Will Grow on You by Peter Nielsen and Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital
A year has passed since Saturna put staff on the ground in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at the offices of our subsidiary, Saturna Sdn. Bhd. As expected, we have gained valuable insight into the emerging markets of Asia. We find the key to unlocking the opportunities these markets have to offer is an understanding of the intersection of market structure, demographics, economic growth, and asset allocation. Our analysis of trends in these four areas reveals an economic environment with favorable prospects for long-term growth.
2011-02-22 00:00:00 Bruce Berkowitz on the Exceptional Value in the Financial Sector by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Fairholme's Bruce Berkowtiz, US stock-fund manager of the decade, discusses his large position in the financial sector and why he believes the big bets he is making do not amount to Russian roulette. He also comments on his recent nomination of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to the board of St. Joes.
2011-02-22 00:00:00 Fiscal Contraction is Coming ... This is a Key Theme by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Well, if you haven?t yet heard, major budgetary restraint is coming our way in the second half of the year, and so we would recommend that you enjoy whatever fiscal and monetary juice there is left in the blender. There isn?t much that is for sure. The weekend newspapers were filled with reports of how the conservative wing of the Republican party have banded together to ensure that spending cuts will be in the offing. The state and local governments are already putting their restraint into gear.
2011-02-18 00:00:00 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The Treasury market retains a nice bid here and equities now look a bit wobbly or at least engaging in a pause. European bourses are in the red column for the most part and Asia was mixed with Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea posting gains but China and India were both clocked for a 0.9% and 1.6% loss, respectively. Even though China raised reserve requirements by a half-point again, the oil price is receiving support from concerns over the spread of social unrest in the Middle East towards Libya and Bahrain.
2011-02-18 00:00:00 Love, Marriage and Housing by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
Imagine the United States in the early 1920s. Henry Ford had just developed the moving assembly line to build the Model T, leading to an era of rapid growth in the automobile industry. This further stimulated industries such as oil, glass and road building. Tourism soared and consumers with cars had a much wider radius for shopping. Many people abandoned agriculture to seek new opportunities in fast-growing cities. During these ?Roaring Twenties,? the construction of urban offices, factories and homes were booming and new buildings sprouted up everywhere.
2011-02-17 00:00:00 The News is Not All Bad, Though There are Several Caveats by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
If there is anything to be worried about it is really that the equity market has easily climbed so many walls of worries. Is the outlook that much devoid of risks or do we have tremendous complacency on our hands? To be sure, the news is not all bad, though there are several caveats: Deere and Comcast beat their earnings estimates; The Fed lifted its real GDP forecast; The latest retail sales data were soft but there is momentum in the payroll-tax cut; etc.
2011-02-17 00:00:00 Baby Steps in the Complex Global Recovery Wasatch Funds by Sam Stewart and Roger Edgley of Wasatch Funds
The U.S. recovery is generally headed in the right direction. The good news is that credit markets are easing and many economic indicators are slowly improving. The bad news is that unemployment remains stagnant, companies are hoarding cash, and we have a growing federal deficit to address. The recently passed tax bill is good psychologically. People are generally pleased that their taxes won?t be going up this year, despite other concerns they may have with the bill. More importantly, this was one of several pieces of recent legislation showing the renewed possibility of bipartisanship.
2011-02-16 00:00:00 Politics of Inflation by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
In arguing food inflation is not the Federal Reserve?s (Fed?s) fault, Fed Chairman Bernanke points the finger at everyone but him. Just as with a lot of Bernanke?s policies, his argument may hold in an academic setting, but the real world is a bit more complicated.
2011-02-15 00:00:00 Food Chain: Do Spiking Food Prices Warn of Generalized Inflation? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Food inflation has heated up and has incited global unrest. But for now, it's unlikely to become a monetary phenomenon. Investors should expect geopolitical risk to stay elevated in 2011, with implications for emerging markets performance.
2011-02-14 00:00:00 Fiscal Drag Coming and No More QEs by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
In an otherwise uneventful weekend, what did come out is that fiscal stimulus is about to turn towards restraint in a significant fashion. Even the White House recognizes the need for fiscal discipline and is on the precipice of unveiling a much more austere budget. And this will coincide with massive tax hikes and spending cuts at the lower levels of government too. The surgery is much more preferable now than becoming a banana republic down the road.The future of QE2 is looking more certain ? it will live to see June of this year but the chances of a QE3 are remote.
2011-02-14 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
No one knows what the longer-term direction of the Egyptian state will be, and as a consequence the investment outlook now has an additional source of uncertainty. As far as the global economy is concerned, the failure of the European leaders to agree on to how to handle future sovereign debt crises has cast a shadow once again over Portugal and even Ireland. The problem that Ireland poses is that the elections to be held shortly will bring about a new government who may wish to renegotiate their bailout agreement.
2011-02-12 00:00:00 The Future of Public Debt by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin looks at an important paper from the Bank of International Settlements on ?The Future of Public Debt.? While the debt supercycle is still growing on the back of increasing government debt, there is an end to that process, and we are fast approaching it. Drastic measures are necessary to check the rapid growth of current and future liabilities of governments and reduce their adverse consequences for long-term growth and monetary stability. This leads the BIS to conclude that the question is when markets will start putting pressure on governments, not if.
2011-02-12 00:00:00 Foreign Investments in India by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
Foreign investment plays a significant role in India?s economic growth, which has historically been constrained by supply factors, and most notably, the availability of capital. Domestic savings in India have risen, but high government deficits still don?t leave enough for the private sector. The result has been a vicious cycle in which the high cost of capital prevents many businesses from flourishing, which further limits India?s capacity for capital formation. Let us examine the ways in which India can use foreign capital to emerge from this low-growth equilibrium.
2011-02-12 00:00:00 Balancing Act by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Strong US economic signals and solid earnings continue to provide a positive backdrop for stocks. We expect pullbacks if optimistic sentiment gets too elevated, but remain optimistic about the stock market. Inflation concerns are rising, but the Federal Reserve is unlikely to react with tighter policy. There's not much it can do to fight commodity inflation, but Treasury yields are rising in response to headline inflation, even with little near-term risk of companies passing on rising costs.
2011-02-11 00:00:00 Reiterating Our Investment Thesis for 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
For 2011, not only do I still favor credit, especially the spread compression left in the high-yield space, but relative value portfolios, hybrids with a decent running yield and exposure to Canadian dollars. The resource sector is also attractive, especially oil, with a long-term view towards buying these companies on dips and not just for the commodity price uptrend. Corporate bonds, especially BB-rated product. Hedge funds, with low correlations with the direction of the market or the economy. And precious metals as a hedge against periodic bouts of currency and monetary instability.
2011-02-11 00:00:00 The Many Faces of Inflation by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Asian markets have gotten off to a rocky start in 2011, and inflation appears to be among the chief culprits. Many seem to be treating inflation as a single phenomenon with similar effects everywhere. In truth, the effects of inflation on different countries can be quite distinct and in some cases quite positive. We can get an idea of how inflation impacts different countries in a different way by looking at four big economies dominating the Asian investment scene at the moment: China, India, Japan, and the U.S.
2011-02-10 00:00:00 The Two Faces of Ben Bernanke by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
When the rest of the world no longer links their currencies to ours, the Fed will truly not have to worry about fueling global inflation. Instead, all of its inflation will burn through our banks accounts right here at home. And that blaze, so concentrated, will burn a lot hotter than the fires we see abroad.
2011-02-10 00:00:00 Outlook 2011 by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management
The year 2010 took us on quite a ride and ultimately delivered acceptable returns in both the US stock and bond markets. Our returns were commensurate with the index, but did so without exposing our clients to what we consider the primary long term risks that exist today. Those two primary risks we see in 2011 involve bonds and China.
2011-02-10 00:00:00 Betting Against the House; Is This the Time to be Going Long? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Housing starts are at around 550k annualized units right now and household formation averages in the 1.1 to 1.2 million range. At what point do you think this dovetails and a housing recovery takes place? Great question. This is one overextended U.S. stock market, that is for sure. We have a dividend yield on the S&P 500 of 1.8% with a 10-year bond yield at 3.7%. The dividend yield, by the way, is where it was at the market peak in October 2007. The cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is now 23.3x, where it was back in May 2008. At the lows, it was trading at 13.3x.
2011-02-10 00:00:00 Inflation: Say Goodbye to Buying Power by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Economy watchers see its growing presence in official government statistics. Yet you won?t hear government officials admitting it. It?s too politically unpleasant ? and threatening ? to do so. Official spin and fantasy aside, the reality is that inflation is here and here to stay for quite a while. That means the buying power of the dollar is declining and being experienced on a daily basis.
2011-02-10 00:00:00 FPA Crescent Fund Q4 2010 by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors
We do not have a strong view as to what will transpire over the intermediate-term with respect to the economy or securities markets, nor do we have a great love for the opportunities the markets have to offer. In general, we require more upside than the market currently permits, because the downside (for reasons discussed) is not inconsequential. Taking a look at the S&P 400 Midcap Index gives some idea as to why that may be the case. Midcap stocks have increased 129% since the 2009 trough. That kind of move generally sucks the oxygen out of the room as far as good risk/reward investments go.
2011-02-09 00:00:00 Will New Regulations Bring Continued Rebalancing for Canadian Housing? by Tetiana Sears and Rachel Ziemba of Roubini Global Economics
Though Canada managed to avoid a U.S.-style housing crash, the Great White North may face its own set of difficulties, as the same ample credit extension, low interest rates and government incentives that helped the housing market rapidly recover the losses incurred during the 2008-09 downturn are contributing to increased household indebtedness.
2011-02-08 00:00:00 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.
2011-02-08 00:00:00 Give ?Em Credit; Looking at Sales, Not Just Earnings by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Across many indicators, this goes down as a horrible recovery, especially in view of all the stimulus. Of course things look much better than they did in the ?double dip? risk days of last summer but absent the impact of the GDP deflator?s collapse and the decline in the savings rate, Q4 real GDP would have actually come in closer to +0.5% SAAR than the posted +3.2% print. We are hearing how great S&P 500 sales are doing so far for Q4 ? up 7.7% and beating estimates by the highest margin in 5 years. We scoured the data and found almost all the growth in sales is coming from outside the US.
2011-02-07 00:00:00 Jobs Data Redux and Inflation Spasm Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The labor market in the US is not improving. Lost in the debate over the weather impact was the benchmark revision to 2010 ? overstated by 215k or 24%. The economy generated 909k jobs last year -insignificant considering that the population grew around 160k/month. The level of employment today is where it was in 2003. There have only been a handful of times in the past when both food and energy prices were rising so sharply in tandem. Since almost 25% of the CPI basket is in food and energy directly, it would seem logical to assume that we are going to get headline inflation in coming months.
2011-02-04 00:00:00 Postcard from Taiwan by Mike Lin of Matthews Asia
To help manufacturers with factories in China cope in an environment of rising wages, labor shortages and a rising renminbi, one leading Chinese industrial automation device producer we spoke with described a trend of investments in industrial automation to reduce the reliance on labor and boost profitability. Furthermore, Chinese manufacturers will need to shift from business models based purely on pricing, and evolve into producers of higher margin, value-added products. We believe this trend should benefit not only Chinese automation firms but also automation companies abroad.
2011-02-04 00:00:00 An Excerpt from Endgame by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Growth does not look that great, and people don?t feel the recovery. This is unlikely to change. The U.S. and most developed economies are currently facing many major headwinds that will mean that going forward, we?ll have slower economic growth, more recessions, and higher unemployment. Three large structural changes have happened slowly over time that we expect to continue going forward. The U.S. economy will have higher volatility,lower trend growth, and higher structural levels of unemployment (The United States here is a proxy for many developed countries with similar problems.)
2011-02-03 00:00:00 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.
2011-02-03 00:00:00 Feb 2011 Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
We celebrate the Chinese New Year - the year of the rabbit - by taking a closer look at what is now the second largest economy in the world. We embrace the longer-term opportunities which present themselves, but we also discuss some of the near term challenges, which include uncomfortably high inflation combined with surprisingly weak economic growth towards the end of 2010. Enjoy the read!
2011-02-03 00:00:00 Reagan for President...of China! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
China needs to re-balance its economy to tame inflationary pressures. To achieve this, portfolio manager Axel Merk provocatively suggests Ronald Reagan needs to become the president of China. This analysis discusses the Chinese renminbi.
2011-02-02 00:00:00 Devil?s Bargain by Bill Gross of PIMCO
Money has become the economic and political wedge for profound changes in American society. Perhaps the most deceptive policy tool to lessen debt loads is the ?negative? or exceedingly low real interest rate that central banks impose on savers and debt holders. Old-fashioned gilts and Treasury bonds may need to be ?exorcised? from model portfolios and replaced with more attractive alternatives both from a risk and a reward standpoint.
2011-01-31 00:00:00 Egypt: Standing in the Middle of Nowhere and Everywhere by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
We?ll likely recommend Egyptian equities once the current uncertainty diminishes. However skittish the political backdrop, Egypt should be a mainstay of a well structured emerging-market allocation. We see little prospect of regressive economic-policy implementation down the road. Our view might be different if current protests shift to an Islamist-led revolt, but so far that does not seem to be happening. We?re seeing grassroots discontent expressed by young Egyptians.
2011-01-29 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: Confidence Climbing by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Although still relatively low, confidence is returning to businesses and consumers. We believe this confidence is well-placed and could portend healthy gains for the economy and the market as the year matures. Risks remain: commodity prices are rising, housing is still moribund, and federal and local governments have severe fiscal budget crises to deal with. Confidence in developed international markets is still lagging.
2011-01-28 00:00:00 Thought Leaders of the Islamic Crescent by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
I single out thinkers based in the Islamic Crescent (roughly stretching here from Ankara to Kolkata), arranging them first by geography, then in the rank order set by Foreign Policy. Our text summarizes the magazine?s material, supplemented with our own observations and updates. We note qualifications and challenges to the list at the end of our roster.
2011-01-28 00:00:00 India's Inflation Worries by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
While developed nations are now craving a bit of inflation, emerging markets such as India regard inflation as their formidable enemy. Ironically, a small dose of inflation can actually indicate unmet demand that could incentivize production and catalyze economic growth in one situation, while a little excess inflation can erode purchasing power in another. In India?s case, where the majority of its vast middle class is skewed toward the poverty line, high and sustained rates of inflation can dampen real growth and widen economic disparity.
2011-01-26 00:00:00 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.
2011-01-25 00:00:00 A Reality Check by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
We will probably end up with a few years of stable to moderately deflating consumer prices once the effects of the latest commodity surge starts to fade. It appears that we are in the process of seeing another down-leg in national home prices. Equities are wildly overbought and may suffer the same fate before long, with all deference to the recent leg-up in valuations. The U.S. unemployment rate is unlikely to come down much, if at all, if real GDP growth does not accelerate beyond 3%. If it couldn?t do it in 2010, then we have no idea why it would be the case in 2011.
2011-01-24 00:00:00 Muni Update by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The unfunded liability that has to be closed at the lower levels of government is estimated to be $1 trillion and the combined deficit that has to be closed for this year is far higher than we initially thought at $135 billion. Second, there is reportedly talk in Congress of a broader bankruptcy bill that would give the states the power to adjust their pension obligations and rework union contracts. However, no bailouts are coming and the GOP is adamant about that. Staff cuts, service reductions, and tax hikes are coming in this critical 12% of the economy. Count on it.
2011-01-24 00:00:00 Currency Wars: View From Beijing by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
Any belief in Washington that the Chinese will allow the yuan to appreciate meaningfully beyond their pre-determined framework belies a certain naivete, in our view. First, of course, is the ancient Chinese stance that any such directives constitute meddling in internal affairs. We see two overriding themes that provide more contemporary context for Chinese economic decision-making: civil stability and social security.
2011-01-22 00:00:00 China's U.S. State Visit by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
The analysis surrounding Chinese President Hu Jintao?s trip to Washington has so far focused on the subdued tone of the visit, the lack of major policy initiatives and the reverence for vague ideas such as harmony. The obvious conclusion is that President Obama and President Hu don?t have much to talk about. Perhaps this is unfair.
2011-01-22 00:00:00 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.
2011-01-21 00:00:00 What Will Turn Me More Bullish On Tthe U.S.A. by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Here's a list of ideas: An energy policy that truly removes U.S. dependence on foreign oil (shale case, coal, nuclear). A complete rewrite of the tax code that promotes savings, investment, and a revamp of the capital stock. A credible plan that reverses the runup in the debt to GDP ratio. A massive mortgage write-down by the banks. A creative strategy to put people to work instead of paying them to be idle ... and more
2011-01-20 00:00:00 Addressing Concerns about a Two-Track World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
I recently had a conference call with our investors around the world. Depending on where they were from, some of them were concerned about inflation while others were worried about sovereign debt problems. Here are a few topics that we discussed.
2011-01-19 00:00:00 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
In more than 20 months, the equity market has managed to turn in the same performance it took 60 months to achieve in the last bear market rally. Strip out the financials, and indeed, the entire equity market is now behaving as if the destruction of debt and household balance sheets either never happened or that the aftershocks are completely yesterday?s story. Governments around the world, especially in the U.S.A., have managed to convince nearly everyone that prosperity is here and will persist to perpetuity. But ? if it is too good to be true, it probably is. This is an illusion.
2011-01-19 00:00:00 2011 Capital Markets Outlook by Joseph V. Amato of Neuberger Berman
During 2010, macroeconomic factors largely dominated the financial markets, creating a volatile, emotional environment as investors appeared at times to be thinking less about what stocks to own than whether they should own stocks at all. As a result, many equities with very different fundamental characteristics often showed very high correlations to one another, while valuations converged. Over time, we believe that the market will differentiate these stocks based on their individual fundamentals. A similar statement can be made about other assets as well.
2011-01-18 00:00:00 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.
2011-01-18 00:00:00 Headwinds Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
It is difficult to understand why it is that everyone is so whipped up about U.S. growth prospects. Even the latest set of data points has been less than exciting. Retail sales, payrolls, and consumer confidence have all been below expected and all of a sudden we see that jobless claims are moving back up. We have federal fiscal support, which at the margin is subsiding. And we have massive monetary support, and on this the Fed is going to be facing much more intense congressional scrutiny going forward. At the same time, about half of last year?s GDP growth was inventory accumulation.
2011-01-17 00:00:00 Is Bank America the Most Sued Company in America? Sol Sanders on Charting the Arab Dark by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
With more than half of Tunisia's population under 30, increasing unemployed youth want more. It remains to be seen who will come out on top in Tunis. But across North Africa - from Egypt to Morocco - underground religious Muslim opposition festers. Alas! in Tunisia, as elsewhere, the Iranian mullahs' total corruption and Saudi Arabian hypocritical lifestyle notwithstanding, the Islamicists' appeal is growing.
2011-01-17 00:00:00 Adding Up the Inflation Carnage; US Consumer Hitting an Air Pocket by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
This is just the fifth time in modern history that BOTH food and energy prices have risen at a double-digit annual rate for any length of time ? 1979, 1980, 1996, and 2008. At this rate, the energy bill is going to create a drag U.S. household spending power by $60 billion this year. Beneath the veneer of all the enthusiasm is the reality that real organic incomes are under pressure.
2011-01-15 00:00:00 Further Fuel? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Stocks may be vulnerable to a near-term pullback thanks to elevated sentiment, and earnings season could provide an impetus for some profit taking. The economy appears to be strengthening and we remain optimistic. Despite signs of growth, the Fed seems insistent on letting QE2 play out, pointing to continued high unemployment and housing. The new congress also has to deal with these issues, while attempting to pare deficit spending. International exposure is important, but we recommend taking some profits and rebalancing if your emerging-market exposure gets above your target allocation.
2011-01-14 00:00:00 2011 Outlook: International and Emerging Market Equities by Benjamin Segal and Conrad Saldanha of Neuberger Berman
We anticipate modest but positive global economic growth in 2011. Economic growth in emerging markets should benefit developed-market firms with global reach as well as emerging-market companies. Issues we are closely watching: the potential for currency/trade wars, asset bubbles and inflation in the emerging markets, increasing regulation and possible negative impacts of monetary tightening. Many overseas corporations are profitable and healthy, with cash available for M&A, higher dividends and other corporate activities.
2011-01-14 00:00:00 Creating an Illusion of Prosperity by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The question really today is still one of sustainability. If the Fed and our public officials were as comforted as the financial markets now seem to be over the sustainability of the recovery, then after a full year into it the central bank would not have embarked on another monetary experiment and the government would not have dipped into Social Security as a means to put more change in people?s pockets for spending purposes. Money, as an aside, that isn?t really ours.
2011-01-14 00:00:00 A China Traffic Report by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
Few are optimistic that Beijing will be able to solve its traffic problems any time soon. Many locals I met with lament that there are simply too many wealthy individuals in Beijing to curtail the growing car consumption. Analysts also agree that government measures related to auto sales in China will have limited impact; and they note that Beijing accounts for only about 7% of the total new car market in China. With car penetration still at low levels in China, the trend for car consumption should only increase.
2011-01-12 00:00:00 Malaysia's Middle-Income Malaise by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics
Malaysia?s policy makers have been forced to confront the factors blocking the country?s rise to high-income status. Facing higher labor costs, the economy has been unable to maintain a growth model based on low-value-added manufacturing that was largely successful for the 30 years prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
2011-01-12 00:00:00 Equity Market Review and Outlook by Richard Skaggs and Thomas Davis of Loomis Sayles
Global equity markets continued the uptrend that began in the third quarter and finished the year with solid gains across all major equity categories. Such a powerful second half of 2010 seemed improbable just last summer, when concerns over a potential double-dip recession dominated investor thinking. Other macro issues, such as the ongoing financial challenges within the European Union, remain unresolved. However, these macro concerns have remained manageable in the eyes of equity investors.
2011-01-11 00:00:00 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.
2011-01-11 00:00:00 Inflation a Growing Concern for Emerging Market Countries by Team of American Century Investments
As a group, emerging market countries have rebounded from the Great Recession in much better shape than developed economies. And driven by higher commodity prices, robust domestic consumption, and a growing middle class with buying power, the emerging market asset class appears poised for more growth heading into 2011. While investors have been focusing on the European debt crisis, however, many emerging market economies have been getting a little overheated from the rapid pace of growth, and inflationary fears are quietly becoming a daily reality.
2011-01-10 00:00:00 Global Instability by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
With inflation in China over 5%, Chinese policymakers are going to spend 2011 in restraint mode. Count on it. We are in the throes of a global currency war and late last week we saw Brazil move aggressively to rein in the real?s strength by imposing reserve requirements on domestic banks? foreign exchange positions. We have food prices surging and this is very likely going to cause social strife in the emerging market world - India, China and Indonesia come to mind. The Eurozone sovereign debt situation is looking increasingly tenuous.
2011-01-10 00:00:00 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.
2011-01-10 00:00:00 The Key Asset Classes For 2011 Will Be: Oil, Gold, And Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Investors are moving from bonds to stocks and the huge cash balances at money market funds will likely find their way into stock and commodity markets in 2011. This means inflation and commodities prices are likely to rise faster than wages, and those living on fixed incomes or bond interest will be affected the most, due to the fact that their money buys them less of everything; both luxuries and necessities. However, the ramifications of this inflationary trend are also serious for wage-earners. In every inflationary period in recorded history, wages have risen more slowly than inflation.
2011-01-08 00:00:00 Forecast 2011: Better than Muddle Through by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin reviews his prior-year forecast. He was right on currencies and gold, but missed the bull market in equities. For 2011, he likes gold relative to the euro, pound and yen, but is less bearish on the pound than he was a year ago. He fears the Kamchatka volcanoes (in Russia) will trigger a spate of bad wealth which will lead to scarce resources and inflation. He is optimistic about the job market and employment, and forecasts that the US economy will grow 2.5-3% in 2011. He fears, however ,that structural problems in the work force will leave many untrained for employment.
2011-01-07 00:00:00 Weekly Asia Update: Postcard from China by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia
Automation is one of the many possible solutions for China. There is plenty of room for China to catch up with its industrialized Japanese neighbor. China?s current level of industrial automation is comparable to that of Japan in the early 1980s, based on the percentage of computerized machine tools, the market size of the core machinery components needed for factory automation, and the level of automation in vehicle manufacturing.
2011-01-06 00:00:00 2011: Year of the Yellow Brick Road by Axel Merk of Merk Funds
As far as gold is concerned, the continued concerns over sovereign solvency - not the eurozone in particular, but globally, combined with the U.S drive to achieve growth at any cost, make the yellow metal worth considering. What's in your vault? Is your yellow brick road made of dreams or gold? Just because policy makers are dreaming, doesn't mean investors need to.
2011-01-06 00:00:00 Descending a Mine Shaft in the Kazhakstan Steppes by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Kazakhstan is becoming increasingly important to us as an investment destination. It has vast natural resources such as oil, gas, copper, uranium and a host of other minerals. As a result of the billions of dollars pouring into the country to develop those resources, we believe Kazakhstan has become the economic engine for Central Asia. We have been investing in both the petroleum and mining sectors in Kazakhstan, and the purpose of this visit was to take a closer look at the mining sector.
2011-01-05 00:00:00 What The Bulls May Be Ignoring ... At Their Peril ... Plus Some Ideas For 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The bullish case is pretty well established right now and there is no sense repeating them but what may be ignored are these half-dozen. Nothing of course says that the market can?t keep going up over the near-term. risks, I list. Just as the onus was on the double-dippers last summer given the sentiment and market action, the onus now is clearly on the V-shaped enthusiasts.
2011-01-04 00:00:00 Getting a Grip by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
We can expect a showdown between the House Republicans and the Administration over the debt ceiling in Q2. At stake could be a good dose of spending restraint as ?pay-go? rules make a sudden reappearance after being neglected by the lame-duckers last year. There is always the reality of the payroll tax cut coming to an end in December and how that will crimp personal income in 2011. Of course, there is always the prospect of a Q4 corporate spending binge as the bonus depreciation allowance expires. The last 3 quarters of 2011 are going to be very interesting
2011-01-02 00:00:00 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.
2010-12-31 00:00:00 What to Do with Pakistan? by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
Pakistan is not for the faint-hearted. But there are material opportunities in the oil and gas, natural resources, textile, and agricultural sectors, given the decline in asset prices seen over the past two years. Investors in Pakistani shares will likely see validation of their commitments if foreign direct inflows improve as we expect over the year ahead. Operating somewhat below the radar of Western economic analysts, both the Saudis and the Chinese are set to lead the charge in project commitments, especially if progress is made on addressing political extremism.
2010-12-29 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-12-23 00:00:00 Ten Reasons To Be Cautious For The 2011 Market Outlook by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
1) In Barron?s look-ahead piece, not one strategist sees the prospect for a market decline. This is called group-think. 2) The weekly fund flow data from the ICI showed not only massive outflows, but in aggregate, retail investors withdrew a RECORD net $8.6 billion from bond funds during the week ended December 15. 3) Bullish sentiment has now reached a new high for the year and is now the highest since 2007 ? just ahead of the market slide.
2010-12-23 00:00:00 Some Thoughts on Market Timing by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
I have real doubts that there will be ?hundreds of billions? of losses in the municipal bond market. It would take a default by almost every major municipal issuer, and a lot of small ones, to create a hundred billion in defaults, something not likely to happen. States will be forced to make spending cuts. Mauldin also cites three sources who he "highly respects" who advise to hedge US equity portfolios going into 2011.
2010-12-22 00:00:00 Here We Go Again! by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Market sentiment is as overly optimistic now as it was pessimistic at the July-August lows. Eurozone fiscal deflationary shock. Anti-inflation policy restraint in emerging Asia. Widespread cutbacks at the state and local government level. Debt ceiling issue triggers major rounds of market volatility. Tax breaks that are temporary tend to have marginal economic impact with few multiplier impacts, hence GDP revisions will likely be to the downside post-Q1. Another downleg in home prices undercuts confidence and spending (with around two years? supply of total vacant inventory backlog).
2010-12-22 00:00:00 2011 Outlook: Fixed Income by Fixed Income Investment Team of Neuberger Berman
Entering 2011, there is no shortage of potential issues that could ignite periods of extreme market volatility. While short-term market gyrations are unsettling for both novice and experienced investors alike, for the year as a whole, we believe the outlook for the economy and the fixed income market is generally positive. In particular, certain non-Treasury sectors have compelling fundamentals going into the New Year. In our opinion, these areas could benefit generally from an increased risk appetite, should investors seek incremental yields given a continued low interest rate environment.
2010-12-21 00:00:00 Demographics and Sovereign Debt by Team of American Century Investments
Events surrounding what the press calls the European Sovereign Debt Crisis have been in the news for much of the past year. Unfortunately, this label masks an underlying major contributing factor: demographics. The combination of long life expectancies, relatively early retirement ages, generous retirement benefits and a shrinking base of workers to support the growing proportion of retirees in the population will put tremendous burdens on the budgets of these countries.
2010-12-21 00:00:00 All That Glitters by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
I have ave no doubt: gold is the ideal investment. It serves as a reliable store of value, especially in challenging and uncertain times. It?s a hedge against inflation, since its price rises in sympathy with the general level of prices. It exists without the involvement of man-made constructs such as governments. And it?s desired and accepted all around the world (and always has been.) The supply of gold is finite. It can?t be created out of thin air. Thus it?s not subject to dilution or debasement, as is paper currency when governments decide to print more.
2010-12-20 00:00:00 Stimulus or Restraint? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The bond bears and equity bulls are placing much of their faith in the $858 billion tax package in the U.S. Most of this ?stimulus? only prevented the federal government from acting as a contractionary economic force in 2011. How much of the tax cuts will go into saving and imports remains to be seen. We think the ?stimulative? effects are over exaggerated. What we don?t see discussed that much are the spending cuts coming our way and these indeed will show up directly in GDP.
2010-12-20 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The big news last week was the final passage of the extension of the tax rates first enacted under President Bush some ten years ago. Mind you, there are no income tax cuts for anyone as the media seems bent on convincing people. Obviously, we are heading into the holiday season. This week will see the financial markets closed on Friday in honor of the Christmas federal holiday. European markets tend to take even more time off, so this week should be very quiet.
2010-12-17 00:00:00 The Dollar Threads a Needle by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
Forecasting the dollar?s short-term relative value is an extremely difficult exercise. Sadly, logic holds little sway in the current marketplace. However, over the longer term, I believe dollar weakness will undermine the market ? just as we saw with the dot-coms and real estate. At some point, fundamentals will be felt.
2010-12-17 00:00:00 Capital Markets Brace for Exciting 2011 by Andreas Utermann of RCM
Andreas Utermann, global chief investment officer at RCM, a company of Allianz Global Investors, highlights key themes likely to shape the direction of capital markets in the coming year and provides a brief outlook on how he expects major asset classes to perform.
2010-12-17 00:00:00 The Secular Theme that Transcends the US Business Cycle by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
If there is a secular theme that transcends the U.S. business cycle it is agriculture. Farm incomes are rising sharply and all indications point in a similar upward direction in 2011 and likely beyond. This is another way, beyond going long mining excavation equipment and industrial commodities, to play the increasing demand for food, especially proteins, alongside the ever-rising standards of living in China, India and other emerging market economies.
2010-12-17 00:00:00 Postcard from Bangladesh by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
While some foreign investors may consider Bangladesh a ?frontier? market, its market capitalization already surpasses that of Pakistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. I believe there is a good chance that this market will be a more integrated part of the Asian investment landscape soon.
2010-12-17 00:00:00 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.
2010-12-15 00:00:00 Europe Remains a Clear Downside Risk by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Europe remains a clear downside risk for the global economic outlook with the problems spreading to Spain and Portugal. Contagion risks are being underestimated by Mr. Market who has been myopically focused on irresponsible fiscal expansion in the US and recent hopes that QE2 would morph into QE3. As some proof that the recent economic data flow are over-rated, and likely exaggerated by seasonal influences, the Fed barely raised its macro outlook and actually seemed to dampen its view of the housing sector.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 The End of the Asian Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A broadly diversified emerging market investor would have earned nearly 12% annually over the last five years, far outpacing investors in the US and other developed markets. Over the next five or even ten years, investors relying on emerging economies will not be as fortunate, however, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, CEO of the Hong Kong-based research and investment management firm GaveKal.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 Looking Back at a Year of Policy Mistakes by Michael Lewitt (Article)
As we approach the end of 2010, the global economy remains captive to a boom-and-bust cycle resulting from years of pro-cyclical monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies. With very limited exceptions, the same policies that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis remain in place. The only difference is that government balance sheets are far more leveraged than they were heading into that crisis.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-12-14 00:00:00 The Case for Dividend-paying Stocks by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Despite all the noise that the Democratic left is making, the tax bill is going to pass very soon. There is a tangible positive effect here from the tax bill and pertains to dividends. Under the deal, the top tax rate on dividends will stay at 15%. If most of the spasm in the bond market is behind us, one would have to think that a focus on dividend growth is going to have some payoff with the taxation uncertainty put to bed. The U.S. nonfarm nonfinancial corporate sector is sitting on $1.93 trillion of cash/equivalents, which is at a 51-year high representing 7.4% share of total assets.
2010-12-13 00:00:00 Loyal Opposition by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management
Each of the recent ?relief rallies? draws many into thinking that the worst is over, at least for equities. I believe, however, that investors are putting too much emphasis upon short-term consequences to the exclusion of looking through the wider aperture. Of course, during the holiday season we are all searching for ?good cheer,? but market cycles that are unsupported by fundamentals are not ?rallies,? but bear traps.
2010-12-13 00:00:00 Perception versus Reality by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
I've been a secular bond bull and am not yet changing my view of the fixed-income market, but the perception that the economy will grow vigorously is now extremely strong. I think it will only grow about 2% next year and that core inflation will continue declining. These are the primary downside risks: 1. The U.S. Treasury market becomes unglued. 2. Further sharp increases in energy prices. 3. Renewed fiscal problems in Europe. 4. Bad inflation news out of emerging markets. 5. U.S. state & local cutbacks become more severe. 6. Latest down-leg in home prices accelerates.
2010-12-10 00:00:00 Fleshing Out Our Themes for the Year Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Consensus views of 1,350 on the S&P 500 and 4% real GDP growth are far too high. In my view, real GDP growth in the U.S.A. is set to slow from around 3% in 2010 to 2% in 2011, or possibly even lower. This is not a double-dip but it is a slower growth profile. The fiscal and sovereign credit problems in Europe are not going away. The U.S. dollar is likely to strengthen, particularly versus the yen. Emerging markets will struggle as central banks move more forcefully to curb accelerating inflationary pressure.
2010-12-10 00:00:00 Postcard from Bangkok by Lydia So of Matthews Asia
I recently spent several days in Bangkok, visiting companies during what was my first trip back to Thailand since 2008. Tourism (which is 6% to 7% of total GDP), has been a chronic issue of political unrest since the military coup in 2006. Political risks in Thailand have posed concerns for many foreign and domestic investors in the past several years, and a stable political environment is undoubtedly crucial for economic growth. However, company fundamentals are arguably just as important for the bottom-up investor.
2010-12-08 00:00:00 Second Take on The Latest Financial Stimulus Announcement by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
There wasn?t really that much ?new? information in the Obama announcement, except for the fact that the President ended up repealing everything he said he stood for during the election campaign, like reducing the extreme income bifurcation that was exacerbated during the Bush era. Then again, who is going to risk a renewed contraction in the economy and then take the blame? How can anyone take the U.S. seriously when the country fails to get enough votes over the weekend to bring the deficit reduction package recommended by the White House debt-reduction panel to the House and Senate floor.
2010-12-07 00:00:00 Looking at the Tax Compromise Measures by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The just-announced comprise tax measures along with the Fed?s pump-priming, have pretty well extinguished double-dip risks, notwithstanding the myriad of other headwinds. This amounts to a new stimulus measure. If the U.S. government opts for a series of fiscal measures that could end up adding as much as $750 billion to the existing large public debt burden, the fixed-income market is not exactly going to like it. Elsewhere, EU finance ministers ruled out an immediate aid package for Portugal or Spain (putting the onus on the ECB to restore calm).
2010-12-06 00:00:00 Cutting Through the Noise by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Economic data is rarely clear-cut, but we believe the weight of the evidence indicates a strengthening US economy. The negative rhetoric surrounding the Federal Reserve's recent decision reached a crescendo, but while we were among the first to voice our belief that it wasn't necessary, we believe the dire warnings of potential consequences from a second round of quantitative easing (QE2) are overblown. The European debt crisis continues to plague world markets. Finally, we believe the European Central Bank (ECB) needs to be more proactive instead of continually reactive.
2010-12-06 00:00:00 Trade Wars by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
Trade tensions seem to intensify daily, especially between the United States and China. Congress not too long ago upped the ante, labeling China a "currency manipulator." both the United States and China could get around immediate passions and politicking and find a basis for accommodation in their common, longer-term goals. In this regard, it is at least modestly encouraging that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has become involved in the China?U.S. currency dispute.
2010-12-04 00:00:00 Decoupling, Further Defined by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
Emerging market equities? particularly those sectors most associated with decoupling themes?are now subject to elevated valuations. It appears that some investors have grown overly convinced that decoupling is a one-way, short-term bet. Don?t bet on it. Instead, take your time, and set any expectations for decoupling over the longest horizons.
2010-12-03 00:00:00 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.
2010-12-03 00:00:00 Postcard from Australia by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
Thanks to its abundant natural resources, Australia managed to escape the recent global financial crisis largely unscathed as it has enjoyed a wave of industrialization from emerging Asian countries. Economic ties between Australia and Asia have broadened from the resources sector to other sectors. Australian financial companies have formed joint ventures and subsidiaries in emerging Asia. One Melbourne-based insurance firm I met with on my recent trip entered into an agreement with the largest bank in China to jointly develop and distribute life insurance products there.
2010-12-01 00:00:00 The U.S. Dollar Is A Poor Alternative To The Euro by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
The U.S. dollar is poorly managed, Congress has already saddled the U.S. with enough debt to keep the dollar under pressure for years, and the Federal Reserve has made it clear that it is their intention to devalue the dollar. The U.S. sponsored a 2nd round of QE, which was implemented to improve exports, to stop a deflationary psychology from forming and to create enough inflation in the U.S. economy to inspire the populace to begin investing to stay ahead of inflation. When investors begin to focus upon these obvious points, the inflation benefitted investments will rocket ahead.
2010-12-01 00:00:00 Allentown by Bill Gross of PIMCO
The global economy is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand. In the U.S. and Euroland, many policies only temporarily bolster consumption while failing to address the fundamental problem of developed economies: Job growth is moving inexorably to developing economies because they are more competitive. Unless developed economies learn to compete the old-fashioned way ? by making more goods and making them better ? the smart money will continue to move offshore to Asia, Brazil and their developing economy counterparts, both in asset and in currency space.
2010-11-30 00:00:00 Macro and Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
All these ?rescue? packages in euroland really do is provide bridge financing ? they do not resolve the underlying structural problems or the deflating asset values in bank balance sheets. The massive selloff in government bond markets, even in countries like Belgium and Italy (let alone Portugal and Spain), is a clear sign that the bond vigilantes are now targeting the supposedly stronger governments in the eurozone. The austerity packages needed to bring intractable deficits down will fuel deflation, which will further destabilize the financial system and damage the economy.
2010-11-30 00:00:00 Currency Focus: QE2 and the Course Ahead by Ugo Lancioni of Neuberger Berman
We believe the dollar is likely to move higher on an intermediate-term basis. QE2, in our opinion, could lead to stronger economic growth in the U.S. and eventually drivehigher yields, making the dollar more attractive to investors. In our view, the impact of QE2 was already in the price of the U.S. dollar at the time of the announcement. And the market is generally still shorting dollars.
2010-11-29 00:00:00 A List of Concerns ? A Dozen of Them by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Among Rosenberg?s concerns: China undergoing a significant, though likely brief, economic adjustment by 2012; The contagion reaching Spain, which would likely be game over for the euro; A renewed deflation in home prices in the US; State and local government budgets ? the critical source of downside risk for the U.S. economy in 2011, which could easily result in 1.5-2.0 percentage points of withdrawal from GDP growth.
2010-11-29 00:00:00 A Time to Invest in Africa by Nile Capital Management of Nile Capital Management
In this report, I will summarize my answer to the often-asked question: ?Why is this a good time for investors to focus on Africa?? I also will explain why the best way to participate in African markets and manage their risks is through an actively managed fund that offers ?feet-on-the-ground? expertise in Africa.
2010-11-29 00:00:00 Not Fade Away: European Debt Crisis Hits Markets by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Optimism is waning as global concerns are taking center stage, notably in the euro-zone. Investors shouldn't be complacent, but should heed the more-positive message coming from the US economy.
2010-11-28 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Korea, Ireland, insider trading, earnings season conclusion, QE2, retail activity. Plenty of news?but is anyone really paying attention? After all, its Thanksgiving. Take a break, give thanks, enjoy the family (and the bird), and worry about the world?s issues next week. Happy holiday?
2010-11-26 00:00:00 Tensions Resurface on the Korean Peninsula by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
North Korea remains a constant thorn in the side of Asia and an irritant to regional peace?this much is clear to South Korea, Japan and the U.S. Perhaps this is also increasingly clear to China, which has thus far given the impression of being too tolerant of the North's actions.
2010-11-25 00:00:00 Scenario Building - Key Risks Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The dramatic fiscal tightening in Ireland and others is insane and I wonder how a new government in early 2011 is going to react. Everybody seems to believe the euro is sacrosanct, but this was also the view around the Argentina nearly a decade ago; it ultimately devalued in order to reflate and pay off its debts in debased currency. Some of these peripheral countries will leave the EU, go back to their own currency to reclaim control over their monetary policy and pay their debts in devalued punts, drachmas and pesetas.
2010-11-24 00:00:00 US Q3 GDP and Profits Analyzed by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The Q3 real GDP is better, but momentum has clearly waned. Based on the hits that the household sector will likely face in the early part of 2011, Q1 growth is likely to be disappointing. On a sequential basis, corporate profits are still clearly rising, but at a more moderate rate than before. Not only did housing starts get clobbered in October, but existing home sales fell unexpectedly as well. Retailers are anticipating a solid holiday shopping season, and yet, they are aggressively marking down their prices well in advance.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 Ned Davis - Still Positive on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Just over a year ago, Ned Davis correctly forecast a continuation of the cyclical bull market in stocks. In February of 2008, he foresaw that year's market upheaval, and a year later he predicted the rally that began in March of 2009. Today, Davis is moderately bullish on stocks, as long as the Fed maintains its policy of quantitative easing.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 Global Tensions Rising Over Fed's QE2 Initiative by Team of American Century Investments
QE2 represents a dramatic intervention in the capital markets, and its ultimate impact is hard to predict at this point in time. Critics of the plan, including some Fed members, believe that too much monetary stimulus might lead to runaway inflation, which in turn could derail economic growth or even create future asset bubbles. Alternatively, a weaker dollar could create incentives for other countries to implement capital controls and foreign exchange interventions that negatively impact global trade.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 The Fed Under Attack by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
Despite hopes that the anti-QE rhetoric would die down, the noise continued last week, and unfortunately, become more political. One of the key aspects of the Fed is its independence. The Fed is answerable to Congress, and ultimately, to the American people. However, it is not controlled by Congress - nor would we want it to be controlled by Congress. Attacks on the Fed and its latest round of asset purchases aren't helping
2010-11-23 00:00:00 They?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Jeffrey Saut analyzes the DJAI and continuously favors the upside. Thus, he states his longstanding strategy that a "profits boom" will give way to an inventory rebuild, and then a capital expenditure cycle followed by increased hiring, and then a pickup in consumption, remains "stirred," but not shaken. As for the strongest sectors, they remain Energy, Basic Materials, and Information Technology, while the best performing market capitalization class is the mid-caps.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 Setting the Record Straight...Again by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Still-high levels of mortgage delinquency rates are a vivid sign that household financial strains have hardly abated. The NY and Cleveland Fed?s published reports outlining the severity of the deleveraging cycle that?s in full swing. The Fed?s yet again going to take a knife to its growth and inflation forecast as it has done with regularity over the past eight months. Corporate profits have come in fine despite one of the weakest recoveries on record, but to some extent, much of this has already been priced in.
2010-11-23 00:00:00 7 Things to Watch for as 2010 Ends by Isbitts of Emerald Asset Advisors
The cyclical (1-4 year) picture is getting better for U.S. stocks, and even better in the Emerging and Frontier markets. Put us in the camp of people who believe the Fed is too focused on fighting deflation, and at some point in the next half a decade, we will pay for it dearly. Perhaps the most remarkable trend will be the rise of the "Emerging Nations," particularly those in Asia.
2010-11-22 00:00:00 Reality Check by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The world's economic environment is extremely fragile. The growth bulls are underestimating the fact that the fiscal disarray at state and local governments is a major headwind for the U.S. economy --state and local governments are the second largest contributor to spending outside of the American consumer. There is still scant evidence of a vibrant organic recovery. At least initially, the reversal of all the risk-on trends in the markets suggests that the pullback that became apparent after the peak in April is likely to be sustained over the intermediate term.
2010-11-19 00:00:00 Philly Fed Up, NY Empire Down by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Despite mixed indicators, it looks like real GDP is chugging along at a tepid though still above-water annual rate of between 1% and 2% at an annual rate. The fragility is what is important. Gold still looks very good in this uncertain and unstable environment.
2010-11-19 00:00:00 The Korean Discount: Getting What You Pay For? by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia
South Korea can be a frustrating place for investors. The country?s companies exhibit such potential and yet many of them trade at a significant discount to their peers both globally and in Asia. My last visit to Korea reminded me of why equities of Korean companies are often not priced in line with the value they create. There have been many attempts to rationalize the discount, with explanations ranging from threats posed by an unpredictable North Korea to the cyclicality of many Korean businesses. However, I believe the issue of corporate governance merits most attention.
2010-11-18 00:00:00 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.
2010-11-16 00:00:00 Touch of Grey: Market Takes a Breather by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
My best guess as to the scenario that is unfolding is that the economy is gaining traction, which could cause the Federal Reserve to pull QE2 into the dock sooner than expected. It could also lead to a lift in the dollar, a related pullback in commodity prices, and rising bond yields. Given the high correlation recently between bond yields and stock prices, if yields were to continue to rise, they could take stock prices up with them; especially if the reasons are a better economy and lessened deflation fears.
2010-11-15 00:00:00 Lighten Up, Francis by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
The increase in the deficit over the last couple of years is due largely to the recession and efforts to minimize the impact of the economic downturn. Quantitative easing isn?t some hair-brained scheme, but is simply another form of monetary policy accommodation. The dollar is down, but not out of line with its longer-term trend. Stop the hysterics, please.
2010-11-15 00:00:00 U.S. Consumer Confidence - Less than Meets the Eye by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
So, when you do the simple math, Joe Sixpack sees inflation at 3% in the coming year (from 1% now) and then averaging 2% in the next four years. Depending on how food and fuels play out, this could well be consistent with a zero or even sub-zero environment as far as core consumer price trends are concerned. This is why long Treasuries are likely to remain in a secular bull market for some time to come.
2010-11-15 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The stock market succumbed to profit taking last week. The reasons are many, but revolved around a poor earnings report from Cisco Systems, a growing skepticism of the Fed?s announced plan to goose the money supply, and finally what the mainstream media is reporting as a rather disappointing trip to Asia by President Obama even as he tried to put his electoral defeat here at home behind him.
2010-11-12 00:00:00 Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The overwhelming consensus view is that the market will continue to rise through year-end and into 2011. The trend in most asset classes that had been rallying the past three months are now reaching an exhaustive phase. I?m a little nervous about changing our view at the high end of the range on equities. The problem with the U.S. fiscal outlook is that the intractable U.S. debt and deficit situation cannot be solved by cutting government spending alone. Taxes, that evil five-letter word, will have to rise in the future.
2010-11-12 00:00:00 Analyzing China's Banking Sector Reform by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
China's banking reform has effectively transformed its state-owned banks into commercial banks running under international practices.
2010-11-12 00:00:00 Indonesia--Rubber Must Hit the Road by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
For a decade now, corporate capital expenditure in Indonesia has grown at a rate much faster than that of the overall economy, but from a woefully small base. Even today, such expenditure hovers near 2% of GDP. By contrast, India?another county that has suffered from chronic underinvestment in the past?has managed to expand its investment to 7% to 8% of GDP. If Indonesia is to meet its potential and live up to the lofty expectations of investors, there is no time to lose: rubber must hit the road.
2010-11-12 00:00:00 A Bull in China by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments
On a recent trip to China, we saw encouraging and inexorable signs that the Chinese consumer is becoming a very potent force in the world economy. It wont be without volatilitybut it is happening. Heres how: demographics, changes in consumer behavior and a number of other factors.
2010-11-12 00:00:00 Down the Home Stretch by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Economic data has shown signs of strengthening. We believe we could be emerging from the soft patch and that stronger-than-expected growth could be in the offing. The elections are done and the Federal Reserve made its move, but the question remains as to whether much-needed confidence returns to businesses. Additionally, housing remains a problem that may not be helped substantially by either event. Competitive currency devaluations are dominating the international conversation, while investors are flocking to emerging markets, making us a bit skittish in the near term.
2010-11-11 00:00:00 Rising Oil Prices; Still Like Gold, But... by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Oil is now challenging the $90/bbl threshold and this is more a reflection of the Fed?s quest to weaken the dollar than any incipient global economic boom. As in the case of most other commodities, the Fed has unleashed the floodgates of investor speculation on the commodity complex. How can this possibly be constructive for the 90% of the U.S. earnings outlook that is not hooked to the basic commodity sector? We don?t see where this is addressed anywhere in ?Street? research. The economy is much more vulnerable to an energy shock now than it was in 2007.
2010-11-11 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 How Modern Is Your Portfolio Theory? by Direxion Funds (Article)
After 58 Years, is there Another Way to Conquer the Efficient Frontier? In the past, active or "tactical" investment management referred to jumping in and out of stocks and bonds - market timing. With the introduction of sophisticated funds that help the masses harness the power of institutional managers and alternative asset classes and strategies, today, tactical management may help to renovate your portfolios - and help you retain and attract assets.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 Everybody?s Happy!? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Over the decades I have come to trust my 'day count' indicator because it has worked so well. Since the late-June ?lows? there have been ten 90% Upside Days, accompanied by strong Advance-Decline readings, reflecting the durability of this rally. In fact, the New York Composite Advance-Decline Line is well above its April rally peak and Lowry?s Buying Power Index has risen to a new rally high, while the Selling Pressure Index tagged a new reaction low, late last week. All of this only reinforces my view that any correction will be shallow and brief.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 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.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 RCM's Global Strategic Outlook: Fourth Quarter 2010 by Andreas Utermann of RCM
Analyzing various leading indicators, there is hardly any hint of a recession. This is not to say that there is no risk of a recession happening. A continued weak labor market is weighing on household consumption in industrialized economies. The housing market in the U.S. is showing signs of weakness. There is a risk of a policy failure in emerging markets, especially of China overdoing policy tightening. Fiscal policy tightening in the West may actually turn out to be too strong. In sum, we think that structural headwinds and tailwinds could balance each other out.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 The Fed's Asset Purchases by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee has embarked on another round of planned asset purchases. There has been much criticism of the move in the financial press. Certainly, there are risks in the Fed?s strategy. However, it?s hardly reckless or ill-advised.
2010-11-09 00:00:00 Waiting for Superman: The Fate of Teachers? Unions by Charlie Curnow (Article)
In 'Waiting for Superman,' the new documentary film about the shortcomings of American public education, director Davis Guggenheim argues that, in order to compete with rival school systems in Asia and Europe, the U.S. must rein in its teachers unions and embrace the free market principles of private schools and privately managed charter schools. Is this a fair assessment?
2010-11-08 00:00:00 The Hail Mary Pass by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors
With the announcement of $600 bn in new QE this week, Fed quarterback Bernanke has dropped back deep into the pocket and launched a last ditch Hail Mary pass with the hopes of stimulating growth to bring down persistently high unemployment. There is one major problem this view. The magnitude of the debt overhang is far greater now than at any other time in history, making the relatively trivial QE1, QE2, QE3, etc. ultimately doomed to failure. For those with a long-term approach to asset allocation, chasing a hot asset class or reacting to a 'clueless' Fed policy is not an option.
2010-11-05 00:00:00 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.
2010-11-05 00:00:00 Effects of Quantitative Easing on Asia by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia
While the U.S. intends to stimulate its domestic economy with quantitative easing, the actual effect of QE has been to turbo-charge emerging markets, especially the markets of Asia. There is some concern that short-term portfolio flows or 'hot money' could cause sharp price volatility, and we will continue to monitor these effects and their implications on Asia.
2010-11-05 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Dissecting election results, a Fed policy meeting statement, several key economic releases, and new earnings reports can prove pretty stressful. This week saw a somber Obama offer an olive branch to Republicans following their big victory in the midterms. Bear in mind, Prez Clinton suffered a similar fate in 1994 and lived to fight another day. Politicos now expect conciliation over taxes, health care, offshore drilling, and other GOP action items as Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Wall Street prepare for another boom. (The pressure is on, Speaker Boehner.)
2010-11-04 00:00:00 Thoughts on QE2 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
While the Fed could have done more yesterday, it didn't because the economy is doing better than expected, even if it is still quite fragile. Auto sales, for example, rose to 12.3 million at an annual rate in October from 11.8 million in September (best result since August 2009). However, recall that motor vehicle sales also jumped 2.4 percent in September and all that translated into was a +0.08 percent inch-up in total real consumer spending, which was one of the weakest months of the year. Consumer spending excluding auto will now be essential to watch.
2010-11-03 00:00:00 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.
2010-11-01 00:00:00 Big Week Ahead in the U.S. by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
After Tuesday's elections, there is little question that the GOP will take the House with a 1994-type landslide. Once in control, the GOP will not support more fiscal initiatives. We are therefore likely about to see a pronounced slowdown in the pace of economic activity; outside of government intervention and inventory accumulation, catalysts for growth are few and far between. Unlike during the soft patches of the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, the economy today is just a shock away from slipping back into contraction mode.
2010-11-01 00:00:00 Investors Ready for a Ghoulishly Busy Week by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
Investors are wondering whether the recent market rally is built on a solid foundation or merely another in a long line of illusionary rallies should heed a bit of caution. Investors are largely bidding risk assets higher on the belief that the Federal Reserve will inject significant amounts of liquidity into the economy through a second round of asset purchases. This is an extremely dangerous and poor investment thesis.
2010-10-30 00:00:00 Schwab Market Perspective: So Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
The Federal Reserve and upcoming elections are in sharp focus and results and actions in these two areas could determine whether the momentum seen since September can continue. Earnings season was better than expected and the market reacted as such. But confidence remains a major issue, with brewing mortgage-related problems and continued uncertainty around tax policy causing consternation. Debt remains a major issue that's just now being addressed and protectionism still threatens economic expansion. China remains a bright spot for global growth.
2010-10-29 00:00:00 Four Critical Investment Themes for the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Four investment themes will dominate market behavior over the next decade, according to Martin Murenbeeld, the chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics, a Canadian investment manager and financial advisor. Investors, he said, would be wise to overweight gold and other commodities.
2010-10-29 00:00:00 Postcard from Vietnam by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
As much as two-thirds of Vietnam's GDP can be attributed to strong personal consumption in a country of 86 million (with an average age of 26). Over the past 20 years, the country has shown impressive economic expansion, averaging 7.1 percent growth per year, which has pushed GDP per capita up to just over $1,000 U.S. Although Vietnam still faces potential problems with inflation, it is still encouraging to witness the real changes taking place in the country's consumer behavior.
2010-10-28 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-25 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The economy continues to throw off some outstanding corporate profit reports. Profits are what the stock market is all about. While the pundits and politicians talk endlessly about jobs and how to create them (like they would have a clue,) the market is most looking forward to profit growth. In that sense the lower dollar, strength in emerging markets and strong expense control are reaping huge rewards for global companies who lead their industries.
2010-10-22 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-22 00:00:00 Postcard from Japan by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
The stereotype held by many overseas investors is that Japanese companies have slow growth, low margins, low capital efficiency and lots of cash but nothing to use it on. Investors must not forget, however, that Japan is still the third-largest economy in the world. With a gross domestic product of more than $5 trillion U.S., there is more than enough room for small entrepreneurial companies with innovative ideas to achieve growth, even in Japan's domestic market. Although these companies are still the exception, they are growing in numbers, representing the emergence of a new Japan.
2010-10-21 00:00:00 Readers' Questions Answered Part IV by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Mark Mobius responds to reader questions on initial public offerings, non-listed entities, China's 20-year prospects, and markets in Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
2010-10-21 00:00:00 North America Losing Some Serious Momentum by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The U.S. economy may in fact be contracting again. The monthly data from Macroeconomic Advisers showed that real GDP contracted 0.6 percent in August. While this did follow a red-hot +1.25 percent gain in July, this marks the third decline in real activity in the past four months. Maybe the bond market does not need the Fed's help after all ? the super-soft economic environment is all the Treasury bond market really needs to sustain the downward trend in yields.
2010-10-21 00:00:00 Decoupling: Alive and Well by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital
When the global economic crisis began in 2008, many forecasters doubted that the world economy could return to growth without the U.S. consumer. Whether you are looking at ASEAN, OPEC or the EU, however, it is clear that decoupling is the order of the day; the world economy is rebuilding itself with China as its engine and hub. In the old days, it was said that when the United States sneezed, the rest of the world caught a cold. This time, they might just excuse themselves and move to the next car.
2010-10-21 00:00:00 Latest Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally. U.S. liquidity formation through QE will create demand for many assets, including U.S. stocks. Long-term Treasury bonds have also become less bearish. Another round of QE, as well as fear of another depression will create strong demand for bonds; it is thus too early to sell them short. Meanwhile, investors should short the Japanese yen. The Japanese have neither the resources nor the political willpower to fight protect their currency's value.
2010-10-19 00:00:00 Developed Markets and Capitalism in Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We are not in a globalized world today, according to Ian Bremmer. "The state is back," said the 40-year old president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political consulting firm. Both in the U.S. and throughout the world, governments are exerting their influence through regulation, trade restriction, subsidies, and bailouts, and are threatening the nature of free markets.
2010-10-18 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-18 00:00:00 It's All About Ben, the Fed's Intent and the Market Reaction by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The U.S. economy is caught in a classic liquidity trap. With additional fiscal stimulus no longer a viable political option, even though the government is better equipped to deal with many of the structural hurdles to growth than monetary policy, Mr. Bernanke clearly feels that the Fed is the only game in town. Monetary policy, even in a non-conventional form, is a very blunt tool to use to reverse a secular uptrend in the savings rate, fix chronic unemployment or induce people to spend rather than correct their debt-laden balance sheets.
2010-10-15 00:00:00 Promoting Peace Within India by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
The recent verdict by an Indian high court over an age-old religious dispute has brought some of the challenges associated with investing in India back into the limelight. India's legal and political legacy systems do impose delays in resolving such conflicts, but the country is making some notable progress on clearing up some of these issues.
2010-10-14 00:00:00 Who's Doing the Buying? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
So who's buying equities right now? Good question. We know it's not the retail investor and private clients - they have been selling into this entire bear market rally and rebalancing their asset mix in favor of income. It's not the mutual funds, because institutional private managers already have cycle-low cash ratios. There would seem to be three principal buyers right now: pension funds struggling to reach their 8 percent assumed annual returns, hedge funds, and the proprietary trading desks at big commercial banks.
2010-10-14 00:00:00 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Historically, it has taken about four or five years of capital inflows into emerging markets to create an investment bubble. Thus far, we are only one year into a significant capital inflow into emerging markets, and we probably have another three or four more years to go before these markets become so popular that it is time to move on to other pastures.
2010-10-13 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-12 00:00:00 It's a Mad World by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Gold could be the only asset class that makes sense right now. If the bond market is right, then we will get deflation, and gold is a hedge against the uncertainty such an environment would entail. If the equity market is right, then we will get gobs of liquidity out of the Fed and then go off to a new reflationary credit cycle - gold would benefit in this scenario, too. And if the commodity complex is right, then we are heading towards a new inflationary cycle, and of course gold is a classic way to play this scenario.
2010-10-08 00:00:00 Privatization in Romania by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Privatization would help the Romania market become more liquid, efficient and productive. Greater transparency, higher reporting standards and more opportunities to invest could attract both local and foreign investors to the Bucharest stock exchange. The market is currently dominated by Romanian residents, who made approximately 70-80 percent of the exchange's trade volume in 2009, but foreign investors play an important part as well. Although they accounted for only 20-30 percent of trades that year, they are often seen as trendsetters.
2010-10-08 00:00:00 Back to School... And This Report Gets an F! by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Considering that policy rates are at zero, the Fed's balance sheet has tripled in size (with more to come), and a 10 percent deficit-to-GDP ratio that would have even made FDR blush, the unemployment situation is an unmitigated disaster that deserves the government's undivided attention. The question that has to be asked - and answered - is why the equity market would be rejoicing over today's somber piece of economic news.
2010-10-08 00:00:00 Postcard From Korea by J. Michael Oh of Matthews Asia
Already a popular destination for Japanese tourists for many years, Korea is now also becoming a top destination for Chinese travelers. Affluent Chinese buyers are attracted to the island not only for its clear waters and calm weather but also for its proximity to China - a 90 minute plane ride from Beijing. If Korea can restyle itself as a premier travel destination, a strong tourism industry could significantly benefit the Korean economy. Tourism is already a major industry in many other countries and can be another source of growth for Korea in the future.
2010-10-07 00:00:00 You Can't Make This Stuff Up! by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
In the October 6 New York Times, op-ed contributor Daniel Gross called on the American consumer to 'get back into the game.' 'The renewed willingness and confidence to spend money we don't have,' Gross wrote, 'is vital to the continuing recovery.' There was no mention in the article of the fact that with a 70 percent share of GDP, U.S. consumer expenditures never exactly went into hibernation, even if spending decisions have changed. And haven't employment and income always been the vital components to sustainable growth?
2010-10-07 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-07 00:00:00 Emerging Markets Commentary by Conrad Saldanha of Neuberger Berman
With emerging market economies posting substantially higher growth rates, many investors are increasingly attracted to emerging equity markets. Equity returns, however, tend to be driven more by earnings growth than by GDP growth. Returns are also influenced by other factors such as a country's financial market structure, fiscal and monetary policies, and legal standards. Furthermore, index or ETF investing may not capitalize on stock-specific factors that contribute to the underlying economy's performance.
2010-10-05 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-10-04 00:00:00 What's On My Mind?: Five Developments Driving Investor Sentiment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The bottom-up S&P 500 operating EPS estimate currently driving equity valuations is $95. That would be a 14 percent gain on top of this year's anticipated 36 percent bounce. Here's the rub: to get that $95 operating EPS for 2011, we either need to see at least 7 percent nominal GDP growth, which last happened in 1989 when inflation was 5 percent, not close to zero, or margins manage to reach new all-time highs. The base case now, however, is for low single-digit nominal growth and some margin compression so frankly we could be looking at something closer to a $75 earnings stream next year.
2010-10-01 00:00:00 Postcard from Japan: Before the Dawn by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
Matthews Asia portfolio manager Andrew Foster recently returned from Japan, where he met with companies from a variety of industries. As in past trips, many of these companies seemed to be resting on their laurels, even as present growth was flagging. During this most recent visit, however, a subset of companies in different industries seemed to share a realistic outlook, combined with a sense of urgency to improve performance. Each of these companies cited the strength of the yen as a key factor that would allow them to execute overseas acquisitions, especially in the U.S.
2010-10-01 00:00:00 A Fall Surprise... by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors
If billionaire money manager John Paulson is correct, and inflation reaches low double-digits by 2012, the discount rate used by investors to estimate the present value of their stock investments will rise sharply, which will have a very negative impact on equity prices as present value calculations decline. Sure, companies will be able to pass along price hikes and inflation should have a positive impact on nominal earnings growth, but the higher discount rate will overwhelm any benefit to the bottom line.
2010-10-01 00:00:00 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.
2010-09-29 00:00:00 What are Essential Factors for Japan to Return to its Status as the Rising Sun? (Part 2) by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Japan's immigration policy needs to loosen up to help lower labor costs. In addition, the government needs to reduce spending and taxation so that local small and medium-sized enterprises can grow by expanding into the rest of Asia and to business in places such as China, India and Indonesia. That's because small and medium-sized enterprises are a crucial part of the economy that help to create new business and enterprises. In order for those to flourish, the Japanese government must reduce its role in the economy.
2010-09-28 00:00:00 Reality Check on the Macro Outlook by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
More than 80 percent of the economic growth we saw from the lows of 2009 in real GDP was due to the massive amounts of federal government stimulus and the huge inventory swing. The underlying trend in organic real final sales is barely above 0.5 percent. One therefore has to therefore wonder, with an estimated 1.7 percentage point drag from fiscal withdrawal in the coming year and the evident signs of a peaking-out in the inventory contribution to growth, how can the economy not contract heading into 2011?
2010-09-27 00:00:00 What Happened on Friday? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
On Friday, a very successful hedge fund manager came on CNBC and told viewers that the equity market now was a one-way ticket up. If the economy sputtered, he said, the Fed would step in and engage in more quantitative easing, and that would propel the equity market higher. And if the economy chugs along, then there will be no need for more Fed balance sheet expansion but the stock market will enjoy the fruits of stronger earnings growth. The third scenario he did not mention is that the economy will weaken to such an extent that the Fed will indeed re-engage in QE, but that it will not work.
2010-09-24 00:00:00 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.
2010-09-24 00:00:00 Housing Still in a Deep Funk and Gold Going Higher Still by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Existing home sales increased 7.6 percent month-over-month in August in what can only be described as noise around a fundamental downtrend. The three-month trend in single-family sales is still -72 percent at an annual rate, the six-month trend is -31 percent and the 12-month trend is -19 percent. Meanwhile, gold is now on the precipice of breaking above $1,300/oz, and is likely to remain in this secular uptrend for quite a while longer. We're talking years. We're still talking $3,000/oz.
2010-09-24 00:00:00 Postcard from India: Delhi Prepares for the Commonwealth Games by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
The Commonwealth Games, which will be hosted this year in Delhi, offers India a distinctive brand building opportunity. The preparations for the games have surely ramped up Delhi's severely strained infrastructure. The city has made significant progress towards construction of an intra-city train network and an international airport terminal. Preparations have also given employment to hundreds of thousands of construction workers, and will likely prove positive for the country's tourism. As an offshoot, it might also inspire more investment in developing India's sporting talent.
2010-09-23 00:00:00 Can Japan Make a Comeback? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
It seems that everyone is back to moaning and groaning about the Japanese economy. Modest 3 percent GDP growth is expected in Japan this year, compared to a disastrous 5 percent shrinkage of the economy in 2009. Japanese exporters say they are hurting from a strong yen, while the importers are having a field day. While it's true that the Nikkei 225 Index has fallen from a high of 25,000 in 1991 to a low now of less than 10,000, bargain hunters would say that this is beginning to make the Japanese stock market look reasonably cheap.
2010-09-22 00:00:00 Too Soon to Call for Asian Decoupling by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics
Even without a double-dip, weak U.S. and EU recoveries will cause export-dependent Asian economies to grow below their 2003-07 trends in the coming years. Nonetheless, widening growth differentials with the G7 countries and healthy public- and private-sector balance sheets - along with rising incomes and expanding middle classes - will drive economic growth and foreign investment in Asia and increase intra-Asia and EM trade and investment.
2010-09-21 00:00:00 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.
2010-09-20 00:00:00 Mr. Energy by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
According to Dow Theory, the primary trend of the stock market is 'up.' That upward trend would be reconfirmed if the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Transportation Average break above their respective August 9 closing highs of 10698.75 and 4516.35. Such action would also suggest a run toward the Dow's April 26th closing high of 11205.03. Last week, however, stocks stalled around their August recovery highs. With 75.8 percent of the S&P 500's stocks above their 50-day moving averages, we are currently overbought.
2010-09-20 00:00:00 The Islamic Triangle: Tilting Toward Opportunity by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital
The Islamic Triangle - the space between Casablanca, Istanbul and Muscat - may not be a top priority for most global money managers, but perhaps it should be. At just over $1 trillion, the Islamic Triangle's total market capitalization is just a bit less than Brazil's or India's. Among major markets, it compares with Australia or Switzerland. Relative to GDP - a sign of an equity market's importance to a local economy - the number is nearly 60 percent, relatively low, but indicative of the region's structural potential over time.
2010-09-17 00:00:00 Indonesia Updates its Facebook Profile by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia
Millions of Indonesia's citizens are using mobile phones to access the internet and stay connected via social networking websites like Facebook. Indeed, with its rising household income, and youthful and large population of 240 million, Indonesia has the potential to be a major market not only for traditional businesses, but also for new businesses such as mobile internet. Companies that can capitalize on such trends by adjusting their business models and offering new services should also present attractive, long-term investment opportunities.
2010-09-15 00:00:00 Stocks For the Long Run? And a Look at Gold by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The bond market usually gets it right, and the 0.9 percent yield on the 10-year TIPS security is back to where it was at the depths of the recession. Something is going to have to give. If we recall correctly, bonds led both the stock market and the economy in 1990, 2000 and again in 2007. In the next few months we may well look back at the 130 basis point rally in 10-year Treasury bonds this spring as an important event, analogous to the rally we saw in the summer and fall of 2007. David Rosenberg also comments on Tuesday's gold rally.
2010-09-15 00:00:00 Using Convertibles for Prudent Stock Market Exposure by Douglas G. Forsyth of Allianz Global Investors
For investors still wary of stepping fully back into U.S. stocks, convertible securities - which possess both equity and bond features - may be a prudent way to participate in potential stock upside while also defending against market volatility. With economic growth and corporate profitability slowly but steadily picking up steam, the prospects for convertibles may be particularly attractive now. At the same time, their diversification and total return benefits make them an appropriate allocation in a long-term portfolio as well.
2010-09-14 00:00:00 Some Bullish Signs for U.S. Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The November U.S. congressional election is likely to bring in more pro-business and anti-tax legislators and the U.S. stock market is already beginning to discount this news. The fact that political gridlock is the most likely prospect for the next two years is music to the market's ears. This is because investors are nervous and unsettled by some political rhetoric that has been circulating, which portrays them as bad and even dangerous to the economic wellbeing of the nation. Guild also comments on strong performance by gold and silver, and demand pull in emerging markets.
2010-09-14 00:00:00 Redefining Decoupling by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
During the second half of 2007, market commentators debated over 'decoupling' - the idea that Asia may somehow be immune to the vicissitudes of the Western economic cycle. Markets are now worried about slowing momentum in the recovery of the developed world. Matthews Asia chief investment officer Robert Horrocks explores decoupling in the current economic environment.
2010-09-11 00:00:00 The Last Half by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Mauldin provides another excerpt from his forthcoming book. He argues that growth in government spending comes at the expense of private sector growth. Fiscal stimulus will not work in the current environment, because we are now at the end of an unprecedented debt cycle. The preferred solution is for a country to grow its way out of debt, but that requires running a trade surplus, which cannot be accomplished by all countries simultaneously.
2010-09-10 00:00:00 Chicken Soup For Seoul by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia
While its economy has mostly recovered from the global economic crisis, Korea may need to do more to develop and sustain new sources of growth. The country's small and medium enterprises still find it hard to increase the scale of their current operations because the larger conglomerates seem to be getting stronger and crowding out the domestic market. The Korean government may need to adopt a softer regulatory touch and further reform its financial sector in order to provide a more conducive environment for newer industries and businesses to prosper.
2010-09-10 00:00:00 Don't Doubt the Double-Dip by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital
A few weeks ago Nouriel Roubini, widely regarded as one of the more pessimistic figures on Wall Street, made headlines by raising his forecasted likelihood of a 'double-dip recession' to a terrifying 40 percent. The vast majority of 'mainstream' economists described these predictions as far too gloomy. Roubini, however, may be right. As the high from last year's monetary and fiscal stimulus wears off, there is a good deal of evidence suggesting that the U.S. economy is weak and deteriorating, and that a renewed contraction in GDP is a near certainty.
2010-09-07 00:00:00 Cheap Labor Helps Southeast Asia Compete with China, But It Won?t Be Easy by Team of American Century Investments
Labor disputes in China and other emerging market countries have been catching global media attention. As employees in the low-cost workshops of the world fight for higher wages and better working conditions, the longer-term outcome will be better standards of living and rising disposable incomes in emerging market countries. These changes hold positive implications for many global-based companies' present and future growth. A growing consumer class with 'buying power' will certainly be beneficial.
2010-09-07 00:00:00 It's a Depression and Other Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
This is what a depression is all about - an economy that 33 months after a recession begins, with zero policy rates, a stuffed central bank sheet, and a 10 percent deficit-to-GDP ratio, is still in need of government help for its sustenance. We had this nutty debate on Friday on Bloomberg Radio in which another economist claimed that there was no evidence of any indicator pointing to renewed economic contraction. And yet, that very day, the ECRI leading economic index came in at a recessionary -10.1 percent print for last week.
2010-09-03 00:00:00 Postcard From China by Matthew Gao of Matthews Asia
As a result of rising incomes and infrastructure build-up, tourism-related industries are growing rapidly in China. In recent years, the number of budget hotels (which have room rates of below US$30) has grown at an outstanding pace, now with nearly 4,000 in China, up from about 500 in 2005. Not only are Chinese tourists traveling more within China, they are also taking more international trips. It seems that China is gradually expanding its consumption power outside its own borders - to the delight of its neighbors in the region.
2010-09-02 00:00:00 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.
2010-08-30 00:00:00 Views on Developing Markets by Team of First Eagle Funds
As the developed world stumbles from crisis to crisis, many developing countries seem poised to continue taking a greater share of the world's wealth. This trend, however, is not an automatic signal to invest. China, India and Brazil, the most sought-after developing markets, now demand double-digit multiples, and have higher inflation and monetary growth than developed markets. These factors suggest that the margin of safety is significantly smaller in developing markets than in developed markets.
2010-08-30 00:00:00 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock
While the recovery has been slow, we have made significant progress. On a real basis, U.S. gross domestic product has regained 70 percent of what was lost during the recession and on a nominal basis, GDP has regained all of it, meaning that the United States is in a nominal expansion. In any case, investors in U.S. stocks can expect continued volatility ahead. The S&P 500 Index has remained in a rough trading range of between 1,020 and 1,120. While a dramatic breakout from this range is unlikely for now, as economic conditions slowly improve, the positive forces should win out.
2010-08-28 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Despite the increased boardroom confidence (dealmaking), investors carried their bearish tone into Friday?s session with many anticipating a weekly close below the critical 10k level on the Dow. Somehow they perceived good news in a downwardly revised GDP release and comments from Bernanke that future Fed stimulus may be in order. In reality, the light volume these days may imply little conviction for any direction in the markets and the real tone will not be set until after Labor Day when vacations end and traders are back at their desks in full force.
2010-08-27 00:00:00 Postcard From Korea by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia
During her recent trip to Korea, Matthews Asia research analyst In-Bok Song met with several companies that have been making consistent preparations for the next leg of growth in their core businesses. Though their success remains to be seen, there were a few commonalities in their approach. The most apparent one is their entry into China. Another is structural reorganization, which aims to generate synergies within related business and to strengthen core competitiveness. These efforts in Korea's underlying economy help define the foundation for the country's sustainable economic growth.
2010-08-27 00:00:00 Perception Versus Reality by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Market volume continues its traditional August swoon, making it difficult to gauge much from stock market action. Economic data continues to tell a mixed story, as growth slows and risks rise. Confidence is key to consumer spending, business investment and stock market performance. The Federal Reserve and the government are attempting to instill that confidence in the American public, but so far have had little success. Emerging markets continue to show signs of growth and China's market has been performing well. Germany also has posted some nice numbers lately, but Japan remains a concern.
2010-08-26 00:00:00 In Which Direction Will the Next Panic Come? by Chris Lightbound of GaveKal
Good 'panic indicators' may be the cheapest way to monitor fat-tail risks. One of the most reliable panic indicators is the EUR/CHF exchange rate and the daily volatility of this cross rate, especially as compared to the Spain 10-year government bond spread over German Bunds and the volatility of U.S. long bonds. As charts presented in this commentary show, there are signs that today's only crowded trade is on the sidelines. So what are the odds that either of these two concerns - another sovereign debt crisis or a U.S. double dip - will reach a tipping point and become a panic?
2010-08-24 00:00:00 India to Open Equity Markets to Foreign Retail Investors by Team of American Century Investments
While opening up its equity market to foreign retail investors will likely benefit India and increase capital inflows in that country, there is also more growth potential for investors who are prepared to accept the risks and invest for the long term. Over the next five years, India and emerging market economies will be driven not only by export demand from the rest of the world, but by growth in domestic consumption, including health care, technology, infrastructure, and finance. This will create huge opportunities for investors and companies doing business in these sectors.
2010-08-24 00:00:00 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.
2010-08-24 00:00:00 Crowded Trade by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Equity markets remain mired in a wide-swinging trading range. In such an environment, stock selection, combined with the ability to sell mistakes quickly, should be the key to portfolio performance. There are also reasonable investment alternatives to the sidelines.
2010-08-20 00:00:00 Happy Birthday Social Security? by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital
In his weekly radio address this past Saturday, President Obama happily commemorated the 75th anniversary of Social Security. This milestone, however, is nothing to celebrate. For although the president spoke earnestly about the 'obligation to keep the promise' of Social Security, in reality, the program will wreck the government's finances within 10 years.
2010-08-20 00:00:00 Malaysia, Truly Asia? by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia
Malaysia will need to proceed further down the path of liberalization in order to ensure that it stays relevant in an ever more competitive environment and truly grow with the Asian continent. Fortunately, over the past few years, policymakers have scaled back parts of the country's affirmative action system and placed emphasis on the expanding the services sector - both of which are long-term positives that could bode well for Malaysia relevance, not just as a tourist destination, but for long-term capital appreciation.
2010-08-20 00:00:00 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.
2010-08-18 00:00:00 Pay No Attention to the Headlines by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments
Market valuations are attractive, especially after the recent correction to below 1,100 on the S&P. What should work is buying companies with strong and sustainable cash flows and proven management. What will not work is chasing risk, and investing in companies that dilute shareholders and operate with high leverage. Don't look for an immediate catalyst. This is a market where stealth, opportunity buying and stock picking work. If you hear the word 'momentum,' run.
2010-08-18 00:00:00 Risky Business by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Much effort has gone into trying to understand the elements of 'risk' and 'uncertainty' for investors. Matthews' Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks tries to bridge the gap between what academic theories define as risk and the experience of practitioners - particularly when it comes to managing Asian equity portfolios. In an environment in which risk is not clearly or reliably defined, he cautions, be humble.
2010-08-16 00:00:00 Double-Dip or Single Scoop? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
It is only a commentary on the human condition and the innate need to be optimistic that the vast majority of economists, analysts, strategists and market commentators still seem to be acting like ostriches with their heads in the sand, even in the face of fairly substantial evidence that GDP growth was cut at least in half in Q2 and that there is negative momentum in real retail sales being 'built' into the current quarter. If we are realistic, however, we can actually deploy strategies that will generate profitable results - certainly better than zero percent yields on cash.
2010-08-13 00:00:00 Russia: Insights from Templeton?s Emerging Markets Analyst Conference by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Russia was one of the hardest-hit countries during the recent global economic crisis, largely due to its huge dependence on commodity prices. The worst, however, is over. We already saw a sharp recovery for Russia's GDP growth recently when commodity prices stabilized. The Russian oil supply experienced significant growth in 2009, taking most forecasters by surprise. The International Monetary Fund is even more optimistic about Russia's growth, expecting the country's economy to grow by 4.3 percent in 2010 due to rising oil prices and an improving fiscal outlook.
2010-08-13 00:00:00 Q2 Economic and Market Outlook: ?Soft Patch? or ?Double-Dip?? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management
Inflation should remain well-contained for the next year or two, but a credible plan to cut budget deficits and a return to positive real interest rates will be needed to prevent the bond market from pricing in rising inflation in the medium term. In this environment, the U.S. dollar can continue to strengthen versus other major currencies, and capital markets, especially equity markets, can deliver attractive returns.
2010-08-13 00:00:00 Postcard from Inner Mongolia by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
Inner Mongolia, not to be confused with Mongolia, is a province in northern China recently visited by Matthews Asia research analyst Winnie Phua. Two dairies in the region command 60 percent of China's dairy market. Unlike most other agricultural industries in China, the dairy business underwent consolidation fairly early on. Over the past decade, it has witnessed rapid production growth of more than 20 percent each year thanks to industry consolidation efforts and increasing milk consumption. These efforts provide insight into how other consolidating industries in China may fare.
2010-08-11 00:00:00 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The world is awash in fear: fear of war in Middle East, fear of a double-dip economic recession in the U.S. and Europe and fear of inflation in China and India, as well as many other potential problems. Gold and oil appear to be two of the wisest investment categories. India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China and Brazil also have strong potential for continued growth. Although it is less certain, we will probably see continued growth in Canada, Australia, Taiwan, and Korea. Europe, Japan and the U.S., meanwhile, appear to be set on low growth trajectories for the next few years.
2010-08-11 00:00:00 Real Real Returns Study by Team of Thornburg Investment Management
This commentary features Thornburg's annual look at what investors are left with after expenses, taxes and inflation take a bite out of nominal returns. Once again, common stocks and municipal bonds are the best performers. This year's study also looks at implications for retirees, a group for whom nominal returns don't mean much, since they need to be concerned about actual spending dollars to protect against outliving their retirement income.
2010-08-10 00:00:00 Double-Dip Double Take by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
The ongoing and widespread concerns about an economic double-dip warrant still more discussion. Previous analyses here have looked at the government data and concluded that, whatever the risks, the probabilities favor continued, if moderate economic growth. This discussion extends the analysis to less common economic indicators, particularly measures of shipping. Though the picture here is mixed to be sure, it, too, leads to the conclusion that the double-dip, though possible, is not probable and that growth will likely continue, albeit slowly.
2010-08-06 00:00:00 Postcard from Indonesia by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
On paper, Indonesia has made big strides, with annual GDP growth of more than 5 percent in the last several years - including in 2008 when most markets suffered. The country's stock market has also been the best-performing market in Asia since late-2008. But if you stand in the middle of Jakarta you somehow don't get that sense. Indeed, there are still challenges to overcome: infrastructure woes, the country?s widespread poverty and a government lacking checks and balances.
2010-08-04 00:00:00 How the Other Half Looks by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
The global adjustment process has been delayed. In order to support growth and income generation, the over-saving investment- and export-driven nations - China, emerging Asia, Germany and Japan - continue to look to the overspending countries following an Anglo-Saxon model. There is a risk of a weak recovery of global aggregate demand relative to supply, which could contribute to deflationary pressures. As such, the recovery will continue to be multi-speed and rocky, exit strategies will remain uncoordinated and the risk of policy gridlock is high.
2010-08-03 00:00:00 Insights from the U.S. International Balance of Trade by Team of American Century Investments
The U.S. trade deficit increased to -$42.3 billion in May. Large and increasing trade deficits are sustainable as long as the rest of the world is willing to lend money to finance them. Growing trade deficits, however, are unhealthy in the long term. Trade imbalances also cause imbalances in capital flows. There was a time when it was argued that, as the U.S. entered a post-industrial society and economy, its growing trade deficit in goods would be offset by a growing trade surplus in services. Nearly three decades of experience, however, have demonstrated that this isn't the case.
2010-08-03 00:00:00 Fear and Trembling Marked the Year's First Six Months by Whitney George of The Royce Funds
In roughly two years, we have moved from a market collapse to a market malaise driven by heightened fears concerning Greek debt. A slow-growth economy could lead investors to focus on two areas - high-quality companies and fast-growing companies. Any business that looks to be capable of swimming ahead of the pace of the economy as a whole is going to be in high demand, and this could benefit small-caps that boast strong balance sheets, high returns on invested capital and the ability to generate free cash flow.
2010-08-03 00:00:00 Roller Coaster Economics: Prepare for the Next Downturn by Brian Reading of Boeckh Investment Letter
This commentary features a piece by Brian Reading, former advisor to the Bank of England, former economics editor of The Economist magazine and founding partner of Lombard Street research service, on what should be done about massive fiscal deficits and spiraling debt-to-GDP ratios. Reading argues that no amount of exchanging domestic imbalances within the U.S., UK and other deficit countries between the public and private sectors can prevent a resumed recession. The prerequisite for sustained global recovery is increased consumption in Eurasia and a reversal of payment imbalances.
2010-08-02 00:00:00 Will Basel III Crush the Global Economy? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
This piece features a comment by Richard Alford on the evolving rules for the new Basel capital framework. Investors and bankers alike need to pay more attention to the machinations in the Swiss city of Basel to develop new bank capital guidelines, standards which could greatly constrict the supply of credit in industrial nations in the coming years. Christopher Whalen also comments on Q2 2010 bank stress test ratings, Japan, technology and the housing market.
2010-07-30 00:00:00 Postcard from China?s Yangtze Delta Region by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
During a recent trip, Elizabeth Dong visited Nanjing, Hangzhou and Ningbo, second-tier cities in the Yangtze Delta region to visit factories that make such items as auto parts, optical components, processed foods and apparel. The companies, which collectively employ about 280,000 workers, are bellwethers for China's labor-intensive manufacturing sector. While some factories offer workers pleasant working conditions, many laborers operate in poor environments with noise pollution, toxic fumes and extreme room temperatures.
2010-07-27 00:00:00 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.
2010-07-27 00:00:00 Stress Test Zombies: Reverting to the Global Mean by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
Some of the big American zombie banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America in particular - are seeing positive results from the Fed's net interest margin drip. Many, however, are reverting back to the global mean for performance due to the zero-interest rate policy maintained by the central bank. In the end, the carry trade enhancement allowed by low interest rates amounts to a subsidy for credit losses by banks that comes out of the pockets of savers.
2010-07-23 00:00:00 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.
2010-07-23 00:00:00 Postcard From Behind the Wheel in China by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
After experiencing swift growth in 2009, China has become the world's largest auto market in terms of unit sales. With approximately 80 manufacturers now competing for a share of this immense market, China's car industry is also quickly becoming the world's most competitive. The argument for investing in this market is compelling. Not only is penetration so far still low, and thus full of potential, the industry is growing faster than China?s overall GDP. This is not to say, however, that the growth will be in a straight line
2010-07-22 00:00:00 Musings on Asia by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates
The popping of both the Chinese and Japanese bubble economies will lead to higher interest rates. The Japanese government will probably not be able to intervene in the economy for much longer, and so rates in that country will rise and there will be little they can do about it. China's government, meanwhile, seems to be mulling another multi-hundred-billion-dollar stimulus over the next few months. The Chinese government's actions are thus the wild card that will determine the duration and the magnitude of the bubble's pop - the longer they intervene, the direr the consequences will be.
2010-07-20 00:00:00 World Growth on the Rise but Europe's Weakened Economy Threatens Global Recovery by Team of American Century Investments
Global economic activity is improving, but significant headwinds remain, particularly within the developed world, where mounting sovereign debt threatens long-term economic gains. So far, government responses to the crisis have varied, and this lack of coordination may lead to divergent economic performance in the year ahead. Emerging markets have held up relatively well, primarily because they have managed their economies frugally throughout the past several years. Globally, corporations are generally enjoying expanding profit margins, while balance sheets remain solid.
2010-07-16 00:00:00 Postcard from the Shanghai Expo by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
Two weeks ago, Matthews Asia portfolio manager Andrew Foster attended the 2010 World Expo underway in Shanghai. The theme of the expo, 'Better City, Better Life,' is intended to demonstrate the benefits of better urban planning, smart growth and a stronger emphasis on the environment. Its message was juxtaposed, however, against the reality that much of the country's growth has been fueled by construction and heavy investment. And while the expo does illustrate China's first steps toward openness, fewer than 2 percent of event participants came from abroad.
2010-07-15 00:00:00 Emerging Asia's On/Off Switch by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
In 2009 and the first half of 2010, low interest rates and an uncertain global outlook led to strong, volatile capital inflows into some of Asia's most promising economies. Policymakers in these places - which include, among others, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and India - need to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than later. New inflows from the rest of the world might prove problematic, but at present low or negative real interest rates seem to be fueling speculative investment by domestic players, and that too is a dangerous dynamic.
2010-07-14 00:00:00 U.S. Equity Newsletter by Team of W.P. Stewart
One thing is certain - there is a lot of bad news around and many people are now forecasting a double-dip recession. 'Bad news,' however, may already be factored into prices. Global growth is still expected to be solidly positive in 2010 and 2011, albeit somewhat skewed to the emerging markets. Corporate balance sheets are very robust, productivity has never been higher and earnings growth remains strong even on somewhat reduced estimates. Equities should therefore offer significantly better returns than bonds or cash.
2010-07-12 00:00:00 Recession Odds Still on the Rise by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The Economic Cycle Research Institute's weekly leading index fell again last week despite the equity market bounce. The spot index fell 0.6 percent for the second week in a row, and the growth index slipped to -8.3 percent from -7.6 percent at the end of June. While this is the only indicator so far suggesting that recession odds are rising, once you get to -8.3 percent, looking at the historical record, downturns occur more often than not.
2010-07-12 00:00:00 The Crowd Zigs, Time to Zag? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
When the crowd is zigging, it is best to trust one's contrarian instincts and zag. The ratio of bearish to bullish investors has steadily risen since early May, when concerns about sovereign stability began to unravel. In the week ending July 8th, 57 percent of individual investors reported being bearish in the intermediate term, against only 21 percent that hold a bullish stance. Investor sentiment is sitting at the lowest point since March 2009, and we all know what happened in the intervening months.
2010-07-09 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 In the Shadow of the Dragon by John Downs of Euro Pacific Capital
For investors, the Chinese push into frontier markets may offer promising returns in the medium-term. For example, emerging market bonds have rallied every quarter since the end of 2008, and posted record inflows this year. Unfortunately, accessing frontier markets has historically been difficult for small investors. Poor accounting practices, corruption, lack of local knowledge, and illiquidity are risks to be considered. For the right investor, though, there are increasing opportunities to invest in these markets via enterprising Chinese firms.
2010-07-09 00:00:00 Postcard from India by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia
It is easy to get carried away with the potential of a full economic revival of rural (and consequently, agricultural sectors) within India. Some of the recent strength can be attributed to new policies by the central government, including guaranteeing employment for 100 days. The early results of these policies are encouraging, but the impetus needs to be sustained in the form of more forward-thinking investment in social infrastructure, including health and education. Nonetheless, it is hard for any long-term strategy focused on India to ignore the potential of these smaller markets.
2010-07-09 00:00:00 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.
2010-07-08 00:00:00 Double-Dip Revisited by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The U.S. economy is very fragile and more vulnerable to exogenous shocks than has been the case in the past. It takes time for these shocks to percolate - six months in 1995 and 12 months in 1998 - and we have yet to feel the full brunt of the European debt crisis hit home, in terms of the depressing impact of their aggregate demand on our export growth. Where the offset from government stimulus comes from next will be interesting to see. If it's not fiscal policy or the Fed, then something tells us that the bond market is going to have to work that much harder.
2010-07-07 00:00:00 Paper Gold vs the Dollar? Interview with James Rickards by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
This commentary features an interview with James Rickards, senior managing director for market intelligence at Omnis, Inc., about the dollar and the outlook for the U.S. currency in the global economy. Mr. Rickards' career spans the period since 1976. He was a first-hand participant in the formation and growth of globalized capital markets and complex derivative trading strategies.
2010-07-02 00:00:00 The Art of Outperformance by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
This month's letter is different. Our usual ramblings about the dire outlook for the global economy have been put aside for a while. Instead we focus on a couple of ideas for equity investors who have grown frustrated trying to beat the market - which is very difficult indeed. We do make some rather unflattering comments about active managers, but please note that these are specific to the equity space. In other, less efficient, asset classes, active managers often do much better than is the case in the equity world.
2010-07-02 00:00:00 Contemplating Capital Controls by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Some Asian countries have imposed capital controls as a measure to prevent asset bubbles. Policymakers are clearly wary of imposing further controls on capital. However, they cannot prevent the bubbles they fear by using monetary policy alone?until they allow their currencies to appreciate. Otherwise, they are simply allowing international investors to enjoy the high interest rates that tighter policy brings at the existing cheap exchange rate and capital will flow in.
2010-06-30 00:00:00 Alphabet Soup by Bill Gross of PIMCO
The lack of global aggregate demand ? resulting from too much debt in parts of the global economy and not enough in others ? is the essence of the problem. The solution, according to William Gross, may be to add the letter 'R' to your name (as in Roubini, Reinhart, Rogoff, and Rosenberg) or, better yet, to embrace the words 'New Normal.'
2010-06-29 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
?The stock market registered its concern for a slowing economy by falling nearly every day last week, at least in terms of the Dow Jones Industrial Average,? explains Tom McIntyre. Between the Gulf oil spill, the housing market, increased costs on business and tax hikes, investors are on their heels. Yet, these factors also produced a very strong dollar, record low interest rates and energy costs. McIntyre agrees with ECRI predictions that it is too early for a double dip, however a slowdown will occur and advisors will respond by the composition of their portfolios.
2010-06-29 00:00:00 Country Risk: The World According to Robert Rubin by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
Christopher Whalen writes about the role of Robert Rubin in Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, the Mexico bailout, and the threads he weaves throughout the White House administration?s fiscal policy.
2010-06-29 00:00:00 Chinese RMB: Much Ado About Nothing! by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
Komal Sri-Kumar comments on US China relations, looking at how both sides view the appreciation of the RMB. Washington has lectured and Chinese officials have retaliated with their own diagnosis that the crux of the problem was lack of adequate regulation of U.S. financial institutions, and have suggested that the Obama administration should reduce the fiscal deficit rather than focus on the exchange rate. What Sri-Kumar believes is missing from this conversation is an understanding of the role played by exchange rates in balancing international trade.
2010-06-25 00:00:00 The Big Picture by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Escalating global economic imbalances have dramatically increased the vulnerability of the global recovery. The chances of a growth relapse in the second half of the year are higher than the equity market and credit market have priced in. Treasury bonds seem to be the asset class that most closely shares these cautious views. Anyone with a pro-cyclical bent has to answer for why it is that the yield at mid-point on the coupon curve is below 2 percent, a year after a whippy rally in equities and commodities and what appeared to be a sizeable policy-induced GDP jump off the bottom.
2010-06-25 00:00:00 Suiting Up For a Post-Dollar World by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
The U.S. has always benefited from its reserve-currency status, which allows it to accumulate unsustainable debts for an unusually long period without the immediate repercussions of inflation or higher borrowing costs. This false sense of security, however, may be setting us up for a truly monumental crash. After two decades as net sellers of gold, foreign central banks have now become net buyers. What's more, more than half of central bank officials surveyed by UBS didn't think the dollar would be the world's reserve in 2035.
2010-06-25 00:00:00 A New Direction: China Eases Currency Peg by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
China?s central bank announced over the weekend that it would reform the exchange rate regime for its currency, the renminbi, and allow it more flexibility. While the RMB should rise against the U.S. dollar in the near term, any movement will be small and gradual. The more important long-term impact of China?s RMB reform is the acceleration of structural changes to reduce the country's reliance on exports and grow more reliant on domestic consumption. China?s central bank officials have said that a more flexible currency will 'direct resources to domestic demand-driven sectors.'
2010-06-23 00:00:00 What a Flexible Yuan Means for the Economy by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
Even if the Chinese authorities allow two-way movement of the yuan against the dollar to reduce speculation, Chinese policies could support the U.S. Treasury market, commodities and risky assets more generally - especially if other emerging market countries take a cue from China and allow only gradual depreciation. However, a sharp appreciation against the euro and dollar without other policies to support Chinese consumption could contribute to much slower global growth and higher inflation as increased Chinese production costs are transmitted to G10 consumers.
2010-06-22 00:00:00 Niall Ferguson on Japan, China, and the US by Dan Richards (Article)
Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In part two of this interview, Ferguson explains why he fears the future is bleak for Japan, why China may someday be the leading global superpower, and what all this means for the US. We provide a video and a transcript.
2010-06-22 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-06-18 00:00:00 Chinese Workers Force the Issue by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital
Chinese factory workers and other laborers across the country are going on strike, thus defying the orders of their government-run unions and risking dismissal by their employers. The Chinese government must find a way to nip their labor issues in the bud. The best policy approach would involve yuan revaluation. By reducing the rate of inflation of the Chinese yuan, the purchasing power of the yuan will increase, thereby allowing Chinese workers to better enjoy the fruits of their labor. As living standards rise, worker unrest will subside, and the impetus to strike will vanish.
2010-06-18 00:00:00 Chinese Bank IPO: A Test of Faith by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
Bank loans account for the vast majority of capital raised by China?s non-financial sector. The corporate bond market is still extremely undeveloped?at the end of last year, the size of China?s corporate bond market was about 3.3% of China?s GDP. Banks have been reformed over the last two decades, but still have a way to go. A recent IPO is an important step in that direction.
2010-06-17 00:00:00 Assessing Investment-Grade Bonds by Team of Litman Gregory
Investment-grade bonds are likely to generate average returns in a 1 percent to 2 percent range in most scenarios over the next five years. That is markedly lower than any historical rolling five-year average annual return number since the mid-70s. Forward-looking scenarios project that bond yields and inflation higher than their current levels and capital losses due to rising yields will cut into income from coupon payments.
2010-06-11 00:00:00 Prospective China Homebuyers Face New Challenges by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia
With little cooling of the property sector in sight, in April the Chinese government stepped in with tougher measures to curb housing prices. So far, these policies seem to be effective as we are seeing drops of more than 50 percent in property sales in major Chinese cities. Developers are preparing for a slow market over the next two to three months as prospective home buyers adopt a wait-and-see attitude on purchases. Over the long run, however, the prospects for China?s property market appear to remain sound.
2010-06-10 00:00:00 April 2010 Commentary by Bill Middleton of Sound Portfolio Advisors
Perhaps the most encouraging signs in markets today are general pessimism and lowered expectations. Mass expectations tend to be dead wrong, and are therefore excellent contra-indicators. The first- and second-best performing asset classes of the past 10 years, gold and real estate, were so ill-regarded prior to 2000 they weren't even included in the data provided by the Wall Street Journal in January of that year. The best performing asset class for the 1995-1999 period, science and technology, was by far the worst performing for the following 10 years.
2010-06-10 00:00:00 Addressing Investor Concerns after Heightened Volatility by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Mark Mobius shares responses to investor questions on emerging markets. Emerging markets continue to be fundamentally strong, with high growth levels, a lower debt-to-GDP ratio compared to developed markets, higher foreign reserves and declining risk. Credit default swaps in many emerging market countries now trade at lower spreads than those of some European countries. On average, however, investors still have a weighting of just 3-8 percent toward emerging markets in their portfolios, while emerging markets now represent about 30 percent of the global market capitalization.
2010-06-10 00:00:00 Changing Channels: Asia's Shifting Media Mix by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
A combination of rising consumer demand, emerging technology, market forces and gradual regulatory reform is transforming Asia?s media landscape. Research analyst Elizabeth Dong explores the ways in which China?s publishers and local governments are pushing for reform, and India?s traditional media marketplace has been transformed by private entrepreneurs and foreign players.
2010-06-09 00:00:00 Not Your Typical Pullback by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The outlook for the U.S. economy and the earnings backdrop have become highly uncertain due to the European debt crisis, which, with a lag, will end up hitting our shores. In the name of prudence, a higher risk premium must be applied to the investment decision-making process, which in turn means that a focus on income, capital preservation, and defensive, noncyclical strategies will work best. Trading up in quality and reducing risk will be the key to solid investment performance in coming months.
2010-06-08 00:00:00 The Phantom Recovery by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
Once the euro finally stabilizes against the dollar, commodity prices should resume their rise, especially oil. Normally, the uncertainty created by the disastrous oil spill in the gulf and the resulting moratorium on deep-water drilling would have sent crude oil prices skyrocketing. However, fears of a global slowdown, euro weakness, and general risk aversion have held prices in check. As Asia continues its growth and Europe regains its footing, there should be a delayed surge in oil prices, which will put yet another obstacle on the road to US recovery.
2010-06-07 00:00:00 Rajiv Sethi on High Frequency Equity Trading by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
This commentary features a piece by Barnard economics professor Rajiv Sethi on high-frequency trading and its implications for the use of equity-market data, both for profit and risk management. Sethi notes that trading must be based on fundamental information rather than pure market data for prices to remain stable. Banning specific classes of algorithms is unlikely to provide a lasting solution to the problem, however, unless the advantage is shifted decisively and persistently in favor of strategies that feed information to the market instead of extracting it from technical data.
2010-06-04 00:00:00 The Parable of the Lifeboat by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
Many investors are hesitant to add to their stock allocations due to negative returns over the past decade. The problem is that alternative investments have performed just as badly, if not worse. Ten thousand appears to be a hard floor for the Dow, despite investors' fears. Markets are thinner and more easily manipulated during the summer time, but July earnings reports should paint a rosy picture. NASDAQ is implementing expanded 'circuit breakers' to sideline stocks with unusually large moves - anything to reduce volatility and get investors interested in stocks again.
2010-06-04 00:00:00 Key Indicators of a New Depression by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital
During the Great Depression, the U.S. was on the gold standard like everyone else, which forced the country to live within its means. Unfortunately, because of the responses of the Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve, this recession could develop into something far more devastating than its predecessor: a hyperinflationary depression. As bad as the current downturn has been, inflation would make it immeasurably worse. It would require an honest accounting of the problems we face today to avert the disaster we see coming tomorrow.
2010-06-04 00:00:00 Postcard from Chengdu, China by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia
Yu Zhang reflects upon a recent week spent in China. The general sentiment on the ground is quite positive, underpinned by a sustained pick-up of economic activity carried over from last year, and people are also becoming more confident about their own well-being. As China rebalances its growth model and allows its western regions to catch up to the east coast, cities like Chengdu, which have enjoyed a relatively low-cost advantage, are developing a lead in new, fast-growing industries and have the potential to be the next growth engine of China's economic development.
2010-06-04 00:00:00 The New Economic Reality - Part II by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Some investors believe that deflationary influences will lead to an immense slowdown in world economic activity, and thus thus are selling stocks, buying bonds and short-selling commodities. Others think government action to forestall the deflation will end up creating inflation, and are buying commodities, buying stocks and avoiding bonds As the two sides pull markets back and forth, volatility will continue. To deal with the volatility, Guild is holding a large percentage of client assets in cash and gold, which can rise in either an inflationary or a deflationary situation.
2010-06-03 00:00:00 A Bear Market or Just a Correction? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
So far the S&P 500 is down nearly 10 percent from the highs, so this is indeed a correction thus far. More often than not, however, declines like these morph into something more severe. Right now we are looking at a 50 percent retracement of the March 2009-April 2010 run-up, which means 943 on the S&P 500. Lows in the market tend to occur with the index 20 percent below the 200-day moving average, which at this stage would be 879. So at least we have a defined range of when to begin to put money to work.
2010-06-03 00:00:00 Spotlight on Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
The GDP of Southeast Asia is about the same size as India, and within two decades, the region is expected to have a larger and younger population than Europe. It is also a major exporter of soft commodities like palm oil, rice, tapioca, coconut oil, and rubber. Vietnam is one of the key frontier markets in Southeast Asia, and valuations there are among the cheapest in the world. Indonesia's extensive resources and large population put it in a favorable position to attract investments and establish a strong domestic economy.
2010-06-02 00:00:00 Manufacturing, Construction and Gold by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Deflation is still the primary trend, coupled with massive reflation efforts and the unintended consequences that come along with those efforts. The name of the game is therefore to focus on strategies that deliver income, minimize volatility and emphasize capital preservation in a secular bear market, and to use commodities as a buffer in a financially unstable world. Rosenberg also comments on rising manufacturing activity and construction, and rising gold sales at the U.S. Mint.
2010-06-01 00:00:00 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.
2010-06-01 00:00:00 The New Economic Reality by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
There is too much debt throughout the developed countries, and not enough growth to service that debt. The first phase of the current deleveraging cycle began about 20 years ago, when Japan's giant real estate and stock market bubble began to deflate. The second began in 2007, when the U.S. real estate lending bubble burst. The third began this year, with the European sovereign debt crisis. U.S. investors should buy only on dips, be selective, and look for good income, strong balance sheets, and strong earnings growth generated from internal cash flow.
2010-06-01 00:00:00 Margins Peak, Gold Saves Lives by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
There is no ?get-out-of-jail-free? card when it comes to the places where market prices could go during this period of pullback in investor risk appetite. The appetite for risk usually comes back because the Fed cuts rates. This time around, we may have to see more balance sheet expansion and more money printed. Gluskin still loves the bond market, but gold is a very good hedge here just in case we are wrong on the inflation call or if the markets begin to anticipate the massive reflation efforts that are still to come.
2010-05-28 00:00:00 May Volatility, Downward GDP Revision and Sputtering Labor Markets by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
We are still in the midst of a credit collapse. There is simply too much debt and debt service globally relative to worldwide income. The fact that we had a year-long respite does not alter this view, because that respite was induced by an unsustainable pace of bailout and fiscal stimulus in practically every country on the planet, not just in the United States. Governments bailed out the banks and stimulated the economy. But because the revenue cupboard was bare, public sector debt loads exploded at all levels of government, and to varying degrees, in every jurisdiction.
2010-05-28 00:00:00 Six Impossible Things by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
You can run a trade deficit, reduce government debt and reduce private debt but not all three at the same time. Choose two. Choose carefully. The UK will likely allow the pound to devalue to reduce its deficit, but will face higher costs of imported goods. Greece, in contrast, has no good options, and ultimately will default on its debt.
2010-05-28 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Move over Greece?here comes Spain. While one tiny euro country dominated the press for months, another looks to be taking over the headlines. This week, Spain announced significant budget cuts, and then its debt was downgraded by Fitch right before the weekend began (and after many traders had departed). China offered a ?vote of confidence? for the euro-zone (at least, before the Fitch move). At home, the numbers continue to impress and say ?recovery,? though investors can?t help but keep an eye (or two) on Europe as equities suffered their worst month since February 2009.
2010-05-27 00:00:00 Greece, Portugal and Spain Are the Least of Our Economic/Financial Challenges by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
The debt problems that Greece, Portugal and Spain are currently facing have undoubtedly had a negative effect on global financial markets, and will probably have some negative effect on global economic activity. Problems with these countries, however, will not derail the global economic recovery that is currently underway. The biggest threat to the continuation of the global economic recovery would be some policy mistake by the Chinese economic policymakers resulting in a rapid deflation of the Chinese real estate bubble, which, in turn, would reduce Chinese real GDP growth.
2010-05-26 00:00:00 Tensions in Korea and Thailand by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
What both Thailand and Korea have in common is that their underlying political tensions have been ongoing, certainly for long enough to have earned their markets a valuation discount. This is not to say that investors are in any way protected from such political unease - for if the events were to flare up into a serious conflict in either case, more property damage and loss to asset values would occur in both countries. Nevertheless, Thailand and South Korea remain the two cheapest markets in the region in terms of price-to-earnings measures.
2010-05-26 00:00:00 Renewed Risks and Multi-Speed Global Recovery to Restrain World Trade Flows by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
Global trade growth is unlikely to reach its pre-recession highs in the short term, with exports of several trade-dependent economies, particularly emerging markets, growing at a slower pace due to weaker import demand in the U.S. and EU amidst consumer deleveraging, fiscal austerity and slow recoveries in labor markets and household wealth. In the medium term, however, structural reforms in emerging markets and surplus countries to increase domestic demand will boost trade among emerging markets, as well as global trade flows, changing their direction and composition.
2010-05-26 00:00:00 Gold Prices, Housing, Bond Yields and the Shiller P/E Ratio by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The fact that earnings have been rising while the stock market has been correcting has helped cut the degree of overvaluation in half, to a 0.5 standard deviation from 1.0 just over a month ago on a normalized Shiller P/E ratio basis. The ECRI leading economic index is foreshadowing a deceleration in real GDP growth, however, to 1.5 percent in the second half of the year from the 3.75 percent average pace since the recession technically ended in mid-2009. The S&P 500 level that would be consistent with that sort of pace would be around 850, rather than the current level of 1,074.
2010-05-25 00:00:00 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.
2010-05-24 00:00:00 Don't Mess With Aunt Minnie by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
In medicine, an Aunt Minnie is a particular set of symptoms that is distinctly characteristic of a specific disease, even if each of the individual symptoms might be fairly common. Last week, we observed an Aunt Minnie featuring a collapse in market internals that has historically been associated with sharply negative market implications. Historically, we can identify 19 instances in the past 50 years where the weekly data featured broadly negative internals, coupled with at least 3-to-1 negative breadth, and a leadership reversal.
2010-05-21 00:00:00 Comments on Thailand by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
Local and international investors have become accustomed to political turmoil in Thailand, and therefore have not rushed to sell at times like these. Although the recent disturbances have impacted central Bangkok, most of the rest of the country has not been affected, and it is business as usual. In fact, a few weeks ago the Bank of Thailand raised its forecast range for GDP growth this year to between 4.3 percent and 5.8 percent from the original 3.3 percent to 5.3 percent due to strengthening global demand for the country?s exports.
2010-05-21 00:00:00 The First Official Correction in Equities by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
There?s no sense getting overly bearish over the latest stock market correction. For those of us with cash on hand, who had been waiting for this opportunity in a Godot-like fashion, the correction comes as good news. For the economy, it cannot be a bad thing to have oil prices come down, which helps add cash to consumer pocketbooks and protect profit margins. And of course this wonderful bond rally has acted as a source of social policy, as it has helped pull mortgage rates down to six-month lows, to 4.8 percent for the U.S. 30-year fixed rate product.
2010-05-21 00:00:00 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.
2010-05-21 00:00:00 Postcard from Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
Michael Han recently returned from a visit to Korea. The country?s overall consumption and economic activity looked quite solid, based on first quarter GDP growth, despite soaring fruit and vegetable prices due to an unusually cold spring. Given that just 13 percent of Korean exports are destined for the European Union, the overall impact from Europe?s troubles appears limited. Home prices have stabilized or fallen in some areas, but lending in Korea remains cautiously healthy thanks to stringent historical lending standards.
2010-05-20 00:00:00 Shiller P/E Ratios, Deflation, and FOMC Notes by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
During the past 130 years, whenever the Graham/Dodd/Shiller normalized P/E ratio goes above 20.6x (it is 21x today), the market experiences a significant correction - a correction of 31 percent on average over the next 16 months. It never fails. Rosenberg also examines new evidence of deflation from the labor market, and statements from the Federal Reserve suggesting that the central bank will not consider raising interest rates until 2012.
2010-05-18 00:00:00 The Next Frontier: Business Services in Asia by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia
Thanks to improved education levels, Asia now has a bigger pool of quality human resources seeking better employment of their skills. Meanwhile, the cost of this labor in Asia is rising. One area that therefore needs to evolve in Asian economies is business services. Continued productivity growth is one of the most important benefits we can expect from evolving business services. Software and information technology services would arguably have the most direct impact on productivity growth in the industrial, commercial, distribution, technology and health care sectors.
2010-05-17 00:00:00 Gold, Oil and the European Economic Crisis by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Why is oil falling while gold is rising during the European sovereign debt crisis? Gold is rising because quantitative easing in Europe will be highly inflationary in the long term and destructive to the standard of living of every citizen of the developed world, especially in Europe. Oil is falling as investors fear the austerity measures that are required in Europe will shrink economic demand. The other parts of Europe and the U.S. will all have their 'Greece Moment' in the coming months and years. When that happens, investors will be grateful for their gold holdings.
2010-05-17 00:00:00 Volatility on the Rise by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Volatility in stocks has increased during the past several weeks as investors have grappled with numerous global concerns. Is this the start of a longer-term problem or is it just a short-term phenomenon? Developments in the housing and job markets hold the key to further economic improvement. Meanwhile, the European debt crisis was addressed with a massive package, but long-term issues remain, and China's rapid growth rate could lead to overheating and inflation.
2010-05-14 00:00:00 The Effect of Inflation on Purchasing Power by Robert Urie of Pioneer Investment Management
This paper provides an analysis of what inflation is and its effect on purchasing power. Inflation is a broad rise in the price level of goods and services that reduces purchasing power. In recent decades it has occurred in two predominant forms: rapid, steep increases in prices and a long, persistent rise in prices that gradually erodes purchasing power. Both forms result from a combination of the level of economic growth, monetary policy and unforeseen supply and demand shocks.
2010-05-14 00:00:00 India's Infrastructure Constraints by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
With India?s higher economic growth rates, its social and physical infrastructure is becoming increasingly strained. Even though India has years of catching up to do on infrastructure investment, there have been some early signs that the government is awakening to the problem and starting to take action. One positive response to bureaucratic shortcomings has been the emergence of a new model of public-private partnership that substantially shifts infrastructure-related financial, operational and technical responsibilities to the private sector.
2010-05-14 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Up 400, down 37, up 150, down 114, down 160. Say no more?volatility has returned to the equity markets. Fears of a European contagion practically wiped out the euphoria from a European bailout. Doesn?t anyone pay attention to domestic news anymore? Data indicates a nice recovery. Earnings continue to reflect growth. Corporate boardroom wreak of optimism. The week ended on a sour note, but please don?t forget the positives.
2010-05-13 00:00:00 Driving Without a Spare by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO
Mohamed El-Erian recounts the results of last week's PIMCO Secular Forum on the three- to five-year outlook for the global economy and the markets. Participants concluded that we are heading toward a world that is re-regulated, de-levered, and growing less rapidly in the industrial countries. It will be a world in which concerns about the dark side of globalization temper enthusiasm for its net benefits, and in which politics matter a lot for markets and the economy. The drama playing out in Europe these days is a vivid illustration of this general secular characterization.
2010-05-12 00:00:00 Is the U.S. Too Big to Fail? by Carmen M. Reinhart and Vincent Reinhart of VoxEU
First posted November 17, 2008, this column's analysis is more relevant than ever. It asks why investors rushed to government securities, even though the U.S. was at the epicenter of the financial crisis. This column attributes the paradox to key emerging market economies' exchange practices, which require reserves most often invested in U.S. government securities. America's exorbitant privilege comes with a cost and a responsibility that U.S. policy makers should bear in mind as they address financial reform.
2010-05-12 00:00:00 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.
2010-05-11 00:00:00 Across the Pond - Still a Sea of Red by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
It remains to be seen how Greece and the other problem countries in the euro area will manage to cut their deficits without at the same time controlling their monetary policy and their currency. While coincident economic indicators such as employment have improved in recent months, many of the leading indicators are pointing towards a discernible slowing in economic and earnings growth in the second half of the year and into 2011 as countries worldwide shift from stimulus to fiscal restraint.
2010-05-10 00:00:00 Euro-Sclerosis No Longer and Last Week's Market by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
In what can only be described as a spectacular showing of solidarity, European Union finance ministers managed to cobble together a 750 billion euro stabilization program. This is over and above the 110 billion euro Greek bailout package announced last week and is widely seen as a very powerful countermove against the 'wolf pack' that had been attacking the peripheral euro area financial markets over the past few weeks. Equities, commodities , credit and lower-tiered sovereign bonds should all improve markedly. Gluskin also comments on last week's uncertainty in capital markets.
2010-05-07 00:00:00 Postcard from Macau by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia
Following a visit to Macau, Ishida is upbeat on the tourism and casino industries there.
2010-05-04 00:00:00 Four Words of Advice from a Top Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)
Last summer, Dan Richards talked to a thirty-year veteran of the business who's consistently ranked as a top advisor. The week before, he'd talked to a group of rookies just entering the business. In the question and answer period, he was been asked about the single most important thing he learned over the course of his career.
2010-05-04 00:00:00 European Debt Crisis Keeps Expanding by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The European sovereign debt crisis will continue to wax and wane, but will stay with us until European governments take much stronger actions to reign in excessive outlays of all types, including social and military spending. The euro and British pound will continue to fall in value versus the U.S. dollar and other better-managed currencies such as the Australian, Canadian and Singapore dollars, the Chinese yuan and the Brazilian real. Guild remains bullish on the strong currencies mentioned above, oil, gold, several Asian markets and exporting companies around the globe.
2010-05-01 00:00:00 Resilience Resonates by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
The stock market has absorbed numerous body blows recently, but continues to chug along?waiting for a big price correction to buy could be detrimental. Economic data remains solid, confounding some recovery skeptics and providing the Fed ample reason to slowly return to normalcy. European debt problems are growing and concerns over contagion are rising; there's no quick fix, and some politically unpopular decisions are going to have to be made.
2010-04-30 00:00:00 U.S. GDP, Reflecting on the Market Rally, and Unemployment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
While many economists will undoubtedly rejoice over the strongest headline GDP results in six years, today?s Q1 2010 number actually came in a tad light relatively to expectations, not to mention the fact that it was a very mixed performance, from a sector standpoint. Real GDP expanded at a 3.2 percent annual rate versus the 3.4 percent rate that the consensus had penned in, and once again the mathematics of a renewed inventory build was responsible for half the GDP growth last quarter.
2010-04-30 00:00:00 Europe's Troubles by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
In the context of Europe's sovereign debt problems, we do not expect Asia to become a safe haven for investors in the near term. As solvent as China?s sovereign debt position is, questions still remain over the borrowing by local government investment vehicles during the recent stimulus plan and property boom. This is not a benign environment for Asia?s equity markets. But we do take solace in the long term, because these events once again show the relative health of Asia?s economies.
2010-04-28 00:00:00 Greece, Europe and the Significance of Yesterday's Market Action by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The Euro bounced back this morning, and the flight to higher quality German and French bonds has partly reversed course as markets swirl with speculation that the IMF will announce a stepped-up aid package. The problem, however, is that if Greece is bailed out then Portugal, Ireland, Spain and perhaps Italy may not be far behind. The inability of Greece - and others within European monetary union - to enact an independent monetary policy at a time of crisis has exposed the flaws of the union. The lack of a cohesive national government is another flaw in times of turbulence.
2010-04-27 00:00:00 China: House of Cards or Emerging Superpower? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few topics are as contentious as the fate of the Chinese economy. The bulls argue that its growth will propel the global economic recovery and that China will ultimately supplant the United States as the leading world superpower. According to the bears, the Chinese economy has been fueled by unsustainable fiscal stimuliand is a prototypical bubble poised to burst. Five panelists at the Strategic Investment Conference debated this question.
2010-04-26 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The stock market continues to move higher even as investor and consumer sentiment remain depressed. So many investors have missed this rally that they are afraid and/or mad at themselves. At the same time the message coming from Washington and around the world is one of continued focus on increasing the role of the central government to solve all of our financial ills. Congress will hold hearings this week in an attempt to blame Wall Street for everything that has ever gone wrong, but this sad act will solve few problems.
2010-04-26 00:00:00 Stocks Jump on Earnings News by Bob Doll of BlackRock
Following the stock market lows of March 2009, the bull market that commenced was, at first, driven by government action and increased liquidity. Since that time, stocks have been advancing based on the reality of fundamental improvements in global economic growth and corporate earnings. The key risk to stocks remains the possibility that the economic recovery will become derailed. While deleveraging threats remain and the banking system is still operating in a credit-impaired environment, BlackRock does not expect to see a double-dip recession.
2010-04-23 00:00:00 Postcard from Vietnam by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia
During his recent visit to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Matthews Asia's Elizabeth Dong had the opportunity to compare some of Vietnam's emerging sectors, as well as some more well-established industries, including its telecommunications industry?one area in which Vietnam has surpassed its neighboring countries. The government has anchored its monetary policy on the depreciation of its currency, the dong. A depreciating currency makes goods cheaper and wages more competitive, which in turn increases foreign direct investment and promotes exports, but also causes high inflation
2010-04-22 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-04-21 00:00:00 Market Review by Team of Applied Finance Group
During the depths of the downturn a little over one year ago, many investors were quick to provide a lesson on the mathematics of loss. A 50 percent decline would require a subsequent 100 percent gain - not a 50 percent gain - to get back to even. Such truths, it seemed, were a justification for remaining bearish and a comfort perhaps to some, in making the painful decision to sell. Unfortunately, while the mathematics of loss is indeed an investing truth, it may also be an author of lies by suggesting that the only investor goal worth its salt is 'getting back to even.'
2010-04-20 00:00:00 It's Census Time: Where in the World Are We Growing? by Team of American Century Investments
International population forecasts provided by the U.S. Census Bureau provide directional insights that can be useful to investors. The U.S. will continue to be a dynamic, growing and expanding country from a population perspective well into the 21st century. One implication is that we can deal with concerns over our rapidly growing government debt by growing out of the problem. In addition, despite the recent gloom caused by the housing bubble bursting, real estate values are likely to recover and continue growing long-term as a result of population growth.
2010-04-20 00:00:00 Months-Long Equity Rally Pauses by Bob Doll of BlackRock
Stocks have rallied in an almost uninterrupted fashion over the past couple of months, but the tenor of Friday's news adds an element of uncertainty. This backdrop, combined with various signs of excess in the markets, suggests that a period of profit-taking may be coming, perhaps sooner rather than later. In any case, however, the recovering economy, low inflation, strong corporate earnings and reasonable valuation levels should be enough to cause any sort of correction to be short-lived.
2010-04-19 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-04-16 00:00:00 Update on Thailand by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
While the current political crisis in Thailand poses big headline risks to stocks over the short term, it is not new or unexpected for the country. Since absolute monarchy was abolished in Thailand in 1932, there have been about 20 successful and failed coups, numerous unrests, and several changes in the constitution. The series of political issues from the Asian crisis in 1997 to recent fears of the Thai King?s waning health late last year, however, have not impacted the long-term growth outlook for Thailand.
2010-04-16 00:00:00 Overinvestment in China by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia
The evidence for overinvestment in China seems to be thin - on the contrary, returns on capital have been stable and rising, suggesting that the productivity of the underlying economy remains strong. The government has tools to combat any concerns about overheating - including interest rates, reserve requirements and allowing the currency to appreciate. This commentary also includes a roundtable discussion with the Matthews Asia Funds Investment Team on a possible China bubble.
2010-04-16 00:00:00 India's Focus on Investor Protection by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
India?s financial sector watchdogs have demonstrated their independence time and again. For example, the country?s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, was one of the few central banks that chose to break from prevailing global loose monetary policies. India?s other regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, which is equivalent to the Securities and Exchange Commission in United States, has also come a long way in asserting itself. Formed in 1992, SEBI has been making systemic reforms aimed at better corporate governance, deeper capital markets and more satisfied investors.
2010-04-16 00:00:00 Our Quarterly Review by Jonathan A. Shapiro of Kovitz Investment Group
With only a few temporary setbacks, the stock market has continued its move higher since touching its most recent low in early March 2009. Much hand wringing has been done over the S&P 500's approximately 75 percent move since that time, but lost in translation is the fact that prices last March implied a pending financial and social breakdown. These panic-driven prices bore little resemblance to actual or going concern business values, and measuring from that point clearly overstates and exaggerates the return. The worries facing the U.S. and many other regions are still prevalent.
2010-04-16 00:00:00 Where is the Next Rising Tide? by Louie Nguyen of Soledad Investment Management
The S&P 500 and Russell 3000 seems closer to fair value than Europe though there may be some room left to appreciate. At the opposite extreme lie several emerging markets, including Russia, Asia ex-Japan, Mexico, and India. While emerging markets may have captured investors? attention because of their projected economic growth potential, we think developed countries may be a source for compelling investments for long term patient value investors.
2010-04-14 00:00:00 Will Inflation Reemerge as a Dominant Force? by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs
The current monetary policy of developed nations is to reinvigorate consumer demand through massive monetary stimulus. There is no doubt that this policy will have its intended effect and revitalize the private sector. Increasing demand from the private sector, along with the fiscal demands of new government obligations, however, could easily create a round of inflation where the aggregate demand of government and the private sector will exceed available supply. There is therefore a real possibility that inflation will be higher in the next 10 years relative to the past.
2010-04-14 00:00:00 The Global Bond Market: Opportunity or Opportunity Cost by David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles
The U.S. bond market is unlikely to offer investors the yield or capital appreciation opportunities they need to meet their investment objectives in 2010. Instead, investors will need to expand their investment universe. Investments in non-U.S., high-quality governments and supranationals could offer capital preservation, while emerging-markets debt and corporate debt might present performance prospects. In the non-dollar securities arena, investors could take advantage of securities offering capital preservation as well as performance.
2010-04-13 00:00:00 Greek Rescue: Third Time is Still Not a Charm! by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management
Global markets reacted positively to the European Union's display of solidarity Sunday with debt-burdened Greece. Should Greece need a bailout, European finance ministers said, the country would be able to borrow up to 30 billion euros at about a 5 percent interest rate for a three-year loan. Assistance from the International Monetary Fund could add another 15 billion euros, for a total aid package of 45 billion euros. The eventual, sustainable solution, however, is to reduce Greek debt to a level that the Greek economy can service rather than pile on more debt.
2010-04-09 00:00:00 Postcard from Japan - A Pleasant Surprise by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia
While most Japanese companies are still cautious over the medium term, the tone is certainly becoming upbeat. Management teams are gaining confidence as the economy recovers, which bodes well for the outlook on capital expenditure and consumption. With their high operating leverage, profits at Japanese manufacturers tend to rebound quickly when sales start to grow. Japan has been the best performer among major global equity markets so far this year, and we hope to see further improvements soon.
2010-04-07 00:00:00 We Expect China to Remain Strong by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
China will not melt down in the near future, as some fear. Chinese exports have fallen in recent years, but infrastructure building and consumer spending will help pick up the slack. While bad real estate loans may become a problem in China, the problem should be well-contained. And provinces can raise taxes in order to pay off loans. Guild and Danaher also comment on instability in Mexico, Alan Greenspan's recent Congressional testimony and global markets.
2010-04-06 00:00:00 Paul McCulley Discusses PIMCO's Cyclical Outlook by Paul McCulley of PIMCO
In an interview, PIMCO Managing Director Paul McCulley discusses his firm's cyclical economic outlook and its impact on investment strategy. PIMCO's cyclical outlook revolves around two core tensions in the global economy. The first is the huge disparity in the rate of recovery between highly leveraged developed countries and relatively balanced developing countries. The second tension is the resistance to cyclical recovery in the developed world due to deleveraging and other headwinds.
2010-04-05 00:00:00 Labor Market Turnaround by Bob Doll of BlackRock
The March payrolls report likely signaled the start of a long-awaited rebound in the employment picture, which should benefit the broader economy. As fiscal and monetary stimulus begins to fade over the coming months, the economy is going to require some self-sustaining mechanisms to kick in, and growing employment levels would certainly be beneficial. Over the course of the next year, we expect the economy to successfully shift from a recovery to an expansion. Investors should continue overweighting equities and credit-related fixed income assets and underweighting cash and Treasury bonds.
2010-04-01 00:00:00 Postcard from Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia
Korea avoided serious trouble related to the global economic crisis of 2008, and some senior government officials project GDP growth as high as 5 percent this year. The country's economic progress may be partly due to its import substitution strategy. Under government leadership, Korean firms created industries by copying or reverse engineering products that were first created by more advanced countries decades ago. Korean companies are also leveraging relationships with China and other emerging Asian markets.
2010-04-01 00:00:00 The U.S. Bond Market is Losing Steam by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Smart investors will buy stocks on dips, sell their long term bonds denominated in the euro and the U.S. dollar, and shift into shorter maturity bonds or into stocks that can grow. Investors should consider selling all long term bonds of any type. Guild and Danaher favor foreign stocks in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. They also favor export-driven companies in developed countries, and commodity producers globally, especially oil companies that are increasing their production. Gold is in a trading range, and should be bought for below $1090 per ounce.
2010-04-01 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-03-26 00:00:00 Another Step Toward Gender Equality in India by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
India's upper parliamentary house recently passed an historic bill that would reserve one third of its legislative seats for women. Women currently account for one tenth of India's members of parliament. The passing of this contentious bill is an early step in the process of amending the country's constitution. Even though India's constitution is quite progressive when it comes to gender issues, Indian women still face inequality in many areas. Placing more women at the top of the political food chain could be instrumental in furthering equality in other aspects of Indian society.
2010-03-26 00:00:00 Global Market Management by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Investors should focus on exporting companies, food-related companies, raw materials producers, iron ore, oil, coal, technology, and on stocks of other countries, especially countries that can export to fast-growing areas such as India, China and Southeast Asia. Even U.S. financial stocks are enjoying a rally as uncertainty ends. Japanese, European and U.S. stocks that produce products for domestic consumption offer poor prospects. Gold is in a trading range, and investors may want to acquire gold shares as it approaches the bottom of that range.
2010-03-23 00:00:00 I Would Rather Be Wrong by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital
Washington politicians are proving themselves unable to solve - or even tackle - our financial problems. Both parties refuse to budge from positions that dramatically narrow the grounds for problem solving. The Republicans' conservative base demands adherence to a no-tax pledge, while liberal Democrats demand their representatives to prevent cuts in spending on domestic programs.
2010-03-22 00:00:00 The AIG Rescue: What Did We Bail Out and Why? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
This article features a comment by Richard Alford, a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's foreign department. Alford notes that AIG is back in the news again for successfully negotiating the sale of two significant operating units. The Fed will receive partial payment for the sales in stock of the acquirer. This shows that both the Fed and U.S. taxpayers are still providing capital and taking risk to support the business activities of insurance subsidiaries of financially sound parenting companies operating abroad, a year and a half after the crisis hit.
2010-03-22 00:00:00 The Greatest Hopes and Worst Fears Are Seldom Realized by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett
The main lessons for investors from the past 18-24 months are that emotion is the enemy of good investing, and that time-honored investment principles, even if they frustrate, still provide the best likelihood for success. The S&P 500 Index rose more than 65 percent in the first quarter of this year from their March 2009 lows. The ultimate losers in this situation were those who succumbed to the ugly mood of a year ago and, despairing over the efficacy of and long term investment principles, sold out. By contrast, those who held onto their investments benefited from the recent rally.
2010-03-22 00:00:00 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.
2010-03-19 00:00:00 Postcard from China - Labor Shortfall by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia
Most companies in China have seen rapid growth this year relative to 2009. Most banks are more cautious about lending this year, however, and contrary to last year, when the government initiated a massive stimulus program to boost the economy, the challenge for China in 2010 is to maintain economic growth while avoiding overheating. Abundant job opportunities are creating a labor shortage at many factories as inland workers stay closer to home or young people pass up manufacturing for other careers. Rising wages will eventually lead to growing domestic consumption.
2010-03-18 00:00:00 How will an RMB revaluation affect China, the US, and the world? by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis
Even if the U.S. took unilateral action to force a revaluation of the RMB and restore the balance of trade, it would take years to wean China away from its undervalued currency. An optimal solution would be to work out a multilateral plan that ends manufacturing subsidies in China, Japan and Germany and returns income to households, while the U.S. and the U.K. shift income from households to investment. Such a global solution, however, may prove politically intractable. Any country that benefits in the short term from stonewalling the adjustment process will probably do so.
2010-03-18 00:00:00 Bear Stearns: The Bear That Started It all by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton
It is now two years since the Bear Stearns bailout, which set the stage for the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, another established name in the business. Some of the key issues that led to the global financial crisis, however, remain unresolved, and could give rise to future problems. While perhaps not popular, it is necessary for governments to insist upon the separation of investment banking and regular banking, and to ensure complete transparency and liquidity of all derivatives.
2010-03-18 00:00:00 We Suggest Investors Listen to What China Is Saying by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
It is clear from China's pronouncements that the government is willing to raise the value of its currency, but that it will delay doing so if the U.S. or any other major nation threatens the country or pressures it to take action. If Western politicians keep their mouths shut, China probably will raise the value of the Yuan. Guild and Danaher also comment on recent gold purchases by the Chinese and Indian governments amidst inflation fears, as well as market conditions in China, Brazil, Russia, India, Europe and the U.S.
2010-03-17 00:00:00 U.S.-China Tensions: Codependency Pains by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
Tensions between the U.S. and China have become increasingly exposed in recent weeks, with rhetorical barbs exchanged over trade, exchange rates and various political and strategic issues. These tensions seem to stem from attempts by both powers to find a 'new normal' in political and economic relations following the financial crisis. RGE expects the two countries to avoid a full-blown confrontation, but uncertain tit-for-tat trade policies still threaten to constrain global growth.
2010-03-13 00:00:00 Postcard from Southeast Asia by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia
Asian entrepreneurs are confident about their long-term prospects. Despite this confidence, however, some countries still need to develop stronger institutional frameworks. Billions of dollars worth of new projects for an industrial zone in the Gulf of Thailand have been halted since an environmental lawsuit was filed two years ago. And failings associated with the 2008 government bailout of Indonesia's PT Bank Century point to institutional weaknesses in that country. Failure to address these institutional issues could cost Asian economies crucial capital from foreign investors.
2010-03-12 00:00:00 Assessing India and China by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia
Investors often compare India and China. Both countries have been liberalizing their economies for quite some time, and feature entrepreneurial private sectors riding the current waves of growth. While China promises higher but arguably more volatile growth, India seems to be on a relatively more moderate and sustainable growth path. Because the typical U.S. investor is probably growth-starved, this tilts the argument in favor of China. Matthews Asia also includes responses from China and India investment specialists who participated in a roundtable this month.
2010-03-11 00:00:00 What the PBoC Cannot Do with Its Reserves by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis
What the People's Bank of China does to the value of China's currency and how it invests its reserves matter a lot to China and the world, but not always in the way China and the world think. To get it right, we need to keep in mind the functioning of the balance of payments, the PBoC and other balance sheets, and the way the two are interrelated.
2010-03-05 00:00:00 A Lengthening Shadow by Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
The Reserve Bank of Australia announced February 2 that it would leave its key policy rate unchanged following an announcement by Chinese authorities that they would reduce stimulus to their economy. Analysts expected a rate increase based on domestic conditions. The RBA?s announcement suggests that the countries of the Asia Pacific region are moving tacitly toward harmonized currencies and interest rate cycles, dictated by the business cycles of the largest economies of the region.
2010-03-05 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Ron Brounes' weekly market and economic update.
2010-03-04 00:00:00 The Retirement Lottery by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners
Aggressive advertising feeds us the fallacy that as long as we invest for the long term, equities will always provide us with solid returns. This may be true if your investment horizon is 30 or 40 years, but most people do not start saving for retirement until they are in their 40s. Hundreds of millions of baby boomers are now chasing whatever returns they can to ensure that they can retire in relative comfort. Jensen also examines the relationship between net private savings, foreign capital inflows and government debt.
2010-03-04 00:00:00 Damned If You Do... by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The equity market refuses to go down, even in the face of a slate of disappointing economic news over the course of the past month. Forty-seven companies in the S&P 500 boosted their dividends in February, while only one company cut. Stock buybacks increased 37 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2009. Mergers and acquisitions are up 13 percent this year, to 1,579. Valuation may prove to be an impediment, however. Shiller places the normalized real P/E multiple at 20.64x, while the long-term trend is 16.36x. This suggests that the S&P is currently overvalued by 26 percent.
2010-03-02 00:00:00 Eurozone's Economic Recovery Loses Steam in Fourth Quarter by Team of American Century Investments
Economic growth in the 16-country eurozone stalled in the fourth quarter of 2009, raising concerns about the durability of the region's nascent recovery. Output expanded just 0.4 percent on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, down from 1.7 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, after negative growth in 2009, the world economy is projected to expand by 3.9 percent in 2010 and 4.3 percent in 2011. Asia and emerging markets will lead the charge, while advanced economies such as the eurozone will remain sluggish and dependent on government stimulus measures.
2010-03-02 00:00:00 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.
2010-03-02 00:00:00 Economic Warfare: China and the United States by Michael J. Schussele of Michael J. Schussele, CPA
The China Dream, a new book by senior Chinese army officer Liu Mingfu, argues that China will become the world's number one economic power within the next five years, and that this change will be a harbinger for economic warfare between China and the United States that could escalate into military conflict within the next 10 to 20 years. While the U.S. needs China to buy treasury bonds, there is controversy over whether Japan has displaced China as the largest holder of U.S. debt.
2010-02-26 00:00:00 The Global Banking Crisis Continues... by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
The Icelandic and Greek financial crises can be seen as the second stage of the larger global banking crisis. This second stage, which centers on European sovereign debt, was caused by years of over-borrowing and now deleveraging. Many countries will print money to help ease the crisis, and this will keep developed economies and their currencies under pressure for years. Guild and Danaher also comment on rising demand for oil and gold, the U.S. stock market rally, rising interest rates and the continued rise of China and India.
2010-02-25 00:00:00 Statement by Christopher Whalen Congressional Oversight Panel Hearing on GMAC TARP Assistance by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
Christopher Whalen tells a TARP assistance congressional oversight panel in a prepared statement that bank holding company GMAC Financial Services must restructure before it can support the growth of General Motors and its community of dealers and consumers, and that there is currently no compelling business or financial reason to rescue GMAC. GMAC banking unit Ally Bank received an "F" rating from the Institutional Risk Analytics Bank Stress Index for the fourth quarter of 2009.
2010-02-25 00:00:00 The Global Bond Market: Opportunity or Opportunity Cost by David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles
The U.S. bond market is unlikely to offer investors enough yield or capital appreciation opportunities in 2010. Investors should instead expand their investments to include global bonds. High-quality governments and supranationals could offer capital preservation, while emerging market debt and corporate debt may present performance prospects. Non-dollar securities could offer both capital preservation and performance.
2010-02-24 00:00:00 Still No Tightening in China by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
A credit-fueled investment boom propelled China's 8.7 percent growth rates in 2009, but cheap money also drove up asset prices, especially in property markets. Loose money may now become inflationary, particularly if China's potential growth rate has come down. China's monetary policy has shifted toward a neutral stance in recent months, but may tighten to contain inflation and the property bubble.
2010-02-22 00:00:00 A Speeding Ticket by Team of Beacon Pointe
Most indices are down from their January highs. But this pull-back is more of a speeding ticket than a suspended license, and markets will soon be able to travel cautiously toward their destinations. This environment will favor investors with a focus on security selection, a strong research effort and unwavering valuation discipline.
2010-02-19 00:00:00 Debt Levels in G-7 Countries by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Stock markets in faster-growing countries will resume their rise after China stops raising interest rates to reign in runaway food and real estate prices. Asian countries should see declining debt levels by 2014 as European countries face an ongoing debt crisis. Investors should capitalize on weakness in the current volatile, and often irrational, markets.
2010-02-17 00:00:00 The Return of the Primary Trend by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
If credit, equity prices and the economy are on a downward primary trend this year and 2009 was indeed a counter-trend bounce, then the appropriate course of action is to capitalize off the rally in assets last March and figure out how to still make money on a risk-adjusted basis. Rosenberg also examines February's recovery in the National Association of Home Builders housing market index and fiscal woes at the state level.
2010-02-16 00:00:00 Is the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy Driving Global Deflation? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst
Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics says the Federal Reserve's zero interest rate policy may be driving global deflation by holding down asset values. He says the central bank should allow interest rates to rise so banks and other investors may earn positive returns on assets.
2010-02-16 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 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.
2010-02-14 00:00:00 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Ron Brounes' weekly market recap
2010-02-13 00:00:00 It's a Great Day for America by Michael Dana of Dana Investment Advisors
Michael Dana of Dana Investment Advisors says the U.S. economy is ready to move forward on the jobs front after a 5.7 percent GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2009, but claims employment gains will depend on lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends, corporations and individuals. He also comments on new natural gas drilling techniques, and the reappointment of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.
2010-02-13 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 World Markets Dance to China's Tune by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Monty Guild and Tony Danager of Guild Investment Management say China is now recognized as the world's engine of economic growth, with $2.4 trillion in surplus capital and a fast growth rate. They expect China's GDP to grow at least 9 percent in 2010 even if the country's real estate bubble bursts.
2010-02-10 00:00:00 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.
2010-02-09 00:00:00 Near-term Gains for the US Dollar?/Prospects for Japanese Recovery by Asha Bangalore and James Pressler of Northern Trust
In Northern Trust's daily global commentary, Asha Bangalore says speculation against the euro could result in a near term gain for the dollar. The dollar appreciated 5.6 percent against the euro in the four weeks ending February 5. James Pressler looks ahead to Japan's release of fourth quarter GDP data next week. He predicts a growth figure of 0.6 percent, despite the consensus estimate of 0.9 percent.
2010-02-04 00:00:00 Market Review & Outlook by Ronald W. Roge of R.W. Roge
R.W.Roge is a NY-based advisor and fund manager. They call for a "slow and bumpy" recovery, and expect interest rates to rise. They are investing in the shorter end of the yield curve, TIPS, and high-quality dividend paying stocks.
2010-02-02 00:00:00 Chuck Akre on the Akre Focus Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Chuck Akre is the Managing Member and Chief Executive Officer of Akre Capital Management, which he founded in 1989. He has a track record of above-average performance over the last 20-plus years managing mutual funds, separately managed accounts and partnerships, and he discusses the strategy he employs in his new Akre Focus Fund.
2010-02-02 00:00:00 Good Day Sunshine by James A. Skinner of The Royce Funds
This is a review of 2009 market performance, with a focus on small-cap stocks. Historically, the authors argue, small-cap stocks are likely to lead in the decade that follows a decade of sub-par performance.
2010-02-01 00:00:00 A New Landscape Creates Opportunity by Team of Alliance Bernstein
This is a mostly bullish survey of global capital markets.
2010-02-01 00:00:00 Breakfast With Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Rosenberg provides an update to his bearish outlook. He says credit flows remain constrained, amid new bank failures last week. The spending freeze announced by the Obama administration will provide what amounts to a ?rounding error? of improvement in the context of the unemployment situation. Investors should consider a defensive allocation ? similar to what would have worked in 2008 but did not work in 2009.
2010-01-30 00:00:00 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.
2010-01-28 00:00:00 Q1 2010 Market Commentary by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management
?We expect world markets to be volatile but trade sideways or rise slightly through early spring. After that time, we expect a correction in world markets. We believe that the stock market correction
2010-01-26 00:00:00 The Ring of Fire by Bill Gross of PIMCO
Bill Gross reviews two recent analyses (the Reinhart/Rogoff book and the McKinsey study) of the plight of economies faced with large fiscal deficits. He says that these support PIMCO?s view of the Ne
2010-01-23 00:00:00 Human vs. Fixed Capital in China by Robert J. Horrocks and Andrew Foster of Matthews Asia
'? it is prudent to be cautious about bank lending?not because we fear an unmanageable amount of nonperforming loans for the economy, but because Chinese banks generally made 3-year loans for p
2010-01-22 00:00:00 Economic Overheating With Chinese Characteristics by James Pressler of Northern Trust
In the two weeks leading to this morning's Q4 GDP announcement, a variety of signals have been emanating from Beijing's policy centers, all suggesting the economy was running a little warmer tha
2010-01-22 00:00:00 Give Bernanke a Break by Michael Nairne of Tacita Capital
In a recent speech, Bernanke pointed out that it was low real long-term rates (i.e. nominal rates less inflation) determined in the bond market that were a major contributor to the housing bubble, not
2010-01-21 00:00:00 Breakfast with Dave: Market Musings and Data Deciphering by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
In my view, three years after the detonation in residential real estate, it is still all about housing. And it will be interesting to see how the markets handle (i) a near-term renewed decline in the
2010-01-20 00:00:00 Geithner's Debt Nightmare by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
The problem for the Treasury moving forward is twofold. For one, interest rates have nowhere to go but up. At the end of 2009, the average interest rate on all outstanding US debt stood at 3.3%, a f
2010-01-19 00:00:00 Inflation Myth and Reality by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
It is in this context that we should consider inflation risks over the coming decade. At present, inflation risks are hardly considered to be problematic by Wall Street. From the standpoint of the nex
2010-01-18 00:00:00 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
2010-01-16 00:00:00 When the Fed Stops the Music by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Some time in the coming few years the bond markets of the world will be tested. Normally a deleveraging cycle would be deflationary and lower interest rates would be the outcome. But in the face of su
2010-01-09 00:00:00 Forecasts by Team of State Street Global Advisors
2010-01-04 00:00:00 The Decade that Refused to go Quietly into the Night by Chris Maxey of Fortigent
2009-12-30 00:00:00 10 for 2010 by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
2009-12-29 00:00:00 Special Report - Year Ahead: Can You Handle the Truth? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
2009-12-22 00:00:00 Staggered Return to Global Growth by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust
2009-12-01 00:00:00 Allen Sinai: Jobless Recovery and the Failure of Current Economic Policies by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As the Democratic leadership in Congress has looked for ways to simultaneously create jobs and reduce the deficit, a key person they have turned to and continue to rely on is Allen Sinai. Sinai now fears the US is in the "mother of all jobless recoveries" and that the economic policies of the Obama administration are not working.
2009-11-18 00:00:00 Obama Tours Asia with a Full Agenda by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
2009-11-17 00:00:00 Disheartened by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are again privileged to publish an excerpt from Michael Lewitt's HCM Market Letter. In this issue, titled "Disheartened," Lewitt argues that the powers-that-be are making limited progress addressing the structural problems in the economy, and that the greatest challenge is to achieve budgetary discipline.
2009-11-10 00:00:00 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Problems in the Economy and Unemployment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia University, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and perhaps the foremost expert on value investing. In part one of our two-part interview, he discusses the structural problems facing the economy, the parallels to the Great Depression, and the implications for the unemployment rate.
2009-11-10 00:00:00 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.
2009-10-07 00:00:00 Does Asia's Economic Rebound Signal the Return to Stellar Growth? by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
2009-10-06 00:00:00 A Quarter-End Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Last fall, Dan Richards began posting quarter-end letters that advisors could adapt for their own use. Many advisors have told him that they have received an outstanding response to the letters they sent as a result, and Dan provides a template for a third-quarter letter.
2009-10-06 00:00:00 Retailers Face the New Frugality by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Whether they sell high-end designer clothing or tractors and pet food, retailers across the country are girding for leaner times. Consumer spending has dropped to 10% below its historical trend line, creating a landscape with far too many stores and far too much merchandise for consumers' thinning wallets to support. Along with the CEOs of Fortune 500 retailers, we attended a conference in New York last week looking at trends in consumer behavior, and we file our report.
2009-08-25 00:00:00 The Case for Optimism by Dan Richards (Article)
Only a few months ago, economist's doomsday scenarios caused widespread concerns that we were about to revisit the Great Depression. That consensus view on the economy has shifted remarkably quickly, with a much more positive outlook for the immediate period ahead. Dan Richards cites two recent articles making a persuasive case for optimism.
2009-08-11 00:00:00 At the Risk of Repeating Ourselves by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We have said before that Michael Lewitt's newsletter is a must-read, and this edition is no exception. Lewitt questions whether we are witnessing a summer calm before the storm, comments on the secured and unsecured debt asset classes, and opines on the abuses of unregulated dark pools of capital. We encourage you to subscribe to this valuable publication through the link we provide.
2009-07-14 00:00:00 Some Signs of Life and Hope for a New Recovery by John P. Calamos and Nick P. Calamos (Article)
Calamos Investments' co-CIOs John P. Calamos, Sr. and Nick P. Calamos discuss the current market climate, implications of Fed and government actions, and investment opportunities in the shorter- and longer-term. Global governmental policies have restored a degree of confidence in the financial markets and many key financial metrics are back to pre-Lehman levels. Many investment opportunities will be available in the future. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2009-07-07 00:00:00 Marty Whitman: The Outlook for Distressed Securities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Marty Whitman is the founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Portfolio Manager of the Third Avenue Value Fund and a veteran value investor with a long, distinguished history as a control investor. In our interview, he discusses the opportunities in distressed securities created by the financial crisis.
2009-07-07 00:00:00 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.
2009-06-10 00:00:00 Is Eastern Europe on the Brink of an Asia-Style Crisis? by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor
2009-06-09 00:00:00 Let?s Talk Stocks: Berkowitz, Marsico and Weitz by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Three of the industry's most accomplished value investors - Bruce Berkowitz of the Fairholme Fund, Tom Marsico of Marsico Capital Management and Wally Weitz of Weitz Funds - spoke at a panel discussion at the Morningstar Investor Conference on May 28. We present some excerpts of their thoughts on key questions raised during the panel.