ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2014-09-20 Stocks Rally Following Janet Yellen's Conference and Scotland's Historic Referendum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This news gives stocks reason to rally for a “considerable time,” or at least until the Fed gives us a more concrete timeframe for a rate hike.

2014-09-19 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 “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.

2014-09-17 Abenomics 2.0 by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

The reversal of Japan's equity markets so far this year, have led investors to wonder, "Is Abenomics working?" There are hundreds of components that comprise this economic plan, and among the recent successes has been job creation. However, macroeconomic statistics point to some emerging near-term challenges, including still-muted wage growth. This month Kenichi Amaki takes a look at both current pressures and progress in Japan.

2014-09-16 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.

2014-09-16 Indonesia by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The recent presidential election in Indonesia has attracted international interest as both candidates’ platforms included promises of import substitutions, export restrictions and retention of production processes in Indonesia. Although Indonesia holds substantial growth promise for foreign investors, the potential trade restrictions are making international companies nervous. This report discusses Indonesia, briefly describing its history, economy and political landscape. It delves into the election, promises made on the campaign trail and the implications of the results on foreign inve

2014-09-15 Emphasize Barriers to Entry? by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

We see many bottom-up investment opportunities in the global credit markets, particularly in industries with high barriers to entry. We view healthcare, lodging, Asian gaming, master limited partnerships/pipelines, energy, wireless telecom, cell towers, cable, satellite, media and U.S. banks as attractive industries. Companies’ unique patents, licenses, brands, content and intellectual property, among other advantages, can help support investment returns in both bull and bear markets.

2014-09-15 The Economy: September Viewpoint by Bruce Laning of Bronfman E.L. Rothschild

The U.S. economy experienced a robust summer for economic expansion and job growth, however recent consumer data is casting doubt as to whether the current level of activity can be sustained. Our position is to maintain an emphasis on higher-quality bonds and be prepared for short-term rate increase(s) in the months to come. The road ahead for stocks continues to look positive, but it would be prudent to keep in mind the inevitable speed bumps that will likely present themselves down the road, as we have not had a meaningful pullback since 2011.

2014-09-14 What’s on Your Radar Screen? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

So let’s look at what’s on my radar screen today. First up (but probably not the most important in the long term), I would have to say, is Scotland. What has not been widely discussed is that the voting age was changed in Scotland just a few years ago. For this election, anyone in Scotland over 16 years old is eligible. Think about that for a second. Have you ever asked 16-year-olds whether they would like to be more free and independent and gotten a “no” answer? They don’t think with their economic brains, or at least most of them don’t.

2014-09-13 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 Anarchy in the U.K. by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week’s 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 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).

2014-09-11 Understanding China's Property Market by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

One of the biggest misconceptions about China’s property market is that most buyers are speculators. In fact, the residential market is driven by owner-occupiers, and even many poor Chinese are homeowners; China is a global leader in homeownership with urban ownership rates at 89%. The boom days may be over, but fundamental demand remains healthy. New home prices rose at an average annual pace of 9% over the last eight years, but nominal urban income rose 13% per year. Communist Party leaders do not appear too worried about property; they’ve taken only modest steps to support the m

2014-09-11 The Leapfrog: The Role of Technology in Accelerating Emerging Markets’ Growth by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The potential for emerging and frontier markets to realize accelerated economic growth as a result of new technology transfer comes up regularly in our research findings. We have been increasingly excited about a new development—the capacity for new technology, particularly related to data over the Internet, to completely bypass swathes of older technology and business activity. We think this could lead to even more dramatic economic progress. In effect, the emerging markets are leapfrogging over the old technology and taking advantage of the newest technology today.

2014-09-11 Parallels to 1937 by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

The depression that followed the 1929 stock-market crash took a turn for the worse eight years later, and recovery came only with the enormous economic stimulus provided by World War II, a conflict that cost more than 60 million lives. The global situation today is not nearly so dire, but there are parallels, particularly to 1937.

2014-09-10 A Global Growth Slowdown? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As 2014 is shaping up to be another year of below-trend economic growth, many investors are wondering: Is economic growth once again slowing? Russ explains why his answer is no.

2014-09-08 Searching for Value in Global Small-Cap Stocks by Virginia Au of Invesco Blog

While many global small-cap companies have gotten their balance sheets in good shape over the last few years, valuations are currently a concern. The MSCI World Index is up 184% since the market low on March 9, 2009, and we believe most equities are at or near full value. This makes it much harder to find high-quality companies at cheap prices. Against this backdrop, the challenge is to find the hidden gems within the vast universe of global small-cap companies.

2014-09-07 Europe Takes the QE Baton by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

This week we’ll look at what is happening across the pond in Europe, where the above-mentioned negative rates are only one ingredient in a big pot of Bizarro soup. And we’ll think about what it means for the US Federal Reserve to be so close to the end of its quantitative easing, even as the ECB takes the baton to add €1 trillion to the world’s liquidity. And meanwhile, Japan just keeps plugging away.

2014-09-06 The New Challenges of Price Discovery by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the past few years, price discovery—or the act of finding the “right” price for a security—has become much more challenging because of falling stock volume and widening bid-ask spreads. These challenges are directly attributable to the infiltration of high-frequency traders into the market, not to mention the expansion of dark pools and non-exchange trading.

2014-09-06 Roll ‘Em if You’ve 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 don’t think they are enough.

2014-09-05 Markets Climb as World Faces Crisis by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On August 28th while the geographical area formerly known as Iraq descended further into chaos, President Obama announced to the world "We don't have a strategy, yet." A few days later, another brave American journalist was brutally beheaded by a slickly televised cockney-accented jihadist. Clearly things are not going well outside the bubbly confines of the S&P 500.

2014-09-05 Tennis star Li Na exemplifies China's newfound entrepreneurial spirit. by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

After advancing to her first grand slam semifinals, Peng Shuai is China's newest late-career surprise at the U.S. Open. Her compatriot, tennis star Li Na, was the first Chinese player to claim a grand slam singles title, and her success has bolstered the sport's popularity back home in recent years. Both players were among the handful of pioneers to break from the country's state-sponsored teams to take greater control of their futures. This week Patricia Huang writes about China's newfound entrepreneurial spirit.

2014-09-04 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.

2014-09-04 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: July, 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices continued to outperform the developed markets in July and ended the month with moderate gains. Markets in Asia significantly outperformed during the month, helped by signs of stabilizing economic growth in major markets such as China.

2014-09-02 China’s Reforms Open New Path to Equities by Stuart Rae, John Lin of AllianceBernstein

For investors in China equities, there have traditionally been two ways of approaching the market: through expensive growth stocks, or risky contrarian plays. Now, thanks to China’s reforms, there’s a third way which may offer a better balance of risk and return.

2014-08-30 Anticipate Before You Participate: Patterns in Trading by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The primary unit of time measurement for high-frequency traders might be the microsecond, but for normal retail traders, it’s vital to know the best months, days and even half-hours of the day to make market transactions.

2014-08-29 Why 2K? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week, the S&P 500 stock index crossed the 2,000 mark for the first time (this figure and other historical returns referred to in this article do not include dividends). Round numbers always get the media’s attention, so avid market-watchers already know this. But why? Why, just six years after the financial world seemed to be ending, are we celebrating a milestone that at that point seemed a generation away?

2014-08-28 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.

2014-08-26 Global Economic Overview: July 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Recent economic data from the developed world have shown divergent trends while growth in the emerging economies appears to be stabilizing. The U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace during the second quarter, more than offsetting the first quarter decline, which revised estimates show was not as severe as thought earlier.

2014-08-26 A Nation of Shopkeepers by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

One of the great pleasures of writing this letter is the fascinating correspondence and the relationships that develop along the way. The internet has allowed me to meet a wide range of people all over the world – something that never happened to me pre-1999. Not only do I get to meet a wide variety of people, I also come into contact with an even wider range of knowledge and ideas, much of which comes my way from readers who send me work they think I’ll have an interest in. I have a bountiful, never-ending source of thoughtful material, thanks to you.

2014-08-23 One-Handed Guidance for Investors by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Markets do not move in straight lines, so yields could retrace to 2.5 percent in the near term after breaking out as low as 2.35 in early August. Ultimately, as rates head back toward 2 percent investors should use the rally to reduce interest rate risk.

2014-08-22 Assessing Corporate Credit Risk in Asia by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Investing in foreign markets requires a constant questioning of many long-held assumptions that underpin traditional security analysis. This issue of Asia Insight is the first in a series of commentaries to explore the fixed income themes of credit, currencies and interest rates. Given the complexities of Asia’s fixed income markets, we will examine the many considerations that investors need to take into account to fully appreciate the inherent risks of investing in this market.

2014-08-19 Republic or Empire? An Update, Part 1 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

This topic was last discussed in our report from 2012. We have expanded sections of it in this update and, due to length, will present it in two parts. Over the past two years, how American society answers this question is becoming increasingly critical. There is a steady undercurrent in American politics that seeks to withdraw the U.S. from world affairs. In this report, we will discuss how the American republic began, how it evolved into an empire and how America conducted this role. Next week, we will finish our analysis and discuss market ramifications.

2014-08-18 Why Gilead Is The Most Exciting Growth Opportunity In 2014 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Earnings drive stock price in the long run and Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) is entering a remarkable period of what could only be called astounding future earnings growth. This has not gone unnoticed by the market, as the stock price has been on a steady ascent for the past several months.

2014-08-16 Managing Expectations - Part III by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the first of this three-part series on managing expectations, I discussed the role cycles play in the investment management process. At U.S. Global Investors, we actively monitor both short- and long-term cycles, from the annual seasonality of gold to four-year presidential elections, in order to manage expectations based on historical patterns.

2014-08-15 Quick Thoughts 2 by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

Our last piece, Quick Thoughts, generated one of the highest open rates of any Economic Update we've sent, so we'll take that as a clue and stick with the format.

2014-08-15 Ready to Board the "Through Train?" by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

What is the significance of the soon-to-be rolled out Shanghai—Hong 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.

2014-08-15 Lifted by Germany and China by Alexander Giryavets of Dynamika Capital L.L.C.

We briefly review the interplay of the global and regional (Europe and Asia) business cycles and where we stand. It turns out that the global business cycle is muddling through, continuing deceleration of China is still trying to find bottom and Germany recently turned the corner and is back to deceleration. While this state of affairs is no news the interesting aspect of this regional interplay which we want to bring to your attention is that US is helped and lifted by deceleration of both neighbors. That said US itself is in a mixed state.

2014-08-13 Toward the Sounds of Chaos by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market volatility is always a scary thing. Investors nearing retirement fear their nest eggs will evaporate. Younger investors saving for a home or a child’s college education fear their families’ futures might be in doubt. However, history suggests that allowing volatility to overrule a good investment plan tends to lead to poor performance. It’s not volatility itself that generally leads to poor longer-term performance, but rather it appears to be investors’ emotional reactions to volatility that ultimately lead to poor performance.

2014-08-12 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, Asia’s largest economy, faced prospects of slowing trade.

2014-08-12 International Equity Commentary: June-2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices advanced further in June on expectations that the major developed economies are likely to see healthier trends during the second half of this year. Japan and Canada saw robust gains during the month while markets in Europe underperformed.

2014-08-12 Global Economic Overview: June 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Recent data from the major countries suggest that the global economy is emerging out of the slower growth period experienced at the beginning of this year. Though the Euro-zone economy continues to see softer trends, data from the U.S. has become more positive.

2014-08-11 Transformation or Bust, Part 2 by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Envisioning a clear path through the issues from where we are today is not easy, though China certainly has more options than the world had with subprime by the middle of 2008, when there was so much toxic waste on the balance sheets of banks all over the world and there was no turning back. As we have emphasized in the past and will do today, China does have options. But each of the options has costs associated with it, and those costs are going up every day. Who pays and when is the simple question that most readers want to have answered, but therein lies the conundrum.

2014-08-11 A Strengthening Case for European Bonds by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The pace of the eurozone’s economic recovery has been so slow that many people are now asking whether quantitative easing (QE) is inevitable to support a recovery and prevent deflation. But David Zahn, portfolio manager for Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, thinks recent European Central Bank (ECB) interventions in the European financial markets already amount to QE. More importantly, he thinks the extensive set of measures that the ECB has announced not only may support Europe’s economic recovery, but bring a highly favorable backdrop for European fixed income investments gene

2014-08-11 Is the Improving Economy a Good Sign for Active Managers? by Chuck Royce, Chris Clark, Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

There are still enough opportunities out there to keep returns in positive territory through the end of 2014. This could make the market's next act a very happy one for active small-cap managers.

2014-08-09 Managing Expectations by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Financial markets are influenced by relatively predictable cycles, a lesson we at U.S. Global Investors rely on to help us manage expectations and be effective stewards of your money. This is a theme I've frequently written about and discussed in investor presentations, one of which, “Anticipate Before You Participate,” is a classic that I often use to remind investors of these timeless principles.

2014-08-09 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 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 Federal Reserve Tapering Part I: Emerging Market Currency Performance by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

While many investors tend to focus on changes of currency spot rates, a primary reason we have long advocated that investors allocate to EM currencies is the income potential driven by the higher interest rates in many emerging market countries. In today’s yield-starved environment, EM currencies remain one of the most significant means of generating income in a portfolio while limiting interest rate risk.

2014-08-07 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.

2014-08-05 The Wealth-Builder Model by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

While the math of compounding is straightforward, building wealth is difficult. But if you use an approach based on the principles outlined in this article, the accumulation of real wealth is within reach.

2014-08-04 Dynamic and Durable Growth Part 2: The Enormous Implications of Shale Energy by Erik Voss of Invesco Blog

This is the second in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and may present opportunities for investors. The first post explored the biotech revolution, and the third and fourth posts will discuss the massive changes in mobility.

2014-08-02 5 Takeaways from the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I was happy to speak at the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference in beautiful British Columbia. I also had the pleasure of listening to a variety of presentations by some of the most influential names in the investment world, and met a few new faces along the way. Here is what I took away from this year’s visit to Vancouver:

2014-08-02 Kicking the Habit in Korea by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

Walk the streets of Seoul’s central business district, and you will still likely see smokers congregating in a few designated areas—narrow alleys between buildings, sending up smoke like chimneys. But even that is seen less and less these days as government officials crack down on public smoking. The next phase of Korea’s anti-smoking crusade may involve further taxing its comparatively cheap tobacco products.

2014-08-01 Russia’s Eurasian Vision by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The escalating conflict in Ukraine between the Western-backed government and Russian-backed separatists has focused attention on the Kremlin’s long-term objectives. Though Russian President Vladimir Putin’s immediate goal may have been limited to retaining some influence in Ukrainian affairs, his longer-term ambition is much bolder.

2014-07-31 The Sino-American Trust Deficit by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The recently concluded Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the US and China was a major disappointment. Most significant, it failed to address an increasingly corrosive trust deficit that poses the most serious threat to Sino-American relations in 25 years.

2014-07-31 The Chinese Wall of Worry: Uncertainty Rhymes with Opportunity by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the over-valued global market environment and points out that "While we wait for the day of reckoning…we should not be oblivious to potential opportunities, wherever they may exist. China may be a case in point." Digging deeper, Sicart looks at the negative media perception of China and believes "Many of the problems invoked in the headlines are real. But they are neither new nor, I believe on investigation, as catastrophic as implied."

2014-07-30 Trains and Boats and Planes? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

hose of you who know me know that I have had a love affair with boats ever since I was a kid. In my youth it was speedboats on various lakes in Michigan. In my teens, and into my forties, it was sailboats combined with an occasional trawler. In later life, however, it has been strictly powerboats.

2014-07-29 20 Predictions for 2039 by Dan Richards (Article)

The shifts in the next 25 years will be just as substantial as those in the previous 25 years, and the most successful advisors will be those who are able to anticipate and adapt to these changes. Here are 20 predictions for what the financial-advising business will look like in 2039.

2014-07-29 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 country’s 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 favorable…as 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 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

2014-07-29 How to Blend In a Currency Hedge by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Looking across developed markets today, a common thread is that central bank policies have pushed interest rates to very low levels to support their economies.

2014-07-26 Consumption and Services Deliver Healthy Growth by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Three interesting economic trends, each relevant to investors, are clear from China’s first half macro data. First, economic growth has stabilized at a healthy pace despite a weak property sector. Second, driven by strong income growth, China remains the world’s best consumption story. Third, ‘rebalancing’ continues, with consumption accounting for a larger share of GDP growth than investment, and with the services sector bigger than manufacturing and construction.

2014-07-26 Second Quarter Earnings: Marching Toward a Strong Recovery by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s earnings season once again, and though only a quarter of the Russell 1000 has reported so far, the news is just north of positive. All signs indicate that the market has dusted itself off and is back to its cheerful self after a ho-hum first quarter, which was negatively affected by harsh winter weather.

2014-07-26 “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 consumer’s financial condition is again fading into treacherous territory.

2014-07-25 The 401(k) Event Horizon by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Who would have guessed in 1973 that Roger Waters' meditation on life's fleeting passage would describe the dilemma faced by many today as they consider how best to save for retirement? The good news is that missing the starting gun doesn't prevent you from joining the race. We have all seen the calculations of how big our nest eggs could be if we started saving and investing at a young age, but those unable to do so still have an opportunity to build substantial savings.

2014-07-25 The Outlook for Emerging Market Bonds by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Emerging market bonds exhibit high real yields and improving credit quality. In addition, emerging market currencies are likely to strengthen. This article explains why emerging market bonds issued in local currencies might be a solid addition to a diversified portfolio.

2014-07-24 More Volatility Ahead? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Despite recent market swings, volatility is still very low by historic standards, suggesting that markets aren’t taking into account the prospect of bad news and that investors should prepare for more turbulence ahead.

2014-07-23 Does Active Management Succeed in International Small-Caps? by Team of The Royce Funds

Divergent conclusions about the relative success of active management in the international small-cap universe prompted us to do our own examination, which stresses the importance of choosing the appropriate benchmark and evaluating the consistency of a fund's performance over long-term time periods.

2014-07-23 The German Spy Scandal by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last year, Edward Snowden revealed documents indicating the NSA was actively gathering information on Americans and foreigners to the point where German Chancellor Merkel's cell phone was monitored. This revelation greatly unsettled relations between the U.S. and Germany. In this report, we will reiterate the "German Problem," the geopolitical situation that has shaped German behavior since its inception. We will delve into the recent spy scandal in more detail, discuss the underlying issues that are affecting American/German relations, and conclude with market ramifications.

2014-07-23 Should EMC Corp Break Itself Apart?: FAST FUNdamental Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

On Monday a Wall Street Journal article reported that the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has taken a more than $1 billion stake in EMC Corp (EMC) and revealed that it intends to petition the company to break itself apart. Elliott believes that this would unlock shareholder value. Implicit in that thesis would be the idea that EMC Corp is not receiving full value from the market. This article is offered as an in-depth analysis of the fundamental value of EMC Corp in relation to how the market is evaluating its business.

2014-07-22 Anatomy of a Moat by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

At Matthews, we often talk about investing in “quality” companies with “economic moats.” We believe that these are the entities best placed to succeed over the long term in Asia. As Warren Buffett has noted, investors should seek businesses with “economic castles protected by unbreachable moats.” It is these moats that enable a company to survive and thrive as decades pass, creating economic value along the way by generating returns on capital ahead of their cost of capital. But what exactly is an economic moat?

2014-07-19 Understanding Chinese Volatility by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Sinology by Andy Rothman is a publication designed to provide investors with a framework for developing a deeper understanding of China and its economy. The focus will be on discussing the longer-term trends that are taking place in the country and their impact on the global economy. Rising volatility in China is a consequence of economic modernization and should not be feared by long-term investors.

2014-07-19 Perspectives from the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, and John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

In early July, there was a noticeable disconnect between the median forecast of Fed officials for interest rates by end-2015 and the markets’ forecast, as expressed in the federal funds futures rate. But if unemployment continues to decline and inflation to pick up in the coming months, the danger for bond market participants is that their predictions for interest rates may be too low and will have to be adjusted.

2014-07-19 The Municipal Bond World, According to John Derrick by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I sat down with Director of Research John Derrick, who also manages our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX), to get his thoughts on interest rates, the bond market and what investors should pay attention to as we move into the second quarter of 2014.

2014-07-18 Free Lunches and the Food Truck Revolution by Ben Inker of GMO

Over the past year or so, there has been a welcome change to the culinary landscape of the Boston financial district. After two decades of wandering to largely the same old haunts for lunch, I am now faced with a whole new set of inexpensive and tasty choices literally outside our door, changing daily as the food trucks perform their mysterious nightly dance.

2014-07-16 Road Kill by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

Ten years ago I started working in Japan as a fixed income sales-trader for an international investment bank. I was frequently called upon to travel to other parts of Asia such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney. My mandate was to invite clients to explore the many money making opportunities available to them by trading the (G4) U.S., German, U.K. or Japanese yield curve. The touchstone recommendation always seemed to be some combination of going long or short U.S Treasuries and establishing an offsetting position in like maturity German Bunds.

2014-07-16 Danger of Increased Risk Taking as Markets Boom by Geoff Davey of FinaMetrica

While some investors (and their advisors) believe risk tolerance changes with major events such as a stock market correction, typically it is an investor’s perception of risk that changes, which results in a change in their behavior. At the moment, many investors are buying stocks with elevated P/E ratios. Prices are going up a lot faster than corporate earnings and the risks are getting bigger. Yet people are still buying stocks.

2014-07-15 Booming Until It Hurts? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

In recent months, concern has intensified among the world’s financial experts and news media that overheated asset markets – real estate, equities, and long-term bonds – could lead to a major correction and another economic crisis. The general public seems unbothered, but the experts' concern is healthy.

2014-07-15 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 dollar’s 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.

2014-07-15 The High Tide in China by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

One axiom that has been used over the last couple decades is that high tide lifts all boats; meaning that a rise in economic or market conditions will lift every component of an economy or market to some degree. While true, we deal with relative measurements when discussing returns comparable to a benchmark. So, while the high tide does lift all boats, if the boat is tethered too tightly, you may be higher than being beached, but you also could still be underwater.

2014-07-13 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 isn’t all hype.

2014-07-12 2014 Commodities Halftime Report by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What a difference six months can make. After a disappointing 2013, the commodities market came roaring back full throttle, outperforming the S&P 500 Index by more than 4 percentage points and 10-year Treasury bonds by more than 6.

2014-07-11 Indonesia: Hope for Change by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

On Wednesday, Indonesia went to the polls to elect its seventh president. Unofficial results predict Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, to be the winner in a very tight race with rival Prabowo Subianto. Widely considered a man of the people, Jokowi came from humble beginnings as a furniture salesman. Although still lacking in experience on the national stage, his leadership is expected to be a stark contrast from Prabowo’s likely authoritarian style.

2014-07-11 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 investments—high 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.

2014-07-09 Choosing Winners in Asian Credit: Key Trends and Themes by Raja Mukherji, Ronie Ganguly of PIMCO

Key trends include Asian credit supply, which is on track for another record year in 2014, and China's priority to promote cleaner and more efficient energy. Our bottom-up research and careful risk assessments – informed by macroeconomic perspectives – have us favoring select investments in several sectors of Asian credit markets, including state-owned enterprises in China and Korea, investment grade new issues and Basel III Tier 2 bank capital bonds. ?

2014-07-08 Why Free Trade Hurts Economic Growth by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Free trade, deregulation and limiting the federal government's powers form what Columbia professors Joseph Stiglitz and Bruce Greenwald call the Washington Consensus - the core precepts that have dominated policymaking for the last 50 years. But those ideas are misguided, they contend. Tariffs and trade restrictions, for example, are fine, especially if they are part of a broad framework that stimulates learning throughout a society.

2014-07-08 An Allocation to Currencies May Provide Income and Lower an Overall Portfolio’s Volatility by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy, Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Most investors understand the benefits of diversification and the risks of owning just one security. But many overlook the benefits of broadening their currency exposure and have all their investments concentrated in the U.S. dollar. Investing in a mix of foreign currencies may lower the risks of an overall portfolio, provide additional sources of income and can potentially enable investors to pursue a wider array of opportunities around the world.

2014-07-07 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, it’s a case of “adapt or perish.”

2014-07-05 I'm Grateful to Live in America. Here's Why. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An important principle of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is a belief that government policies are a precursor to change. As a result, we closely monitor the fiscal, monetary and other impactful governmental policies of the world’s largest countries, both in terms of economic stature and population. We’re always listening for the proverbial shot heard around the world. As we approach America’s Independence Day, this belief rings especially true.

2014-07-05 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?

2014-07-01 The 2014 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we take the middle of the year to reflect on the current geopolitical situation. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape for the rest of the year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the “big picture” conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance: America’s Strategic Drift, Chinese Maritime Expansion, The German Problem, and The Remaking of the Middle East.

2014-06-28 Health Care Sector Spurred by Population Growth and M&As by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Recently I spoke with John Derrick, director of research here at U.S. Global, to pick his brain about what he thought was the most interesting sector right now. You might expect him to have said energy, perhaps because of the intensifying violence in Kurdistan Iraq, a major oil producer. But instead, he said that he had his eyes on health care.

2014-06-26 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.

2014-06-24 Red Sky in the Morn', Junk Bond Investors Be Warn'd. by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Investor appetite for income has pushed yields and spreads on high-yield bonds to very low levels, while corporate borrowers have fed that demand with record issuance of new debt. On top of low yields and heavy issuance, bond dealers have retreated from corporate bonds in response to new financial regulations. As a result of these factors, we believe now is a particularly risky time to invest in high-yield bonds. Here we offer some of our suggestions for seeking income and yield with less risk.

2014-06-23 The Rise of E-Commerce in Asia by Jerry Shih, Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

It’s no surprise that Asia—home to two of the world’s most populous countries—holds great potential for e-commerce. Much of this growth has been driven by the fact that e-commerce, particularly in India and China, has helped serve as a bridge between what people want and what people can get offline. This is especially true for those who live outside major urban areas.

2014-06-21 Ah, the Power of Mean Reversion. by Frank of U.S. Global Investors

The chatter this week has been gold. The precious metal flew up $45 an ounce on Thursday, surprising investors, the media and markets alike.

2014-06-20 Global Economic Perspective: June by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

With 10-year US Treasury yields dropping below 2.5% at one point during early June in spite of improving forward economic indicators, the US bond market has continued to send out confusing signals, in our view. Purchasing manager indexes have remained well over the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for many months, consumer demand has remained relatively buoyant, and nonfarm payrolls show job creation running at over 200,000 per month for 13 of the 21 months to May 2014.

2014-06-20 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.

2014-06-20 Attractions of a "Walled Garden" by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

Developments in free trade and a nurturing of open policies with relatively few barriers have helped Asia prosper for several decades now. But a restrictive “walled garden” environment, with tightly regulated market access, has nurtured China’s Internet sector and helped its firms dominate in such areas as online search, games, news, e-commerce, social networking and videos. This week Vivek Tanneeru explores a study in contrasts between the Internet sectors of China and India, the world’s two most populous nations.

2014-06-18 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. ?

2014-06-18 On-the-Ground Perspective in Thailand by Dennis Lim of Franklin Templeton Investments

Thailand has been in the throes of political crisis over the past few months, leading to the imposition of martial law in May after months of protests and threats of violence between two opposing groups—the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), known as the “yellow shirts,” and the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictation (UDD), known as the “red shirts.”

2014-06-17 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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The World Cup begins amid a series of financial controversies; Is the honeymoon over for Japan's Abenomics program?; The last word on Thomas Piketty

2014-06-14 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.

2014-06-14 The Good News In All The Bad Data by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

We are at the rare moment in history, where probability is unusually high that a large move to the downside will happen in the financial markets in the relatively near future. This gives investors a degree of confidence in future price movement that they rarely enjoy. The importance of building dry powder and developing an actionable investment plan -- for before, during and after the coming price reset -- is of top priority:

2014-06-14 Gold Investors: Let This Cycle Be Your Guide by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. Global Investors recently welcomed Doug Peta, an economist from BCA research, to our offices. He presented some interesting research regarding the Fed Funds Rate Cycle, and in turn, what that research could mean for gold. I wanted to share points from his presentation, as well as our own in-house research, to help you understand the positivity we see for the precious metal looking towards 2015.

2014-06-13 New Faces at the Federal Reserve by Craig Elder of Robert W. Baird

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. This article provides a behind the scenes look at recent changes in the composition of FOMC voters, characterizing them as a dove, focused more on higher employment, or a hawk , concerned more with the central bank’s inflation targets. One of the implications from this analysis is that the Fed will be more reluctant to raise interest rates next year than most people think.

2014-06-13 Is the European Economy Turning Japanese by PJ Grzywacz of CMG Capital Management Group

Turning Japanese in today’s macroeconomic environment means that your country is at risk of deflation which can turn into a 20 year battle, like in Japan.

2014-06-13 Is China Still Competitive? by Andy Rothman of Matthews Asia

Investment Strategist Andy Rothman recently moved to San Francisco from Shanghai, and has experienced a bit of sticker shock. This week he reflects upon China's ability to remain competitive. What does a visit to his favorite neighborhood noodle shop in China reveal about the country's macroeconomy?

2014-06-12 A Quarter Century of Emerging-Markets Investing by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At one time or another, every country could have been classified as “emerging.” Back in the 1800s, the Western part of the United States was called the “new frontier.” Investors purchasing farmland there were likely to consider it a highly speculative venture putting stakes in such a rugged and wild place.

2014-06-11 I'd Choose Emerging Markets, Wouldn't You? by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

There’s a lot of negativity about emerging market stocks—so it makes sense for long-term, value-oriented investors to rebalance into the asset class. Here’s why a systematically contrarian strategy like fundamentally weighted indexing might outperform.

2014-06-11 Technical Checkup Of MSCI World Regions by Team of GaveKal Capital

There are many ways to measure the intensity of moves in the equity market. One method we use is to measure the net percent of stocks up over a certain time period.

2014-06-11 US Regional Banks’ Attractiveness Jumps in June by Erik Kobayashi-Solomon of YCharts, Inc.

Our Sector-level heat map looks much the same as it did last month, save for the fact that the shade of green has deepened for the Utilities and Financial Services sectors—indicating a larger number of companies screening undervalued according to YCharts Value Score.

2014-06-10 The American Oil Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will begin with a basic analysis of the oil markets. From there, we will examine Russia's economic dependence on energy and offer a historical analysis of Saudi Arabia's decisions in 1985 and 1997 to retake oil market share and the impact these choices had on the Soviet economy. Using this historical parallel, we will offer an example of how the U.S. could drive down oil prices in a bid to undermine Russia's economy.

2014-06-09 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 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?

2014-06-08 Can Central Planners Revive China’s Economic Miracle? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to try gamely to finish with China today, having left at least three or four letters worth of copy on the editing floor. There is just so much information and misinformation to cover. I’m going to turn it over to Worth and then follow up with a few final thoughts of my own.

2014-06-07 China Leads the World in Green Energy, Gaming and Gambling Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last month, Xian Liang, co-portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX), attended the 19th CLSA China Forum in Beijing. There he and hundreds of other global attendees were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from Chinese corporations, some of which U.S. Global owns. Xian also managed to get a sense of how the nation’s recent changes in consumer behavior and governmental policy reforms might affect its investment outlook. Although China remains an emerging market, it has lately taken a number of considerable strides to position itself as one of the world’s most

2014-06-07 Can a Tactical ETF Strategy be used as a Liquid Alternative? by David Garff of Accuvest Global Advisors

Can investors use a tactical allocator instead of an "alternative" strategy to benefit the balanced portfolio of a traditional investor?

2014-06-07 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.

2014-06-06 Emerging Markets: PR is on the Upswing by Nick Niziolek of Calamos Investments

Since March, the tide has turned, and there has been a strong reversal in both news flows from and equity flows into EMs. Headlines have transitioned from "Currency Crisis" to "Modi Wins," and Russian equities have moved above the levels seen since before the Ukraine crisis began. Moreover, we’ve identified several near-term catalysts that could further support the equity breakout that is underway. Only in EM investing could a military coup be viewed as a potentially beneficial catalyst….

2014-06-06 Ties that Bind by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

It's been almost three years since A-di first moved in with my relatives in Taiwan to work as a caretaker for my ailing grandmother. A college graduate from Indonesia with a reserved demeanor and an endearing smile, A-di, or Di Di as my family sometimes calls her, was found through an agency that places migrant workers in jobs abroad. Like her sister, a factory worker in Taiwan, she regularly sends a portion of her roughly US$550 monthly pay back home to her parents in West Java.

2014-06-06 A Contrarian’s View of Value: Financials by Kevin Holt of Invesco Blog

In the wake of the Great Recession, and significant regulatory changes, investors are concerned that large banks may not be able to generate the type of profits that they have in the past. We don’t disagree with that assessment. However, we do disagree with the current equity valuations of the large banks — we believe the market has priced in a too-pessimistic view of profitability.

2014-06-05 The Investor Screwtape Letters by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management have been discussing some of the follies common to human nature and what we see as some pervasive trends in the investing world. These conversations got us imagining what C.S. Lewis’s, The Screwtape Letters, might sound like if they were applied to today’s investment environment. The satirical letters are written by an advice-giving bureaucrat in Hell named Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, a young demon who is learning how to lead humans astray. Taking some liberty with Lewis’s work, we present what we believe Screwtape might say if he were tr

2014-06-05 Q2 2014 Investment Letter by Sean Butson of DC Capital Management

• The S&P 500 is now more than 5 years into the bull market that started on March 9, 2009 • Historically, buying the S&P 500 at high valuations and low dividend yields has resulted in sub-par investment returns on average • The S&P 500 is currently overvalued based on 7 different metrics, implying that future long-term returns are likely to be disappointing • Overvaluation is not limited to the S&P 500, as a number of recent technology valuations are reminiscent of the late 1990s tech bubble • We believe a bear market within the next few years is likely

2014-06-05 Acta Non Verba by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Now is the time for strong actions rather than words from the European Central Bank, but their actions could send more capital to the United States and push interest rates lower over the summer.

2014-06-05 The Platinum Supply Shock by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Even investors who typically eschew precious metals have been hard-pressed to ignore the platinum industry this year. The longest strike in South African history paired with surging Asian demand is set to push the metal back into a physical deficit in 2014 - and could have repercussions for years to come. While gold remains the most conservative choice for saving, the "industrial precious metal" platinum is a compelling investment for those, like me, who are bullish on global net economic growth.

2014-06-04 Why Food Prices Are Soaring, Likely To Continue by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Consumer Food Prices Are Skyrocketing 2. 10 Fastest-Rising Food Prices at the Supermarket 3. California is in Big Trouble! So Are We All 4. Drought Monitor Chart For Continental US 5. Incurable Disease Threatens Florida Citrus Crop 6. Latin America Coffee Blight Sends Prices Skyward 7. “The Solution to High Prices is High Prices”

2014-06-04 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.

2014-06-04 Schroders Multi-Asset Insights: What is the forward curve telling us about US Treasury yields? by Matthias Scheiber and Aymeric Forest of Schroder Investment Management

If central bank liquidity provision and the use of forward guidance has been dampening volatility, then its withdrawal over the coming 12 months could result in an increase in volatility. Arguably the recent flattening of the yield curve is a harbinger of this. Given the gradual path of the reduction in liquidity, this process of normalization could be extended. However, with the mean reverting nature of volatility, we believe it is currently cheap and will normalize upwards over the coming months towards its longer term average of 20. This is why we recommend adding actively managed volatilit

2014-06-04 European challenges and outlook by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The constant debate of leading and lagging indicators is one that spills over to the political components as well. The timing of demographic shifting, recent economic events, geopolitical tectonic shifts taking place globally and neo-creative monetary policy have all been pointing to voter sentiment evolving. We have seen this represented in Europe for some time and the recent European Parliament election saw more than sublime results.

2014-06-03 May 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension sponsors treaded water in May, with both assets and liabilities edging up in tandem for both ‘model’ plans we track . Our traditional ‘Plan A’ remains down 5% during 2014, while the more conservative ‘Plan B’ is down 2% on the year.

2014-06-03 Address the triple threat of low yields, higher taxes and rising interest rates by Cynthia Clemson and Thomas Metzold of Eaton Vance

This year’s tax season was a rude awakening for many investors. For high earners especially, the tax rates on investment income have risen substantially. Increased taxes, combined with historically low yields and the prospect of higher interest rates eroding bond values, have a posed a triple threat for investors. But high-yield municipal bonds may offer a way to address these challenges.

2014-06-03 The High Cost of Equal Weighting by Engin Kose and Max Moroz of Research Affiliates

Equal-weight indices have two clear advantages: They are easy to understand, and they generally outperform cap-weight indices over the long term. Their drawbacks are less apparent. They have higher turnover due to rebalancing than other smart beta strategies, and that turnover includes buying and selling lower-liquidity stocks. Our market impact model demonstrates that, as global assets under management increase, implementation costs tend to rise faster in equal-weight than in fundamentally weighted strategies.

2014-06-03 Creating a Learning Society by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

For more than two centuries, innovation has been a critical driver of the global economy, with most of the productivity gains stemming not from major discoveries, but from small, incremental changes. This suggests that we should focus on how societies learn, and what can be done to promote learning – including learning how to learn.

2014-05-31 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 The Growing Importance of Natural Gas by Skip Aylesworth of Hennessy Funds

The natural gas industry is experiencing a revolution. Fueled by advances in drilling technology, natural gas has become an abundant energy source and is quickly becoming America’s domestic energy solution. In fact, it is believed that we now have a 100-year supply in the U.S. – even with increasing demand.

2014-05-30 Global Economic Perspective: May by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe a substantial improvement in US growth is underway, despite first-quarter 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth coming in at an annual rate of -1.0%, well below market expectations.

2014-05-30 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 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 After India’s Election, Execution takes Center Stage for Debt Markets by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

Financial markets in India have already rallied strongly in anticipation of the overwhelming majority win by incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The country’s currency (the Indian rupee) rose 15% from its August peak, while five-year credit default swaps on the State Bank of India (SBI) tightened from a spread of 371 to 207 in the same period.

2014-05-25 A Bubble in Complacency by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The simple fact is that we are in what I call a Muddle Through Economy. Things aren’t terrible, but they are not great, either. We’ve come through a devastating Great Recession caused by a crisis in the financial sector. It is quite typical for the effects of such a crisis to linger for a decade or more. So compared to where we were at the bottom of the Great Recession, the glass is half-full. But compared to the expectations we have for economic recovery and the resumption of vibrant growth, half-full seems like an exaggeration. And for many people, the glass is simply empty, whil

2014-05-25 Exit Strategy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Overly compressed risk premiums are now the largest ticking time bomb in the global financial environment.

2014-05-24 In a Flash, China Looks Strong by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you want to know where the world economy is headed, there is one number that I believe investors should focus on: the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). On Thursday, the preliminary flash PMI for May came in at 49.7, beating Bloomberg’s consensus of 48.3.

2014-05-24 “Chasing Tails” How to Play Defense Against a “Market Event” by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This is about the time in a market cycle (up for stocks, for several years) that it is prudent to talk not about playing defense, but HOW it is being played. That is, proactively and not reactively.

2014-05-23 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 China’s 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.

2014-05-22 Scarce Growth - Can the Tortoises Continue to Outpace the Hares? by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

For some time we have suggested that in a world slowly recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, aggregate global growth would be sub-par and that investors would benefit from seeking scarce growth, so long as that growth did not become wildly overvalued. Recent market action has tested that stance severely.

2014-05-21 Pacific Powers: Australia and Japan by Don Huber of Franklin Templeton Investments

Separated by nearly 4,000 miles of sea, the economies of Australia and Japan are often lumped together under the Asia Pacific (APAC) label. Both of these countries can be considered global powers and powerful GDP generators, but their economies, the challenges they face and their responses to those challenges have been very different. Don Huber, vice president, research analyst and portfolio manager, Franklin Equity Group, looks at how these APAC powers are navigating their unique issues and shares his market outlook for each.

2014-05-20 Computer Tutor?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My friend Jerry Goodman died recently. His nom de plume was Adam Smith, obviously taken from the legendary economist Adam Smith (1723 – 1790). In addition to the book The Money Game, Jerry wrote numerous other books. In his later years, he worked at another friend’s establishment, that being Craig Drill, eponymous captain of the insightful Drill Capital Management.

2014-05-19 Forces Shaping the Global Health-Care Industry by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The health-care industry is undergoing many changes, from government reforms to groundbreaking drug development. Because I am frequently asked about this industry, I am devoting this month’s commentary to the forces shaping health care today and what those changes mean for investors. In speaking with members of Wellington Management’s experienced Health Care Team, it is clear the three main drivers of this complex, dynamic industry are the aging population in the developed world, the growing middle class in emerging markets (EM), and scientific innovation.

2014-05-16 India: Counting Efficiently by Rahul Gupta of Matthews Asia

India’s massive election process—involving more than 1 million polling stations and 800 million eligible voters—has just drawn to a close. Despite being a poor country with annual GDP per capita on the lower end of Asian economies (at US$1,527), it is home to some of the world’s best IT and generic pharmaceutical companies. Electronic voting is one illustration of the dichotomies that are present in the rapidly changing nation. This week’s Asia Weekly explores the hurdles and the technology used to manage the world’s biggest democratic election exercise.

2014-05-15 Schroders Monthly Markets Review: Overview of Markets in April 2014 by Keith Wade, Azad Zangana, Craig Botham of Schroder Investment Management

Global equities edged higher in April. Some stronger macroeconomic data from developed economies helped to support returns but the ongoing crisis in Ukraine remained a headwind for equities. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets. In the US, a generally firmer tone to macroeconomic data and a broadly encouraging corporate earnings season supported sentiment. Investors were also reassured by comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen about maintaining low interest rates.

2014-05-14 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The press is demanding the attention of investors more than ever. Whether it was the recent jobs report or last week’s testimony from Janet Yellen, sorting through the market noise is no easy task. Since the world is so interconnected from Facebook to WhatsApp, a spark of news can ignite unfounded fear in an instant. What’s truly significant when it comes to your investments?

2014-05-13 El Niño by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In our investing process, we look across the spectrum at a multitude of possible events, their probabilities, their effects on markets and weigh them against market prices. Sometimes these discrepancies come from unexpected places. This week we will explore the ramifications of a weather event, El Niño. The soft-commodity markets (grains, sugar, coffee, cocoa and other annual crops) seem to have priced in about a 20% likelihood of an El Niño occurrence this year, while last week the Climate Prediction Center issued a 65% probability for this summer.

2014-05-13 Market Perspective by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

US equity markets have seen what we would describe as mild volatility over the last few weeks, mostly attributed to geopolitical tensions emanating from the Ukraine-Russia belligerence. For the first quarter, the S&P 500 rose 1.30%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ composite were both down slightly.

2014-05-12 Emerging Markets at Risk by George Bijak of GB Capital Pty Ltd

The massive post-GFC Quantitative Easing (QE) in the USA, EU, and now in Japan has repaired the global banking system’s balance sheet. Debt of various qualities, worth trillions of dollars, was moved from struggling banks to the central banks at book value where it is likely to run out to maturity or rollover.

2014-05-10 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Twice a day, in the morning and at lunch, our investment team sits down together to discuss what’s important and what’s immaterial. This past week, in my opinion, the good outweighed the bad. Much of the economic news was a direct result of government policies, both fiscal and monetary. Here are my findings, which I hope will help you filter through the noise.

2014-05-08 Where Is the Inequality Problem? by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Though Thomas Piketty is right that returns to capital in rich countries have increased in the last few decades, he is too dismissive of the wide-ranging debate among economists concerning the causes. More important, when it comes to reducing inequality between rich and poor countries, capitalism has had an impressive three decades.

2014-05-07 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.

2014-05-05 Big Pharma's Bitter Pills by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Price Pressure Becoming Pharmaceutical Industry's Bitter Pill as Breakthrough Drug Therapies Break the Bank

2014-05-05 Asian Currencies to Stay Calm at Center of EM Storm by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have fallen from favor, but does that mean investors should avoid them entirely? We don?t think so.

2014-05-04 Albania's Fertile Grounds for Oil Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Texas is oil country. The state I now call home leads the nation in oil production and would be one of the top oil-producing nations if it were its own country. But that doesn?t stop us from exploring other promising oil opportunities further afield. Last week I traveled to Albania to check out a drill site of Petromanas Energy, a Calgary-based international oil and gas company focused on exploration and production throughout Europe and Australia. We own the junior stock in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) and Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX).

2014-05-03 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

2014-05-02 Looking for Bubbles Part One: A Statistical Approach by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

It is a sensible expectation that reasonable long-term value investors will endure pain in a bubble. It is almost a rule. The pain will be psychological and will come from looking like an old fuddy-duddy? looking as if you have lost your way in the new golden era where some important things, which you have obviously missed, are different this time. For professionals this psychological pain will also come from loss of client respect, which always hurts, and loss of peer group respect, which can be irritating.

2014-05-02 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings have been supportive and merger activity has skyrocketed these past couple weeks. Stock markets have remained firm as a result despite money coming out of the previous hot sectors of social media (Amazon) & the biotech industry (despite great fundamentals).

2014-05-02 Emerging Markets Outlook - April 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities as an asset class have been underperforming developed market equities for more than three years, though they continue to maintain the lead over 10-year returns. The divergence in returns between emerging and developed markets widened sharply in 2013, when the prospect of reduced capital inflows heightened investor concerns about slower economic growth in the emerging countries.

2014-05-02 Down Under: Commodities to Consumption by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

Ever since China's demand for commodities intensified around 1999, its increased reliance on imported energy and minerals has underpinned Australia's boom in the natural resources industry. Naturally, as China's import growth has recently slowed, materials and energy sector firms in both Australia and New Zealand have grown cautious about their business prospects.

2014-04-30 Global Ground Zero in Asia by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The most pressing geopolitical issue of our time is not the prospect of conflict between Israel and Iran over nuclear proliferation or rising tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine. It is the challenge of managing China's rise and ensuring that peace and prosperity prevail in Asia.

2014-04-29 Putin's Ideologist by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

For the past few months, Western leaders have been baffled by Russia?s behavior toward Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe. To better understand Russia?s actions, we will examine the ideology of Aleksandr Dugin, the man who created the ideology that appears to be behind Putin?s behavior. We will offer a short biography of Dugin, focusing on his intellectual roots and the creation of the Eurasian Concept. Using Dugin?s framework, we will examine Putin?s recent behavior. As usual, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-04-28 The Devolution of Diversification by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

We are only some 40 years removed from an era when the typical investment account had 12 or fewer individu-al holdings, and less than 20 years removed from a time when respected stock funds might hold 20-30 stocks and be considered ?fully diversified?. Now we find that the typical active equity portfolio or fund holds between 50-100 individuals stocks and that there are generally three or more such active equity managers for each institutional or high net worth account, all adding up to hundreds of underlying holdings.

2014-04-26 China Holds the Keys to the Gold Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s important to follow the money, or in this case the gold, to see how people around the world react to this rare commodity. Looking forward, stay curious as an investor and you’ll see if China can keep the key to the gold market.

2014-04-25 Slugging It Out in the Equity Arena by John West and Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Selling recent losers and buying recent winners is the antithesis of the systematic rebalancing discipline through which smart beta strategies earn long-term excess returns. Indeed, we contend that this procyclical behavior is what pays, over time, for the value added by fundamentally weighted index investing and other smart beta strategies.

2014-04-25 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.

2014-04-24 Resistance is Futile, for Now by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. ?risk-on? trade is still in place, even as some leveraged credit is showing signs of overheating.

2014-04-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The byword for economic prospects in emerging Asia Pacific economies during the first quarter of 2014 was "optimism". The countries in the region, despite undergoing a torrent of political activity and struggle, pinned their hopes on a revival in global trade. With other avenues of growth such as investment and consumption showing little promise, the emphasis on global trade took on even greater importance.

2014-04-24 The Flaws and Potential of Asia's SOEs by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Asian governments own a large amount of productive assets in the form of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). These firms are typically in strategic industries of national interest, but among the broader investor community they are often viewed negatively, marked by reputations for inefficiency and potential conflicts of interest. This month Asia Insight explores the challenges that face SOEs and possible models that could be positive for business.

2014-04-23 Positioning Your Portfolio for Rising Rates. by Team of Forward Management

Accelerating outflows from bond funds in 2013 highlight investor nervousness over the prospect of rising interest rates. Investors may want to carefully assess the role of fixed-income investments in their portfolios, particularly in light of other types of income-producing vehicles. Upon careful evaluation of their options, investors can make adjustments suitable to their objectives.

2014-04-23 Hasenstab: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fixed income investors have dealt with a number of headwinds in early 2014, including unrest in Eastern Europe, the prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and fears about slowing growth in China. Michael Hasenstab, executive vice president and CIO, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, has been on a global tour to assess conditions in select countries first-hand, looking beyond what the media headlines portray.

2014-04-22 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment of the global economy pointed out that robust economic recovery in developed countries has significantly reduced the risk of a downturn this year. The Washington-based lender said it sees growth in emerging and developing Europe as a whole at 2.4 percent in 2014, which is expected to accelerate to 2.9 percent next year.

2014-04-21 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.

2014-04-21 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors\' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-18 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

In a currency war, everyone loses. Should monetary policy be coordinated across countries? The International Monetary Fund is at a crossroads.

2014-04-17 A Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Turmoil in Ukraine, growth concerns in Japan, and weakness in U.S. equity markets are giving U.S. investors a short-term case of heartburn but none of this should undermine the overall case for optimism.

2014-04-17 U.S. Financials: Investment Theme Update by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

We reaffirm our recommendation for U.S. Banking and Financial Services as a satellite equity investment. The Federal Reserve’s "Stress Test" reinforces a constructive outlook and conservative risk profile for U.S. Banks. The positive results confirm that U.S. banks have enhanced their ability to withstand macroeconomic challenges by reducing problem assets during the past few years. Equally important, the financial sector appears to be more exposed to a key driver of the broader equity market advance over the last few years: share buyback programs and increasing dividends.

2014-04-17 Pinning Hopes on the \'Chosen One\' by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

, I would caution against expectations of a quick fix or a fixation over the short term. As in much of the rest of Asia, India and Indonesia are attempting to tackle their issues and this makes us optimistic for the future. We look forward to an environment of better governance that is critical for both social and economic progress.

2014-04-17 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.

2014-04-16 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q1 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that it appears "the precious metals complex has bottomed and is attempting to gain footing following the grueling two-plus year correction that started in August of 2011." Giving credence to gold's utility as an equity hedge, he notes that "the positive returns generated by equity markets over the past two years have represented a substantial barrier for capital to reenter precious metals.

2014-04-16 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

And what a bad week it was. After flirting (and setting) new record highs on both the S&P and Dow, equity investors worried about the upcoming earnings reports and freaked out over the some disturbing news from China. Stocks plunged late in the week with the Nasdaq particularly hard hit, though the other indexes followed suit and gave up all of their prior gains for the year. For the most part, domestic developments remain strong but news on the global front have prompted investors to seek out the safe-haven of treasuries. Over-reaction or new trend?

2014-04-15 What\'s Next for Emerging Markets? by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Emerging markets (EM) have been an enduring growth story, but their recent stretch of underperformance and fears of a global economic slowdown are chilling investors’ enthusiasm. Pulled between opportunity and risk avoidance, many investors have been left uncertain as to what they should do next.

2014-04-12 Every Central Bank for Itself by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Whether the FOMC can actually turn the taper into a true exit strategy ultimately depends on how much longer households and businesses must deleverage and how sharply our old-age dependency ratio rises, but markets seem to believe this is the beginning of the end. For now, that’s what matters most. Under Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s leadership, the Fed continues to send a clear message to the rest of the world: Now it really is every central bank for itself.

2014-04-11 Bubble Bursting? Only for Biotech & Internet Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The recent sluggish performance of U.S. stocks is leading some market watchers to question whether we?re witnessing the bursting of an equity bubble. Russ explains that while U.S. equities overall are not in a bubble, valuations have started to become an issue, particularly for certain segments of the market.

2014-04-11 Chinese Checkers with Gold Prices by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

For decades many of us in the hard money world have speculated that cloak and dagger activity by large financial interests has played a large role in determining performance in the gold market. The focus of this alleged manipulation is believed to be in the London market, and has been widely referred to as "The London Fix." However those who have blown the whistle have been dismissed as alarmists, gold bugs, conspiracy theorists or worse. But recent revelations should bring us closer to the truth.

2014-04-11 Why China's A-Shares Matter Now by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Although we often receive questions on mainland China?s A-share equities, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, we currently invest in Chinese equities primarily via Hong Kong-listed companies and also by way of U.S.-listed Chinese firms. China?s domestic A-share market remains largely closed to foreign institutional investors. The only way for foreigners to participate in this market is to enroll in China?s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program or invest via a manager who has a quota in this program.

2014-04-10 Assuage Your Fears of Rising Rates with Global Diversification by Julie Salsbery of PIMCO

?Although PIMCO believes interest rates are fairly anchored in the near term, we think investors can position their fixed income portfolios more defensively. Global diversification across developed and emerging markets can offer a defense against rising U.S. rates by reducing the concentration of risks within a portfolio, while also potentially lowering volatility and enhancing returns.

2014-04-08 Moving Forward With the Normalization of Yields by Scott Mather, Michael Story of PIMCO

One response to yield normalization is to consider retaining core bonds and diversifying the specific risk factor of concern, in this case duration. In the past, global bonds have captured most of the upside but avoided a significant amount of the downside relative to domestic-only bonds. Generating capital gains from bonds in a rising yield environment requires defining concretely what yield normalization means ? where yields are going and when they will get there ? and setting these expectations against forward market pricing, country by country.

2014-04-05 The Lions in the Grass, Revisited by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today we explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not quite so obvious. The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see lounging in plain view that are the most insidious threat, but rather that in trying to avoid those we may stumble upon lions hidden in the grass.

2014-04-04 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.

2014-04-04 Why Chinese Stocks May Still Make Sense Over the Long Run by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors have been concerned about the Chinese market lately and are asking Russ whether they should abandon Chinese stocks. Russ explains why his answer is still no, at least for the long term.

2014-04-04 What\'s Abuzz About Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If we continue to see these large movements of the physical metal, especially from the West to the East, it would appear to be only a matter of time until these supply-and-demand factors lift the gold price.

2014-04-04 Income Is Always a Good Idea by Jack Tierney of Invesco Blog

Most of the 2014 forecasts were positive on stocks, albeit at a lower return after such a strong year in 2013, and negative on bonds. However, January was a down month for stocks and a very strong month for bonds, February saw stocks rebound and bonds range-bound, and March thus far has stocks down more than up and bonds still range-bound. With apologies for altering the famous quote attributed to Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, "Paris is always a good idea," I would say that "income is always a good idea."

2014-04-03 VIX Exchange Traded Products...Growth and Risk Impact by Daniel Kirsch of Macro Risk Advisors

The growth of ETFs has been nothing short of tremendous. What started as a product designed to provide investors with broad equity or sector exposure in the US, the ETF landscape now includes a myriad of geographies (Europe, Asia) and asset classes (FX, rates, credit, commodities). Research consultancy firm EFTGI estimates that there are almost 5,000 ETFs globally with total AUM in excess of $2 trillion.

2014-04-02 4 Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Brian Hicks of U.S. Global Investors

Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.

2014-03-31 Labor Market Clues for Bond Investors by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton

When the US Federal Reserve (Fed) began tapering early this year, the general assumption was that investors would flee en masse from fixed income investments. Certainly, there has been some volatility in Treasury yields, most recently after Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested interest rates could start to rise around six months after tapering ends ? which would be somewhat sooner than many were expecting.

2014-03-28 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for the developed economies in North America remains healthy while the emerging economies of Latin America continue to face headwinds. Though recent data from the U.S. and Canada have indicated moderation in economic activity, most of the slowdown was likely caused by adverse weather conditions in the region.

2014-03-28 Asia's E-Commerce Trends by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

On a recent research trip, I went to Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Melbourne and spoke with Internet companies in industries as diverse as automotives, travel and real estate. I also met with several e-commerce companies with varying Internet penetration rates. As growth rates for new Internet users across parts of Asia level off, comparing these firms offered me an interesting glimpse into the potential opportunities and challenges facing the region's newer Internet firms.

2014-03-28 Four Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.

2014-03-25 Will Putin Stop with the Crimea? by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Now that the Crimean referendum has passed in favor of annexation, what will Putin do next? In other words, will he stop with the Crimea? In this report, we will look at the post-Cold War situation from Putin?s perspective. From this viewpoint, we will examine Putin?s likely next steps and how this will affect the U.S. and the rest of the developed world. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-03-24 Michael Cirami on Ukraine: It May Just Be Spring Training for Putin?s Hardball Tactics by Michael Cirami of Eaton Vance

Earlier this month, Michael Cirami, co-director of Eaton Vance?s Global Income Group, offered his views on the immediate crisis surrounding the seizure of Crimea by Russian and pro-Russian troops, having been in Kiev just two weeks prior. In this Viewpoint, he adds some perspective to how events have unfolded since and how they may going forward in the wake of that event.

2014-03-22 China\'s Minsky Moment? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In speeches and presentations since the end of last year, I have been saying that I think the biggest macro problem in the world today is China. China has run up a huge debt, and the payments are coming due. They seem to be proactive, but will it be enough? How much risk do they pose for the global system?

2014-03-22 What Makes a Slam-Dunk Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As a native Canadian, hockey is in my blood, but after moving to Texas, the icy arenas changed to basketball courts, as the sole major league sports team in the city is the San Antonio Spurs.

2014-03-21 World Industrial Production Finished 2013 At An All-Time High by Team of GaveKal Capital

The CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis publishes a monthly report called "World Trade Monitor". This report tries to quantify the seemingly unquantifiable; world industrial production and world trade volume and prices. Either later today or early next week the CPB should come out with the first statistics for 2014. Today, however, we are going to take a look at world industrial production for 2013.

2014-03-21 China's Evolving Health Care Landscape by Hayley Chan of Matthews Asia

China has begun a long-term transformation of its health care industry. Much of this industry is still fragmented and in the early stages of consolidation. China?s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, for example, account for a combined market share of approximately 20% versus more than 60% in the U.S.

2014-03-20 The Song Remains the Same by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The noisy journey from winter to spring in the United States may mask the underlying strength in the U.S. economy. The risk-on environment should remain intact, despite international tensions.

2014-03-19 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 Gundlach - Rates Will Remain Low in 2014 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Slowing economic growth, low inflation and a lack of motivated sellers will keep interest rates depressed, at least for the rest of this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. But investors should prepare for an eventual rise in rates, he said, because he is skeptical of the Federal Reserve’s ability to successfully exit from QE.

2014-03-18 How to Help Clients Prepare for End-of-Life Decisions by Emir Phillips (Article)

End-of-life decisions should be addressed by all financial planners. People are dying more from chronic illnesses, and deaths are increasingly occurring in institutions, where individuals and their families may incur significant expenses. Those costs could be substantially mitigated with proper advance-directive planning initiated and guided by a caring financial planner.

2014-03-18 Japan?s Rising Opportunity by Neil Hennessy, Masakazu Takeda of Hennessy Funds

After WWII, the Japanese economy began what is sometimes referred to as the ?Economic Miracle?, a three-decade long period of growth and prosperity. Japanese firms and their management teams were studied around the world as the model of efficiency and an example for all companies and leaders to strive for. In 1989, a bubble in real estate fueled by speculators burst, and the Japanese markets crashed. Since then, the Japanese economy has been in a virtual standstill with more than two decades of stagnant growth and a deflationary environment.

2014-03-18 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.

2014-03-18 Understanding The "Millennial Generation" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As the father of two adult children who were born in the early 1990s, I have a particularly keen interest in the ?Millennial Generation? ? those 80 million or so people born in the US between 1980 and 2002, the largest generation ever ? and who will be running the country before too long.

2014-03-17 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.?

2014-03-17 Frontier Markets Find Footing by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Frontier markets remain in focus for the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 2014, and my team and I have spent the early part of the year exploring potential investment opportunities in a number of them.

2014-03-17 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

What's another 200 point down day (Dow) when you're having fun? The violent and excessive overreactions of the week prior were added to by Asia and Europe on Thursday/Friday past, just for good measure.

2014-03-17 Recalibrating the Retirement Clock: Should 75 Be the New 65? by Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital

Retirement sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? Exotic holidays. Finally writing that novel. Never having to rely on an alarm clock to wake up early. Being your own boss. Retirement goals are as varied as people themselves.

2014-03-17 Frontier Markets: Weighing the Risks by Nathan Rowader of Forward Investing

Why would investors even think about investing in fledgling, so-called frontier economies half a world away? The quick answer is that some of the best-performing stock markets in the world can be found in places like Kenya, Bulgaria and Argentina. Annual equity returns topped 40% in all three countries in 2013 while a number of other frontier markets (FMs), including Romania, Serbia and Nigeria, experienced annual returns ranging from 25% to 35%. Although past performance is not a guarantee of future results, investors in search of portfolio growth and diversification are taking note.

2014-03-15 Follow the Money to Asia\'s Tech Hub by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China’s slower economic data points and a surplus in copper and iron ore drove many commodities lower this week, while gold rose. In the short term, until the copper and iron ore surplus is liquidated, or absorbed at a slower pace, the base metals market will likely be sloppy. As the second-largest economy in the world and a huge driver of commodities demand, it’s not surprising China provoked such a significant response from world markets. Interestingly, most of the media thought it was geopolitical fears from Ukraine that chopped up the market and lifted gold.

2014-03-14 An Exhaustive Debate by Colin Dishington of Matthews Asia

Australia, which is among the largest polluters per capita in the developed world, is exploring ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and has set a target for reducing emissions at 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. One of its current initiatives, the carbon pricing mechanism often referred to as the carbon tax requires polluters to pay an amount proportional to the carbon dioxide equivalent emitted during a given year.

2014-03-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global trade negotiations have stalled; This is a delicate time for Chinese finance; Where will Europe’s growth come from?

2014-03-13 Emerging Markets: Will Ukraine fallout become contagious? by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, outlines Russell Investments? views on the conflict in Ukraine and how it might impact the markets.

2014-03-12 Reflections on Ukraine by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past five weeks there have been a number of significant events that have occurred in Ukraine. A president has fled, a revolutionary government is forming and Russia has taken de facto control over the Crimea. The events themselves are momentous but the broader effects are significant as well. In this report, we will offer three reflections?Putin?s Gambit, The U.S. Adrift and A Dangerous New World. Although any of these could be a topic in themselves, we will shorten these issues to offer a single journey through the current crisis. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications

2014-03-12 The Importance of Beta Management by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Morningstar recently released ?Mind the Gap-2014? which demonstrated that investors are generally very poor beta managers. The Morningstar data showed that investors? performance lagged that of their funds by about 250 basis points per year for the past ten years because of poor beta management, i.e., investors tend to be very poor allocators of capital.

2014-03-11 Making Green from Gold, Palladium and Pollution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold is coming back with a vengeance, experiencing a clear recovery and grabbing the attention of market cynics. Analysts from Noruma Securities even upgraded its outlook for gold, expecting bullion to climb over the next three years, according to Barron?s.

2014-03-10 Earning Estimates Plunging Around The World by of GaveKal Capital

Earnings estimates (and sales estimates to an extent) have taken a beating over the past three months. On average, EPS growth estimates are down 5.3% for the next fiscal year during this time. Not a single industry group out of the 24 MSCI classifications have seen their earning estimates rise and only four industries have seen their sales growth estimate increase.

2014-03-07 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.

2014-03-07 Tensions between Russia and Ukraine Worry Investors by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Over the weekend, tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine as Russian forces invaded and took complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula.

2014-03-07 Making Green from Gold, Palladium and Pollution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold is coming back with a vengeance, experiencing a clear recovery and grabbing the attention of market cynics. Analysts from Noruma Securities even upgraded its outlook for gold, expecting bullion to climb over the next three years, according to Barron's.

2014-03-06 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.

2014-03-05 2014: A Transition Year - Back to Fundamentals by Lorenzo Pagani of PIMCO

The past several years have seen multiple regime changes in financial markets in Europe, each dominated by different factors and requiring a distinct approach to fixed income investing. As spreads tighten to pre-2008 levels, it is now time to ask whether a shift in investment style is due. Macroeconomic developments and inflation expectations are likely to be key determining factors in whether 2014 will be a good year for European bond investors.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-01 Black Swans and Endogenous Uncertainty by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

John is in Florida and feeling a bit under the weather, so this week we’re bringing back one of his most popular letters, from December 2007. In the letter he discusses the work of Professor Graciela Chichilnisky of Columbia University, one of whose key insights is that the greater the number of connections within an economic network, the more the system is at risk. Given the current macroeconomic environment, it is important to remind ourselves of how complacent we were back in 2007 and how it all fell apart so quickly, just as John outlined in this rather prescient piece.

2014-02-28 China?s Growth Puzzle by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Though China?s economy is now slowing, the significance of this is not well understood. The downturn has nothing to do with problems in other emerging economies; in fact, it is a welcome development.

2014-02-28 Emerging-Market Risk and Reward by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of a middle-class consumer society were supposed to boost emerging-market countries' long-term economic and sociopolitical stability. But in many countries recently wracked by political unrest, it is the urban middle classes that have been manning the barricades.

2014-02-28 Looking Beyond Politics in Thailand by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Throughout its history, Thailand has been subject to periods of political instability that have at times given cause for concern among investors. In the past few months, investor sentiment has reflected the political uncertainty, putting Thailand in the news.

2014-02-28 Korea's Changing Consumer Patterns by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

Following a recent research trip to Korea, I was able to spend some time there with my family. Three consecutive weeks away afforded me the opportunity to observe changes in spending patterns among Korean consumers as well as the improving competitiveness of the country?s service industries.

2014-02-28 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The sensitivity of emerging markets complicates the Fed?s exit plans; Raising the minimum wage is not the only way to aid low-income workers; Brazil?s economy is faltering as the World Cup approaches.

2014-02-28 What Areas of the Market Will Remain in the Limelight? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The current bull market has been five years in the making. Since the bottom on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 Index has grown an incredible 174 percent. With this spectacular performance, investors are asking if U.S. companies will stay in the limelight or if it is time to draw the curtain on equities.

2014-02-26 What Columbus Missed: Royce Rediscovers India by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

In 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail to discover India. He missed his mark, however, landing in America instead. The rest, as they say, is history-with the exception that more than 500 years later India is still worthy of discovery for many Western investors.

2014-02-26 Weather-Beaten by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Harsh winter weather often shows through in the economic data. Large seasonal adjustment can magnify that impact. Snowstorms happen every year, of course ? the key is whether they are worse than usual. This year, bad weather has been relatively widespread, affecting many areas of the country and much of the economic data for December, January, and February. None of the bad weather has had a significant impact on the longer-term outlook and investors have begun to take the economic news with an appropriate grain of salt.

2014-02-25 The Return of Japan by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Two weeks ago, we discussed Germany?s apparent early steps to return to regional power status. In this week?s report, we will examine Japan?s steady evolution to regional power status.

2014-02-25 How to Profit from the Yellen Fed by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Janet Yellen might have the most powerful job in the world, as the Federal Reserve (Fed) she now chairs controls what may be the world?s most powerful printing press. We take a closer look at what her reign might mean for investors? portfolios.

2014-02-22 Going for the Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone wants the gold. Around the world, athletes train for years to compete for a gold medal. In Hong Kong and China, the Love Trade seeks gold coins, bars and jewelry.

2014-02-21 This Common Misconception about China May Be Hurting Your Portfolio by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is making headlines again, only this time the news attempts to dispel a common myth about the Asian giant.

2014-02-20 American Industrial Renaissance Revisited by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We first wrote about The "American Industrial Renaissance" in 2012, and it remains one of our favorite investment themes. We continue to implement this theme through small US-centric industrial companies and small financial institutions that lend to public and private industrial firms. It remains unlikely that the United States will be the manufacturing powerhouse that it was during the 1950s and 1960s, but many factors are suggesting that the US industrial sector will continue to gain market share.

2014-02-20 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.

2014-02-20 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 Where the Frontier Lies by Robert Harvey of Matthews Asia

My last research trip to Asia included eight flights and nearly 50 grueling hours in the air. During this time, I had the opportunity to ponder a question I am frequently asked, ?How do you define a frontier market??

2014-02-18 Why Emerging Market Fears are Overblown by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Conditions in the emerging markets bear little resemblance to those in 1997 leading up to the Asian crisis, according to Simon Derrick, a leading market strategist with BNY Mellon. In this interview, he also explains why the euro is overvalued and picks the winners and losers in today’s currency wars.

2014-02-18 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return - Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investor’s own unique goals and characteristics.

2014-02-18 After a Rocky 2013, What\'s in Store for Asia This Year? by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Overall, 2013 wasn’t the best year for Asian markets, however there are several trends emerging that we believe will be good for the region this year.

2014-02-14 Does a Down January Dog the Rest of the Year? Probably by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

The bottom line for investors is that a negative January tends to herald lower (though not necessarily negative) returns for the subsequent 11 months.

2014-02-14 Turkey, Doves, Hawks and Owls by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The current market sentiment is something of an albatross around Asian economic and market performance. Whilst it is never safe to assume the currency speculators have gone away, the region’s economies have put in enough hard work over the previous decades to earn some goodwill.

2014-02-14 Weather Related? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The recent slowdown in economic data appears to be largely weather related and we believe decent growth will reassert itself. Stocks have bounced after a weak start to the year, but the threat of a further pullback remains, although our longer-term optimism has not been dented. Likewise, we believe Europe offers some attractive investment opportunities but we’re in a wait-and-see mode with Japan. Finally, we don’t see EM turmoil becoming overly contagious, but we are watching that situation closely.

2014-02-14 These Gold Charts Will Make Your Heart Beat Faster by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So while gold may correct over the next several months as the metal enters its seasonally weak period of the year, this looks promising for gold investors.

2014-02-13 Bad News is Good News Again by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Extremely cold weather in the United States, a sell-off in equities and in emerging markets, and large swings in fund flows combined for a volatile start to the year. But none of this will derail the ongoing U.S. economic expansion, and investors should take advantage of this temporary weakness.

2014-02-12 Harvard?s Endowment: Wise or Foolish? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett says, "What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end." In a Barron's feature over the weekend, writer Andrew Bary dug into the portfolio of Harvard's Endowment through an interview with their CIO, Jane Mendillo. After all, who could possibly be wiser than what many would argue is the most respected undergraduate and graduate university in the world? Using a combination of Bary?s article and our perspective, this missive will seek to determine whether the Harvard Endowment is wise or foolish.

2014-02-12 The Expanding Leveraged Loan Market by Heather Rupp of AdvisorShares

At the end of the day, a loan investor may be left with a security that has a low starting yield, little left in the way of capital gains potential, and with coupon income that is not at all increasing even if rates were to rise. While there are some selective opportunities for value in the loan space, broadly speaking we see high yield bonds as a more attractive market in the current environment.

2014-02-12 Grey Owl Capital?s Third Quarter Letter by of Grey Owl Capital Management

2013 was a banner year for the US stock market. Despite equities? meager fourteen-year record of accomplishment, investors, broadly speaking, are limited to short-term memory. Last year?s performance was enough to generate significant enthusiasm for stocks. We continue to believe, the current environment warrants a more balanced approach.

2014-02-11 Equities Markets Start 2014 in Deep Freeze by Douglas Coté of ING Investement Management

By slowly normalizing policy, the Fed is passing the responsibility of pricing risk back to the markets, resulting in higher volatility. The health of the emerging markets is vital to global growth, as developing countries have doubled their contribution to global GDP over the past decade to nearly 40%. S&P 500 corporations derive half their revenue from overseas; support from global consumerism and manufacturing is on track to continue. Broad global diversification across equity and fixed income markets is the best way to protect against volatility.

2014-02-11 Commodity Fund Taxation by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As markets, investment products and the manner in which clients access information have all evolved, advisors are answering more and more questions about how to invest in commodities which means advisors have to learn about the various taxation structures of the many different types of commodity exchange traded products.

2014-02-11 Focus on Income: The Illiquidity Premium: Opportunities for Investing in Credit Today by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

At a time when many investors are seeking income for their portfolios, traditional sources of fixed income - principally government bonds and high-grade corporate bonds - look less than compelling. Yields are low and there is an increasing risk that interest rates will rise, which would cause the value of existing bonds to fall.

2014-02-11 ?Hot? Money?s Fast Exit Cools Emerging Markets by of Knowledge @ Wharton

Capital flight from emerging markets has been accelerating in recent weeks ($6 billion alone in the week ending February 5). Turkey is the poster child, but the exodus is also happening in India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and others ? mostly from equity markets. This ?hot money? is moving out over concerns that asset bubbles have built up, and that emerging market economic growth is now slowing. The slowdown is partly a result of tighter money in the wake of the Fed?s tapering plans and a decelerating economy in China, many believe. To better understand the risks to the global financial

2014-02-10 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a modest correction for the second successive month in December, as investors remained cautious about the outlook for some of the emerging economies. Select countries such as Thailand in Asia and Turkey in Europe continue to face difficult political environments, with large demonstrations against the governments. Their currencies have reacted negatively to the latest developments, making investors fearful of a repeat of the volatile market movements seen during the third quarter of 2013.

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, We’re often asked how this affects our view of international markets and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers , so we;re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, we’re often asked how this affects our view of the international market and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers, so we’re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-09 Global Economic Overview - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economic outlook has turned brighter as several major economies are improving. Both business and consumer sentiment have become healthier across most regions, as the policy uncertainties that plagued several countries last year have faded. The U.S. economy is expected to accelerate further in 2014, while Europe and Japan are also likely to see faster growth.

2014-02-08 Why Majority of IFAs Struggle to Scale-Up Their Practice by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

With SEBI, the regulatory body coming up with wealth service guidelines for IFAs, it is evident that only those having larger scale of operations can adapt swiftly to the changing regulations and market conditions. But, large number of IFAs in India are finding it hard to scale up. This commentary outlines the generic reasons as to what stops IFAs to scale up their practices.

2014-02-07 What\'s the Game Changer for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What will break gold of its losing streak? Will inflation, which is a lagging indicator, be stronger than expected? In one of my most popular posts last year, I said that based on the jobs market, the limited housing recovery and regulations slowing down the flow of money, the Fed would have no choice but to start tapering and raising rates very gradually to keep stimulating the economy.

2014-02-07 Two Questions for Japan Inc. by Kara Yoon of Matthews Asia

During my last research trip in November, we visited mostly consumer-facing companies in Japan where we took the opportunity to pose two key questions to the management teams we met. The first was-"Are you planning to increase prices for products or services after Japan’s consumption tax hike (scheduled for April)?" And secondly: "Will you raise employee wages?"

2014-02-06 Will China Overtake the U.S. as World Leader and Reserve Currency? by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

Will China Overtake the US as World Leader and Reserve Currency? This has not happened yet, but it may not be far down the road if the US does not get its fiscal house in order. The United States has been the biggest national economy since 1871, but more than half of Americans have slapped an expiration date on its global reign.

2014-02-06 Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

2014-02-06 Technology Leaders and Laggards by Paul Meeks of Saturna Capital

The technology sector includes several industries, such as semiconductors and semiconductor capital equipment, software and services, and technology hardware and equipment.

2014-02-05 Emerald Economic Commentary by Team of Emerald Allocation Strategies

As Yogi Berra once said, "You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." As we look back on 2013 and look ahead to 2014,we want to share our thoughts on the road traveled and more importantly, the possible road ahead.

2014-02-04 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.

2014-02-03 10 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back! Comments on January Stock Market by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

US stocks as measured by the S&P 500 delivered a phenomenal 32.4% return in 2013. That was the 6th best year for US stocks since 1940. In January, US stocks fell 3.5%. We don’t watch business news anymore, but judging from an increased volume of phone calls from clients, we presume that CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and MSNBC have categorized this modest decline as "an apocalypse." Our "dashboard" shows return numbers for US and International stock markets, commodities, currencies and bond yields. A lot of red YTD 2014, but all green at the end of 2013.

2014-02-01 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.

2014-01-31 A Surprising Gift for Chinese New Year by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Beijing-based China Credit Trust Company, a firm that operates as a non-banking financial institution in China, announced this week it reached an agreement to restructure a risky high-yield product that had earlier ignited worries over the health of China’s trust industry. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, investors in the troubled trust may receive a big (metaphorical) red envelope-a monetary gift traditionally given during Chinese New Year or other special occasions-or at least avoid a financial hit.

2014-01-31 Thrift, Thrift, Burning Bright by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

Does the title sound familiar? Think feral instead of frugal, and William Blake’s "Tyger, Tyger, burning bright" may start to flicker between the synapses of memory and an English lit class you once soldiered through. But even if you haven’t read "The Tyger", its theme is aptly captured in the opening line and its image of a big flaming kitty cat. Essentially, Blake saw reality in duality: To appreciate the ferocious feline in all its glory is to come face to face with the same force that created "The Lamb", another entry in the poet’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

2014-01-31 Not All Emerging Markets Are Created Equal by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Emerging markets (EM) is a term given to a universe of countries that is extremely diverse across a wide number of variables including geography, levels of industrialization and political systems. Despite this diversity, emerging markets are often discussed as if they are a homogenous block, particularly in the context of broad asset allocation decision making. We think that’s a mistake. Instead, we see opportunity from applying a more bottom-up approach to country, industry and security selection amidst growing dispersion in outcomes across the emerging world.

2014-01-31 The New Watchword-Deflation? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets have been shaky to start the year but we don’t believe it’s time to abandon ship. The fundamentals in the United States continue to look appealing and the recent pullback has helped to correct some sentiment and valuation concerns. We are watching the fight against deflation carefully in Europe and Japan, and believe both countries may need to do more via monetary policy stimulus. Meanwhile, some emerging economies are dealing with inflation, but we don’t believe the recent problems will morph into a widespread crisis at this point.

2014-01-30 A Healthy Correction in Emerging Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It has been a hard start to the year, especially for emerging markets, but the latest dislocation is a healthy part of the cycle and the risk-on trade remains intact.

2014-01-29 Fed Responsible for EM Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

From the bully pulpits in Sao Paulo to the blogosphere in cyberspace, the Fed is blamed for the turmoil in Emerging Markets (EM). That’s a bit like blaming McDonald’s for obesity. Blaming others won’t fix the problems in EM economies, it won’t fix investors’ portfolios and it is an unlikely way to lose weight. Investors and policy makers need to wake up and realize that they are in charge of their own destiny. Let us explain.

2014-01-29 The Future in Focus: Trade Could Aid an Aging America by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Goods and services sourced from overseas could help the United States alleviate the effects of future labor shortages - if lawmakers can resist protectionist impulses.

2014-01-28 Surviving Austerity by Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index having posted a 30% gain, it’s easy to assume that U.S. stocks easily led the world in 2013. (There is more on what is behind this rally in the latest version of the Euro Pacific Capital Newsletter). But as it turns out, the stimulus-loving U.S. markets had plenty of company. Surprisingly, this includes countries supposedly saddled by the scourge of austerity.

2014-01-28 The TTIP and the TPP by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade and investment treaty being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the U.S. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a similar pact between the U.S. and various Pacific Rim nations. We will examine overall details of each, focusing on how they’re different from traditional trade agreements. From there, we will present an analysis of the controversy surrounding the proposals, followed by a look at the geopolitical aims and likelihood that these treaties will be enacted. We conclude with potential market ramificatio

2014-01-27 Hasenstab: Standing One\'s Ground by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

When the masses are against you, it’s hard to stand your ground. Going against the crowd is familiar turf for Michael Hasenstab, who manages Templeton Global Bond Fund and co-manages Templeton Global Balanced Fund, and certainly knows the virtue of patience. He has staunchly defended his investment theses over the years, tuning out the naysayers and market noise time and again.

2014-01-25 Why the Recent Lift in Junior Miners Will Likely Continue by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Junior venture companies in Canada are finally seeing a significant lift. In early January, the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose above the 200-day moving average for the first time in three years. The index is also very close to experiencing a golden cross, which is when the shorter-term 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average. Historically, traders see this cross as extremely bullish.

2014-01-24 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investor’s own unique goals and characteristics.

2014-01-24 India\'s Rising Aspirations by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

India’s newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a spectacular debut in recent state elections. Its leader became the chief minister of the state of Delhi. The election results seemed to indicate a fundamental change-voters now perceive politicians not as "rulers," but as professionals with a limited mandate to serve. The AAP ran on an anti-corruption agenda, and Delhi’s new chief minister seems to "walk the walk." He uses public transport to commute to work, a refreshing change from the typical politician in India who is usually seen riding in a convoy of vehicles.

2014-01-23 What\'s Your 2014 Market View? by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

U.S. monetary policy seems likely to continue occupying center stage as people fret about interest rates. Last year was a somewhat instructive year for monetary policy theory in that it seemed to show that policies can be effective even when interest rates have no further room to be lowered. Can the nominal GDP in the U.S. grow at faster rates in 2014, and what would that mean for Asia? This month Matthews Asia’s Chief Investment Officer, Robert Horrocks, offers his insights into how reforms planned for China could be a key factor to change and what could lie ahead for the region overall

2014-01-22 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennyson’s advice and "ring out the old, ring in the new" by creating a list of expectations about the markets. My list involves events that the average investor thinks have only a one-in-three-chance of happening, but which I believe have more than a 50% chance of occurring. If this approach sounds familiar, it should. It’s modeled after Byron Wien’s annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-21 Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice: Bearish Forecasts from Two Top Strategists by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s been nearly 18 years since Albert Edwards forecast an "ice age" in which bonds would outperform equities. He’s 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 Superstition Ain\'t the Way by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.

2014-01-21 Stocks 2014: Investing for Growth - The Power and Protection of High Compounding Earnings Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I become more mature (translate: gotten older), my investment philosophy has slowly evolved into a more conservative posture. When I was a younger investor I felt I had time on my side, and therefore, was willing to take on greater risk as long as I believed that greater rewards could follow. In other words, if I made a mistake by investing in an aggressive and more risky growth stock that went badly, I felt I had adequate time to overcome or recover my losses. Consequently, as a younger investor I relished a good growth stock.

2014-01-21 Emerging Markets 2014 Outlook: Shaping the Next Decade by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

As we embark upon a new year, the Templeton Emerging Markets Group believes 2014 could be an important year for many emerging markets, possibly establishing trends that could play out through much of the remainder of the decade. In particular, Chinese government reform initiatives announced in late 2013 could have far-reaching significance. And, major elections in a number of countries in 2014 could bring dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) changes. Here are a few themes and countries we’ve got our eye on in the new year.

2014-01-18 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 Asia\'s Evolving Science and Tech Space by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

The main growth drivers of Asia’s science and technology industries are changing to become more domestically driven and service-oriented. These changes are happening as rising disposable income enables more Asian consumers to embrace new technologies.

2014-01-17 The Profits Bubble by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Profits are dangerously elevated by all reasonable measures. S&P 500 Index real earnings per share are far above their long-term historical trend. Industry profit margins are at or near all-time highs. Corporate profits, both as a percentage of GDP and relative to labor income, are at or near record levels. The dramatic rise in income inequality is a direct consequence of this spectacular reallocation of income to capital and away from labor.

2014-01-17 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.

2014-01-17 What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1 Percent? Not As Much As You Think by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

You might be surprised to learn that the top 20 percent of income earners bring in a household income of just over $100,000. The top 10 percent of earners have a household income of more than $148,687. To be considered in the top 1 percent, household income is at least $521,411.

2014-01-16 Keep Optimistic and Carry On by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

This is likely to be another good year for risk-on investing, as an improving economic outlook supports stocks and bonds in an environment marked by less volatility than 2013.

2014-01-14 The Great Man or the Great Wave by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

One of the seminal debates among historians is how the process of history develops, characterized as the "great man versus the great wave" debate. In this report, we will begin by developing this debate with relation to America’s superpower role; specifically, we will examine whether the U.S. is struggling with the superpower role because of a lack of leadership (a great man position) or because the wave of history is aligned against the U.S. keeping that role. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2014-01-13 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 Automation and Lean Manufacturing: Boost Profits, Squeeze Employment by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

Despite industrial production reaching all-time highs in August of this year, employment in the manufacturing sector remains substantially below levels witnessed before the 2008-2009 recession. When looking at longer term employment trends in manufacturing, it becomes clear that companies increasingly boost production without adding incremental labor. Profit margins, while not yet recovered to pre-recession peaks, endure at historically high levels. Several long-term changes in the manufacturing economy contribute to this divergence: outsourcing, automation, and lean manufacturing.

2014-01-10 2014 Economic and Investment Outlook by Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

Although the December 2013 U.S. budget pact between House and Senate negotiators was a welcome development, partisan battles over government spending still are possible in 2014. The agreement ends a three-year budget fight and sets government spending through fall 2015, but it does not eliminate the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit - the "debt ceiling."

2014-01-10 Hasenstab: Fed Tapering Was Inevitable by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its decision to reduce its $85 billion monthly asset purchase program by $10 billion starting in January 2014. What might the eventual end of the Fed’s policy of aggressive money printing mean for fixed-income investors? Michael Hasenstab, Ph.D, executive vice president, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, believes there’s no reason for investors to panic. He outlines why he thinks that’s the case, and where on the map he’s spotting fixed income opportunities.

2014-01-10 Exploring Ceylon Tea Country by Jodi Morris of Matthews Asia

Riding by train through the Sri Lankan highlands recently, I found it difficult not to be mesmerized by the views of mountains blanketed in tea plantings and cool mist. My days spent exploring Sri Lanka’s mountainous interior were among my favorite as a first-time visitor to the country.

2014-01-10 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 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 doesn’t 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").

2014-01-08 I\'m Back by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, I’m back after roughly a two-week hiatus where I didn’t do very many strategy calls, or strategy reports. I did, however, pen a letter regarding my forecast for 2014 dated 12/30/13. And for those who, like me, kicked back over the past two weeks to spend time with family and rejoice in the holidays, and did not read anything, I urge you to peruse my "2014" report.

2014-01-07 Emerging Markets 2014 Outlook: Shaping the Next Decade by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

As we embark upon a new year, the Templeton Emerging Markets Group believes 2014 could be an important year for many emerging markets, possibly establishing trends that could play out through much of the remainder of the decade. In particular, Chinese government reform initiatives announced in late 2013 could have far-reaching significance. And, major elections in a number of countries in 2014 could bring dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) changes. Here are a few themes and countries we’ve got our eye on in the new year.

2014-01-06 Too Big to Pop by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most economic observers are predicting that 2014 will be the year in which the United States finally shrugs off the persistent malaise of the Great Recession. As we embark on this sunny new chapter, we may ask what wisdom the five-year trauma has delivered.

2014-01-06 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 that’s brewing in value stocks, especially as EM economies begin to stabilize.

2014-01-03 A More Market-Friendly China by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

My last visit to Beijing happened to coincide with the Communist Party’s Third Plenum Meeting. General business sentiment was just as upbeat as it had been earlier last autumn. But through my discussions with different businesspeople, I came away with a distinct new optimism over the leadership’s more market-oriented stance on policies.

2014-01-03 Gold Stocks: What to Expect in the New Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After three years of pain, can gold stocks break their losing streak and see a gain in 2014? History says chances are good.

2013-12-30 Predictions for the 2014 U.S. Financial Markets by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I’ve 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 community’s mistrust of the U.S. government will continue to destroy America’s bottom line in the future.

2013-12-30 What Does US Tapering Mean for Asia? by Paul Chan of Invesco Blog

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) took its first step toward unwinding its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Beginning in January 2014, the Fed will reduce monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion. The scale of the tapering was very much in line with market expectation. While timing may have surprised some investors, the market had already priced in the Fed’s imminent move.

2013-12-27 Year of Turmoil for China\'s Health Care by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

2013 has been an eventful year for China’s health care industry. There were several investigations into allegations of corruption and bribe-taking by doctors.

2013-12-26 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

I admit it, I do occasionally pick on Money Magazine and other consumer financial publications, but as I’ve written in the past, for the most part, Money does a great job of educating consumers. Its story on Lessons from the Crash "Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008 sent stocks on a terrifying ride. A year-by-year look back reveals five key takeaways you need to heed today" is an excellent example. Here are Money’s "Lessons."

2013-12-24 The Price America Pays for Global Leadership by Bob Veres (Article)

America’s political debates inevitably default to finding ways to contain our federal deficits, and our investment debates focus on whether we’re 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 O’Grady, of Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, MO at the Insider’s Forum conference in Dallas.

2013-12-24 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If I asked you to name the biggest online shopping day of the year, what would you guess?

2013-12-23 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 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."

2013-12-20 Celebrating Asia\'s Growth Past and Present by Taizo Ishida, Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

Today, Matthews Asia celebrates 10 remarkable years that have passed since we launched our Asia Growth strategy to U.S. investors. During this time, the region has evolved in many significant ways. In the early 2000s, only the "Asian Tiger" economies had managed to reach GDP per capita levels considered the tipping point for consumption growth. More recently, consumption has been on the rise in many of the region’s economies, laying the foundation for Asia’s ongoing prosperity.

2013-12-20 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China has become one of the best consumption stories out there, and looking over the next few years, local technology companies are almost certain to benefit. So while many U.S. investors are getting excited about the growing number of initial public offerings in the tech sector, they would be remiss if they didn’t look beyond Silicon Valley.

2013-12-19 Georgia on My Mind by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

My team and I recently traveled to Georgia, a small country in the Caucasus Mountains straddling the border between Europe and Asia. Why are we interested in Georgia? One word: reform. Georgia, which can be considered a frontier market, is on the cusp of burgeoning change.

2013-12-18 PIMCO\'s Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Growth Is Stabilizing but Not Stellar by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO

In China, near-term economic performance will be dominated by the dialing back and forth of credit conditions by policymakers, while long-term reform progresses incrementally. Japan’s GDP growth will slow in 2014 due to a consumption tax hike but will still be above the country’s potential growth as it is assisted by reflationary policies. The pace of Australia’s growth will slow due to weakness in manufacturing and mining, reflecting tempered growth in China.

2013-12-17 How a Simple Sandwich Got a Top Prospect’s Attention by Dan Richards (Article)

Many advisors generously support charities and good causes in their communities and around the world. Here’s how to communicate that support to clients.

2013-12-17 The Monster That Is Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week, Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of the Front National (FN) of France held a press conference in The Hague to announce that they will be cooperating in the elections for the European Parliament next spring and hope to form a new eurosceptic bloc.

2013-12-17 The 2014 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international situation in the upcoming year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the "big picture" conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance.

2013-12-16 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.

2013-12-13 Disruptive Innovations in Indian Politics by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

The sweeping victories for India’s pro-business opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in recent state elections were largely expected. But more stunning, to say the least, were unexpectedly strong gains in Delhi by a nascent, novice and underfunded political party known as the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party.

2013-12-13 One of the Most Notable Stories of the Year: Energy Renaissance in the U.S.A. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Only a few years ago, we were contemplating the supply constraints facing the petroleum industry, as many major oil fields around the world were facing a decline in production. Now, with the disruptive technology in shale oil and gas, we may be looking forward to decades of drilling.

2013-12-06 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.

2013-12-06 Did the Government Shutdown Help the Economy? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Take the government shutdown in October, when the House and Senate fought over the debt ceiling. Economic data wasn’t released, services were halted, national parks were closed, and "non-essential government workers were told to stay home. As a result, GDP was expected to collapse. Yet, data released this week reveal a different, stronger image of the U.S. economy. I think Shakespeare would deem the media’s fear mongering tactics as Much Ado About Nothing.

2013-12-05 A Synchronous Expansion by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Major developed economies are all contributing to global economic growth, and this improving fundamental picture, coupled with ongoing monetary accommodation, bode well for risk assets.

2013-12-04 Gold, What Is It Good for? by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

Absolutely nothing! Well, except 5,000 years of value exchange, non-correlation, and preserving wealth...The current market environment has led many in the press to question gold’s value as an investment or an asset class, writes Miguel Perez-Santalla at BullionVault.

2013-12-04 The Eastern Lust for Gold by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Having replaced savings with debt on both the national and individual levels, I think it’s well past time for Westerners to take a few lessons from our creditors in the East. Many Americans consider gold a "barbarous relic," but in Asia, the yellow metal remains the bedrock of individual savings plans. This means that either greater than half of the world’s population are barbarians, or they’ve held onto an important tradition that our culture has forgotten.

2013-12-04 Patience in Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Investing in a multitude of markets and companies as we do within the Templeton Emerging Markets Group means that at any given point in time it may appear to some that they are underperforming or outperforming any particular benchmark index or market. Such is the nature of global financial markets. Of course, we’d like all of our investments to go straight up, but at the same time continually like to find new bargains for investors.

2013-12-04 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The second half of 2013 has posed significant challenges to growth in major Emerging Asia Pacific economies. Almost all emerging Asia Pacific economies showed signs of strain arising from stubborn inflation, higher interest rates, slower consumer spending and lukewarm exports.

2013-12-03 Turning Over Rocks by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The S&P 500 is at a record high and we believe the markets generally are fully valued. Corporate revenue growth is anemic, profit margins are stretched, and the prospect of earnings rising meaningfully is not high. And, the outlook for the U.S. and global economy is still uncertain. Market psychology is at a level suggesting the market is overbought. Margin debt is at record levels and the current popularity of stocks by retail investors at market highs is in itself a red flag.

2013-12-03 U.S. Economy Slowly Gaining Traction - What\'s Ahead for Year-End? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

As we enter the final month of 2013, my themes of the last several weeks continue - the capital markets, in general, remain quiet and U.S. economic data, while mixed, shows signs of steady improvement. This week, I’ll start by looking forward to some news we’ll be watching as the year closes out...

2013-11-30 Arsonists Running the Fire Brigade by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In the old days, central banks raised or lowered interest rates if they wanted to tighten or loosen monetary policy. In a Code Red world everything is more difficult. Policies like ZIRP, QE, LSAPs, and currency wars are immensely more complicated. Knowing how much money to print and when to undo Code Red policies will require wisdom and foresight. Putting such policies into practice is easy, almost like squeezing toothpaste. But unwinding them will be like putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

2013-11-29 ING Fixed Income Perspectives - November 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers and Matt Toms of ING Investement Management

Given rich valuations globally, we remain broadly neutral on interest rate risk with the exception of Japan.

2013-11-29 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That’s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.

2013-11-27 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Equities Gain as Currencies Remain Stable and Data Trends Show Positive Signs.

2013-11-27 International Equity Commentary - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Equities Advance as Global Manufacturing and Services Activity Gains Momentum

2013-11-26 While You Were Sleeping: Asian Developments Loom for Financial Markets by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Amid all the Fed talk dominating airwaves and headlines, a few key developments occurred overseas last week that could shape financial markets significantly in the quarters ahead.

2013-11-25 Recent Economic Trends Help Make Korea a Hidden Gem in Asia by Paul Chan and Simon Jeong of Invesco Blog

After more than two decades of financial setbacks, recent macroeconomic data is helping Korea overcome the negative economic stigma associated with its economy and equity markets.

2013-11-24 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.

2013-11-22 Understanding the Rise of China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If the sweeping economic reforms planned by Chinese leaders during the Third Plenum can be our guide, it looks to be a promising decade for global investors. Details released this week confirmed President Xi Jinping’s concerted efforts to move China toward a market-based economy that mirrors the West.

2013-11-21 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies were back on their feet during the second quarter of 2013 as economic growth gained momentum, inflation fell mildly and exports climbed strongly. Most developed countries in the region such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand reported a sharp positive swing in consumer and business confidence. Predominantly expansionary monetary and fiscal policies also helped keep the pace of economic recovery.

2013-11-21 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 year’s 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 Entrepreneurship in Asia by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

Using Silicon Valley as a yardstick to measure the success of Asia’s entrepreneurs is an interesting exercise. But it offers little insight into the development of more creative processes in Asia. Many policymakers in the region have declared innovation to be a national, strategic prioritycreating policies aimed at spurring growth to increase R&D expenditure, attract knowledge-intensive foreign direct investment and building more skilled labor pools. This month, Jerry Shih, CFA, takes a look at what changes are occurring around Asia to build more robust start-up ecosystems.

2013-11-20 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Janet Yellen’s Senate testimony in last week’s 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.

2013-11-19 France and the Iranian Negotiations by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Earlier this month, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 failed to reach an agreement despite great hopes that one was near. In this report, we will examine the reasons behind French objections to a nuclear deal with Iran. We will begin with an examination of France’s relations with the Middle East, focusing on its relations with Israel. Using this history as a guide, we will analyze why the French scotched the potential agreement. A short discussion will follow of the impact of France’s objection on the evolution of U.S. policy with Iran. As always, we conclude with market ramif

2013-11-15 In the Wake of Disaster by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

As humanitarian organizations scrambled to send relief to the Philippines this week following the country’s battering by Typhoon Haiyan, foreign governments prepared to support the rebuilding and economists looked to assess the tragedy’s near-term impact.

2013-11-15 Dressed to the Nines with Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While paper gold is getting the cold shoulder in the West, the Love Trade buyers in the East are wrapping their arms around all the physical gold they can get their hands on.

2013-11-13 Why I Sell the Dollar: From Dollar Strength to Dollar Weakness by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

To those that say the U.S. has the cleanest of the dirty shirts, we would like to point out that it hasn’t helped the greenback, as evidenced by the euro outperforming the dollar both so far this year, as well as last year. Yes, we have a mess in the Eurozone that won’t be resolved anytime soon. But we also have a mess in the U.S., Japan, and many other places around the globe.

2013-11-12 Dream to Outperform the Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

If you dream about investment market outcomes which are already popular in the marketplace, your dreams can turn into nightmares. The Everly Brothers 1958 hit song, “All I have to do is Dream” tells us a great deal about the long-term posture of investors in late 2013 and how dreams can turn to nightmares. On the other hand, if you dream about an outcome which most experts aren’t expecting, the rewards can be explosive.

2013-11-08 Who Needs Gold Really? by Miguel Perez-Santalla, Adrian Ash of BullionVault

Four reasons to waste your time with the deeply historic, deeply human value ascribed to gold...

2013-11-08 Bubbles Without Borders? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

If you are a wealthy person living in Asia, you might be tempted, with good economic reason, to look overseas to diversify your asset base. Overseas markets often offer good diversification as they are typically exposed to different economic cycles and also give exposure to different currencies. But while overseas stocks, bonds and other financial instruments all offer diversification, few asset classes seem to have the same allure as overseas propertythat is, overseas property in the right cities.

2013-11-08 Big Ideas in the Big Easy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This is likely a contrarian view to the folks in the White House, but I think investors benefit from being contrarian and thinking differently. In preparation for my presentations in New Orleans as well as for the Metals & Minerals Investment Conference in San Francisco and the Mines and Money in London in a few weeks, I’ve been pulling together this kind of research that we can all put to use now.

2013-11-07 Absolute Return Letter: Euthanasia of the economy? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

QE has had two noticeable and positive effects. It has saved the world from a financial meltdown not once, but twice, and it has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on asset prices, so in that respect QE has been a success. However, there are growing signs that QE may be beginning to impair economic growth and it may even cause dis-inflation, precisely the opposite of what was widely expected. For these reasons we believe it is time to call it quits and begin to tackle the root problem a banking industry still suffocating from bad loans.

2013-11-05 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 America’s 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.

2013-11-04 Sovereign Ambitions to Develop Infrastructure Benefit Emerging Asia's Utilities Sector by Raja Mukherji, Emily Au-Yeung of PIMCO

The scope for infrastructure development in emerging Asia is tremendous, and the utilities sector has potential to contribute to and benefit from that growth. In general, we have found that state-owned utilities benefit from a range of operational advantages, partly as a result of the government’s vested interest. PIMCO’s bottom-up research allows us to analyze evolving company- and sector-specific factors within the greater macroeconomic picture to identify the best investment ideas in Asia’s utilities sector.

2013-11-04 The Great Stall of China by Steve Cao, Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

While China is without question the growth driver and the outperformer among Asian emerging markets, it’s clear the country is transitioning toward slower growth because of demographic factors and domestic rebalancing. In our view, China is entering a multiyear period of slower growth, but we consider its future growth robust and sustainable when compared with overall global gross domestic product (GDP) growth -- albeit below the annualized pace of more than 10% China experienced from 2001 to 2010.

2013-11-01 What the End of a Greek Tragedy Means for Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After six long years, Greece’s economy is finally expected to grow in 2014. GDP expectations of 0.6 percent next year is a remarkable improvement compared to a loss of 4 percent this year. In addition to rising GDP, here are a few other significant changes from Greece lately:

2013-11-01 When Small is Big by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

There’s a popular saying in the US, “good things come in small packages,” which is generally a statement about gifts of jewelry. My team and I find this saying can apply to the investment world, too, as we often find companies that are small in size, but which may have big long-term potential.

2013-11-01 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a robust recovery in September as investor concerns about slower capital inflows to these markets faded after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to delay the tapering of bond purchases.

2013-11-01 Korea Raises Voice for Shareholders by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia

Corporate governance practices in South Korea’s family-controlled conglomerates, known as chaebol, find their roots in a social contract that was implicit in the process of the country’s economic development under military dictatorship, which began in the early 1960s. Korea’s 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.

2013-10-31 A Rebound in Global Equities by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With the U.S. economic expansion entering its fifth year and the global economic picture improving, it appears equities in Europe and Asia can still rise.

2013-10-29 We Must Avoid Seeing the New Arctic through an Old World Lens by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It would be easy to think those with a thirst for exploration were born too late - to assume that humanity has already reached every corner of the earth there is to discover. But one region - the Arctic - still contains uncharted mysteries.

2013-10-28 The Markets in a Tug of War in the Short Run by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

As the damage to sentiment that was brought about by the Washington “Drama Club,” a somewhat cautious number has come about. On October 21, 2013, the Wall Street Journal had an article detailing margin debt hitting new highs which counteracts some of the investor sentiment numbers that are detailed by several sources. To get a better understanding, we ran the margin debt as a percentage of corporate equities over the last 25 years.

2013-10-25 Environmental Awareness in Asia by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia

I traveled to China in September, quite possibly one of the best times of the year to visit in terms of weather. The air quality in both Beijing and Shanghai was actually pleasant and was very different from how it seemed during my previous visits as well as from the typical accounts one usually hears of the notorious smog in China’s major cities. It made me think about growing up during the industrialization of my home country, South Korea.

2013-10-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The upcoming check-up of eurozone banks is long overdue. Quantitative easing is having little impact on U.S. bank lending. China needs to do more to stress consumption.

2013-10-25 Why Growth is Deep in the Heart of Texas by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

TIME Magazine’s cover this week features an engaging collage of the 50 states reassembled to fit within the boundaries of Texas. With a growing number of solid-paying jobs, affordable housing, and low taxes, “the Lone Star State is America’s Future,” declares economist and writer Tyler Cowen.

2013-10-24 Risk-On Returns by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Ultra loose U.S. monetary policy continues pushing asset values higher at home and abroad. Seasonal factors should also provide a tailwind and lift asset prices across nearly every investment class.

2013-10-24 Africa's “Glass With Attitude” by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Africa has been an area of interest to our team, for many reasons. One might say Africa’s biggest asset is its youthful population. With a median age of under 20 in many countries today, that means a very high portion of Africa’s population is dependent on the adult workforce. Tomorrow, however, it means that the workforce will be massive, and the ratio of dependents to workers (the dependency ratio) could be among the lowest in the world. This huge and youthful population is a key rationale for our interest there.

2013-10-23 Singaporean Consumer Consumption and Confidence is Weak - Should Investors Worry? by Team of Manning & Napier

Singapore is the world’s 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.

2013-10-23 Can Kicked Down the Road Once Again... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Donkeys 1, Elephants 0, Congress -535. The can was kicked down the road once again. We would all like to think that Congress will avoid another last minute battle in early 2014, but unfortunately we can’t put it past the current list of non-negotiators. The only thing that is certain in the future is that it will be many election cycles before a member of Congress makes it into the World Series of U.S. Presidential ballots.

2013-10-23 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 3Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further trimmed its forecast for global growth. The Washington-based lender said expansion will be driven more by developed economies as emerging markets grapple with slowing growth and a tighter global financial scenario as interest rates hint of trending higher in advanced economies such as the United States. However, a reading of economic tea leaves for the Euro-zone and economies such as Russia, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic offers room for optimism.

2013-10-22 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.

2013-10-22 Venerated Voices? by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices? awards for articles published in Q3 2013.

2013-10-18 Formosa: Back to Beautiful by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

When the Portuguese first landed on Taiwan, they called it Ilha Formosa or “Beautiful Island.” However, Taiwan’s route to success has been far more prosaicit rapidly industrialized by mass producing a wide range of consumer goods, including textiles and footwear, toys, bicycles, appliances and computer chips. It famously grew its economy via an export-driven model, making the “Made in Taiwan” label ubiquitous.

2013-10-18 Fall is in the Air by Christopher Singleton of Kanawha Capital Management

Autumn has arrived, and many creatures have been making dutiful preparations to survive the winter months. But not all are so inclined, particularly our political leaders. Indeed, along with crisper air temperatures and more vibrant colors, it would just not feel like fall without the annual Washington squabbles to fund the federal government and increase its borrowing authority.

2013-10-18 Trying to Stop a Bull Market Has Risks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. stocks have been on a tear. The S&P 500 Index has climbed a surprising 20 percent so far this year, as a global synchronized recovery takes shape and funds flow back to equities. As I often say, investors take risks when they try to stop a bull run, and plenty of data suggest you might regret taking that action this year.

2013-10-18 Weekly Economic Commentary by Christopher Molumphy of Northern Trust

Closing the books on the U.S. budget... for now; Do we need a debt ceiling?; Study of financial market function earns the Nobel Prize.

2013-10-17 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Last quarter we wrote about the confusion that can be created by the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) two official mandates: keeping inflation in check and ensuring full employment. We also pointed out that given the rather fragile economic backdrop, talk of letting the economy stand on its own two feet by reducing their bond buying might be premature. During the third quarter, it appeared most economists felt comfortable that the Fed would indeed begin “tapering” its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage securities after the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetin

2013-10-17 Global Brand Companies: Well Positioned to Deploy Incremental Capital at High Rates of Return by Jenny Hubbard of Diamond Hill Investments

Achieving an optimal balance between growth and return on invested capital is critically important to value creation. Many discretionary product companies attain this equilibrium for a short period of time, but fickle and geographically divergent consumer preferences make it challenging to sustain over the long-term.

2013-10-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview - September 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

North Asian markets ended higher during the quarter after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Fed’s asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. On the other hand, India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region underperformed along with weakening currencies and continued fund outflows. In China, Premier Li Keqiang’s statement that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, coupled with better-than-expected economic data, brought some relief to the equity markets.

2013-10-16 Being Contrarian Could Lead to Lucrative Energy Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

2013-10-15 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 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Flip-flopping Federal Reserve (Fed) policy defined the third quarter. Last quarter, the Fed threw the markets a curve ball by announcing possible tapering of its large-scale asset purchases beginning this year. That “taper talk” set off a mini-riot in global bond markets. Many emerging market (EM) countries, like Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, were the biggest victims, as their bond yields rose and their currencies crashed.

2013-10-15 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 company’s accounting decisions and the implications they can have on financial reports.

2013-10-15 The Turmoil in Washington by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

At the time of this publication the budget situation has not been resolved, although it appears that both parties are backing away from the default abyss. However, given that these crises seem to come once or twice a year, it seemed appropriate to weigh in on the geopolitical impact of the intractable problems of American government.

2013-10-14 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Equities generally performed well across the board in the third quarter. The S&P 500 Index’s solid 5.24% return built on strong gains from earlier in the year. The Index has returned more than 19% through September, surpassing expectations at the start of the year. Slow but steady economic growth in the US, support from the Federal Reserve (the Fed), and more recently, signs of potentially better growth in Europe and Asia have been important positive catalysts.

2013-10-12 These Could be the Most Lucrative Energy Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

2013-10-11 Now Showing in Macau by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

What is most impressive about Macau today is the strong sense of collaboration and commitment from all involved parties: both Macau and mainland Chinese government officials and casino operators. While Asia’s other gambling centers (Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and the Philippines) have also seen waves of notable development in recent years, Macau, in my opinion, should be recognized as the gold standard of the gaming space in Asia.

2013-10-11 Flying Blind: Forecasting with No Data or Endgame by Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial

Everything from the government shutdown to posturing regarding the lifting of the debt ceiling has heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook. Consumer and business confidence have fallen since the threat of a shutdown emerged, while the reality has taken a toll on communities where a large number of federal workers have been furloughed. Everyone, from cab drivers to restaurant owners, small retailers and (largely) defense manufacturers, were affected in the early days of the partial shutdown of government agencies.

2013-10-10 Economic and Market Overview: Third Quarter 2013 by Team of Envestnet

The economic environment in the third quarter was one of growth, albeit at a slower pace than most economists, and the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), believe can be self-‐sustaining. The slow but steady gains the economy made were enough to buoy the stock market, but likely only because the Fed has seen it necessary to maintain its aggressive monetary policy. While employment gains were anemic during the quarter, the unemployment rate actually declined to 7.3%, largely due to a contraction in the labor force.

2013-10-09 Little Visible Progress on the Budget Shutdown, but Some Inside Baseball In Play by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama canceled his planned visit to Asia and participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summitciting the inconvenience caused by the government shutdown (“the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown), sending John Kerry in his place, and reiterating his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans.

2013-10-09 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q3 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

We believe the gold market is set up for a major advance, but recognize that the timing of a turn has been elusive and frustrating. The longer current Fed policies remain in force, the greater the potential disruption to financial markets when it changes, most likely due to events yet unforeseen. Still, conventional economic commentary remains confident of Fed competence to unwind its balance sheet. When this confidence dissipates, as we expect, investment demand for gold will resurface in the most forceful manner.

2013-10-08 The Market May Be Signaling a Return to a More Typical Recovery by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Despite the Fed’s indecision about whether or not to taper, we see evidence that business activity is normalizing and the global economy is getting healthier. Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about how economically sensitive sectors have begun to benefit from rising rates in the small-cap rally, how recent news coming out of China has affected certain portfolio investments, where he is currently seeing long-term opportunities, and stocks in which he has high confidence.

2013-10-08 Detente with Iran? by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

On September 28th, President Obama reportedly called Iranian President Rouhani to confer over American and Iranian relations. In addition, Iran’s nuclear program was discussed. This was a historic eventthe first documented call between a U.S. president and his counterpart in Iran in 35 years. The last time such a conversation occurred was when the Shah was in power.

2013-10-08 Absolute Return Letter: Heads or tails? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

Demographics captivate me. There are around 7.1 billion of us occupying planet earth today, going to 10 billion by 2050. I often think about how good old mother earth will cope with the additional 3 billion people we are projected to produce between now and 2050. More people translate into increased pressure on already scarce resources, but that is only part of the story and a story well covered by now.

2013-10-07 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.

2013-10-04 The Economy, the Fed, and Politics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

It was a good quarter to invest in equities, and despite a down second quarter, overall a good year as well. The Dow was up 1.5%, the S&P 4.7% and the NASDAQ 10.8%. Year-to-date returns were very positive with the Dow up 15.5%, S&P up 17.9%, and NASDAQ up 24.9%. International equities were also positive for the quarter and year with the MSCI ACWI ex US up 9.4% and up 7.5% year-to-date. While emerging market equity indices were up 5% for the quarter they remained negative -6.4% for the year.

2013-10-04 New Experiment in Shanghai by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

In an attempt to further liberalize China’s economy, central government officials have created an experimental new free trade zone, which officially opened for business this week. The zone combines four existing but smaller development areas within Shanghai that are already exempt from import and export tariffs.

2013-10-04 Is the Pump Primed for Emerging Markets Investors? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The vulnerabilitiesor rather, perceived vulnerabilitiesof emerging markets have been the focus of heightened discussions over the past few months. Concerns about the health of emerging markets came on the heels of political upheavals in Egypt, economic deceleration in China and protest demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey this summer.

2013-10-04 The Fire Fueling Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For patient, long-term investors looking for a great portfolio diversifier, a moderate weighting in gold and gold stocks may be just the answer. And, today, when looking across the gold mining industry, you’ll find plenty of companies that have paid attractive dividends, many higher than the 5-year government yield.

2013-10-02 The Math is Pretty Straightforward... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Congress and the White House must be pretty fired up that D&D2 started filming last week. The new movie might be the only thing more stupid than our elected leaders failing to negotiate and reach a deal. Most everyone either wants to spend our tax dollars like drunken professional athletes or hold our economy and financial markets hostage via a government shutdown and failure to raise the debt ceiling.

2013-10-01 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.

2013-10-01 Putin's Gambit by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Earlier this month, President Obama found himself in a very difficult position regarding Syria. An ill-advised comment about making the use of chemical weapons a “red line” forced a response when the weapons were clearly used in Syria. The administration began moving toward a military response. However, support for military operations was lacking both domestically and internationally. The clearest signal of this opposition was the British Parliament’s vote to prevent P.M. Cameron from authorizing military action in support of the expected U.S. military strike.

2013-09-30 Investing In Corporate Bonds: The Compelling Case For Active Management by Ed Devlin, Michael Kim of PIMCO

Passive investment returns in the Canadian corporate bond market have been unimpressive because of the way corporate bond indices are constructed and factors unique to the Canadian market. Unconstrained by these limitations, active managers with global reach may provide superior returns. The current environment presents an attractive opportunity for Canadian investors to implement a wide discretion, active approach to managing corporate bonds.

2013-09-30 Congress Holds Equities Hostage by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equity advances ended last week and the S&P 500 declined -1.0%.1 Markets appeared concerned about overbought conditions from a strong run up over the past three weeks and uneasy about Federal Reserve (Fed) monetary policy normalization as well as the credibility of its communication strategy. Other widespread reasons for the downturn included increased focus on the fiscal battles in Washington, D.C., heightened worries about a possible near-term government shutdown and the contentious debt ceiling debate.

2013-09-30 Fourth Quarter Outlook: A Turning Point? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

It seems sometimes that the outlook for the global economy and the markets has been unchanged for years. Since the end of the recession, each year has commenced with forecasts that the United States economy would break out of its below-trend growth mode, only to see expectations dashed. Meanwhile, Europe has been mired in its own recession as it struggles with heavy post-crisis debt burdens. Growth has slowed in the emerging markets, ending the commodity boom of the first decade of this century.

2013-09-30 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 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 Achievement Awards Announced at the 2013 Insider’s Forum Conference and Leadership Forum by Bob Veres (Article)

The first annual Insider’s 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 Global Destinations for Yield by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While U.S. stocks are increasingly due for a consolidation, the outlook for global equities is improving. Now appears to be a good time for investors to increase allocations toward Asia and Europe.

2013-09-27 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.

2013-09-27 Bridging the Gap: Global Listed Infrastructure by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton

Simply spreading your investments across a smattering of asset classes with the idea that diversification should automatically produce a positive result is an approach that’s maybe a little too similar to a roll of the dice. For investors hunting for classes to diversify into, Wilson Magee, Director of Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Securities, Franklin Templeton Real Asset Advisors, and co-manager of Franklin Global Listed Infrastructure Fund, has one word: infrastructure.

2013-09-27 Celebrate with Tokyo by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Many in Tokyo erupted with delight and excitement following the recent news of the city’s selection as host to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Following a failed bid in 2016, Tokyo edged out rivals Istanbul and Madrid on its way to becoming the first Asian city to host the Games for a second time.

2013-09-27 The Weekly Speculator by Michael Shaoul, Ranita Ragunathan, Timothy Brackett, Brendan Moynihan of Marketfield Asset Management

We wrote last week on the eve of the FOMC meeting which resulted in the surprising decision not to reduce the current program of treasury and mortgage security purchases. What was to our eyes equally surprising was the volume and strident tone of the commentary that was issued following this release, ranging from the arrogant to the outraged as if anything really meaningful had changed.

2013-09-27 How to Profit from a Changing China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe China’s rebalancing is positive for investors who selectively invest in its stocks. As Jim O’Neill puts it, “When a country is embarking on a significant compositional change to its economy, stock-pickers rather than index-trackers have the upper hand.”

2013-09-25 Secular Trends in Asian Credit Markets Shape Long-Term Investment Themes by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The next several years will likely see many Asian corporate issuers to come to the market for financing, whether to pursue long-term business plans or to employ traditional corporate finance and leverage strategies. Rigorous credit research, flexible resources, experienced local portfolio management and strong relationships with local stakeholders are all crucial to uncovering attractive opportunities while monitoring volatility in Asia’s credit markets.

2013-09-24 Michael Aronstein’s 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.

2013-09-24 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Hail the Almighty Fed. Despite a rather hectic week on the economic calendar, investors instead focused primarily on news from the Federal Reserve. They rejoiced the end of Summer’s campaign for Chair and further rejoiced another Fed meeting with far more words than action. The week ended with profit-taking and plenty of uncertainty heading into the homestretch of the year.

2013-09-24 The U.S. Deficit Shrank, but Will It Come Back Bigger Than Ever? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

The U.S. deficit has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. Experts weigh in on how this will affect upcoming budget negotiations.

2013-09-23 Aberdeen Global Investment Outlook: September 2013 by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

The point of maximum policy accommodation may now be in sight: Markets volatile as investors forced to contemplate U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) exit strategy. Slowing growth in China is putting pressure on Asian and emerging markets to develop domestic led demand. This time really could be different for Japan - however reflating the economy was never going to be easy.

2013-09-21 India's Need for Labor Reform by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

India has long been recognized as a country of vast potential. With over 1.2 billion people, it boasts nearly one-fifth of the world’s working age population. However, the country’s laws hark back to a period when India’s political philosophy was still rooted in socialisma time when the government ran its own factories. Such laws have failed to keep pace with the economic liberalization program that began in 1991.

2013-09-21 How Did The Fed Catch Markets Off Guard? What Does it Mean for Investors? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

We think this decision prolongs the positive market environment we have seen in both equities and fixed income. With the Fed seemingly a distance away from tapering and raising rates, this could bode well for the risk sectors, where we could see further tightening in credit spreads on both high yield and investment-grade corporate bonds.

2013-09-20 Growth and Rising Stars by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

While developed market growth in several regions is picking up cyclically from low levels, overall global economic growth should remain subdued over the next several years. We believe credit spread tightening and rating upgrades are most likely for specific companies in industries and areas with strong growth. We see these "rising star" companies in the U.S. and European auto sector, the gaming, energy and chemical industries and in sectors tied to the U.S. housing market.

2013-09-16 Russia is Tough to Love, Easier to Hate, Hard for Investors to Ignore. Here\'s Why by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Russian President Vladimir Putin created a stir recently when he shared his thoughts with Americans in an op-ed printed in The New York Times. According to The Times, very few pieces written by heads of state have been published by the paper and very few received the attention Putin attracted.

2013-09-13 Trumping Cheap Labor by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

Wages in China have surely risen, and some pundits argue that this growth will eventually make the country less competitive. But more nuanced and recent theories suggest that manufacturing centers can cluster around pools of more skilled labor, transportation networks and economies of scale. This month, Teresa Kong, CFA, examines the reasons why China is about more than just low-cost workers.

2013-09-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended lower in August, chiefly due to concerns about currency weakness in India and Indonesia, while improved macroeconomic data from China contributed to this market’s outperformance. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan fell by 1.3% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 0.71% lower during the month. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-09-13 What's Developing in Emerging Markets by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Despite strong returns in United States equity markets, a different story has played out in the emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, a proxy for emerging market equity returns, has fallen 9.94 percent year-to-date through Aug. 31, 2013. In contrast, the S&P 500, a proxy for U.S. equity markets, has risen 16.15 percent over that same span.

2013-09-13 Start Bargain Hunting in Asian Stocks Again? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you compare the Asian stock market these days to prior years, it’s looking like “dj vu” all over again, says Credit Suisse.

2013-09-13 September Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Year-to-date end-August the strategy performed well with a gain of 22.2% vs. 14.6% for the benchmark. During the month, the index “tumbled” 3.9%, partly out of fear of foreign military action in Syria and partly that central banks would cease printing money to hold down interest rates commonly known as tapering. Even so, the portfolio held up in August, with a much lesser 2.4% fall, thereby further widening outperformance over the index to 760 basis points so far in 2013.

2013-09-13 Open for Business Down Under by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

Swiftly after fighting off what most observers deemed to be a fairly weak incumbent Labor opposition in the recent Australian election, the leader of the Conservative coalition and the country’s newly crowned Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, firmly declared Australia to be “once more open for business."

2013-09-12 The Best Time to Own Cash: No Return is Better than a Negative Return by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about "the best time for an investor to own cash," which somewhat counter-intuitively, he believes is when that cash pays nothing.

2013-09-12 Approaching a Turning Point by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Higher interest rates continue to negatively affect the real economy, increasing the susceptibility of risk assets to downside risk.

2013-09-12 Opportunity Out of Uncertainty: Finding Investment Ideas in a Rising Market by Jay Kaplan of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Principal Jay Kaplan talks about investing in a slow-growth, high-price environment and discusses where we are in the current retail cycle, companies in which he has high confidence, and his experience with a long-term holding.

2013-09-11 Absolute Return Letter: A Case of Broken BRICS? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

EM currencies, stocks and bonds have struggled since the Fed signalled its intent to change course in late May. This has seemingly triggered an exodus of speculative capital from emerging markets but, as is always the case, there is more to the story than that. EM countries (ex. China) no longer run a current account surplus with the rest of the world, and this hurts global liquidity. It is not yet a re-run of the 1997-98 Asian crisis, but it has the potential to become one with all sorts of consequences for bond yields in developed markets, currency wars, etc.

2013-09-10 Investor Anxiety + Uncertainty = More Volatility Ahead by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As Russ expected, both equity and bond market volatility have risen in recent weeks. Russ explains why this rocky road is likely to continue, and he provides two ideas for potentially insulating portfolios amid volatility.

2013-09-06 The Emerging Markets Debt Evolution by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

My colleagues Mauro Ratto, Head of Emerging Markets, and Yerlan Syzdykov, Head of Emerging Markets Bond & High Yield, offered these thoughts on emerging markets.

2013-09-06 India - A World of Contrasts by William Hackett of Matthews Asia

Recently, I had the opportunity to join one of our Matthews Asia portfolio managers during a research trip to India, and was reminded of both the importance of such on-the-ground visits as well as the rigor required to conduct them.

2013-09-06 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

“Good” economic news in developed markets has been overshadowed lately by the “bad” (burgeoning Asian currency crisis) and the “ugly” (Syria). Unwinding central bank support from the markets will be arduous; it is already contributing to destabilization of certain emerging market currencies. News out of Washington this autumn tapering, Fed leadership and the debt ceiling has the potential to add volatility and uncertainty. The U.S. equity market has been the place to be this year, but diversification remains key.

2013-09-06 Will Gold Follow Its Seasonal Pattern This Year? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are factors beyond Syria this week driving gold. That’s the Love Trade. This group gives gold as gifts for loved ones during important holidays and festivals. This is the time of the year that we are in the midst of right now. Historically, September has been gold’s best month of the year. Looking at more than four decades of monthly returns, the precious metal has seen its biggest increase this month, averaging 2.3 percent.

2013-09-05 India and Indonesia by Team of Matthews Asia

Comments from the Federal Reserve to begin reducing its stimulus operations have weighed heavily on markets across Asia in recent weeks. Growing investor concerns have largely centered on those economies that have been running current account deficits and that are likely to be further impacted by lower growth forecasts and reduced capital inflows. More short term, speculative flows from investors into fast-growing Asian economies have also fallen as expectations for higher interest rates in the U.S. have risen.

2013-09-05 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 aren’t just a developed-market phenomenon.

2013-09-03 So Step Right Up, Pick Your Favorites... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So with the backing of The White House, the State Department, the Senate & The Economist, the United States is going to launch Tomahawks on Syrian targets. The President did say that he will let Congress vote on a strike, but both he, Secretary Kerry and Senator Reid let it be known that they will be lighting fuses soon. So as a refresher as to who is supporting whom in Syria, the chart below will both assist and thoroughly confuse you...

2013-09-03 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 region’s 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.

2013-08-30 Ramen for Everyone by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Matthews Asia’s investment team members regularly travel across Asia to conduct research. Between meeting with management teams, touring factories and catching flights from one destination to the next, we do, on occasion, need to eat. Sometimes it’s room service at midnight while typing up meeting notes, other times we may try some local food. For me, as a ramen lover, the growing number of ramen restaurants across Asia has been a real treat. Apparently, I’m not alone in that thought.

2013-08-30 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global policy-makers increasingly at odds with one another. Foreign exchange reserves may hold key to stabilizing emerging markets. Geopolitics weigh heavily on energy markets.

2013-08-30 An American Energy Revolution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In Texas these days, there’s a feeling of absolute and unwavering confidence in the concept of an American energy revolution. From the depths of reserves to the richness of the energy, an incredible transformation is taking place.

2013-08-29 Have Emerging Markets Gotten Oversold? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At Templeton, we’ve repeatedly championed our value-driven philosophy by frequently buying at times others are most pessimistic. This is not easy to do, even for seasoned market veterans. During the past few months, emerging markets have been subject to such pessimism. These periods of short-term volatility are certainly not new to us, and don’t change our long-term conviction of the potential emerging markets hold.

2013-08-29 Earnings: Just Good Enough by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Corporate profits aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the rate of growth should be sufficient to support further equity market gains.

2013-08-28 America is Turning Into a \"Part-Time Nation\" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Part-time work accounted for a whopping 77% of the jobs the US economy created from January through July, according to household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year during the same time period, part-time jobs were only 53% of the total versus 47% full-time jobs. This trend toward part-time, low paying jobs is accelerating rapidly.

2013-08-27 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.

2013-08-27 Emerging Markets Feel the Ripples of Fed Tapering by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Many Emerging Market currencies (notably those of India, Brazil and Indonesia) have been weak since the beginning of May. The declines accelerated sharply in recent weeks, leading to something approaching panic in several markets last week.

2013-08-24 Hong Kong: A Gateway to Chinese Companies by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

While many investors and businesses in Hong Kong are struggling with China’s slowed-growth policy, increased rates on commercial rentals, and government intervention to cool the residential property market, we at Royce are looking for opportunities in Hong Kong-listed companiesour primary entrance to gain access to Chinese companieswhose valuations are reflective of the macro challenges facing their economy.

2013-08-24 Revisiting the USD Bull Market by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

The USD bull market has begun with signs that the USD is transitioning to a cyclical currency. Monetary policy divergences in G4, slowing in USD diversification and a dramatic turnaround in the twin deficits, provide a strong fundamental underpinning to a USD rally going forward.

2013-08-23 Why We Still Like China by Philippe Brugere-Trelat, Andrew Sleeman of Franklin Templeton Investments

When China, the world’s second-largest economy and an engine of global growth, sneezes many other markets catch colds. A spike in the country’s short-term lending rate in June gave some investors the sniffles at least temporarily, while others have turned bearish on China amid concerns growth rates this year could be under the weather. However, many investors may be overlooking some powerful macro-economic long-term shifts taking place in the economy that could ultimately improve China’s bill of health.

2013-08-23 Is Asian Turbulence a Win for China? by Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

While this week’s sell-off in Asian currency and bond markets does not, as yet, amount to a crisis in our view, it is obviously cause for concern. At this stage, we think two outcomes are likely: one is that central banks and supranational funding agencies will work together to avert a full-blown crisis; the other is that China will emerge with its power and prestige as a regional financial powerhouse considerably enhanced.

2013-08-23 5 China Charts That Look Bullish for Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the past few months, investors have seen better economic data coming out of Europe. Consumer confidence in the continent has been rising, manufacturing data is improving and the fiscal situation is on the mend. Now, China appears to be strengthening as well, which could signal better times ahead. Below are five charts that look bullish for China and commodities. While not meant to be comprehensive, they do point to areas where investors might want to pay close attention.

2013-08-21 Asia Brief: On Economic Evolution in Cambodia by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Cambodia’s recent national Assembly elections offer hope that the country may be able to achieve a peaceful political transition in the coming years. The country’s political turmoil has held it back behind its neighbors, but tourism and gar- ment assembly are driving an acceleration in economic output growth. However, Cambodia is at risk from inflation through imported petroleum, and its youthful population will want to see improving GDP per capita feeding through into higher living standards, rather than a higher hydrocarbon bill.

2013-08-20 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.

2013-08-19 What Triggers Would Make Japanese Equities Attractive? by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

Through the second quarter of 2013, Japan remained Invesco International Growth Fund’s largest underweight versus the Custom International Growth Index because our EQV (earnings, quality and valuation) discipline criteria drive us toward high-quality companies at reasonable valuations, and those are scarce in Japan. Why? Because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s success is being priced in, and overcoming two decades lost to stagnation is difficult.

2013-08-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview July 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian markets ended higher in July after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Fed’s asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. In China, Premier Li Keqiang stated that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, which brought some cheer to the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 1.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-08-16 When Filial Piety is a Legal Obligation by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Filial piety is a concept well-ingrained in many Asian cultures. Children are often taught to respect their elders, appreciate their hard work of parenting and to reciprocate that gratitude by looking after them in their old age.

2013-08-16 The Telecommunications Services Sector Untethered and Poised to Grow by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Suffice it to say that the Telecommunications Services sector of today is not your grandfather’s Telecommunications Services sector. The explosion, and rapidly becoming ubiquitous implementation, of wireless technologies have been disruptive and game changing. As a result, the very nature of the established stalwarts within this industry have gone through an extraordinary metamorphosis.

2013-08-16 What Happens When You Tell Indians to Stop Buying Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With the government in India raising its import tax for gold to 10 percent this week, I firmly believe Indians will continue indulging in gold, even if they have to smuggle it in.

2013-08-15 China and the Outlook for Financial Crises by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

China’s elevated and rising debt levels appear to be one of the largest risks to the global economy today. Although it is difficult to gauge when the risks in that country could manifest as a crisis, investors should act with the knowledge that the margin of safety in the global investment environment continues to decrease.

2013-08-15 What Lies Ahead for China? McKinsey Lists 10 Forces by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

By 2022, research by McKinsey suggests that 75 percent of urban consumers in China will earn around $9,000 to $34,000. This income level, which is currently between the average earned in Brazil and Italy, is only 4 percent of what Chinese households were bringing home in 2000.

2013-08-13 China Struggles to Fight the Trend by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Prior to the global financial crisis, decoupling’ was the word du jour. In the years since the crisis began, however, decoupling has vanished from the everyday lexicon. In recent weeks, the financial media noticed a new form of decoupling, one that shows improving growth prospects in the developed world but slower growth in developing economies. Rightly or otherwise, much of that slowdown is pinned on China and recent data continues to suggest a slower pace of growth than investors became accustomed to in prior decades.

2013-08-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Asia’s emerging nations, the darling of the world economy since the 2000s, uncharacteristically slowed in the first quarter of 2013. After a decade of robust growth, many of Asia’s fast-growing economies are coming to terms with structural changes. Asian currencies, which had appreciated quite a bit over the past few years thanks to ultra-loose monetary policy in the developed world, came tumbling down at the first talk of a slowdown in the supply of cheap money.

2013-08-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Many developed economies in the Asia Pacific region rebounded during the second quarter of 2013 to post a healthy set of growth and inflation numbers. Turning on the monetary spigots during the past one year provided a major fillip to many developed Asian economies. Countries that fumbled in the wake of natural disasters in the recent past, showed marked improvement. Even those countries that were said to be suffering from structural deficiencies, too, responded well to the monetary medicine administered by their various central banks.

2013-08-13 The Gordon Dilemma by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will discuss Professor Gordon’s thesis, examine the geopolitical impact if he is correct and offer some criticisms of his thesis. We will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2013-08-13 Dog Days of Summer Are Upon Us by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Hopefully you are reading this from the beach, because there is so little news happening in the markets that those of us in the office are about to start making news up to justify stock price movements. But while news and volumes are at August lows, here are some thoughts that might ring a bell to help you to either make some money or to set down your smartphone and get back to the water.

2013-08-09 A Surprising Way to Play a Europe Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After a lengthy period of stagnant growth and lackluster results, the gradual crescendo of improving economic data that’s been coming out of Europe lately certainly commands attention.

2013-08-09 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.

2013-08-08 Investment Advice Technology and How to Lose Money in the Coming Years by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Adventures are good for my soul. They create wonderful memories, both of where I have been and all the effort it took to get there. All of us have memories, both good and not so good. I am a bit worried about the near term future.

2013-08-06 We Shale Rise by Janus Equity Investment team of Janus Capital Group

The U.S. oil and gas boom largely underpinned the country’s economic recovery, but this is only the beginning. Don’t underestimate what cheap oil and natural gas means for the U.S. economy, or how long this advantage could last.

2013-08-06 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.

2013-08-05 Can It Get Any Better Than This? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What in the world is going on?! As I write this letter from the Maine woods, the S&P 500 has just cleared 1,700 for the first time. The German DAX continues to set all-time highs above 8,400. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 is quickly approaching its 1999 record high of 6,930, and its mid-cap cousin, the FTSE 250, just broke through to its all-time level above 15,000. And last but not least, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is extending its gains once more, toward 14,500.

2013-08-05 Two Charts Illustrate How to “Follow the Money” by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Too often investors get caught up in their political allegiance or parties, focus on the negative and lose confidence in stocks. As a result, they can miss great bull markets. I believe when it comes to finding investment opportunities, it’s not about the political party, it’s about the policies, both monetary and fiscal.

2013-08-02 Tech-Savvy Elections in India by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

The democratic process in India is famously complex with innumerable caste coalitions and competing interests. With poverty widespread and so many living in remote villages, voter turnout can pose unique challenges.

2013-08-01 Lack of US Economic Growth May Slow Fed Tapering by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management

While we are encouraged that the U.S. economy has been growing, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, for 15 consecutive quarters starting in the third quarter of 2009, we are concerned that the growth rate has been below that of previous economic recoveries and the economy appears to be stalling and struggling to get back above a 2% growth rate thus far in 2013.

2013-07-31 Still High Time for High Yield? by Team of Rainier Funds

Given recent strong performance and yields hovering at historic lows, a current topic of debate has been whether the high yield bond market has become an asset bubble and how much of a risk is the potential end to the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy to high yield investors. While we at Rainier acknowledge there are current risks in the fixed income market, we believe these concerns are not unique to high yield bonds.

2013-07-31 The Context of Price by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

While the stock market has enjoyed a recent rally, some investors are experiencing some “weakness in the knees” as they continue to ascend the climb. These new all-time highs in the market compound the problem for some investors as they suffer from the recency effect, or the not-too-distant memory of significant market losses.

2013-07-30 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 Who Let the Ferrari Out of the Garage? by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

With just three trading days left in the month, July is in the running for the title of least volatile month of the year, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index averaging moves of just 0.39% this month through Thursday’s close. That is lower than the 0.41% and 0.42% averages of January and March, respectively, when stocks were grinding slowly, but steadily higher.

2013-07-30 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 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary June 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined appreciably on heightened investor concerns over an early withdrawal of the monetary stimulus measures in the developed world. The most recent policy statement issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was more optimistic about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy, and comments by Fed officials seemed to suggest that the central bank is preparing to wind down its bond purchase program.

2013-07-26 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 Beijing’s 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.

2013-07-26 Is Europe Ready to Take Off? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After the U.S.’s huge run, is it possible the country will be handing off the baton across the Atlantic for the next leg of the relay race? Here are a few areas of strength that could send European stocks higher.

2013-07-25 Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Investors have faced a torrent of central bank actions and communications during the last month, and markets continue to differentiate among economies and companies a welcome maturation from the markets’ prior regime of “risk on/risk off.” We believe the Federal Reserve has moved from an easing bias to one of tightening but at an elongated pace that will remain data dependent. Joining in this parsimony are some key emerging-market central banks, including the People’s Bank of China, which is working to control credit risk in the Chinese economy.

2013-07-23 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 doesn’t take a PhD in mathematics to determine which route is more likely to take an investor to higher performance.

2013-07-23 Emerging Markets: Undervalued or Value Trap? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In the first quarter, we explored the divergence of emerging market equities from the US. We noted that a combination of factors likely drove the 12% performance differential, including investor risk appetites, inflationary pressures in developing markets, and reduced commodity price expectations.

2013-07-23 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.

2013-07-22 Can China Give Credit Where It's Due? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

June was a rough month for China’s economy and its financial markets. Old concerns about sustainable growth came to the fore, as reports surfaced and resurfaced, recounting liquidity shortages, misdirected and excessive credit growth, gyrating interest rates, and signs of weakness in manufacturing. Commentators and analysts alike voiced fears of a Chinese collapse on a par with America’s subprime crisis. For the second time in as many years, several in the global financial community have prophesized a “hard” landing for China’s economy.

2013-07-22 The Purgatory of Low Returns by James Montier of GMO

This might just be the cruelest time to be an asset allocator. Normally we find ourselves in situations in which at least something is cheap; for instance when large swathes of risk assets have been expensive, safe haven assets have generally been cheap, or at least reasonable (and vice versa). This was typified by the opportunity set we witnessed in 2007.

2013-07-20 Any Bonds Today? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Given the acknowledged limitations of the CPI, we nevertheless use it in myriad ways. It governs cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries, government employees, and many labor union members. CPI is baked into the general cake, even though we know it is an imperfect fit in almost every situation.

2013-07-19 Asia\'s Startup Incubators by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

As some of our readers may already know, Matthews Asia is headquartered in San Francisco and just north of Silicon Valley, home to some of the world’s largest technology corporations as well as a hotbed for tech startups. The rise of Silicon Valley has been bolstered by its connections to nearby Stanford University as well as to the emergence of the area’s venture capital industry on Sand Hill Road since the 1970s. This energy and entrepreneurial culture has helped create many innovative ventures that have disrupted traditional businesses.

2013-07-19 Challenging a Long-Held Assumption about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It is widely accepted that China spurred higher commodity prices in the past decade. And if the country was the force behind the boom, then the assumption is that China’s lower, but still healthy growth will be a drag on commodity prices. But recent research challenges this assumption.

2013-07-18 ASEANSeeking Further Integration by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia

Southeast Asia is pushing ahead with an economic initiative analogous to the E.U. called the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The 10-member bloc is striving to make this partnershipwhich envisions creating a single market and production base and developing closer economic ties both within the region and the broader global economya reality by 2015. In-Bok Song, takes a look at the benefits and hurdles that may be expected in this lengthy process for further integration of such aspects as liberalized trade, investment, skilled labor and free flow of capital.

2013-07-18 The Death of Disasterism by Steven Vincent of BullBear Trading

From late 2012 I have been gradually layering and developing the thesis that a secular bull market started in November of 2012 (with a possible revised start date of June 2012), ending the sideways secular bear market that started in 2000. Here are the basic components of that thesis through the last report.

2013-07-16 Herbert Huebscher (1926-2013) by Robert Huebscher (Article)

My dad passed away on July 8. My eulogy is below.

2013-07-12 China\'s Very Relative Malaise by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at “China’s Very Relative Malaise”, an observation which he describes as “a vaguely uneasy feeling that seemed to be shared by most (Chinese) but not always for the same reasons.”

2013-07-12 Deregulating Korean Telecom by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia

Renowned as the world’s 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.

2013-07-12 Hasenstab: Emerging Out of the Consensus Trade by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Just when is a potential long-term reward worth the short-term risk? Investors are often most focused on the short-term pain of a particular event (hard to blame them), losing sight of possible outcomes farther out into the future. That could partially explain what’s going on in the emerging markets right now, at least according to Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.

2013-07-12 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-12 Commodities 2013 Halftime Report: A Time to Mine for Opportunity? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It was a challenging first half of the year for most commodities, with only two resources we track on our Periodic Table of Commodities Returns rising in value. Natural gas and oil rose 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while silver lost a third of its value and gold lost a quarter of its price from the beginning of the year.

2013-07-12 Global Markets at Mid-Year by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Most investors based in the U.S. are walking around thinking “the market has gone way up this year.” They are rightif they are talking about certain indexes within a big wide world of markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. But the disparity (i.e. lack of correlation) among markets has been striking. I think that the best way to convey this to you is to simply show you how a small group of market indexes have done for the year-to-date yesterday along with brief commentary, in bullet point form.

2013-07-11 Turmoil and Transition in China by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Tensions in Asia are rising, as China attempts to move toward a more market driven economy. This, combined with the ongoing ultra loose monetary conditions in Japan, has elevated the threat of a financial crisis in the region between now and the end of 2013.

2013-07-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview June 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets in Asia ended generally lower in the second quarter of 2013 due to concerns over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s apparent shift towards a more balanced monetary policy stance following Chairman Bernanke’s statements suggesting a “tapering” of its asset purchase program.

2013-07-10 Market Perspectives Q2 2013: Fed Fears by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Investors have been hypersensitive to the inevitable reversal of the Federal Reserve’s bond purchasing economic stimulus program known as QE3. Signs of sustainable economic recovery have been closely monitored as a harbinger of a likely end of the program.

2013-07-09 U.S. Stocks Continue to Dominate ? What’s Next? by Ron Surz (Article)

U.S. stocks earned 2.5% in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date return up to a lofty 14%. By contrast, the EAFE index lost 1% in the quarter, bringing its year-to-date return down to 4%. In fact, as shown in the following graph, no other asset class comes even close to the return on U.S. stocks so far this year.

2013-07-09 Whitney George on 2Q13: Stocks Continue to Look More Appealing Than Fixed Income by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

In addition to detailing what sectors currently look attractive to him from a valuation standpoint, Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George discusses three stocks that exemplify his approach, the current case for active small-cap management, why stocks look more attractive than fixed income, and his opinions on the market’s decline in late June.

2013-07-05 Accessing Myanmar\\\'s Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Did you know that in the first half of the last century, Myanmar had twice the GDP per capita of China? What a difference a few decades and government policies make, as China is ten-fold the size of Myanmar today, according to UBS Research. The change in wealth between the two nations is a prime example of how government policies can have a tremendous effect on a country’s growth.

2013-07-05 The Asian Giant Stampeding into Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In this environment, gold should remain attractive. However, as the West flees the precious metal, another set of gold buyers has come forward with the aim to preserve wealth. Take a look at the chart below which shows total gold production compared to the gold deliveries on the COMEX and the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

2013-07-04 The Free-Trade Charade by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The negotiations to create a free-trade area between the US and Europe, and another between the US and much of the Pacific (except for China), are not about establishing a true free-trade system. Instead, the goal is a managed trade regime managed, that is, to serve the special interests that have long dominated trade policy in the West.

2013-07-03 Getting Back to “Normal” by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Fed’s plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. The primary risk to hedge is now economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. It’s not too late for investors to move away from defensive positioning and back toward a standard allocation.

2013-07-03 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The portfolio performed very well in May, taking the year to date net gain to 15.0%, vs. 3.5% for the index. There were two causes for the good numbers: stock selection i.e. ignoring index weightings - and the avoidance of countries with deteriorating balance of payments and budget deficits, and with high government debt to GDP ratios, such as Hungary, Poland, India, Turkey and South Africa.

2013-07-02 The 2013 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

At mid-year, we customarily publish our geopolitical outlook for the second half of the year. This list is not designed to be exhaustive. As is often the case, a myriad of potential problems in the world could become issues in the second half of the year. The lineup listed below details, in our opinion, the issues most likely to have the greatest impact on the world. However, we do recognize the potential for surprises which we will discuss throughout the year in upcoming weekly reports.

2013-07-02 Let\'s Barbecue It... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Equity investors finished June with the first down month in 8 for the S&P500. Bond investors took a Tommy Boy two by four across the face. And yes, it did leave a mark. Two months ago the "Great Rotation" from bonds to equities was nowhere to be seen. Today the panic out of fixed income funds is happening at the highest levels seen since 2008. As we noted last week, inflection points in major rotations are volatile, scary, and unpleasant. This helps to explain the seven 100 basis point moves in the S&P500 in the month of June, which marks the most volatility in 12 months.

2013-07-02 Stay the Course as Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Traders stampeded out of gold, emerging markets and bonds this month, setting record monthly outflows in June. Ever since the Federal Reserve hinted in May that signs of a stronger economy could allow for a slowdown of stimulus, markets have protested the news.

2013-06-28 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first five months of the year the global portfolio enjoyed a net gain of 21.0%, 350 basis points better than the index, edging ahead further in May. Recent smoke signals from the Federal Reserve Bank implying - subject to a wide range of get-out clauses that less money might be put into the system, have caused market hysterics. Bond investors have rightly been stampeding out, ending a 32-year old bull market. Its longevity had caused dangerous complacency and overexposure, especially to illiquid and expensive emerging market debt through open-ended vehicles.

2013-06-28 Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Gain by Richard Gao of Matthews Asia

China’s 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. China’s 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 China’s banking system. What is going on?

2013-06-28 Stay the Course As Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We maintain that gold is in extremely oversold territory and mathematically due for a reversal toward the mean. Yet when gold prices plummet, fear takes over and some investors forget the fundamental reasons to own gold: Gold is a portfolio diversifier and a store of value. It is a finite resource with increasing global demand.

2013-06-28 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.

2013-06-26 Sock Puppet Kabuki; Nikkei Today Parallels Dot-Com Bust by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Japanese stereotype of excessive courtesy is being confirmed by the actions of prime minster Shinzo Abe who is giving the world a free and timely lesson on the dangers of overly accommodative monetary policy. Whether or not we benefit from the tutorial (Japan will surely not) depends on our ability to understand what is currently happening there.

2013-06-26 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 Reframing Expectations by Aaron Reynolds of Baird Advisors

Even facing headwinds, bonds still serve important roles in a portfolio, including diversification and downside protection potential. As the heavy burden of total return falls on interest income, investors are being pulled toward higher-yield, higher-risk bond types. Investors can still benefit from the segmented bond market and the various strategies that are available. Expectations need to be reframed given the current environment of low yields and potential interest rate increases.

2013-06-25 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.

2013-06-24 How Does the Fed's Recent Action Compare to EM Central Banks? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

In an interview on Bloomberg Radio with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt, I shared my thoughts on the Fed’s recent announcement that it would continue its QE efforts for the time being. If you missed the segment, I’ve summarized that conversation here for you.

2013-06-21 Asia Brief: China's Energy Demand by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

China has the world’s largest unconventional gas reserves, but these so far remain untapped despite its growing demand for energy. China is now trying to follow the example of the US, and the government has set aggressive targets for unconventional gas production. As the demand for transportation fuels grow over the next decade, this gas could be a major contributor to meeting that need.

2013-06-21 A Toast to Change by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

In China, there is a distilled white liquor that is as revered as wine is in France. Known as China’s “national wine,” maotai, or "baijiu" in Chinese, has been celebrated for thousands of years. Having such a high-end branded white spirit on your banquet table is seen as a sort of status symbol or the hallmark of an auspicious occasion, such as a wedding or formal dinner. As recently as last year, some bottles were commanding more than US$300 each, with prices rising partly from the strong demand related to government and business sector events.

2013-06-21 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part I by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Historically Asian markets have done well in periods of a weaker U.S. dollar and faster growth, so lowering peoples’ growth expectations and causing them to bid up the U.S. dollar is about the worst combination for Asian equities historically. And I do not think that Asia’s relation to global markets has changed significantly enough to nullify this past relationship. However, there are reasons to think that the effects on Asia’s equity prices may be a little more muted this time.

2013-06-21 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.

2013-06-21 What\'s an Investor to do in Markets like These? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What should an investor do after a day like yesterday? Stay calm and invest on, as I believe there is opportunity in picking up what the bears left behind. Here are a few ideas to ponder.

2013-06-18 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Affluent investors all over the world just aren’t getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Mason’s recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and they’re eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.

2013-06-17 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 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 it’s 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.

2013-06-17 Equities: As Companies Reinvest, the Long-Term View Turns Bullish by Ron Sloan of Invesco

This is the third in a three-part series on the economy, earnings and equities. The first two posts examined the US Federal Reserve’s gross domestic product (GDP) goals and how they set the stage for businesses to increase their capital expenditures. This post discusses the US manufacturing resurgence and the outlook for equities.

2013-06-14 The Evolution of Emerging Market Corporate Bonds for U.S. High-Grade Fixed-Income Investors by Todd Kurisu, Thomas Brennan of William Blair

Emerging market (EM) investment-grade corporate bonds are an important and growing segment of the core fixed-income universe. These bonds have evolved to be more like U.S. investment-grade corporate bonds than high-yield or traditional emerging market debt (EMD) securities. This sector has demonstrated favorable risk, return, and diversification benefits in the context of a broad market fixed-income portfolio. Today’s fixed-income investors must have a framework for evaluating new opportunities subject to prudent risk management

2013-06-14 Looking for Growth? Go Small and Global by Liliana Castillo Dearth, Bruce Aronow of AllianceBernstein

In the hunt for growth in today’s low-growth world, up-and-coming small- and mid-sized companies are a good place to start. But you need to look everywhere, from Indiana to Indonesia.

2013-06-14 Japan\'s Crossroads by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

The tone on investing in Japan has changed. In the six months leading up to May 22, the Tokyo Stock Price Index rose 66% in local currency terms, prompting investors to ask themselves the unthinkablewhy have I not allocated more to Japanese equities? During the same time the yen depreciated about 20%, giving Japan’s exporters some much-needed breathing room. However, while the financial markets have given the nod of approval to the economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, or “Abenomics,” Japan may possibly be missing a learning opportunity.

2013-06-14 Global Small Cap Investing: Unconstrained Opportunities by Blake Pontius of William Blair

Equity asset allocations have become more global in recent years as investors have sought to reduce the long standing home country bias in their portfolios. Further propelling this trend has been the growing aversion to traditional asset class structures and indeed, conventional asset class definitions, in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global fi nancial crisis. Against this backdrop, global equity strategies have continued to garner asset fl ows in Europe and have slowly begun to gain traction in the U.S. after years of tepid demand.

2013-06-14 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.

2013-06-13 China\'s Services Revolution by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

Historically, China has focused on infrastructure and heavy industries at the expense of the service sector. Two years ago, service industries in China, such as hospitality, advertising, insurance and tourism, contributed a mere 43% of the country’s GDPwell below that of more developed economies like the U.S. and U.K, which saw nearly 80%. This month Sherry Zhang takes a look at the more balanced growth China will need in order to continue its economic trajectory over the next decade.

2013-06-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

After a positive start, many Pacific Basin Markets ended the month lower amid concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will soon begin to gradually scale back its quantitative easing measures by reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan decreased by 4.8% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 4.3% lower in May. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-06-12 Cyclical Stocks Appeal After Defensive-Led Rally by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

This year’s equity market rally was initially led by defensive stocks, as macroeconomic concerns persisted despite improved risk appetite. With valuations in these sectors looking stretched and cyclically oriented stocks starting to rebound in May, is a bigger shift starting to unfold?

2013-06-12 5 Reasons Not to Flee Non-US Dividend Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

“As bond yields rise, is it time to flee dividend stocks?” Russ explains why the answer is, no, at least when it comes to international dividend payers.

2013-06-12 Bond Realities: The Changing Landscape for Fixed Income and the Death of the Agg' by Andrew Johnson of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year Andrew A. Johnson, Neuberger Berman’s Chief Investment Officer for Investment Grade Fixed Income, led a series of discussions with institutional clients about the state of the fixed income market and key ideas in approaching opportunistic fixed income investing in the current environment. Here, Mr. Johnson has adapted, and elaborated on, the concepts described at those meetings.

2013-06-11 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 PIMCO’s global secular outlook: The destination of Japan’s journey looks increasingly uncertain, with multiple potential outcomes that could stabilize or destabilize the global economy and markets.

2013-06-10 China: As Growth Slows, the Need for Reform Grows by John Greenwood of Invesco

The world is closely monitoring the status of China’s economic growth rate. The country’s economy began to rapidly grow in the late 1970s, and it had been growing at about 9% or 10% per year, until the global downturn of 2008 and 2009. During the global financial crisis, the economy slowed abruptly. Since then, it has not been able to get back to that 10% growth rate.

2013-06-10 Emerging Markets Mid-Year Pulse Check by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global economic growth hasn’t been terribly inspiring so far in the first half of the year, but many investors have nevertheless been inspired to pour more assets into the equity markets, some of which have surged to record highs. As we hit the mid-year point, now seems like a good time to take a pulse check of emerging markets and assess our prognosis.

2013-06-08 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.

2013-06-07 Is College Overrated? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

Obtaining a college degree in Asia, like elsewhere in the world, is a middle class dream. It is often considered a ticket to increased employment opportunity. But recently there has been some evidence to suggest that this is not always the case.

2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now

2013-06-06 The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In late April, a group of leading economists and investment practitioners assembled in La Jolla, California, for Research Affiliates’ 2013 Advisory Panel. Our theme this year touched on two topics that have been front-and-center in recent public debates: the risk of government intervention and the potential rationing of retirement.

2013-06-04 Woody Brock’s Challenge to Krugman and the Keynesians by Bob Veres (Article)

A polarizing choice confronts policymakers. Either they side with Paul Krugman and the Keynesians, and advocate for aggressive fiscal measures to stimulate America’s economic growth rate, or they align themselves with the so-called austerians, who argue that budget cutbacks are necessary to eliminate deficits. A third option is rarely discussed. Its most outspoken proponent, Horace “Woody” Brock, says that America should continue to borrow, but spend wisely ? and develop new policy instruments that would eliminate asset bubbles and stimulate economic activity.

2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)

High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.

2013-06-04 The Gold Bull vs The Paper Tiger by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

That’s all, folks. One look at the headlines will tell you the gold bull market is officially over: the stock market is booming, a modest recovery of the US economy is underway, and the dollar is dominating the forex. Time to sell your bullion and get back into US stocks!

2013-06-04 Wounded Heart by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Joseph Schumpeter, the originator of the phrase “creative destruction,” authored a less well-known corollary at some point in the 1930s. “Profit,” he wrote, “is temporary by nature: It will vanish in the subsequent process of competition and adaptation.” And so it has, certainly at the micro level for which his remark was obviously intended. Once proud, seemingly indestructible capitalistic giants have seen their profits fall short of “everlasting” and exhibited a far more ephemeral character.

2013-05-31 Into the Woods by Tony Crescenzi, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Excess liquidity, falling net issuance and higher correlations among assets complicate the eventual exit that the Federal Reserve and other central banks must make from their extraordinary policies. The Bank of Japan’s ideology has completely changed to “tackling deflation” from “tolerating deflation.” The key focus in the coming months will be how private sectors react. Investors who depend chiefly upon central bank activism may put themselves at risk. They may need to hedge volatility by ensuring their investments are built more on solid fundamentals and reasona

2013-05-31 Just One Day Out of Life by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

During my visit to Korea a few weeks ago, a hot debate over an “alternative holiday” system caught my attention. When a holiday falls on a weekend in Korea, it is not generally observed by businesses on the prior or subsequent weekday. However, the government has recently sought to change this despite strong opposition from interest groups and the business sector.

2013-05-31 What\'s the Answer to Unprecedented Policies and Ultralow Rates? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s the answer to unprecedented central bank policies that have been driving stocks higher and ultralow rates? I believe investors need to stick to a strategy that includes dividend-paying stocks that offer the opportunity for both income and growth.

2013-05-30 And That\\\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

All good things must come to an end (hopefully just temporarily). After a nice month-long weekly winning streak, stocks gave back some ground as investors over-analyzed Fed comments and worried about future monetary policy. (The stimulus will end at some pointthat’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Japan took the over-analysis the hardest as its market suffered a serious setback, though the rally for the year had been significant and some watchers expected a pullback at some point (just not all in one day).

2013-05-29 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 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 Sri Lanka\'s Victory by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

Sri Lanka has begun to reap the fruits of peace. By diverting resources that were previously spent on its military toward things like infrastructure, tourism and education, its economy has experienced solid growth. As our small car sat in traffic on the main road leading to the Colombo airport, my driver told me about the newly planned highway scheduled to open later this year. The Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, he said, would reduce my 1.5-hour trip to about 20 minutes. More importantly, I thought, we wouldn’t be driven off the road by rickshaws referred to locally as “tuk-tuks.&#

2013-05-24 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The two Asian giants have a challenging year ahead. The Fed will be challenged to keep the bond market under control.

2013-05-24 The Love Trade for Gold is Still On! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The more important demand for gold, in my opinion, comes from the enduring Love Trade, as countries like China and India buy the precious metal out of love and tradition.

2013-05-24 Bifurcation Blues by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Bifurcation. A very technical sounding word. It merely means “a division into two parts”, which is what we are witnessing in many areas related to investment, both macro and micro. And it is exhibiting to value investors those areas to avoid and the most attractive to embrace. And giving rise to a wide range of disparate opinions among economic and investment professionals as to what outcomes are likely. Needless to say, we have our own strong views.

2013-05-24 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 doesn’t 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.

2013-05-23 ING Fixed Income Perspectives May 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

How do you like them apples? By pointing out some Excel blunders in the data of Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff, a UMass-Amherst grad student appears to have gotten their number and in the process discredited their seminal work touting the merits of austerity. Though Good Will Hunting fans may be amused to see a couple of Harvardians get their comeuppance, you don’t need the titular character’s wicked smarts to deduce that harsh government spending cuts may not be the best way to pick up your economy.

2013-05-22 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 people’s 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 Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Quite apart from its motivations, the consequences of socially responsible investing have intrigued analysts. The actual results, as distinct from the desired results, cannot be taken for granted. Mark Kritzman has written about the subject, but his research was little noticed until recently, when SRI achieved renewed prominence in the form of popular demands that institutional portfolios divest themselves of investments in fossil-fuel companies. Kritzman’s point, and the conclusion of his analysis, is that SRI, properly understood, incurs a cost to the portfolio.

2013-05-21 Capitalism and Democracy by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In the Italian elections, the party that showed the strongest results was the Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo. Despite this strong showing, the party failed to form a government and refused to participate in any coalitions. This decision not to participate in the political process has been exhibited by other protest groups, such as Occupy Wall Street, the Israeli Tent Movement, and the Spanish “Indignant” movement.

2013-05-21 As Energy Demand Outpaces Supply, Asia Looks Overseas to Refuel by Raja Mukherji, Taosha Wang of PIMCO

Many Asian countries are encountering growing energy shortages due to declining indigenous resources and domestic consumption growth. Oil companies in Asia frequently engage in overseas acquisitions. In many cases, these transactions help enlarge reserve base, access technological know-hows and enhance corporate profitability. Strong sovereign support is a key investment thesis in the Asian oil and gas sector. Through our bottom-up analysis, we are finding numerous investment opportunities.

2013-05-20 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. Here’s where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.

2013-05-18 All Japan, All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we again focus on Japan. Their stock market has been on a tear, and their economy grew 3.5% last quarter. Is Abenomics really the answer to all their problems? Is it just a matter of turning the monetary dial a little higher and voila, there is growth? Why doesn’t everyone try that? And what would happen if they did?

2013-05-17 A Matter of Perspective by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

A Hong Kong investor once told me that he considered Asia’s capital markets to be like breaking waves; their rhythms often violent, but ultimately, they make a steady progression up the shore. It has often been noted that many Asia investors play these short-term rhythms. But ultimately the tide does come in and there is room for the long-term investor.

2013-05-17 Finding Opportunity Far and Near by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to learn that a vast majority of equity valuation models state that stocks should head much higher over the next five years?

2013-05-16 Investors Living in Emerging Markets are a Bullish Bunch! by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Part of my job involves putting myself out on a limb at times, and I have taken the risk of being subject to contrary (sometimes enthusiastically so) viewpoints. I’ve even been accused of being too optimistic about emerging markets, perhaps partly because my views often represent a stark contrast to dramatic news headlines. So when I took a look at the findings of Franklin Templeton Investments’ 2013 Global Investor Sentiment Survey (GISS),1 I was pleased to discover my longstanding optimism about emerging markets seems to be spreading among investors.

2013-05-15 Speaking of a Great Week... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

I left the office each day thinking that I just saw another walk off game winning home run by the S&P500. The bears were given their chance in April with the weak economic data and slightly less than exciting earnings, but they just couldn’t break it. In return, the employment data was a bit better, the global central banks came out swinging (ECB, Australia, and South Korea), then the markets broke the Yen, Bonds, and Gold, and the Bulls absolutely skinned the Bears.

2013-05-15 Is Japan\'s Sun Rising Again? by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Japan’s stock market continues to rise while its currency heads in the other direction. Its new leaders, now enjoying high approval ratings, are battling deflation and trying to jump-start its economy with a new determination. This month Kenichi Amaki takes a look at what, if anything, is different this time.

2013-05-15 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 Reserve’s current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.

2013-05-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Pacific Basin equity markets continued to rally in April, led by Japan where the central bank announced that it intends to double the monetary base and inject liquidity into the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 4.9% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher in April. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-05-14 Nouriel Roubini: Four Reasons Investors Should be Worried by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite a modest recovery from the nadir of the financial crisis, the global economy still faces tail risks, according to Nouriel Roubini. Roubini’s forecast is not as gloomy as the one that earned the moniker “Doctor Doom,” when he correctly predicted the housing market collapse and the ensuing global recession. But, in a talk May 1, he identified today’s biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.

2013-05-14 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 Fed’s 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 Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) or could there be a much more fundamental reason?

2013-05-14 New Normal ... Morphing by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

The New Normal has morphed to include consequential elements of a "stable disequilibrium." In the midst of notable multi-speed dynamics, the global economy as a whole is muddling along a road that will give way over the next three to five years to one of two stark alternatives: either sustainable global growth, institutional and political renewal in the West and safe deleveraging; or growth shortfalls that cause financial instability, fuel greater social tensions, accentuate political dysfunctions and complicate debt traps.

2013-05-13 Skills, Education, and Employment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is graduation time, and this morning finds me swimming in a sea of fresh young faces as a young friend graduates, along with a thousand classmates. But to what? I concluded my final formal education efforts in late 1974, in the midst of a stagflationary recession, so it was not the best of times to be looking for work. It turned out that I had a far different future ahead of me than I envisioned then. But I would trade places with any of those kids who graduated today, as my vision of the next 40 years is actually very optimistic.

2013-05-13 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, Japan’s 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.

2013-05-09 Make Way for the MIPS by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Emerging markets still provide excellent opportunities for outperformance in equities, with Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore being among the best positioned for the decade ahead.

2013-05-08 6.7 Million “Missing Workers” Where Did They Go? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we will touch several bases. We begin with last Friday’s unemployment report which was hailed by the mainstream media, but had a lot of bad news to go with the good. From there we look at the estimated 6.7 million “missing workers” in this economy and ponder if they’re permanently gone from the employment rolls.

2013-05-07 Niall Ferguson: Four Reasons Why the U.S. is Failing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Niall Ferguson is the champion of anti-Keynesian economists. Last week, he explained why America’s pursuit of Keynesian policies is leading to disastrous consequences.

2013-05-07 Mutual Fund Companies Need to Prepare for a Changing Environment Fund Industry Turbulence Ahead by Paul Franchi (Article)

The mutual fund industry grew explosively from the 1980s on a rare tonic of a low-inflation credit expansion powered indirectly by international trade flows. That run reached a peak in 2008 when the application of quantitative easing (QE) served to prevent industry collapse with a softer form of transition, which continues today but must end when inflation returns.

2013-05-07 Syria and the Red Line by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On Thursday, April 25, Secretary of Defense Hagel acknowledged that evidence that chemical weapons exposure occurred in Syria was probably accurate. This news dominated the Sunday talk shows, mostly because President Obama had indicated that Syrian military use of chemical weapons would be a “game changer” and a “red line” that would trigger a U.S. and international response. Now that it appears that somehow chemical weapons exposure did occur, the world awaits to see what exactly the president meant by a “response.”

2013-05-06 Dispelling Dollar Doubts by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Will the U.S. dollar, almighty no longer, be supplanted as the world’s reserve currency? Not anytime soon.

2013-05-04 The QE Sandpile by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Sell in May and go away? What about "risk off?" And ever more QE? Today’s letter is a quick note and a reprise of a popular letter from yesteryear (with a bit of new slant), as I am at my conference in Carlsbad.

2013-05-03 Asia\'s Resource Riches vs. Reform by Sharat Shroff 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.

2013-05-01 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Major emerging Asia Pacific economies, which picked up growth momentum during the latter half of 2012, struggled to carry forward the economic pace during the initial months of 2013. China, India, and Indonesia, some of the most populous countries in the region and in the world, faced significant headwinds to growth as key engines of the economy investment, consumption, and exports came under strain.

2013-05-01 There Will Be Haircuts by Bill Gross of PIMCO

It has been the objective of the Fed over the past few years to make even more innovative forms of money by supporting stock and bond prices at cost on an ever ascending scale, thereby assuring holders via a “Bernanke put” that they might just as well own stocks as the cash in their purses. Gosh, a decade or so ago a house almost became a money substitute. MEW or mortgage equity withdrawal could be liquefied instantaneously based on a “never go down” housing market. You could equitize your home and go sailing off into the sunset on a new 28-foot skiff on any day but S

2013-04-30 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers responded to Robert Huebscher’s article, The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.

2013-04-30 Stockman to America: Sinners, Repent! by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In a massive volume that melds economic history and social criticism, the former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman has documented countless ways in which America went astray over the last century. Most notably, he decried the corruption of free-market capitalism by those seeking effortless profits at the public’s expense. This is the source of his book’s title, The Great Deformation.

2013-04-29 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

After facing subdued economic conditions for the most part of 2012, developed Asia Pacific economies started 2013 on a cautious note. While most countries opined that downside risk to GDP growth declined substantially, challenges to growth arose from a recessionary scenario in key developed economies, especially from the European Union.

2013-04-26 The Return of the Asian Tigers: Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Asia Brief by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Often overlooked by international investors, South East Asia encompasses some of the world’s best performing equity markets in recent years, putting the more established emerging markets in the shade. This performance is backed by good economic results and the favourable demographics of some of these countries, with youthful populations ready to improve productivity and increase consumption. One catalyst for future growth is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade area, which will bring down trade barriers between the South East Asian nations.

2013-04-26 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while China’s growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.

2013-04-26 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.

2013-04-26 The Race of Our Lives by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Our global economy, reckless in its use of all resources and natural systems, shows many of the indicators of potential failure that brought down so many civilizations before ours. By sheer luck, though, ours has two features that might just save our bacon: declining fertility rates and progress in alternative energy. Our survival might well depend on doing everything we can to encourage their progress. Vested interests, though, defend the status quo effectively and the majority much prefers optimistic propaganda to uncomfortable truth and wishful thinking rather than tough action.

2013-04-26 A Playbook for Investors: How to Shoot, Score, Win by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, in the competitive spirit of the NBA playoff season, I’ve gathered a series of plays that investors can use to shoot, score and win during this year’s market. I’m happy to say they include all the elements of an exciting game, including a comeback kid, an upset and an underdog.

2013-04-24 Growth From the Ground up in Iskandar by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Our emerging markets team isn’t too keen on following crowds. Part and parcel of Templeton’s contrarian approach is traveling to places others aren’t, and thinking about the long-term potential in specific industries and companies that may not be on others’ radar screens. One place we’ve 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.

2013-04-23 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Michael Edesess’ article, Will Germany Lead the World’s Energy Revolution?, and a reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself?, both of which appeared last week.

2013-04-23 Dividend Growth and Stock Returns by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

The compounding impacts of dividends have historically been significant in terms of market returns for long-term investors. The importance of these cash flows to investor returns can be seen across countries and industries.

2013-04-22 Will Emerging-Market Stocks Close Gap with Global Equities? by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Companies in emerging markets are more profitable and less debt burdened than their developed-market peers, and their shares trade at a deep discount. So when will emerging-market stocks close the gap with global equity markets?

2013-04-22 Is There a Silver Lining to the Gold Price Plunge? by Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

It’s been a volatile week for gold prices, which tumbled by the most in 30 years. Although gold is still not obviously undervalued, we think the recent market moves make stock prices of gold miners look attractive when compared with prices of the precious metal.

2013-04-19 Fast Emerging Asia by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

Over the past 20 years, Asia has come a long way to evolve into an asset class in itself. China and India have famously led the way as symbols of emerging nations. But when I think about seeking growth in Asia, I am particularly drawn to the region’s smaller equity markets as attractive hunting grounds for investment opportunities. Asia continues to change at a rapid pace, and this change is not restricted to China’s ever-changing landscape, but to many other areas that may see fewer media headlines.

2013-04-19 F.I.R.S.T.: Bond Market Outlook by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Amid heightened political uncertainty in Europe and subdued global growth expectations, global investors owe Hiroki Kuroda a big domo arigato for his pledge to inject about $1.4 trillion into the moribund Japanese economy by the end of 2014. The newly appointed BOJ governor’s unprecedented plan to buy Japanese government bonds,

2013-04-19 India\'s Gas Sector Dilemma by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

In India, the fertilizer sector has long depended on gas as a key input. Over the last decade, several power plants that run on gas have been set up as well. Demand has grown 10% each year since 2002 while supplies, largely managed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), have failed to keep pace. Inefficient capital allocation, lack of incentives and populist policies aimed at maintaining low prices have led the country to import 25% of its gas needs. This has further exacerbated India’s current account deficit, which now stands at 6.7% of GDP.

2013-04-19 Gold Buyers Get Physical As Coin and Jewelry Sales Surge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even with the gold price dropping, why are gold coins selling at a premium? It’s Economics 101: The coin supply is limited and the demand is high. This buying trend isn’t only occurring in the U.S. In Bangkok, Thailand, for example, crowds of buyers were filling stores, eagerly waiting in multiple lines to purchase gold jewelry and coins.

2013-04-18 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The benefits of focusing on attractively priced, well managed and growing businesses, irrespective of their inclusion in an index, continued to aid fund performance. Thus it was virtually flat in March, capping a strong quarter in absolute and relative terms with a gain of over 10%, again beating the 5% gain by the index. These - achieved through a combination of a valuation discipline that sets the entry and exit prices and the focus on quality businesses. Not surprisingly, stock selection has been a consistent factor behind the outperformance, both this year and previously.

2013-04-18 Fortune's Formula by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I reflected on mathematics, probabilities, and odds over the weekend after again reading the book “Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street,” by William Poundstone. The book centers on Claude Shannon, who in the late 1940s had the idea computers should compute using the now familiar binary digits 0s and 1s such that 1 means “on” and 0 means “off.”

2013-04-17 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 gold’s role as an insurance policy needs to be narrowed significantly.

2013-04-17 What\'s Driving Emerging Markets? by James McDonald, Daniel Phillips, Phillip Grant of Northern Trust

Emerging market (EM) equities have historically outperformed as the global economy gained momentum, as shown in Exhibit 1. After a great catch-up rally in the second half of 2012, the stocks finished the year as global outperformers only to lose that momentum in the first quarter of 2013. What is behind the recent underperformance, and what does it say about the outlook? Our research points to a number of contributors to the recent weakness.

2013-04-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities corrected for the second successive month in March, on concerns that continuing weakness in European demand could hurt export growth for several countries in Asia and Latin America. These economies had seen a revival in their export fortunes during the second half of last year as U.S. consumer demand turned healthier. However, the moderation in U.S. consumer sentiment during March has somewhat dulled the optimism.

2013-04-16 All That Glitters Is Not Gold by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

This quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is apropos given the nosedive in the gold markets today. In our 2013 Best Ideas piece we labeled gold a neutral as gold had not had a significant correction since 2008. Our research indicated a significant slowing of bullion purchases by gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in 2012 versus 2011. We looked for a correction and now need to contemplate whether we are in the end of the commodity bull market or merely a pause that refreshes.

2013-04-16 The Asian Economic Crisis and the IMF by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In May 1997, a speculative run against the Thai baht became the first clear signal that a problem was developing in Asia. Over the next three years, Asia and other emerging markets, including Russia and Brazil, were rocked by a historic financial crisis. These nations recovered strongly in the following eight years and generally made it through the 2007-09 global financial crisis in relatively good shape. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis remains a major factor in the behavior of these emerging nations.

2013-04-15 The (Up) Beat Goes On, Part II by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

We wrote Part I of this theme on February 11 during the first quarter rally, when the S&P 500 closed the week at 1518. This past week the S&P ended at 1589, after increasing 2.3%. Global stock prices continue to push to new highs and thus provide support for a pro-equity bias. One nuance is that the composition of the equity rally has been abnormally defensive.

2013-04-12 Asia\'s E-Commerce Evolution by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Korea and Japan have been trailblazers in terms of making the virtual marketplace platform, through which merchants and manufacturers of all sizes can sell goods to consumers, an e-commerce model in Asia. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, where many retailers sell directly to customers from their own websites and handle the details of commerce themselves, most Asian e-commerce takes place on “megasites” or virtual markets.

2013-04-12 The Bank of Japan Pulls All the Stops by Raymund Uy of Invesco

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) surprised the markets by announcing a particularly aggressive round of quantitative easing (QE) designed to rid the Japanese economy of its persistent deflation. The new policy was unexpected not only in the size of the asset purchases announced, but also in the types of securities to be purchased and their maturity.

2013-04-11 Global Investing in 2013: Policy Dominance, Active Management and a New Paradigm in Currencies by Scott Mather of PIMCO

We expect that the impact of ongoing global policy experimentalism on real economic growth and financial markets will likely vary substantially from country to country, creating both risks and opportunities. With flexible, active global strategies investors can potentially benefit from a broader opportunity set and the ability to go off benchmark in an effort to both avoid risks and tap opportunities.

2013-04-11 Emerging-Market Debt: Pure High-Yield Strategies Come of Age by Marco Santamaria of AllianceBernstein

We believe investors should be thinking about emerging-market debt in terms of credit quality buckets (investment grade or high yield) rather than sectors (sovereign or corporate). For some types of investor, pure high-yield strategies can offer significant advantages.

2013-04-10 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were slightly lower last week as the troubles in Europe, Asia (Japan & North Korea) dovetailed with a really lousy employment report here at home on Friday.

2013-04-10 Looking for Warm Milk and a Blanket by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Conspiracy theory economists would say that the Government fudged the data weaker so that it could help sell $60-70 billion in U.S. debt this week. Whatever the outcome, last week we had a perfect storm of high expectations for the data + very below average March weather + the payroll tax hike impact + the upcoming sequester worry. Economic data will move violently from month to month, but unfortunately last week, it was mostly in the WEAKER THAN EXPECTED direction and investors did not hesitate to bring pain on risk assets.

2013-04-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Supportive U.S. economic data drove most markets higher during the first quarter of 2013. China underperformed the region amid concerns that the economic recovery may not be as robust as previously expected, while the National People’s Congress in March failed to provide any incentives to the equity market given the absence of pro-growth policies. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-04-09 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Asia: How Leadership Changes Are Shaping Asia's Outlook by Q&A with Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao and Robert Mead of PIMCO

For Asia, “slow but not slowing” global growth will likely keep external demand neutral, and policy developments will therefore help shape the economic outlook. In Japan, we see a significant boost to aggregate demand coming from the concerted monetary and fiscal expansion of the new Abe government. In China, concerns about inflation, housing market excesses, and long-term financial stability are prompting policy restraint that should keep growth below 8% this year.

2013-04-09 The Return of the Ottomans by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past two weeks, Turkey has taken two significant actions. First, while President Obama was visiting the region, Israeli PM Netanyahu offered Turkey an apology for the 2010 commando raid on the MV Mavi Mamara, a Turkish ship that was delivering aid to the Gaza Strip. The vessel was trying to run an Israeli blockade, which was put in place to prevent the region from receiving arms shipments. In the raid, nine people on the Turkish ship died, including eight Turks and one American. Ten Israeli commandos were wounded.

2013-04-08 The Theology of Inflation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We begin this week with a simple pop quiz. Is inflation good or bad? Answer quickly. I’m sorry your answer is wrong. Or rather, we can’t know if your answer is right or wrong because we are not sure what is meant by the question. We may think we know and we may be right but we can’t be sure, because the word inflation has different meanings for different people in different places and different times. In fact, even the same people in the same place and time can’t agree on a precise definition.

2013-04-05 Could Consumers Change Japan\'s Tide? by Team of Matthews Asia

This year, investor attention has focused on Japan and its macroeconomic policy with hopes that rising inflation expectations might spur businesses to invest and consumers to spend. Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained power late last year and proposed more aggressive monetary policies, including an ambitious inflation target, the yen has weakened more than 20% against the U.S. dollar and more than 15% against the euro.

2013-04-05 China's Uncertainties Won't Stop Renminbi's Rise by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Recent data releases and the transition to new political leadership have created some uncertainty about China’s short-term economic outlook. While positive growth surprises are unlikely in 2013, we still think nothing can stop the long-term appreciation of China’s currency, the renminbi (RMB).

2013-04-04 Absolute Return Letter: The Need for Wholesale Change by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

The seeds of the next crisis have probably already been sown as a consequence of the lax monetary policy currently being pursued. Frustrated with the lack of direction from political leaders, most recently witnessed in the handling of the crisis in Cyprus which was a complete farce, central bankers from around the world are likely to demand change, but politicians will have to be pushed into a corner before they will respond to any such pressure. Hence nothing decisive will happen before the next major crisis erupts.

2013-04-04 Teachings from Recovered Markets by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Domestic indices’ all-time record highs indicate that U.S. domestic equity markets have largely recovered from the 2008 Great Recession. It may have taken four years but it still seems a remarkable achievement given the Dow’s low of 6620 in March 2009. It is worth noting that prior highs were attained in an era with a poor savings rate and wide use of levered strategies. The last four years were widely characterized by a “low return” market mantra and fear of equities stoked by many doomsayers, pundits, and strategists who greeted every upturn with pessimism.

2013-04-04 The Long Mystery of Low Interest Rates by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

As policymakers and investors continue to fret over the risks posed by today’s ultra-low global interest rates, academic economists continue to debate the underlying causes. While everyone accepts that a global savings glut is at the root of the problem, no one has provided a convincing explanation of what, exactly, is driving it.

2013-04-03 When Does The Great Recession Become the Great Rotation? by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

Given the strong flows into the bond market over the past few years, many pundits have pondered the beginning of the “Great Rotation” when bond investors begin to move money into the equity market. Investors fear that this shift could cause losses in bond funds as investors flee. Indeed since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, investors have plowed into bond funds as an alternative to equity volatility.

2013-04-03 A Man in the Mirror by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Am I a great investor? No, not yet. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?” But the thinking so and the reality are often miles apart. When looking in the mirror, the average human sees a six-plus or a seven reflection on a scale of one to ten. The big nose or weak chin is masked by brighter eyes or near picture perfect teeth. And when the public is consulted, the vocal compliments as opposed to the near silent/ whispered critiques are taken as a supermajority vote for good looks.

2013-04-02 The Crisis in Cyprus by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the weekend of March 16, Cyprus announced it was taxing deposits in order to recapitalize its banking system. The proposal, which levied a tax of 9.9% for deposits under 100k and 12.5% for amounts over that level, caused a severe political backlash. The Cypriot legislature would not approve the measure. In the days following, a banking holiday was put in place to prevent banking runs. The Troika (the EU, the IMF and ECB), who approve bailouts for the Eurozone, negotiated into late Sunday, March 24, before reaching a deal.

2013-04-01 Currency and Emerging Markets: What Can We Expect? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Currency markets are making headlines again after taking a low profile amid the crises and the turmoil in financial markets of the last five years or so. I asked Greg Saichin, Head of High Yield and Emerging Markets Fixed Income Portfolio Management here at Pioneer, to provide his views about what is going on, and what he sees as the drivers of investment flows into emerging markets.

2013-03-28 On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive “quantitative easing” effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.

2013-03-28 China Talks of Trimming the Fat by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

China’s 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.

2013-03-27 What Happened to That Export-Led Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

With nearly 50% of the UK’s total exports going to Europe, an economic area constantly flirting with its own recession, it is no surprise to see that UK trade performance has been challenged.As the US continues to re-heal, and trade becomes more geographically diversified, we should see exports start to grow once more, albeit off a modest base. The easing in sterling is undoubtedly welcome and will improve prospects for exports, but it is unlikely to be a “game changer”.

2013-03-27 You Can't Be Serious by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I admit to being surprised by Cyprus. Oh, not the banking crisis or the sovereign debt crisis or the fact that its banks were eight times larger than the country itself or even the fact that the banks were bloated with Greek debt that had been written down. I wrote about all that a long time ago. What surprised me was that all the above was apparently a surprise to European leaders.

2013-03-26 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 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.

2013-03-25 Energy: Perilous Present, Promising Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For oil and gas, an era of abundant supplies and lower prices awaits. But investors will have to weather a tricky geopolitical situation before it arrives.

2013-03-25 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 euro’s future, signs of distress in China’s 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.

2013-03-22 The Importance of Women Leaders: From Margaret Thatcher to Sheryl Sandberg to Park Geun-hye by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I have always admired former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose strong leadership and perseverance made her one of the most influential and respected political figures in recent history. She once said of her ability to persevere that she has the “woman’s ability to stick to a job and get on with it when everyone else walks off and leaves it.”

2013-03-22 K-Pop Culture by Soo Chang Lee of Matthews Asia

During my last trip to Seoul, I had meetings with several media companies that left me feeling more confident about the strength of Korea’s popular culture as an emerging growth driver for the country. The rapid growth of South Korean pop music, or “K-pop,” across the media and entertainment industries has been helped not only by Korea’s strong culture of social media, but also by a broader and more global breadth of production. Last year’s hit single “Gangnam Style” and accompanying video by artist PSY is one such memorable phenomenon that crossed int

2013-03-22 In Gold We Trust by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Poorly thought out government policies hurt the formation of capital and destroy people’s trust in paper money. Leaders may have good intentions, but some of their actions show disrespect for private property and individualism. This only reemphasizes gold as an important asset class.

2013-03-20 China’s Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That’s the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!

2013-03-20 Global Real Estate StocksTime to Get Out? by Eric Franco of AllianceBernstein

Real estate stocks have now rebounded from the crash during the global financial crisis. But we think valuations are still reasonable, especially as property fundamentals continue to improve in key markets.

2013-03-19 Why Are Emerging Markets Struggling in 2013? by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Despite one of the sharpest rallies in US equities in recent memory, emerging market equities have been left curiously behind in 2013. Through last Friday, the market segment was down 1.0%, compared to an S&P 500 index that was up 10.0%. This seems to violate the regime that investors have gotten used to over the past 10 years, whereby the emerging markets equity index served as a high beta proxy for the US equity market.

2013-03-19 Keeping Up With Changes In Emerging Market ETFs by Jun Zhu of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

In this report, we highlight benchmark changes in a major player, a potential substitute (with cheaper fees) for another major player, a new player with an innovative weighting scheme and provide an overview of the Emerging Market ETF space available to investors.

2013-03-18 Finding the Sweet Spot by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Where is the investment “sweet spot” in today’s global financial markets? The uneven global growth outlook means there are opportunities and risks for both credit and equity investors.

2013-03-18 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.

2013-03-18 Investment, Speculation, Valuation, and Tinker Bell by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The most important questions investors should be asking are these: what do they know that can be demonstrated to be true; and what do they believe that can be demonstrated to be untrue. It is best to make these distinctions deliberately, lest the financial markets clarify these distinctions for investors later, against investors’ will, and at great cost.

2013-03-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a moderate correction in February, broadly similar to the rest of the world. Prices reacted negatively to renewed concerns of a worsening European fiscal crisis as the results of the recent Italian elections turned out to be inconclusive.

2013-03-15 What’s Next, Mr. Finance Minister? by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

Every February, India’s federal government releases its annual budget to outline revenues and spending plans. In the years following India’s independence in 1947, when government-owned enterprises dominated the economy, the budget was of utmost importance to market watchers. With the country’s economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the significance of this annual budget process diminished somewhat. However it is still meaningful, and this year’s budget exceeded US$300 billion in expenditures.

2013-03-15 China\’s Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That’s the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!

2013-03-14 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

In the latest edition of his client newsletter, Harold Evensky highlights a number of interesting bits of news, including a must-see destination for your friends, your kids and your grandkids, some advice from Warren Buffett, a tip from Albert Einstein and the latest data on hedge fund performance.

2013-03-14 Global Currency Battles: A Waiting Disaster or a Win for All? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To many, Japan’s recent moves to devalue the yen looked like the spark that could ignite a global currency war -- a series of competitive devaluations that, last century, helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Until now, central bankers have been resisting the urge to politicize exchange rates. However, while currency skirmishes can be dangerous and require monitoring, they are also necessary for establishing equilibrium in markets and will help in the global economic recovery, some experts say.

2013-03-13 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.

2013-03-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview February 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Monthly returns for February 2013 were somewhat mixed, but the Pacific Basin regional markets generally ended in positive territory this month. Outside of Asia, political instability in Italy and concerns that the Federal Reserve might begin to scale back its monetary stimulus in the U.S. led to weaker investor sentiment. Economic data from China was weak, largely due to the effect of the Chinese New Year.

2013-03-12 U.S. Dominates World Markets for the Trifecta by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

While large-cap indices get all the headlines, mid and small caps have continued to excel. Frontier markets have picked up the slack as major emerging markets stumble. Global risks persist, though U.S. fundamentals appear solid. The move toward U.S. energy independence should soon result in a trade surplus, boosting GDP.

2013-03-12 The 2030 Increasing Inequality Scenario by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Last month we started looking at the 2030 alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. In its most recent report, the NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on expected trends. Last time, we presented the most likely best case scenario. This week, we will explore the third scenario, under which the world gets wealthier as a whole, but inequalities increase.

2013-03-11 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 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 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.

2013-03-07 A New Chapter for Turkey? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 2012, Turkey was the best performer among the emerging markets we track on our Periodic Table showing a decade of returns. All developing countries rose last year, but stocks in Turkey climbed an astounding 56 percent.

2013-03-06 U.S. Sequester: How Significant is it for the Global Economy? by Team of Thomas White International

Since the U.S. has been one of the brightest spots in the current global economic environment, any negative development that restricts activity in the U.S. could have a magnified impact on the economic prospects for the rest of the world.

2013-03-01 Health Is Wealth: Health Care Spending As An Emerging Market Growth Engine by Amit Bhartia, Alvaro Pascual of GMO

Amit Bhartia and Alvaro Pascual, members of GMO's Emerging Markets Equity team, write to institutional clients in a new white paper about the correlation in emerging markets between public healthcare spending and domestic consumption.

2013-03-01 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.

2013-03-01 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.

2013-02-27 Rational Temperance by Bill Gross of PIMCO

While the market was indeed moving in the direction of "dot-com" fever three to four years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time was a relatively anorexic 6,000, and the trailing P/E ratio was only 12x. For a central bank that was then more concerned about economic growth and inflation as opposed to stock prices, risk spreads, and artificially suppressed interest rates, the Chairman's query made global headlines, became a book title for Professor Robert Shiller and a strategic beacon for portfolio managers thereafter.

2013-02-27 The Healthcare Blues by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It has been some time since we peeked into my worry closet. A few questions this weekend prompted me to think about things I am paying attention to but have not written about, and one thing that I am not worried about at all, despite the apparent media hysteria.

2013-02-27 Love, Money or Disappointment: What Will Asian Credit Investors Find in Their Red Envelopes? by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

Our cyclical economic outlook for Asia in 2013 is unusually dependent on breakthroughs in structural policies. Although we continue to favor select opportunities in key sectors, in general Asian credit spreads are trading historically tight. Bottom-up research is critical, along with careful top-down views on shifting economic conditions, and investors need adequate compensation for taking credit risk. Some sectors and companies can grow significantly faster than their respective economies.

2013-02-26 Global Investment Review First Quarter 2013 by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

At the beginning of last year the prospects for capital markets were grim yet the results surprisingly good: positive returns and modest economic growth. The cause was central banks in developed countries acting as a backstop for sovereign and other large debts, through direct purchasing funded by accelerated money printing. This also ensured low interest rates. Subsequently, mountainous debt problems are slowly being tackled, even as they appear to increase.

2013-02-26 Horse Feathers by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

While wisdom and experience are certainly very important to long-term investment success, I do believe it is also necessary to begin each day with an open mind. Flushing the senses, so to speak, allows new information to be processed through an unbiased filter. In short, markets change, and investment thinking must be adaptable.

2013-02-25 Dodging the bullets by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Although the year is barely a month old there are already signs that the long-awaited rotation out of the perceived safety of bonds and into inflation-proofed equities may have begun. Given the dismally low yields on offer it seems likely that, at the very least, it is the beginning of the end of the bond market bubble. Some of the biggest bubbles in the bond market, and thus most at risk from a sell-off, are in high yield and emerging market debt.

2013-02-22 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 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.

2013-02-22 Only Do What Only You Can Do by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Sri Lanka is a tiny country of approximately 21 million people, with roughly the same population as the city of Mumbai and a total land mass nearly as big as Ireland and slightly bigger than the U.S. state of West Virginia. Despite being diminutive relative to other Asian countries, exports are an important part of Sri Lanka's economy, just as they are for its neighbors.

2013-02-22 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.

2013-02-21 Tapping China's Growth via Dividends by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

When the long-term historical performance of global equity markets is considered, investors can see that the contribution of dividends to total return is significant. In this regard, China has been no exception. Between 1999 and 2012, 46% of the total return of the MSCI China Index was derived from dividends received and reinvested. This month, Yu Zhang, CFA, explores the ways in which a dividend-investing approach can be an effective investment strategy in China.

2013-02-20 The 2030 Most Likely Best Case Scenario by Bill O'Grady Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Two weeks ago we started looking at the 2030 alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. In its most recent report, the NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on these expected trends. Last time, we presented the most likely worst case scenario. This week, we will explore the most likely best case scenario.

2013-02-20 Whatever It Takes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Was it only a few years ago I visited the Emerald Isle of Ireland? The collapse of its largest banks foreshadowed the demise of many other European banks that had borrowed money from British, German, and other European banks to lend against homes and property. The Irish government had to guarantee deposits and bond holders in order to prevent a bank run. I think I am correct when I state that the Central Bank of Ireland was the first central bank to avail itself of large-scale use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) provision of the European Central Bank.

2013-02-16 When It Comes to Gold, Stick to the Facts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During short-term gold corrections, its much more important to focus on the facts, including the fact that gold is increasingly viewed as a currency. Rather than buying real estate, lumber or diamonds, central banks around the world are buying gold. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), over 2012, central bank demand totaled 534 tons, a level we have not seen in nearly 50 years.

2013-02-16 The Squeeze: Reassessing the Japan/Korea/China Manufacturing Nexus by John Longhurst of PIMCO

If the yen settles between 95 and 100 to the dollar, it could be a game changer for Japanese companies which have restructured to become profitable at 75 yen to the dollar. Some Korean companies, especially those in heavy industry, may be squeezed by intensified Japanese and Chinese competition. We expect Korean firms to fish in profit pools in businesses related to their core competencies, chiefly to the detriment of Asian and European competitors.

2013-02-16 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 Latest OECD Data Shows Global Economy in State of Flux by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

According to the OECD ("Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development"), the US economy managed to stage a leading indicator "rally" into the most favorable northeast quadrant. The red six month lagging tail on the graph clearly shows the economic leading indicators moving from expansion to slowdown, only to move back to the expansion quadrant in late 2012.

2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.

2013-02-15 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.

2013-02-15 Thailand: Land of the Smiles by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China and India may be Asia's largest economies, but they aren't the only countries with growth potential on the continent. Southeast Asian countries can also offer compelling investment opportunities. Thailand, known as the land of the smiles because of the expression its natural beauty and friendly people inspire, is a country where we believe the economic prospects could give investors reasons to smile too.

2013-02-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview January 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Improving expectations for global economic growth underpinned a solid start to 2013 for the Asia Pacific equity markets. In Asia, interest focused on China, as economic data showed further signs of recovery. On the other hand, the depreciating Japanese yen drew concerns that Asia's main exporters, which include Korea and Taiwan, will become relatively less competitive. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 3.0% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher during the month.

2013-02-14 How Not to Run a Pension by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For all the focus on the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, there is another unfunded crisis brewing, and this one is in your own back yard. It's coming to you even if you live outside of the US; it just might take a little longer to get there. I wrote ten years ago that state and local pension funds might be underfunded by as much as $2 trillion. It turns out that I was being overly optimistic. New government research suggests that the figure might be as high as $3 trillion. But what if you take into account that retirees are living longer?

2013-02-13 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.

2013-02-13 Global Economic Overview January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends continued the moderate positive momentum from earlier months and helped sustain investor sentiment in January. The unexpected decline in U.S. economic output for the fourth quarter of last year was mostly due to a sharp fall in government spending and a smaller inventory buildup, while consumer and business spending exceeded forecasts. Also, recent data suggest that U.S. labor market gains during last year were better than earlier estimates.

2013-02-12 Is Love in the Air? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This week includes Valentine's Day, the day millions worldwide exchange cards, letters, candy, flowers and other gifts with the center of their affection. Surely there must be a study of Valentine's Day. But search as I might, I could not find a single study of the influence of this fabled day on our financial markets. I did find one in Australia that dared to show that the chances for an up or down day in their stock market were, what else, 50-50. Could it truly be that we had finally found a seasonal event that was dare I say it random?

2013-02-11 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating New Opportunities Across Sectors by Team of Thomas White International

Both corporates and the federal government have started investing heavily on overhauling Brazil's infrastructure.

2013-02-08 A More Savvy Insurance Market by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

During my last visit to Hong Kong, I attended a conference to discuss various opportunities in financial services along with industry experts and executives from both Asian and global institutions. The key theme that emerged from the event was how Asia is typically viewed as the world's primary growth market in this important sector, particularly given the slowdown in Europe and the regulatory environment in the U.S.

2013-02-08 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.

2013-02-08 Out With the Dragon In With the Snake by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over 2013, we expect the Chinese government to continue its accommodative efforts, which should reinforce the equity rally. In addition, the new pyramid of power is focused on growth, as it seeks to improve and reform policies that will provide its residents with opportunities and social security, increase incomes and raise standards of living, which should encourage domestic consumption. Growth is set to be considerable over the next several years.

2013-02-07 Investing in the Robot Revolution: Part 2 by Catherine Wood, Michael Shavel of AllianceBernstein

From manufacturing to services, a step change in automation is underway. Investors will want to get a share of a market that could be worth $400 billion by 2020 but, more than ever, they will need to be well advised.

2013-02-07 Echoes of 2004 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising equities and tightening credit spreads define the near-term investment outlook, but this is not the first time we have seen this cycle play out in recent memory.

2013-02-05 Australia in the Asian Century by Team of Thomas White International

Early in 2011, The Economist magazine ran a cover story titled 'The Next Golden State.' The title, incidentally, referred to Australia. Today, Australias citizens enjoy some of the highest standards of living anywhere in the world. With a real income of $62,000 per person in 2012, the country ranked 13th worldwide. Five of the ten best livable cities in the world are in Australia. But, for all its advantages, the country's contribution to the world economy in absolute terms is small. It accounted for just over 1 percent of world GDP in 2011.

2013-02-05 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.

2013-02-04 A Gross Underestimate by Jonathan Coleman, Soonyong Park of Janus Capital Group

As we enter 2013, we felt it would be an appropriate time to revisit one of last years most controversial predictions of future equity performance. We acknowledge that equities in general may not continue to deliver the same real rate of return they have over the last century; however, we believe the glum outlook for the asset class forecasted by Bill Gross last year misses the mark. Our estimates of future equity returnsbased on three different approachesall point to a meaningfully higher forecast than Gross' pessimistic prediction.

2013-02-04 2013 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It's that time again. January will be over by the time you read this which means we are out of holiday excuses or "just ramping up for the new year" reasons for not getting back to work. Having said that, I'd like to offer my excuse for the Annual Forecast getting to you in February instead of the first week of the year. Hand over my heart, we started early this go-round.

2013-02-04 Shifting Sentiment? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Is investor sentiment shifting in favor of equities, which could help to continue the recent rally?

2013-02-01 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.

2013-02-01 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Financial discipline is collapsing and with it, trust in the value of money. Many heavyweight thinkers in America, such as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman have suggested that a solution to avoid national debt ceilings imposed by Congress would be to mint a trillion dollar platinum coin. Meanwhile, heavyweights close to policy makers in Britain and Japan have been musing whether their central banks should write-off the mountains of government bonds they have bought recently.

2013-02-01 A Gross Underestimate by Jonathan Coleman and Soonyong Park of Janus Capital Group

The glum outlook for the asset class forecasted by Bill Gross last year misses the mark. Our estimates of future equity returnsbased on three different approachesall point to a meaningfully higher forecast than Gross pessimistic prediction.

2013-02-01 Protests of the Common Man by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

At times, some recent protests have been criticized for a lack of organization and demands that may seem irrational such as the death penalty for juvenile suspects of serious crimes. But for all their faults, Indias recent demonstrations are an essential step toward a more participative democracy, and may help to spur an overhaul of the countrys judicial and administrative machinery that I believe has not kept pace with its economic development.

2013-01-31 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.

2013-01-25 Feeding the Dragon: Why China's Credit System Looks Vulnerable by Edward Chancellor, Mike Monnelly of GMO

Edward Chancellor and Mike Monnelly, members of GMO's Asset Allocation team, write to institutional clients in a new white paper about China's credit boom and outlines some worrying recent developments in its financial system. In GMO's view, "China's credit system exhibits a large number of indicators associated with acute financial fragility," including China's debt and real estate bubbles, the belief that the government is underwriting financial risk, the shadow banking system, a proliferation in credit guarantees, among others.

2013-01-25 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for most economies in the Americas region improved during the fourth quarter as domestic consumption growth was sustained and the anticipated revival in global demand has lifted the prospects for export growth this year. Partly helped by fiscal and monetary policy measures introduced since 2011, consumer demand has held up across most countries in the region.

2013-01-25 Resource Investors: Why You Can Expect Sunnier Days Ahead by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During the current commodity supercycle, there have been occasionstoo many to countwhen investor psyche has been damaged by reports about slowing U.S. growth, a hard landing in China or a debt crisis in Europe. Yet just behind the gloom, significant and positive trends are taking hold, causing the storms to start dissipating.

2013-01-25 The Case for Japan with a Caveat by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Im optimistic that Japanese stocks can move higher in coming months, Id advocate investing in them only if dollar-based investors have the flexibility to hedge the currency effect of a weaker yen (more on that below). So with that caveat out of the way, here are four reasons why I think Japanese stocks can move higher in the near term.

2013-01-25 Japan: Another Season of Downturn Abe? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The returning prime minister is trying to spark the moribund economy with the same old remediesbut bolder action is needed.

2013-01-24 German Gold Claw Back Causes Concern by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week the Bundesbank (the German central bank) surprised markets around the world by announcing that it will repatriate a sizable portion of its gold bullion reserves held in France and the United States. To many, the news from the world's second largest holder of gold signaled a growing, if clandestine, mistrust among central banks, possibly fueled by diverging policy goals. The Germans have attempted to tamp down the alarm by highlighting the myriad of logistical, practical and historical reasons that qualified the announcement as unremarkable.

2013-01-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies showed strong signals of a rebound in economic activity amidst generally rising exports and stabilizing inflation. While some major economies like China, which had cut interest rates throughout 2012 to stimulate the economy, saw a mild resurgence in inflation, many countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Philippines saw inflation stabilize significantly during the quarter. Still, India, the region's second largest economy, continued to be troubled by rising prices despite high interest rates.

2013-01-23 Economic Backdrop Supports Stocks, Credit Sectors and Munis by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Thanks to solid earnings, some decent (if mixed) economic news and indications that the debt ceiling debate may be delayed slightly, stocks posted additional gains last week, continuing their strong start to 2013. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.2% to 13,649, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.0% to 1,485 and the NASDAQ composite rose 0.3% to 3,134. Bonds have remained relatively steady, with the 10-year Us treasury closing the week at a yield of 1.84%, two one-hundredths lower than the previous Friday close.

2013-01-23 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies witnessed mixed economic fortunes during the fourth quarter of 2012. While the group's largest economy, Japan, suffered from stubborn deflation and slumping trade due to a bitter territorial dispute with China, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to fare better.

2013-01-22 Ten for '13 by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Last year, despite the noise surrounding the U.S. elections and the ongoing European debt crisis, the main drivers of asset prices arguably were the large-scale bond-buying programs put in place by global central banks to alleviate systemic pressures. In 2013, we anticipate fewer aggressive central bank actions as the pace of global growth gradually picks up. We believe the largest influential factors to our outlook are premature fiscal tightening in the U.S. and a potential resurgence of eurozone problems.

2013-01-22 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.

2013-01-18 2013 International Outlook by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

We continue our outlook for 2013 with a review of select international economies and financial markets. Similar to the U.S. the road to recovery will be bumpy and we expect financial markets to continue being affected by macroeconomic uncertainties. While the overall environment remains uncertain, some of the significant headwinds in 2012, e.g. the Chinese leadership transition and a complete disintegration of the eurozone, are perhaps less concerning for markets than they were a year ago.

2013-01-18 The Allure of Panda Coins by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While I waited in another long line in San Francisco International Airport recently, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman behind me. It turned out we were both returning from research trips in China. But rather than being an investor of securities as I am, this fellow traveler was an investor in Chinese coins, specifically, panda coins.

2013-01-18 4 Sensational Facts About Gold Investing That You Might Not Know by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

1. Gold has been a consistent performer over the decades. 2. Gold should remain a hot commodity in 2013. 3. Gold is the least volatile commodity on the table. 4. The last four years were better than you thought.

2013-01-17 International Equity Commentary December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices made robust gains in December, as further improvement in economic trends across most regions lifted the outlook for 2013. Policymakers in the U.S. managed to put together an agreement at the last minute and averted the 'fiscal cliff', one of the major risks that had restricted investor sentiment during earlier months. In Europe, though economic signals remain largely weak, the further fall in bond yields of the troubled countries has helped sustain optimism about resolving the region's fiscal crisis this year.

2013-01-17 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-16 Global Economic Overview - December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economic outlook brightened further in December, as economic data from most regions indicated sustained, though moderate, improvement in both domestic and external demand. Europe showed further signs of stabilization in the financial markets, as bond yields of the most troubled countries continued to decline in response to the earlier assurance by the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds.

2013-01-16 The Rise of Asia's REITs by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Asia are following in the footsteps of their U.S. counterparts as they become an increasingly important asset class attracting investors looking to gain exposure to a diversified pool of real assets and relatively high yields. In the past decade, REITs have become a growing force in the regions investment universe. This month Sherwood Zhang, CFA, takes a look at just how far Asia's REIT markets have come, and what new opportunities as well as risks may still exist.

2013-01-15 Demographics and the Decline of Equity Mutual Funds by Paul Franchi (Article)

Until the last few years, mutual fund flows followed performance. Recently, however, money has flowed disproportionately into bond funds and out of US equity funds despite a strong rally in the equity markets. Changing demographics explain this shift, which has important implications for advisors and the mutual fund industry.

2013-01-15 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.

2013-01-15 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

While not immune to global economic headwinds, emerging market investments remain well positioned to outperform their developed world counterparts over time. The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities outperformed during the month of December, helped by signs of further improvement in the economic growth outlook. Economic data released over the month were largely positive for most emerging countries, and strengthened the optimism that these markets could see a moderate improvement in growth rates during 2013.

2013-01-14 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.

2013-01-11 On the Road in India by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

India appears to be on its way to becoming a major market for motor vehicles. Annual car and truck sales currently in India are roughly one third of the 15 million units produced in the U.S., but the pace of growth has been high. The total population of registered motor vehicles in India numbered more than 100 million in 2008- 2009, with consumer vehicles (passenger cars, motorcycles and scooters) accounting for about 4/5 of the total.

2013-01-11 New Year's Vantage Point: Norm Boersma by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at the current headwinds facing the global equity markets, from fiscal imbalances to growth challengesand how market uncertainty can result in market mispricings.

2013-01-11 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.

2013-01-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview - December 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets ended the year on an upbeat note, shrugging off concerns over the impending "fiscal cliff" while focusing on better economic data from the U.S. and China. In Japan, expectations of a higher inflation target and a depreciating yen brought some overseas investors back to the Tokyo stock market. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.6%, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index also closed 5.6% higher in the October-December quarter of 2012.

2013-01-11 Special Edition: The Outlook for 2013 by Team of Northern Trust

At this time of the year we typically get warm and generous wishes for the New Year and, of course, numerous questions about what our crystal ball has in store for 2013. While many economists publish their perspectives prior to January 1, we opted to wait in the hope of having a clear fiscal picture for the United States. A lot of good that did us...

2013-01-11 Invest In Equities: Your Future Self May Thank You by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors have had an illusion about the stock market since the financial crisis. With the barrage of negative headlines and abhorrence toward risk, investors seemed to feel that equities would not improve going forward. This turned out to be a mistaken belief.

2013-01-10 A New Years Vantage Point: Michael Hasenstab by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. In the first few weeks of January, Beyond Bulls & Bears will be featuring a series of investment commentaries from select Franklin Templeton investment management teams. These professionals provide their insights on the market ups and downs of 2012, and the potential challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead from their respective vantage points. Today we hear from Michael Hasenstab, portfolio manager and co-director of the International Bond Department.

2013-01-08 Surging EM Corporate Bond Issuance: Cause for Concern? by Shamaila Khan of AllianceBernstein

New bond issuance by emerging-market companies boomed in 2012, leading to fears of a bubble. But we think this market growth is positive for investors, rather than a harbinger of soaring debt levels or deteriorating credit quality.

2013-01-07 Investments That May Keep Me Up at Night in 2013 by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The outlook for 2013 is quite improved compared with 2012. Domestic economic growth prospects are significantly less troublesome. The election is over. Europe has (painfully) slowly made progress in reducing its own budget problems. It is not all clear sailing, however. (It never is.) Europe remains a work in progress. All of the geopolitical risks of 2012, notably North Korea, Iran, and all of the rest of the Middle East, remain on the docket in 2013. And the battle over the U.S. budget will resume in the near future.

2013-01-07 An Unconstrained Approach to Bond Market Investing by Sabrina Callin, Lisa Kim of PIMCO

Investors are increasingly focused on alternatives to traditional investment strategies. Unconstrained bond portfolio construction should be driven by an outcome-oriented goal, with strategies assessed on an individual risk/reward and correlation basis, and each investment in the portfolio evaluated rigorously for the expected risk and return as well as the potential impact of the correlation to other investments in the portfolio.

2013-01-04 Ring in the New by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The "year of the dragon" in 2012 certainly didnt disappoint, as the global markets battled one financial dragon after another. From the Eurozone's sovereign debt crisis to persistently high unemployment in the U.S. and a mayday call from many who worried that China's growth rate was headed for a "hard landing," 2012 certainly was interesting. As we turn the calendar page to 2013, the Eurozone seems to be in less-critical condition and China's economic growth still appears to be flying but as of this writing, the U.S. debt problems still haven't been solved.

2013-01-04 In 2013, Resolve to Follow the Money by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During these first days of January, many adopt an out with the old, in with the new, approach to shed bad habits or extra pounds. Washington opted for its same ol strategy when averting the fiscal cliff, as the addictive nature of can-kicking is a transatlantic sport, according to The Economist. The short-term fix did nothing to control the unsustainable path of entitlement spending on pensions and health care nothing to rationalize Americas hideously complex and distorted tax code... and virtually nothing to close Americas big structural budget deficit.

2013-01-03 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 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to the end of 2012. Investors are hardly basking in the glow of a positive year for stocks. They are less than enthusiastic about the recovery in housing. They seem to be overlooking the actions of the Fed and the implications for the indefinite low rate environment. Two words remain firmly entrenched in the minds. FISCAL CLIFF. What say you (besides bickering and backstabbing)Prez O, Speaker Boehner, Senators McConnell and Reid? Time is running out and five straight down days proves that investors are growing more and more nervous. Happy New Year (I think).

2013-01-03 2013 Forecast: Good Economy, Challenged Markets by Douglas Cote, Karyn Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

We enter 2013 bombarded by conflicting signals. While fundamentals have been mixed of late, longer-term themes our "tectonic shifts" like the energy revolution are gaining momentum and promising to make positive contributions sooner rather than later. And while salutary measures taken by policymakers have eased global risks and lessened fears of Armageddon, there is considerable work yet to be done.

2013-01-03 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.

2013-01-02 Brian McMahon on Thornburg?s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.

2012-12-31 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to the end of 2012. Investors are hardly basking in the glow of a positive year for stocks. They are less than enthusiastic about the recovery in housing. They seem to be overlooking the actions of the Fed and the implications for the indefinite low rate environment. Two words remain firmly entrenched in the minds. FISCAL CLIFF. What say you (besides bickering and backstabbing)Prez O, Speaker Boehner, Senators McConnell and Reid? Time is running out and five straight down days proves that investors are growing more and more nervous. Happy New Year (I think).

2012-12-28 The Year's Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On Wednesday, I talked about three of the top 10 commentaries that were popular over 2012. Here are a few more to highlights.

2012-12-28 Don\'t Wait for the Robins: Investment Strategy for 2013 by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Warren Buffet once remarked, "If you wait for the robins, spring will be over." "Uncertainty" has been an overarching issue since the financial crisis of 2008 and one of the principal reasons that investors have remained on the sidelines away from the equity markets. As it has been a part of the investment lexicon, "uncertainty" will always exist in some capacity. In 2012, investors began by focusing on European issues, then the U.S. election, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, when there is little uncertainty and investors appear unafraid, one should be more concerned.

2012-12-26 Assessing ISG's "Ten for '12" by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year, we offered a forward-looking view of 10 macro themes that we anticipated for 2012. These ideas were meant not to be "surprises" but rather guideposts within the context of a longer-term strategic allocation. At year-end, we are pleased to note that seven of our 10 themes fully materialized. We provide a brief look below.

2012-12-26 Why China is a Reason for Optimism by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

"China has taught me how to think about growth. Consider its stable political environment: it has gone from revolutionary upheaval to smooth (almost boring) transitions of power."

2012-12-24 Aspirin for a Broken Femur by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve under Bernanke is like a bad doctor facing a patient with a broken femur. Being both unable and unwilling to restructure the broken bone, he announces that he will keep shoving aspirin down the patient's throat until the bone heals.

2012-12-24 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: November 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Sustained domestic demand growth and a revival in export demand are anticipated to drive expansion next year.

2012-12-21 Year-End Capital Markets Forecast by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

What looks best for 2013? Given financial repression in developed marketspolicies that prolong negative real interest ratesemerging market local currency sovereign bonds are likely to outperform their developed market counterparts. For equities, both developed (ex-U.S.) and emerging markets offer more attractive valuations and better dividend yields than U.S. stocks.

2012-12-21 Lights, Camera and Action in China by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia

More than a decade ago, China reached a turning point in its film industry with the co-production of its first internationally acclaimed movie hit, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The film, directed by Academy Award winning Taiwanese American director Ang Lee, raked in more than US$213 million globally, and became the highest grossing foreign language film in U.S. history. Pretty good for a movie made in China on a US$17 million budget.

2012-12-21 Light at the End of the Tunnel for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Intuition was telling me something was going on these past few days in the gold market. Our investment team was watching gold and gold stocks take a tumble for no obvious reason. It wasnt only us who felt this way: many analysts were caught off-guard. One comment from Barclays Research indicated that the week was unusually brutal with quite a few confused participants with some seemingly positive aspects of the market not having an impact.

2012-12-20 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

2012-12-20 Japan: Abundant Opportunities Despite Debt-Induced Deleveraging Cycle by David Nadel, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Over the last two decades, Japan has suffered under the malaise of deflationary deleveraging after its stunning growth between the 1960s through the end of the 1980s. In 1991, economists were predicting that Japan would overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy by 2010. Instead, Japan's GDP has stayed largely stagnant over this time period as the country has been trapped in a debt-induced deleveraging cycle.

2012-12-19 PIMCO's Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Awaiting the Policy Breakthrough by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

Our base case for China includes incremental policy reform, but we also see an increased chance of a potential positive surprise on reform, resulting from the recent changes in leadership. Japan's new government will likely focus on reflating the structurally impaired economy, but policy effectiveness will remain questionable. Australia is being burdened by the unintended consequences of the policy responses of others, accompanied by the impending rebalancing of the Chinese economy.

2012-12-19 The Consumer Catalyst in Asia's Emerging Markets by Andrew Sleeman of Franklin Templeton Investments

There may be no better evidence of the economic power of the consumer than the spending frenzy that occurs this time of yearthe sparkling lights, the must-have gifts and gadgets, the indulgent meals. Whether online, brick and mortar, big box or mom-and-pop, retailers count on the year-end consumer boom.

2012-12-18 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.

2012-12-18 Pulling Back the Lens in Emerging Markets by Western Asset Management (Article)

Emerging markets remain resilient, according to Western Asset Portfolio Manager Rob Abad. But in the face of so much global uncertainty, investors would be wise to consider the latest trends and dynamics impacting this maturing asset class.

2012-12-18 The 2013 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, in mid-December, we publish our geopolitical outlook for the coming year. This list is not designed to be exhaustive. As is often the case, a myriad of potential problems in the world could become issues in the coming year. The lineup listed below details, in our opinion, the issues most likely to have the greatest impact on the world. However, we do recognize the potential for surprises which we will discuss throughout the year in the weekly reports.

2012-12-18 Israel: Natural Gas Bonanza Buoys Economy by Team of Thomas White International

From being an energy-deficient nation, Israel is poised to become a leading gas exporter in the region in the years ahead.

2012-12-18 Energy Face-Off: North American Energy Independence vs. Canada's Export Plans by John Devir of PIMCO

President Obama's November 2011 postponement of a decision on whether to permit an oil pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast caused a barrage of protests and negative press in Canada. Canada's new focus on building capacity to sell to Asia-Pacific could hinder U.S. ambitions of energy independence from overseas oil, since the U.S. imports roughly 30% of its crude oil from Canada. We see investor opportunities in rail transportation and pipeline systems that possess excess capacity.

2012-12-14 2013: A Year in Global Equities by Virginie Maisonneuve of Schroders Investment Management

Global equities are very attractively valued and we are positive for their prospects in 2013 as the global economy normalises. Progress in Europe, the end of China's growth slowdown and continued momentum in the US economic recovery will support global equities. Longer-term investors must position themselves for a growth-saturated world in which sustainability and innovation will be even more important.

2012-12-14 Fiscal Friction is Taking a Toll on Confidence in Washington and Rome by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Fiscal friction is taking a toll on confidence in Washington and Rome. What inflation rate should be used to index entitlements? Our updated US forecast assumes a budget resolution before year end.

2012-12-13 Decoupling From the Eurozone by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Recent positive data releases from the U.S. and Asia seem to indicate that global investors should not expect to be severely affected by the ongoing problems in the eurozone.

2012-12-13 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

2012-12-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview - November 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended higher this month, although they were heavily influenced by events elsewhere. Improved economic data from Germany, coupled with expectations that Greece will receive a further round of financial support from the European Union (EU), helped to lift sentiment. Meanwhile, investors were paying close attention to the American congressional budget negotiations to avoid the looming year-end "fiscal cliff" risk to the economy, although U.S. economic data was generally positive.

2012-12-13 2013: A Year in Emerging Market Debt (Relative Strategies) by James Barrineau of Schroders Investment Management

Perhaps the biggest positive for emerging market debt investors is the deteriorating fiscal and economic fundamentals in the developed world. As the asset class has evolved, the opportunity set for investors has grown rapidly. Local currency in emerging markets has attracted tremendous interest but we think returns will moderate in 2013, possibly significantly.

2012-12-12 Low Volatility, Attention & Asset Growth by Matt Malgari of Knight Capital Group

Infused with the vicissitudes of quarreling politicians, growing mountains of debt and stagnant economies in much of the developed world, investors have been faced with a virtual bull market in "worry" and, oddly, an actual bull market in U.S. equities over the last couple of years. Chief among the beneficiaries of the newfound obsession with geometric returns appears to be "low-volatility" products which have begun showing up in force across the investment universe.

2012-12-11 Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan on the Macro and Fixed Income Outlook by David Schawel, CFA (Article)

In this interview, Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan discusses the fixed income universe, Fed policy and issues facing the global macro economy. Eagan is the co-manager, along with Dan Fuss, of the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund and he manages the Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Bond Fund.

2012-12-11 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.

2012-12-11 The Muslim Brotherhood Consolidates Power by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On November 22nd, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi issued a decree that effectively gave him unchecked power. The decree allowed him to unilaterally legislate without oversight by the judiciary. This action clearly rattled those opposed to the president and his political party. Demonstrations ensued and there were numerous threats from the judiciary to obstruct the president's newly declared power.

2012-12-11 Tax Reform: A First Step by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

I rarely use this space to rant about political issues, but the recent election made it obvious just how dysfunctional the American political process has become. The ongoing financial crisis in the US will never get fixed as long as both political parties remain focused on solutions that make the problem worse. The Democrats want to give people more money to spend, claiming this will grow the economy. The Republicans want to cut taxes, so that people have more to spend, claiming that will grow the economy

2012-12-11 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: At Policy Crossroads by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

The maturation of the global cyclical growth phase suggests we look to a handoff to more secular drivers of growth. But strong secular drivers remain elusive due to the continuation of New Normal headwinds.Policies are at important crossroads in every major economy. 2013 will be the year of policy change, with policymakers in major economies challenged to enact structural changes that spur private sector growth before government-balance-sheet-led growth is exhausted.

2012-12-08 How Gold Miners Can Leverage the Price of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gazing into their crystal balls this week, Wall Street firms interpreted differing futures for gold next year. Morgan Stanley awarded gold the best commodity for 2013 while Goldman Sachs called the end of the metals hot streak. After seeing 11 consecutive years of positive performance from gold, one needs to be wary of research analysts price forecasts, as they have consistently underestimated the shifting dynamics driving the precious metal higher.

2012-12-07 The Keynesian Depression by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Five years have passed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Growth is slow, joblessness is elevated, and the knock-on effects continue to drag down the global economy. The primary difference between today and the 1930s, when the U.S. experienced its last systemic crisis, has been the response by policymakers. Having the benefit of hindsight, policymakers acted swiftly to avoid the mistakes of the Great Depression by applying Keynesian solutions. Like the last depression, we are likely to live with the unintended consequences of the policy response for years to come.

2012-12-07 Postcard from Malaysia by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia

During a recent trip to Malaysia I had the opportunity to visit several oil and gas companies. Northeast Asia, most notably Japan and China, already accounts for a considerable amount of energy consumption and is heavily dependent on imports. Meanwhile, Southeast Asia, which has lower industrial development and warmer weather conditions, has traditionally shown to have relatively abundant oil and gas resources. Naturally, this has led the region to be a major exporter of energy.

2012-12-06 From a Fiscal Cliff to a Fiscal Speed Bump by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

More granular analysis of the line items in the fiscal cliff tells a less harrowing story than what Congress and the media are presenting. The official projections are showing scary numbers for the fiscal cliff, but when we dig into the details we see that the real impact will likely be materially less significant. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal cliff adds up to a total increase in tax revenue of $631 billion, which is approximately 4% of GDP. Going through the report line by line tells a different story.

2012-12-05 Headline Roulette by Christian W. Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

That Fiscal Thing dominated the week. Every twitch out of Washington was greeted with over analysis by the press and us. Less so the markets. Truth is, markets are not very good at discounting political uncertainty. Sure, a tax scare here and a debt ceiling impasse there might lead to a sell-off but ultimately it's about earnings, corporate health and outlook and on those metrics, nothing last week really upset the markets in a major way. The bond market tends to get this right.

2012-12-05 Resilient Markets Mask Greater Concerns in Real Economy by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though equity markets have been calm, the real economy tells a different story. If our leaders in Washington arent able to arrive at a compromise, January 1 will mark the beginning of the countrys first scheduled recession, though third quarter corporate earnings suggest a global slowdown is evident. Dont be surprised to see a Christmas rally should Congress kick the fiscal can down the road and the Fed extend Operation Twist.

2012-12-04 In Search of the Holy Grail by Niels Clemen Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

This month's letter focuses on the short to medium term factors that drive our asset allocation and portfolio construction. All research suggests that financial markets are not driven by economic fundamentals in the short to medium term, so why should the investment process be?

2012-12-04 Strawberry Fields Forever? by Bill Gross of PIMCO

As John Lennon forewarned, it is getting harder to be someone, and harder to maintain the economic growth that investors have become accustomed to. The New Normal, like Strawberry Fields will take you down and lower your expectation of future asset returns. It may not last forever but it will be with us for a long, long time.

2012-12-01 A Fresh Start (Hopefully) by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

For years I kept these memos away from anything related to politics. But more recently I began to discuss issues facing the US, and this has required some mention of policy and thus of politics. Ive tried very hard to be non-partisan, with a goal of not having readers know my leanings. I hope Ive succeeded; at least no one has complained. Because I found Americas recent presidential election and especially the results so fascinating, Im going to move explicitly to the field of politics, but with the same goal of non-partisan expression.

2012-12-01 Are Corporate Bonds Expensive? by Team of Neuberger Berman

As in the case of Treasury bonds, yields for U.S. corporate credits have fallen to historic lows as prices have risen. The yield on the Barclays Aggregate U.S. Investment Grade Bond Index was recently at 2.8%far below levels achieved during the heady days of 2007. Obviously, this reflects overall interest rates, but is it also a sign that corporate issues may be overvalued? We explore the issues and consider how investors should position their portfolios for the current environment.

2012-11-30 Postcard from a Tier 4 City by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

On my recent trip to China, I got a firsthand glimpse into one of the country's smaller cities. Classified as a "Tier 4" city, Baoji, in western Shanxi province, is 100 miles from the city of Xian, the famed home of the Terracotta Warrior statues. Baoji and its environs have a population of 3.7 million, of which approximately 2 million are urban residents. That equates approximately to the populations of Paris, France or Houston, Texas.

2012-11-29 The 13th Labour of Hercules: Capital Preservation in the Age of Financial Repression by James Montier of GMO

James Montier, a member of GMO's asset allocation team, writes to institutional clients in a new white paper on the prospects for preserving and growing capital in a world of slowing growth. Defining financial repression loosely "as a policy that results in consistent negative real interest rates," Mr. Montier poses the question "how does a value investor respond to this? It certainly appears as if the assets one would normally associate with capital preservation are expensive. So can and/or should you substitute other assets such as equities into the role of safe-haven value store?"

2012-11-28 A Turn in the Credit Cycle by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Investors should understand the recent transition in the credit market and the implications it could have for the trajectory of asset prices over the long-term.

2012-11-26 Fiscal Cliff: An Emerging Markets' View by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Now that the U.S. presidential election is over and President Barack Obama has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term, we're able to do what we always do after a major election or regime change, and that's examine the potential implications of policy changes on our investments. As our team sees it, there are two main factors for global investors to consider: the U.S. economy's future health, and President Obama's foreign policy stance toward key countries, particularly China.

2012-11-26 Japan: After the Quake, After the Floods by Richard Mattione of GMO

Japan's recovery from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 has been so astounding that people rarely even think about the tsunami anymore. Even fewer remember that heavy rains in Thailand further disrupted the global production chain at the end of 2011. With so much accomplished, why do so few Japanese companies see bright days ahead?

2012-11-23 Five Amazing Global Consumer Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Fifth Avenue no longer the worlds most expensive retail location. China set to be the second largest luxury market by 2017. Viva Macau is gaming capital of the world. Inexpensive Indian Aakash 2 could revolutionize tablet industry. Emerging market residents don't need a bank account to pay with their mobile wallet.

2012-11-22 Emerging Asias Rising Productivity by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Per capita GDP in China has tripled in purchasing power parity terms in the last decade yet Chinese workers still likely have their most productive years ahead of them. Asia as a whole has seen consumption increase by a third since the global financial crisis, even as the West has languished. This month, Robert Horrocks, writes about what is key to the emerging opportunities in Asia: Productivity.

2012-11-20 Emerging Markets Equity -- Monthly Product Commentary: October 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic data from major emerging markets suggested a moderate reversal from the weak trends of recent months.

2012-11-19 Little Dutch Boy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the Mary Mapes Dodge book titled Hans Brinker, there is a fictional story within the story of a little Dutch boy who, on his way to school, notices a hole in the dyke. Having nothing else to fix the leak, he plugs the hole with his finger and stays there through the night until workers come to repair it. We are now into the fourth year of efforts to print trillions of little Dutch boys out of dollars and euros in order to stop a tide from crashing through a fundamentally damaged dyke. All of this has bought time, but no workers have arrived, and no real repairs have been done.

2012-11-19 The Year of Betting Conservatively by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

As consumers, firms, and investors become more cautious and risk-averse, the equity-market rally of the second half of 2012 has crested. And, given the seriousness of the downside risks to growth, the correction could be a bellwether of worse to come for the global economy and financial markets in 2013.

2012-11-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks continued their post-election selloff. The usual concerns about future tax increases and retrenchment by both consumers and business weighed heavily upon investor sentiment.

2012-11-16 China's New Guard by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The Chinese Communist Party has selected a new leader. Actually, it has anointed a new leader that it already selected some time ago. We have known for at least a year that the new leader would be Xi Jinping, son of a reformist-minded early communist revolutionary, who held power in China's southern state of Guangdong as it led China's charge to create a market-based economy open to the rest of the world. Xi's pedigree, therefore, is assumed to be pro-reformist.

2012-11-15 Russia and China's Neighborly Interests by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whether our neighbors are as close as the airplane seat next to us or across a national border, most would probably agree that while we may not see eye to eye, peaceful cooperation makes more sense than tense relations. China and Russia share some 4,000 miles of common border, and their neighborly relationship has certainly had some ups and downs. But it's clear to me that the opportunities for cooperation between these two nations have enormous potential mutual benefits, particularly in the trade of natural resources.

2012-11-15 New Leaders, Same Steady Hand on the Chinese Economic Tiller by Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

The media spotlight is on China's new president, Xi Jinping. But investors should be watching Li Keqiang, the new premier. It's Mr Li who will be responsible for combating the country's slowing economic growth and, with it, potentially the fate of the world's economy.

2012-11-15 Rediscovering the Golden Beauty of Myanmar by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Myanmar has been called "probably the best investment opportunity in the world right now," by legendary international investor Jim Rogers. In an interview with The Myanmar Times, he compared the country formerly known as Burma to China in the 1970s, when it started opening up to the world. "In 1962, Burma was the richest country in Asia. Then they closed and [now] it is the poorest."

2012-11-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview - October 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets derived support this month from improved U.S. economic data and an impression that China's economy might be bottoming out. In addition, the Euro Area Industrial Production numbers came in above consensus. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan declined by 0.39% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 0.44% in October 2012.

2012-11-15 Too Low for Too Long by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Federal Reserve faces the risk of inducing a sell-off in bonds similar to that which occurred in 1994 when Dr. Greenspan tightened credit conditions after maintaining an artificially low interest rate environment for an extended period.

2012-11-14 The Sun Also Rises by James Hunt of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest "Insights" piece, James Hunt, portfolio manager of Tocqueville International Value Fund, explains why Japanese equities, despite the country's poor demographics, huge public debt and weak growth prospects, still harbor some excellent opportunities. Mr. Hunt writes: "Everyone thinks Japan is sinking into obscurity and this negative sentiment provides us with the opportunity to buy what I consider to be excellent global franchise businesses at knock down valuations."

2012-11-13 Emerging Markets: Maintaining Perspective by Robert O. Abad (Article)

In this Q&A, Western Asset Portfolio Manager Robert Abad discusses the latest dynamics and trends within emerging markets (EM). Although EM continue to demonstrate resiliency, Mr. Abad believes that given the amount of global uncertainty today, it is important that investors evaluate opportunities alongside a manager equipped to guide them through the risks and rewards of this evolving asset class.

2012-11-13 Europe: Opportunity of a Generation by David Marcus of Evermore Global Advisors

A difficult political and economic backdrop is masking exceptional opportunities in European markets for discerning, long-term oriented investors. Evermore believes that there is a generational opportunity to build significant wealth by selectively investing in catalyst-driven, deep value European securities, trading at depressed valuations.

2012-11-13 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

"If you want to enjoy life, go to Buenos Aires. If you want to do business, go to Sao Paulo," the saying goes. It is hard to get an impression of a country by going to a city of 20 million people. It is like visiting New York City and thinking you can understand the United States. But I never fail to enjoy myself in Brazil.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-09 Roots of Economic Karma by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

I'm a strong believer that bad governance (yes, bad) is a natural part of the process of socio-political empowerment, and one that is actually necessary at times in order for some democracies, such as India, to achieve faster economic growth. Typically, during times of great socio-political transformation economic governance takes a backseat as newly empowered segments of society view redistribution of power and patronage as the first order of business. Their attention turns to good economic governance only after they feel fully assimilated. Allow me to explain.

2012-11-09 Will China Ditch Mao To Save The Party? by James Gruber of Asia Confidential

Maintaining the status quo isn't an option. It'd jeopardize the future of the Communist Party itself. But the party has a habit of reinventing itself and I am cautiously optimistic that it'll do so again. You're likely to see China move more and more towards a Singaporean-style economic and political model.

2012-11-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies faced a challenging third quarter in 2012 as exports to key developed markets such as the Euro-zone came under pressure. As the austerity policies implemented by many of the countries in the Euro-zone caused a significant slump in demand, emerging market economies, which serve as the workshop of the world faced significant difficulties. Almost all major export-dependent nations like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia faced pressure to export growth. Still, most of the economies possessed both monetary and fiscal ammo to overcome the slowdown.

2012-11-08 Developed Europe: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Amid signs of a deepening economic slowdown in Developed Europe, three key events brought some cheer to the beleaguered region, raising hopes of a lasting solution to its debt crisis. In early September, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its new Outright Monetary Transactions scheme, which is in effect a commitment by the ECB to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds with up to three years in maturity, providing the bond-issuing member country agrees to a reform agenda.

2012-11-06 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.

2012-11-06 Favorable Reports Post Sandy by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The devastation of Sandy blighted the week. We were lucky in that most of our employees escaped the worst effects. We had some evacuations and plenty of lost power. But the images of devastation were overwhelming and we hope our clients and friends of the firm are safe. Perhaps, as a non-native, my perspective is warped but in the US we have an uncanny ability for industry, problem-solving, drive, inventiveness and optimism. Sometimes the very best of us comes out in these times.

2012-11-05 Three Men Make a Tiger by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In a few hours we will know the outcome of the US elections (hopefully without a repeat of 2000!). So, given that eventuality, why should we bother to explore the rather significant disparity in the models being used to create the polls to predict the outcome of the elections? Because doing so will help us understand why the models we use to predict the effects on our investments of market behavior and macroeconomics so often fail us, and why we should approach the use of such models with a full measure of wariness and skepticism.

2012-11-05 Want to learn Mandarin and Hindi? Go to Australia by Team of Thomas White International

Australia has planned an ambitious 'Asian Literacy' program aimed at boosting cultural and economic ties with Asia.

2012-11-02 China's Thirst for Oil by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

The demand for oil and gas in China has grown with the country's rapid economic development of recent years. While the nation's major domestic oil fields continue to produce crude oil, China is increasingly looking beyond its borders for its energy needs. I recently visited western China and Kazakhstan, home to one of the world's biggest oil reserves (and the world's largest landlocked country), to research this industry.

2012-11-02 Who Will Lead America Over the Next Four Years? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If President Obama is reelected, it could be a negative for certain energy companies involved in natural gas fracking, says International Strategy & Investment (ISI). Conversely, a Governor Mitt Romney win could be significant for energy companies. In its Romney Portfolio ISIs rationale is that Romney and the GOP will try to do more to promote traditional forms of energy, including offshore drilling, approving the Keystone pipeline, and exploiting the nations coal resources.

2012-10-31 Defying the Crowd on Chinese Stocks by Stuart Rae of AllianceBernstein

Slowing economic growth, uncertainty about government policy and disappointing returns have made equity investors wary of China. In other words, it's a perfect time to hunt for investment opportunities.

2012-10-31 Macro View: Natural Disaster Economics by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

"Super-Storm" Sandy will distort economic activity and data over the coming months.

2012-10-30 The Yield Hunt by Michael Lewitt (Article)

The high-yield market is not in danger of imminent collapse as some have argued. As long as defaults remain relatively low, and interest rates remain invisible, investors will continue to chase yield. But a few things could cause a sharp sell-off in the near future.

2012-10-30 Weekly Update: Commentary and Statistics by Team of ING Investment Management

U.S. equity markets fell back into decline during the week, as earnings reports and more specifically, forward outlooks inspired investor caution. Meanwhile, a potential "Frankenstorm" has the East Coast on edge for the coming week.

2012-10-26 The China Debate by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

It seems to me that pretty much the only thing you can get Democrats and Republicans to agree on these days is that China is bada job-destroying exporter of cheap goods. And indeed, at the most recent two presidential debates, both candidates spoke of the trade deficit with China and described China as a rule-breaker, including the way it has managed its currency. They phrased their views as if trade were a competition between nations and that exports are obviously superior to imports. U.S. manufacturers might agree but consumers may demur.

2012-10-26 October 2012: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Equity and other "risk" assets rallied in the third quarter in anticipation of further monetary easing by central banks around the world. The prospect of increased liquidity from the central banks appears to have focused investor attention, at least temporarily, away from the generally softer economic data that continue to emerge from Europe and Asia.

2012-10-26 Don't Fear a Normal Gold Correction by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont let the short-term correction fool you into selling your gold and gold stocks. The dramatic increase in money suggests that monetary debasement will continue, and in addition to all the above drivers, these are the positive dynamics driving higher prices for gold and gold stocks.

2012-10-25 Cheap Debt is Good News for Stocks by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The eventual return of leveraged buy-outs (LBOs) and an uptick in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) should give investors further reason to be bullish on stocks.

2012-10-25 In or Out? The Case for - and Against - the Stock Market by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Given ongoing volatility in the stock market, it's no surprise that investors are increasingly bearish on the market's prospects, beset by a lack of confidence in its institutional underpinnings and a general pessimism about the direction of the economy. But is that distrust misplaced? Wharton experts are mixed about the future fortunes of the stock market, with some saying that investors are withdrawing at the worst possible time and others noting that many people had entrusted too much of their retirement savings to the fate of equity markets.

2012-10-24 Policy at a Crossroads by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

On September 13, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3, in the hope of providing an additional boost to the slow U.S. economic recovery. Although this latest policy action reinforces the notion that the U.S. is prepared to support its economy for as long as needed, some economists question whether the stimulus can really make a difference. In this issue of Strategic Spotlight, we consider the recent effects of loose monetary policy and whether the Fed has "reached its limit."

2012-10-22 Chinese Stocks Looking Like a Bargain by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With negative sentiment toward China reaching an extreme in recent months, patient investors have been rewarded with recent news of improving data from the Asian giant.

2012-10-22 The Little Country That Could by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this geopolitical report we will take a brief look at Estonia's history, its economy after the break-up of the Soviet Union, its remarkable economic growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the ensuing downturn in 2008. The country stands out for choosing a different path to deal with the recession than many other European countries.

2012-10-22 3 Investment Strategies for the New World by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

No doubt about it the investment climate has changed, and it's unlikely to change back anytime soon. Russ K gives 3 possible solutions for investors seeking to adjust to the new investment world.

2012-10-19 International Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made strong gains in September as aggressive policy action from central banks in Europe and the U.S. helped offset concerns over moderating economic growth across the globe. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a program to buy unlimited quantities of debt issued by troubled countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, provided they adhere to a strict fiscal adjustment timetable.

2012-10-19 Educating India by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

India has long been a country where entrepreneurs have stepped in to fill gaps in the market, and their role in primary education has been no different. Over the last decade, an estimated 300,000 low-cost private schools have sprung up across India. And as counterintuitive as it seems, many poor parents are willing to pay for their children's schooling to avoid the country's free education system.

2012-10-19 Chinese Stocks Looking Like a Bargain by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This appears to be a good time to be investing in China, as stocks are historically cheap. Chinese stocks are also cheap compared to emerging markets.

2012-10-17 Rise Up: US Soft Patch Appears to be Ending by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

By definition, inflection points are characterized by maximum weakness. Many US economic readings are again suggesting notable signs of life. Will the improvement be enough to offset the "fiscal cliff"?

2012-10-16 Stiglitz vs. Bremmer: What?s Next for the Global Economy? by Ben Huebscher (Article)

On October 3rd, the same night Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clashing in their first debate, two equally polarized men met in New York City's Kaufmann Concert Hall to discuss the future of economics, both here and abroad.

2012-10-16 China's Pyramid of Power by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China celebrated another achievement last week, as Mo Yan became the first Chinese citizen to win a Nobel Prize for literature. The selection of Mo was praised by a Chinese nationalist tabloid as a sign that mainstream China could "no longer be refused by the West for long."

2012-10-15 Lender of Last Resort Move Crucial to Regional Stability by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

While the ECB's engagement as a lender of last resort is crucial, Europe's big four governments must provide political commitments supportive of ECB policy to counter the lingering threat of a Greek exit, address convertibility risk, and build a more stable union. However, this will require sustained growth. Faced with capital flights from the periphery and lowered credit ratings, the key challenge remains crowding-in private and foreign official investors to buy peripheral sovereign debt.

2012-10-15 Passed Pawns by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

I've long been fascinated by the parallels between Chess and finance. Years ago, I asked Tsagaan Battsetseg, a highly ranked world chess champion, what runs through her mind most frequently during matches. She answered with two questions "What is the opportunity?" and "What is threatened?" At present, I remain convinced that the key opportunity lies in closing down exposure to risk.

2012-10-15 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Though investors seemed to overlook the negative earnings projections for the third quarter, the initial releases finally brought out the sellers. While the naysayers had been drowned out by the optimism of the Fed moves, the early results and management warnings prompted investors to sell (and sell and sell) as the major equity indexes each plunged over 2% in what was considered the worst week since June. Heck even a "cheery" Joe Biden couldn't save the markets this week.

2012-10-12 China's Thousand Talents by Christian Halvorsen of Matthews Asia

Employment is one of many paradoxes of mainland China. The country has been adding approximately 6 million new college graduates annuallymore than any other country. Despite the fierce competition for entry-level work, China faces the additional challenge of attracting enough skilled labor in many key industries. Compounding this problem is the fact that China has for years experienced a severe brain drain, often with Chinese citizens staying abroad after completing their overseas studies.

2012-10-12 Chinas Pyramid of Power by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We've been able to witness Chinas incredible growth, with GDP averaging 10 percent per year and more than 500 million people moving out of poverty over the past 30 years. Now after three decades of tremendous expansion, this new generation of leaders will have to carefully maneuver the country into the next decade, towing the line between maintaining the stability created during the previous Hu-Wen administration and continuing the political and economic reform necessary to adjust to the countrys slowing growth.

2012-10-12 The Golub Group Commentary by Team of The Golub Group

High-quality businesses that have the ability to pay and increase their dividends are even more attractive in this low yield environment and the valuations of these businesses are cheap on an historic basis and relative basis to the alternatives.

2012-10-11 Macro View: China in Transition by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With nominal growth rates falling faster than expected, the possibility of a hard landing for China country's economy appear to be increasing. More importantly, however, there is more to this situation than is immediately observable.

2012-10-10 Return to Bretton Woods by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The gold-convertible U.S. dollar became the global reserve currency under the Bretton Woods monetary system, which lasted from 1944-1971. This arrangement ended because foreign central banks accumulated unsustainably large reserves of U.S. Treasuries, threatening price stability and the purchasing power of the dollar. Today, central banks are once again stockpiling massive Treasury reserves in an attempt to manage their currency values and gain advantages in export markets. We have, effectively, returned to Bretton Woods.

2012-10-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Regional equity markets remained largely directionless and volatile during the third quarter amid the summer trading lull. Government policy action towards the end of the quarter triggered the biggest market moves. However, the euphoria was short lived following the announcements of the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transactions and the Federal Reserve Board's third round of quantitative easing.

2012-10-10 Third Quarter Surge Caps 12-Month Relentless Risk Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the rally of the past year, equity markets still look cheap. Weakening manufacturing data suggest the 12-quarter streak of positive earnings growth may come to an end in the third quarter. Housing has turned the corner, providing consumers with cause for confidence. Though fundamentals have wavered a bit, we are constructively bullish on risky assets, as "successful investing demands a choice between prudent risk control and outright risk avoidance".

2012-10-09 The Yin and Yang of 2012 Stock Markets Through September by Ron Surz (Article)

Despite investor concerns about the economy, stock markets delivered substantial returns in the year-to-date, with the S&P 500 returning more than 16% and Europe, Australasia, Far East (the EAFE index) delivering more than 10%. This growth has been in the face of investor withdrawals from equity mutual funds. So if mutual fund investors are selling, who is buying?

2012-10-09 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth remains positive but momentum is lacking. Central bank action has eased tensions. Markets are calmer but future direction is uncertain

2012-10-08 The Unemployment Surprise by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The unemployment number surprisingly dropped to 7.8% last Friday, and the shoot-from-the-hip crowd came out in force. To say that the jobs report was met with skepticism would be a serious understatement. The response that got the most immediate airplay was ex-GE CEO Jack Welch (who knows a few things about making a number say what you want it to say) tweeting, "Unbelievable job numbers ... these Chicago guys will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers."

2012-10-05 Economic Recovery and Debt Reduction: Faster, Please! by Chris Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's tough to be patient in an age of instantaneous communications and instant gratification. We all want immediate answers to our questions and quick fixes to our problems. When it comes to real world tangles like the global economy, though, Chris Molumphy, CIO of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, reminds us that patience, not a magic pill, is the order of the day when it comes to European and U.S. struggles to cure their economic ailments. He's realistic about these problemsbut isn't waiting to act where he does spot investment opportunities.

2012-10-05 Rare Earths Could Be Pawn in Island Spat... Again by Heiko Ihle of Euro Pacific Capital

As China and Japan continue to ratchet up tensions over a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, many investors may be wondering how the dispute could affect the marketplace. One potential area for fallout is the market for rare earth elements (REEs): the futuristic sounding group of 17 minerals with unpronounceable names that play a critical role in everything from hybrid cars to flat screen TVs.

2012-10-05 Election Preview by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Our Investment Strategy Group sizes up the approaching U.S. election and its potential impact on the "fiscal cliff."

2012-10-05 Harmony and Turmoil by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Since Japan's recent purchase of the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands a few weeks ago, anti-Japan protests erupted in various Chinese cities, with some turning violent and targeting Japanese shops, cars and factories.

2012-10-05 Market Respite by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In a period of looming macroeconomic risks and great investor uncertainty the quarter resulted in solid gains in most global equity markets. The Dow was up 4.3%, the S&P 500 5.8% and the NASDAQ 6.2% for the quarter. Year-to-date the Dow was up 10%, the S&P 14.5% and the NASDAQ 19.6%. The news internationally was encouraging though mixed with European indices up 8% for the quarter and 11.8% for the year while Pacific indices were up 2% for the quarter and 7.4% for the year.

2012-10-01 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Bad news from Spain (no good news, no bad news.) Investors spent the week trying to make heads or tails about the headlines out of Europe, while analyzing the news from a suddenly resurging housing sector and a suddenly ailing manufacturing sector. For the most part, however, many were booking profits from a successful third quarter, while reallocating positions for the final stretch of the year. (Surely the Prez election and the "fiscal cliff" must enter into their decision-making moving forward).

2012-09-28 Commodity Stocks: Improving Returns With No Extra Volatility by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Not every investment is the same. Even within the commodities space, when looking at measures such as correlation, performance and risk, two indexes can have very different effects on a portfolios results.

2012-09-27 Gold Stocks or Apple: Which Holds a Place in Your Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In a battle between the largest gold exchange traded fund and the biggest tech stock, which investment would get your vote? Would you choose gold because of the macroeconomic factors supporting the rise of the precious metal? Or do you put your money on Apple because of its overwhelming popularity?

2012-09-27 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

The investment outlook for large swaths of the Islamic world may actually strengthen, because of or in spite of, events of recent weeks. Stock-price buoyancy on the Egyptian and Karachi exchanges, amid continuing public outrage, may presage coming improvements. Also this week, we take a look at Turkey, given the exceptional gains seen on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

2012-09-27 Growing Pains in the BRICs by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The "BRIC" countries have been a focal point of investor interest since the early 2000s. Brazil, Russia, India and China account for about half of the world's population, boast vast natural resources and are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. That said, progress at times has been uneven. Since 2010, the MSCI BRIC Index has largely underperformed the S&P 500 as economic growth flagged. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss current conditions and the outlook for these markets.

2012-09-27 PIMCO'S Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Structural Slowdown Shaping Near-Term Growth Dynamics by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

Rather than a hard landing for China, we foresee a structural downshift that could be called a "New Normal with Chinese characteristics." Australia has considerable scope for additional rate cuts and more expansionary fiscal policy to address regional weaknesses. The Japanese economy will be affected by weak economic growth in China, which will add more pressure for the Bank of Japan to respond.

2012-09-27 Dividend Yield vs. Dividend Growth by Ashvin Viswanathan of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Investor demand for high-yielding companies has grown even stronger because of the perception that these companies are more defensive and recent news that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has extended its forecast of low rates until 2015. We believe buying a portfolio of high-quality, global, market-leading companies with superior valuations and high dividend yields provides investors with an excellent opportunity to consistently beat the market, while providing high income relative to fixed income securities in the current environment.

2012-09-27 Going Private in China by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

Over the last three decades, China's embrace of capitalism has benefited its socialist society. The country's foundation for capitalism has been based on private ownership, as it has been in other capitalist economies. For China, this privatization occurred in two stages: the first being the privatization of agriculture in rural areas as the government implemented a "household responsibility system" to align the economic interests of farmers directly with the output of their own plots of land.

2012-09-26 Is China Becoming Less Competitive? by Dara White of Columbia Management

Concerns about the pace of economic growth in China and the imminent change in leadership have continued to escalate. At the beginning of the year, we highlighted the potential for the rate of economic growth to slow significantly. I recently visited Asia to get a clearer perspective on the situation in China specifically, and Asia generally.

2012-09-25 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?

2012-09-24 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

These days, the various central bankers keep trying to outdo themselves with new stimulus deals. This week, Bank of Japan followed the Fed leads with an expanded bond buying program. Perhaps the moves will reap dividends and the global economy will surge to higher highs in the not so distant future. (Or perhaps the "easy money" strategies will have little impact long-term and lead to periods of inflation and asset bubbles.) Apple's latest "new new" thing remains in hot demand (but can supplier keep up?).

2012-09-24 South Korean Entrepreneurs Want Company by Team of Thomas White International

South Koreans, who have traditionally prized secure life-long employment at a chaebol, are increasingly setting out to establish their own companies.

2012-09-24 Echoes of the Arab Spring by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will discuss the issue of American foreign policy, democracy and the emerging world. Our primary focus will be on the Arab states. From there, we will examine the particular issues of democratization and regime change for a few selected nations in the Middle East. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2012-09-21 Testing Indonesia's Coal Boom by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia

On a recent trip to Indonesia, small talk with my taxi driver led to an interesting proposal: an offer to buy a coal mining license. I wasn't in the market for one but it just goes to show how much Indonesia's coal mining industry has grown in recent years. The country's rapid and significant development in this area has been due partly to privatization efforts, but more so to a sharp uptick in demand from countries like China. Nearly 80% of the output from Indonesian mining firms is exported, with China as the largest individual importer.

2012-09-21 The Ramifications of a Robin Hood Tax by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Could a transaction tax have unintended consequence for American banks? While the jury is still out on that answer, Hungarys example is a reminder to policymakers to comprehensively consider the rewards of collecting a Robin Hood tax along with the risks. Profits and bank credit growth rates across Hungary plummeted due to the hefty bank levies imposed.

2012-09-20 QE n+1 What The Fed Is Really Up To by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

As I survey the news stories and other analysis on the Feds recent announcement, most fall short of describing what the Fed is really up to. Here is a hint: it's not really about employment. It's not really about "price stability" or really about growth either.

2012-09-19 Farmland: The New Gold? by Randy Bateman of Huntington National Bank

Yes, it's just 'dirt', but life on this planet wouldn't exist as it does today unless it didn't comprise a third of the world's surface. Unfortunately much of that 'dirt' is in areas too wet, dry, rocky, salty, devoid of nutrients, or covered by snow for agricultural production. With only 14 percent of the world's landmass considered fertile, and that shrinking at a significant pace, there's a realization that increased farm production is essential to satisfy the increasing demand for food products.

2012-09-18 Fed Delivers another Big Dose of QE by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Yesterday, the Fed delivered the much anticipated dose of Quantitative Easing (QE) announcing that it would continue to buy U.S. Agency Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) in an effort to further drive growth in the U.S. economy and decrease the ranks of the unemployed. The monthly purchase rate of $40 billion will be in addition to the already $10 billion that is being reinvested from QE 1&2 in mortgage-backed securities. This new money balance sheet expansion by the Fed accompanies additional guidance that the Fed would stay low on interest rates likely until mid-year 2015.

2012-09-18 Complex Structures for Investing in China by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

China's Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) have long allowed foreign investors to be able to partake in the growth of some industries in China, such as education and the Internet, restricted to foreigners. VIEs have come under increasing scrutiny. But are they inherently more risky? This month Hardy Zhu takes a look.

2012-09-17 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Dr. B. has spoken and investor are happy (though some Republican investors probably have mixed feelings). Though not all economists were on board with QE3, the policymakers looked at the labor market and took action. With promises of more bond-buying and low fund rates into 2015, investors went on a risk asset buying spree and stocks shot up to multi-year highs. So let the over-analysis (and political bickering) begin.

2012-09-17 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a marginal price correction during the month of August, as concerns about growth moderation in these economies persisted. The economic downturn in Europe, one of the largest markets for export-oriented emerging market countries, continues to force policy makers in emerging economies to come up with programs to support domestic growth. However, renewed optimism over aggressive policy action to stem the fiscal crisis in Europe helped the emerging markets in.

2012-09-17 Global Overview: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Signs of emerging political consensus in Europe over supporting further action by the European Central Bank (ECB) and a closer banking union helped sustain investor sentiment during the month of August. Germany and select other countries that were skeptical of open ended policy measures by the ECB now appear to be scaling down their opposition.

2012-09-17 Was QE3 Necessary? It Depends on Who You Ask... by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

Last week Chairman Bernanke and the Fed launched another aggressive stimulus program, QE3, saying that they will buy $40 billion in mortgage debt per month and continue to purchase assets in order to boost growth and reduce unemployment. He also announced that the Fed is not likely to raise rates from the current rock bottom lows until at least mid 2015, vs. 2014 as previously stated.

2012-09-14 Surviving a Downturn by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

During my recent trip to Northeast Asia, many managers I met were concerned about the gloomy macroeconomic news still coming out of Europe and were curious to hear from me about the state of the U.S. economy. Given their concerns, companies were preparing for a worst-case scenario and continuing to leverage their competitive advantage as they have done during past downturns. Surprisingly, some companies I met with in more developed parts of Asia seemed to welcome this downturn.

2012-09-14 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

It is a heads I wintails you lose - scenario for American farmers. Everyone has heard about the drought throughout the U.S. being the worst since the 50s. However, dont feel too badly for the farmers as their net income will hit a record $122 billion this year. How can that possibly be, given all of the crops drying up? Easy. Since the supply is down and demand remains the same, the price has jumped dramatically and has offset the loss of yield per acre.

2012-09-14 All Signs Pointing to Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, gold investors, if you havent put in your orders, consider getting them in quickly, because the bulls are buying. Credit Suisse saw 'massive inflows' into gold exchange-traded products in August after experiencing significant outflows compared to crude oil and the broader market in March, April, May and July. August shows a clear preference toward gold.

2012-09-14 Central Banks Take Center Stage by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Accommodative central banks have traditionally been good for equities and stocks have responded positively to recent action. However, each market reaction to US Fed action has been shorter in length and challenges persist. Although recent economic data has been beating relatively low expectations, it is still not meeting the Fed's hopes. We appreciate the sentiment of wanting to stimulate growth, but the Fed's power is limited. It's down the street in Washington where the real power to stimulate growth lies.

2012-09-12 Housing's 'Green Shoots' by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Headwinds in the housing market appear to be abating as the U.S. economy gradually heals.

2012-09-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - August 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Pacific Basin equity market performances were mixed during August 2012 and generally underperformed markets in Europe and North America, largely due to the drag caused by concerns surrounding Chinas slowing economic growth rate. Numerous statements made by European leaders to support the Euro helped to allay fears and brought yields on sovereign bonds lower during the month.

2012-09-12 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Building Rickety Bridges to Uncertain Outcomes by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

Without structural change aided by well-planned fiscal policy, we are afraid the nominal bridges of monetary policy will fail to reach their desired outcomes. The probability of a deflationary left-tail outcome emanating from the eurozone has declined substantially in the short run, yet outright economic growth in the eurozone will remain elusive in 2013.The much-publicized "fiscal cliff" is set to hit the U.S. economy on January 1, 2013, and could reduce U.S.

2012-09-11 The Winds of Market Change by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we cross the mid-way point of the year, you might say the equity and fixed income markets have been a lot like the recent weather in much of the world: uncertain, and tending toward extremes. The perception of a stormy economic climate has driven some equity valuations to extremely low levels, particularly in Europe, and investors have been pouring into fixed income despite extremely low yields.

2012-09-10 The Siren Song of Growth: Why Investors Willfully Set Sail for the Rocks by Matt Malgari of Knight Capital Group

Gaining an informational edge through more efficient and effective tools of fundamental company financial analysis and relative valuation is still a crucial goal for active equity managers. This should be even truer in a lower return world, particularly when investment returns may be under transition, driven in part by difficulties in maintaining long-term growth opportunities of a given company's own capital investments.

2012-09-07 Eating Las Vegas' Lunch by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

Since opening its casino industry to international companies in 2002, Macau has become a global gaming center. In 2011, Macaua special administrative region of Chinabrought in US$33.5 billion in gaming revenue, more than five times that of the Las Vegas Strip. Gaming operators have gladly built multibillion dollar facilities in Macau because each new casino seems to attract increasing mass market and VIP gamblers.

2012-09-07 Policymakers Report Card on Competitiveness by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The U.S. dropped to No. 7 on the World Economic Forums newly released 2012 Global Competitiveness Index report. Switzerland retained its top position as the most competitive nation, followed by Singapore, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. Asian countries continue to be among the most competitiveand many are gaining strength. Among the top 20, five are from Asia.

2012-09-07 Chinas Next Act by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

World markets may not have to wait much longer for Chinese policymakers to act, as the government recently announced new infrastructure projects. According to Bloomberg, China approved 25 new subway construction projects, with related investments estimated to be more than 840 billion yuan. Railway, subway and construction stocks in China increased on the news. China is in much better shape than the rest of the world. A powerful rebalancing strategy offers the structural and cyclical support that will allow it to avoid a hard landing.

2012-09-06 How to Unscramble an Egg by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward, Thomas Wittenborg of Absolute Return Partners

This month we take a closer look at the root problems behind the current crisis. Too often root problems are confused with symptoms and the wrong medicine is prescribed as a result. We identify five root problems, all of which must be addressed before we can, once and for all, leave the problems of the past few years behind us.

2012-09-06 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

Pessimism about the next administration's impact on the emerging markets is held in check by the likely convergence of US and Chinese economic interests. More than ever, Ms. Smith needs Ms. Wong. To borrow a recent Financial Times headline, "Obama should pray that China overtakes the US." To us, Indonesia and Malaysia look pretty promising by this standard. Other stories include a look at timber and an update on Bahrain's economy.

2012-09-04 Postcard from India: Taking Frugal Engineering to the World by Team of Thomas White International

The first 25 ton truck that rolled out of Daimler's new Indian manufacturing plant in June this year was similar in most respects to other trucks the company sells across the globe. Even on a closer look, the only major difference seemed to be the name and logo on the front grill. The iconic Mercedes three pointed star logo had been replaced by a new round logo and brand name, BharatBenz.

2012-09-01 Schwab Market Perspective: Back to Work by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

As summer winds down, we expect things to heat up as policymakers get back to work, resulting in a challenging investment environment.

2012-08-31 While Everyone Worried About Europe by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

We all do it. We all refer to Asia as an export-driven economy. It's one of those seemingly useful bits of shorthand. Unfortunately, I believe it has come to do more harm than good. Along with "emerging economies," I would like to banish the phrase to the ranks of outlawed jargon.

2012-08-29 International Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Rogier Quirijns, Gerios Rovers, Luke Sullivan of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 5.2% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 2.0% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned 21.3% and 17.2%, respectively.

2012-08-29 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

The Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran is probably the most important conference hosted there since the 1979 revolution. Iran is doing its best to use the forum as an opportunity to assert its position in world affairs. In market activity, we think fundamentals in India call for less exuberance in gold than some would suggest. Our outlook for South Asia meanwhile recognizes valuation opportunities in the smaller markets of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

2012-08-29 The Russian Evolution by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

It might be tempting to say "everything old is new again" in Russia, given the return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency after a four-year hiatus, an interesting development in the country's political evolution. I think Russia has also evolved a great deal as an investment destination in the past two decades and holds great potential, although there is still more work to be done to open the markets and instill investor confidence.

2012-08-28 Who Benefits from High-Speed Trading? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Speed is a virtue in most competitive pursuits; the combination of speed and accuracy is almost always the ultimate advantage. No one knows this better than the purveyors of high-speed trading technology, who have profited mightily -not only by executing rapid-fire algorithmic trades, but also by exploiting the arcane rules that govern the stock exchanges. But at whose expense are they profiting, and how long is their advantage likely to persist?

2012-08-27 U.S. Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Thomas Bohjalian of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index had a total return of 2.0% for the month, compared with a 1.4% return for the S&P 500 Index. Year to date, the indexes returned 17.2% and 11.0%, respectively.

2012-08-24 Three Generations on One Fast Train by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest commentary on China, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about the overall complexity of China and the vastly different attitudes and life experiences of the last three generations of its population, as well as some of the challenges facing the country and its economy today.

2012-08-24 Half the Sky in China by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

I was recently asked what it's like to be a woman working in a male-dominated field, particularly since my job involves traveling throughout China and meeting mostly male corporate managers. Since women are still typically treated as inferior to men in many Asian societies, some people may assume that I frequently experience uncomfortable situations. But in truth, I have rarely noticed. I think many may have misconceptions about China's attitude toward women.

2012-08-24 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities: Review & Outlook by Jason Yablon of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for emerging markets real estate securities as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Emerging Real Estate Index had a total return of 2.2% in U.S. dollars (net of dividend withholding taxes), compared with 3.6% for the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index (net), a broad measure of the global real estate securities market. Year to date, the indexes returned 19.0% and 18.9%, respectively.

2012-08-24 Gold: First Mover Advantage by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, gold bugs were rewarded with the long-awaited positive momentum in the yellow metal, and on Friday, bullion rose to about $1,670. After falling below the 200-day moving average, gold had been stuck in quicksand for several months. With the jumps in the price this week, bullion swiftly rose above this critically important long-term moving average.

2012-08-24 Taking Stock of Corporate Earnings by Team of Neuberger Berman

The corporate earnings season for the second quarter of 2012 has just about ended. Investors entered this period with much apprehension as the global economic slowdown set expectations for disappointing earnings. However, U.S. numbers surprised on the upside, contributing to a rally in equity markets worldwide. Given the importance of the corporate sector to the current economic recovery, we take a deeper look at recent earnings data to highlight important trends.

2012-08-23 Global Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Chip McKinley of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 3.6% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned 18.9%.

2012-08-21 The Profession's Faulty Assumptions: A Top Ten List by Bob Veres (Article)

In the financial planning profession, we make a lot of assumptions about the world in order to run spreadsheet models, retirement projections and sufficiency analyses, and generally determine how much a client should save and invest for the future. But many of the industry-standard inputs into our models are (how can I say this delicately?) garbage. Here are my top ten garbage inputs, with an explanation of how we might possibly improve on them.

2012-08-21 The Persistence of Profits: The Quality Conundrum, Part I by Matt Malgari of Knight Capital

As avid consumers of a wide variety of investment material, we have to admit that certain firms have demonstrated such proficiency at lucid commentary they have become in-house favorites. In some cases, the writing has such a profound impact that we find ourselves entangled in visceral debates post publication, vexing our wonderful programmers with follow-up questions seeking further clarification or insight. In our opinion, Grantham Mayo (GMO) is one of these firms.

2012-08-21 Is Now the Time to Take Stock in Europe? by Norm Boersma of Franklin Templeton

Being a value manager in the equity space this year hasn't been an easy job. When investors are focused on capital preservation and risk is said to be "off" the table, the value proposition can certainly require some conviction. Templeton Equity Group CIO Norm Boersma knows that when certain sectors are out of favor, that's often when the best opportunities surface. To position for a time when risk is back "on," he is embracing the low market valuations present in Europe and elsewhere.

2012-08-21 Young Americans: The Death of Equities May be Exaggerated by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

PIMCO founder Bill Gross believes the "cult of equity is dying" let me take the other side. Mutual-fund flows suggest that we may have lost a generation of investors. However, demographics suggest there may be another generation that could be the stock market's savior.

2012-08-20 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Once upon a time, Facebook and Groupon were prospective Wall Street darlings. Now both they are pushing all-time lows with analysts questioning their overall revenue models. For now, they are in the minority, as some decent earnings numbers and economic data brought back the "bulls" (at least those who arent on vacation) and sent the major indexes higher (again). Europe still has plenty of issues; the jury is still out on the Fed's next moves; and the campaign season is heating up.

2012-08-17 My (Government-subsidized) China Vacation by Christian Halvorsen of Matthews Asia

As part of my month-long stay in mainland China and Hong Kong, my wife, three daughters and I embarked on a five-day tour of Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou and Wuxi. This part of our trip, which was partially subsidized by the Chinese government, included three meals a day and stays at luxury hotels. The price tag? An amazingly low US$49 per person.

2012-08-17 How Change Happens by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

This is an encore appearance of the letter that is clearly the most popular one I have ever written, updated with a few thoughts from recent times (it was also part of a chapter in Endgame). Numerous reviewers have stated that this one letter should be read every year. As you read, or reread, Ill be enjoying a week off.

2012-08-16 The ECB Is Too Tight Absolutely and Relatively by Scott Mather, Dirk Jeschke of PIMCO

Looking at measures of the quantity of money and its transmission into the real economy reveals that ECB policy is quite tight. Growth hardly stands a chance under this scenario. Relatively tight monetary policy would perhaps be understandable if the eurozone were threatened by inflation. However, inflation is low and falling in the Eurozone. The ECB may be playing a game of chicken with European policymakers. If true, this is a dangerous strategy.

2012-08-16 Markets Holding Up Despite Volatility by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

Despite a steady stream of negative headlines and high volatility, markets are holding up pretty well. The broadest measure of the stock market, the S&P 500 Index, is up nearly 13% year-todate through today, August 13, 2012. The NASDAQ is up almost 17%. High yield bonds are up almost 9.7% while investment grade corporate bonds have gained over 7%. Even Europe has managed 7.5%, as measured by the FTSE Eurofirst 300 Index in dollar terms.

2012-08-14 Maybe This Time is Different by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

This Time Is Different, the catchy title of the popular book by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, has also become a catchphrase summing up the world-weary wisdom of our time. Reinhart and Rogoff, in recounting eight hundred years of financial follies and investment bubbles, gleefully point out that in every case experts offered plausible arguments for dispensing with traditional rules of valuation, i.e., "this time it's different."

2012-08-14 India: Good Growth, Bad Growth by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

It goes without saying that areas of growth attract investors. But in a blind chase for growth, it is easy to forget that only growth accompanied by economic profits creates value. This month Sunil Asnani takes a look at some of the once-celebrated, top-down investment ideas that did not live up to expectations, comparing them to some less exciting ideas that actually did deliver.

2012-08-13 Which Way Will the Pendulum Swing for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the most fascinating aspects when watching a sporting event like the Olympics is the historical statistics highlighting the tremendous advances in athleticism over the years. In the spirit of the events this summer, BTN Research compared gold's advancement from the beginning of the games in Beijing to the London Olympics.

2012-08-10 Global Telecom Stocks Lose Luster by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As their prices have increased in recent months, global telecommunication stocks have started to lose some of their luster. Russ K explains why factors such as valuation and profitability have prompted him to change his view of the sector.

2012-08-10 Where Wealth Thrives and Innovates by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A surprising wealth of information about the world's most prosperous people can be discovered in two new reports. The Chinese Millionaire Wealth Report 2012 found that there are now a million millionaires in China. On average, a Chinese millionaire is 39 years old, has an average of four luxury watches, vacations in France, and owns a business. KPMG;s The Wealth Report 2012 found that there are 18,000 centa-millionaires in Southeast Asia, China and Japan.

2012-08-10 Smartphone Attachment by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

On a recent family vacation to Yellowstone National Park, I was unable to use my smartphone due to a lack of fast mobile broadband service. I survived, but being disconnected for a full week made me realize how my phone has become an indispensable part of my life. Smartphone cell phones with processors to support operating systems running multimedia programs, Internet access and third party applications have become essential to consumers in developed markets.

2012-08-10 Dividend Taxation and Stock Returns by Team of Neuberger Berman

With bond yields declining globally, stocks with high dividends have become increasingly popular as income seekers face a narrowing set of investment choices. The increased demand has caused dividend-paying stocks to outperform broader markets over the past few years, but as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts looms ever larger heading into year-end, investors are concerned that these stocks might grow less attractive. We explore the potential impact of higher taxes on dividend-paying stocks and how investors should be positioned in the months ahead.

2012-08-10 Dog Days by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We now appear to be firmly in the dog days of summer. Low volume and little conviction may dominate but investors need to stay vigilant and now is a good time to prepare for the fall. The recent Fed meeting yielded no new action, but policy makers reiterated that they will act if necessary. We are skeptical that more stimulus measures will have a lasting impact. A waiting game has ensued in Europe as investors look for action following hopeful comments from various officials. But despite concerns over corn prices, central banks will continue to ease, helping to support global growth.

2012-08-09 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

India's massive power failure was a gift to both investment bankers and asset managers. There will likely be a surge in infrastructure-related financing and investment activity directed at South Asia. We also look at sovereign wealth fund transparency; the UAE funds rank comparatively well. Our allocation guidelines for North Africa focus on Morocco, where we believe we will see sustained gains for both portfolio and direct investors once the European situation stabilizes.

2012-08-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - July 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management Co.

Most equity markets in the Pacific Basin region recovered somewhat in July after a weak second quarter on expectations of further monetary easing and measures by the European Central Bank to forestall a Euro currency crisis. However, when we examine the sector results, it is hard to conclude that the recovery was accompanied by an improvement in sentiment.

2012-08-08 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities made modest gains during the month of July, as global markets sustained the optimism from the last week of the previous month. Select markets in Asia, such as Indonesia, Korea, and Malaysia, as well as Turkey and South Africa outperformed during the month. Repeated assurances by European policymakers over further policy action helped assuage market concerns about the region's fiscal crisis worsening, though economic data continues to be relatively weak.

2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.

2012-08-06 Japan's Tax Hike Could Prove Costly by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Japan has been here before, and the outcome was far from pleasant. Yet it seems the wheels are in motion. The country will double its national sales tax, from 5% to 10%. Justified as a way to help the country deal with its precarious fiscal situation, the move has raised serious concerns. This kind of a tax hike, applied for much the same reason, has been widely blamed for the country's destructive late-1990s' recession.

2012-08-06 Diamonds in the Rough by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

The demand for most high-quality, income-producing assets continues to exceed supply due to a weaker growth outlook and aggressive policy action by global central banks. Yet we are still finding numerous opportunities globally through our bottom-up research that targets areas around the world where fundamentals are supportive and the outlook remains constructive.

2012-08-06 Global Overview: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Global equity prices made modest gains in July, helped by strong gains in the developed markets in Europe's Nordic region as well as in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan. Most major emerging markets in Asia also saw price gains during the month, while Spain, Italy, and select other markets in Europe lost further ground. U.S. GDP growth for the second quarter declined below the previous quarter's pace, but was marginally ahead of expectations.

2012-08-03 Priced for Collapse by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Where is the gold price today? If you're like many Americans, you have no idea whether it went up, down, or sideways. Fortunately, I know my readers to be more informed - you likely know that after falling from almost $1900, gold has been trapped around $1600 since early May. But you may still be curious why despite continued money-printing and abysmal US economic reports, gold hasn't been able to hit new highs.

2012-08-03 Postcard from Japan by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

After spending a week crisscrossing Tokyo earlier this summer to meet with various companies, my general take-away was that the country, as a whole, has managed a rather swift recovery from last year's devastating earthquake. Japan seems to have been able to rebound from its nuclear crisis, showing great resilience. Most of the firms I met with were already plowing ahead to try to make up for last year's losses.

2012-08-03 2nd Quarter Small Cap Newsletter by Team of 1492 Capital Management

The stock market posted a strong start for the year but quickly surrendered most of its gains as the macro environment (European debt concerns and China’s slowing economy) caused near-panic selling pressure until the last week of the quarter.

2012-08-03 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Recession by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Every day it seems the media are filled with forecasts of dyer economic times ahead based on troubles in Europe, Asia, and the Fiscal Cliff. The list goes on. Indeed the latest unemployment and GDP numbers, reflect a declining growth rate that is on the verge of going negative. Consequently, a number of commentators have used a projection of these trends to forecast an imminent recession. This is typical of crowd behavior, which has a strong tendency to extrapolate the recent past.

2012-08-03 The Race for Resources by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The world watched in awe as American swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time. It's inspiring to see the incredible results of his tremendous sacrifice and commitment. Investing in global markets requires the same sort of stamina, especially at times like this week, when the month's reading on the manufacturing industry was not encouraging. The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI of 48.4 for July was the lowest since June 2009.

2012-08-02 Two Inflection Points by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

I'm generally happiest, professionally, when I have at least one strong investment conviction. Currently I have two. I want to be long large-cap equities and short small-cap equities. And I want to be long cheap options on natural gas, mostly by owning E&P (exploration and production) firms that have become attractively cheap with the collapse of gas prices.

2012-08-01 The Vanishing Treasury Yield by Team of Neuberger Berman

Although Treasury bonds have performed well in recent years, investors should be aware of increasing risks as yields decline. Yields for 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities have been persistently negative since the fourth quarter of 2011 and continue to trend lower, implying that investors are paying increasingly higher prices for the relative safety these investments are supposed to provide.

2012-07-30 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Oh, the power of words. While the week in the markets got off to a dismal start as the European saga continued, news from the ECB (and rumors about the Fed) renewed investors' interests. Many overlooked the confusing earnings numbers, the lackluster economic data, and the elevated rates in Europe and pinned their hopes on Central Bankers to save the day. (Both the Fed and European Central Bank meet next week.) The Dow jumped past 13k for the first time since early May.

2012-07-27 Demographic Headwinds for Housing by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

Boomer demographics and postponement of marriage on account of student debt and poor finances are two of the key reasons that I long-ago stated the housing recovery would be slow for a decade. Declining birthrates now show that is indeed what is happening.

2012-07-27 Revisiting Malaysia by Lydia So of Matthews Asia

In the market turmoil of recent months, Malaysia's equity market has held up comparatively better than some of its Asian counterparts. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index was up 1.4% during the second quarter in local currency terms. During the previous quarter, Malaysia had seen several large initial public offerings that raised capital totaling more than US$3.3 billion.

2012-07-27 Who is Muhammad Lee? by John Scott of Saturna Capital

Who is this Muhammad Lee? (So named, as these are the most common first and last names in the world.)1,2 Where is he from? How many brothers and sisters will Muhammad Lee have in the future? What are the implications of his arrival for U.S. investors?

2012-07-27 Challenging the Paradigms of Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global investors constantly need to be watchful of individual biases, impaired thinking and emotional reactions that can have an adverse effect on a portfolio. One of our values at U.S. Global Investors is to always be curious to learn and improve, and the Investor Alert was borne from a belief that shareholders want to understand the very subtle nuances of biases and misconceptions. I have selected a few that I believe challenge the paradigms of investing.

2012-07-27 Treading Water by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks seem to be biding time until the action heats back up as summer winds down, but market-moving events can happen at any time. The US economy continues to slow and Bernanke had a relatively dour outlook before Congress. But it appears things would have to get worse before another round of easing is initiated; the effectiveness of which we continue to question. Yields in Spain and Italy indicate action may be needed sooner rather than later, but we did get positive remarks by the ECB, which led to market rallies and a big drop in yields, providing a measure of hope.

2012-07-26 Escalation in the Middle East by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Last week, the fighting in Syria escalated, with the Free Syrian Army, the rebel umbrella group, announcing an attack on Syrias capital, Damascus. Reports indicate that Alawites are starting to flee Damascus for sectarian strongholds on the coast. This information follows the news that the rebels successfully bombed a Syrian intelligence and security facility, killing at least four major figures within the Assad regimes security apparatus.

2012-07-26 Wage Inflation in China: Implications for Inflation and Global Investing by Team of American Century Investments

The transformation of China's economy since the late-1970s when the country opened up to foreign investment and began to take steps to participate fully in the global economy has been nothing short of remarkable. The Asian giant has undergone a dramatic transformation from a comparatively small, underdeveloped, rural economy to a dynamic, urban, manufacturing-based economy that is now the second largest in the world.

2012-07-25 An Attractive Destination for Holidays, and IPOs by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Many Western investors would likely have little trouble naming this years biggest initial public offering in the U.S., but they probably dont know that two of the top three global IPOs so far this year have been in an island nation probably better known as a holiday destination than an investment one. That country is Malaysia, where an interesting story has been unfolding in the IPO market.

2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.

2012-07-24 Investment Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

The headlines in Europe were dominated by political uncertainty and prospects for a prolonged recession, amid signs of deteriorating economic conditions around the globe. The U.S. economy decelerated, as the positive effects of the mild winter wore off and both hiring and spending slowed. Treasury yields fell to all-time lows and oil prices plummeted roughly 30% from their February peak.

2012-07-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia, which posted strong results during the first quarter of 2012 on optimism that Europe's sovereign debt problems would be solved quickly, returned to struggling ways during the second quarter of 2012 as prospects for Europe continued to wobble throughout the period. The uncertainty about Greece's fate in the European Union and the destiny of the single market itself kept industrial firms in Europe guessing for the most part of the second quarter.

2012-07-22 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Tragedy in Colorado overshadowed earnings and economic news and even the Prez candidates could find common ground in expressing sorrow. The earnings numbers remain confusing at best (often better than downwardly revised projections); economic data depicts ongoing consumer concerns; Bernanke is attacked and attacks right back; and the markets settle not far from where they began the week. Coming up in the week ahead: New Home Sales (Wednesday), Durable Goods Orders (Thursday), GDP (Friday).

2012-07-21 The Lion in the Grass by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Today we'll explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not so obvious. This is a condensation of a speech I gave earlier this afternoon in Singapore for OCBC Bank, called "The Lion in the Grass." The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see that are the problem; but rather, in trying to avoid them, it is often the lions hidden in the grass that we stumble upon that become the unwelcome surprise.

2012-07-20 The Evolution of Beijing's SoHo by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

With each visit to New York Citys SoHo art galleries over the past 15 years, I have grown stronger in my suspicion that the freshest, most interesting contemporary art is coming from mainland China. The old guard of expatriate Chinese artists, with their sly indictments of Mao, has been gradually replaced by a new generation who remain in China. Their work is visually exciting and accessible, even for unschooled portfolio managers.

2012-07-20 America's Competitive Spirit by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there are many great American companies to invest in. We like those that are growing their top line revenues and paying robust dividends. Currently 47 percent of the S&P 500 stocks pay a dividend yielding more than a 10-year Treasury, demonstrating the resiliency and strength of American enterprises.

2012-07-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies experienced significant headwinds during the second quarter of 2012. While optimism about business conditions in the Euro-zone helped sustain export growth during the first quarter of 2012, significant challenges from the Euro-zone hampered both investor and consumer sentiment in most developed Asian economies during the second quarter.

2012-07-18 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a moderate recovery during the month of June, as reduced fears about the European fiscal crisis led to a rebound in global markets. The latest agreement by European policymakers is expected to address some of the short-term challenges faced by countries such as Spain and Italy, as well as the troubled banks in the region.

2012-07-18 Readers Questions Answered by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

People who follow me know that one of my favorite things to do to really get to know a city is to walk or cycle the streets and interact with the locals. The great questions you readers submit are kind of like a digital version of that experience, providing me with invaluable perspectives and ideas from around the world. Thank you! Please read on for my answers to a few of your recent questions.

2012-07-18 Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

The long slog ahead suggests a certain simplicity to the strategy outlook. The message may be to focus on specialization and output, rather than aspiration. Fortunately, there are plenty of stories in the developing world that fit this framework. We also offer thoughts on tension at the Straits of Hormuz, where the bulk of oil is transiting to vital Asian markets. In Libya, parliamentary election results may not be the sort of clear win that many project it to be.

2012-07-17 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.

2012-07-17 The Mystery of Chinese Capital Flight by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Capital flight is defined as the rapid withdrawal of assets out of a country for political, economic or geopolitical reasons. Since late last year, there have been steady reports indicating that capital flight has been occurring in China. China restricts its capital account; inflows of foreign capital are carefully regulated and private outflows face significant restrictions. Chinese citizens can legally transfer only $50k per year out of the country.

2012-07-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europe's sovereign debt crisis continued to hound the global equity markets throughout the second quarter, while economic data from the U.S. was also lackluster. Despite a late recovery, the Japanese equity market fell during the April-June quarter, owing to instability in the European financial system, economic distress in Europe, the U.S. and China, and the yens appreciation.

2012-07-14 The Beginning of the Endgame by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last year I have been writing that it is not clear that Europe (with the probable exception of Greece) will in fact break up. The forces that would see a strong fiscal union are quite powerful. In today's letter, I will try to bring you up to date on some insights I have had in the 18 months since Jonathan Tepper and I did the final edits on our book, The Endgame.

2012-07-13 Mid-year Market Review by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

After one of the most trying years for investors in 2011, the first half of 2012 had a similar feel. The split-personality of optimism about a slow but visible recovery in the U.S. and weekly do-or-die drama in Europe produced the type of half-year that, frankly, we expected. Specificially, a continued pattern of news-driven, unsustainable moves in both directions landed much of the U.S. stock market in a tight price range.

2012-07-13 Limited Demand Suggests Further Downside Risk in Germany by Jordan Kohley of Lowry Research

European investors as well as those impacted by a European slowdown remain on edge as they grapple the potential outcomes of austerity measures, global bailout funds, and political gridlock in the European Union. While the extreme variability of these outcomes are worrisome, the final party that decides the direction of the stock market lies in the hands of the investor as they buy securities in pursuit of rewards exceeding risks, or sell securities fearing risks may now exceed rewards.

2012-07-13 Moving to Indonesia by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

I just returned from a two-week trip to Asia, meeting with companies in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. One notable change I observed in Tokyo - and confirmed in Jakarta - was the emergence of Indonesia as an investment destination for Japanese companies. All of the auto-related companies I met with in Japan were either building or had plans to build new capacity in Indonesia.

2012-07-13 Muddling Through, But for How Long? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets rebounded from their lows, but the move has been less than enthusiastic and convincing. Earnings season is upon us and corporate commentary and outlooks may take the focus away from the macro world, at least for a time. Muddling through is what's occurring in the US economy. But how long before a break is made, both in the economy and the markets? Any progress made at the most recent EU Summit appears to have been short-lived and any credible long-term solutions remain elusive. Additionally, Chinese growth continues to slow and concerns over a "hard landing" are growing.

2012-07-12 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Following back-to-back double-digit quarterly gains, US stocks took a breather in the second quarter, with the S&P 500 Index declining 2.8%. It could have been worse. At the quarters low point in early June, the Index had declined 10.0% from the first-quarter close. June was a strong month for stock performance, leading to a welcome recovery from the early quarter decline. However, positive returns from the first quarter prevented the Index from becoming negative on a year-to-date basis.

2012-07-12 4 Reasons to Like China by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Chinese central bank last week announced its second surprise rate cut within a month. The action from the central bank was an acknowledgement that the worlds second largest economy is slowing. Despite Chinas economic slowdown, Russ continues to hold an overweight view of Chinese equities for four reasons.

2012-07-11 The Ascent of South Korea by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

One country in Asia that seems to attract less attention than it might deserve, considering its modern-day achievements, is South Korea. While index provider MSCI this year (once again) left South Korea classified as an emerging market, both FTSE and Standard & Poors have placed Korea in the developed market camp for several years now.

2012-07-11 China Fueling Auto Sales by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The picture postcard image many western travelers may have of Chinas city streets is one besieged with bicycles and empty of cars, but China is no longer pedaling its way into the futureits firmly in the drivers seat as autos rapidly replace human-powered transit. Motor vehicle sales have been booming in China, a reflection of the growing middle class. In 2009, car sales in China exceeded those in the United States, and in 2011, China led world auto production at 18.4 million units.

2012-07-10 Insights into the First Half of 2012 by Ron Surz (Article)

U.S. stock markets at mid-year have earned a respectable 9.5% return. A euphoric first quarter 12.6% gain gave way to a 2.8% minor setback in the second quarter. Foreign markets have not fared as well, earning only 3.4% over the first half of the year. The graph below provides the details, and adds a look at gold's performance.

2012-07-10 One Way Pockets by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

This morning I awoke to headlines "Asia Signals Drop In Global Demand," "Euro Zone Fragmenting Faster Than EU Can Act," "European Worries Send Shares Lower," and "Investors Brace For Shaky Earnings Season." Such musings have the S&P 500 futures off about six points. Somewhat offsetting these negative quips are these headlines, "Fed Officials Favor QE3" and "Obama To Seek One-year Extension For Some Of Bush Tax Cuts;" but alas, this morning the negatives are outweighing the positives.

2012-07-07 Into the Matrix by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What does the current environment of earnings and valuations tell us about the prospects for the US stock markets in general over the next 3-5-7-10 years? This week we have part two of "Bull's Eye Investing Ten Years Later," which we started last week. These two letters have been co-authored with Ed Easterling of Crestmont Research. We take a look at research we did almost ten years ago as part of my book Bull's Eye Investing, updating the data and asking,"Are we there yet? When will we get to the end of the secular bear market?"

2012-07-06 Eurozone Slowly Inching Forward by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The European Union (EU) summit last week in Brussels surprisingly yielded some promising outcomes. EU leaders agreed to important short-term measures that can ease the recapitalization of banks but structural issues, such as increasing banking and fiscal integration in the euro area, remain unresolved. Without longer-term measures, the volatile nature of the debt crisis, as evidenced by the Greek elections on June 17, will continue to impact confidence.

2012-07-06 Designed in California, Made in Manila by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

When I saw the hit animation film The Incredibles a few years ago, little did I know that some of the animation was done by artists in the Philippines. Pixar, the American film studio that outsourced this work to the Philippines, is just one of many global companies to have taken advantage of the island nations thriving business process outsourcing (BPO) industry - contracting out work related to back office operations for cost savings.

2012-07-06 Are You Limited by Linear Thinking? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont be limited by linear thinking in your portfolio. As an alternative to low yielding Treasury bonds, consider resources stocks that pay dividends. Weve found that most materials, utilities and energy stocks in the S&P 500 Index pay a dividend higher than the 10-year Treasury: Materials and utilities companies yield an average of 2.3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, while energy stocks pay an average yield of 2.2 percent. Nonlinear thinkers have historically benefited from the inclusion of natural resources as part of a balanced portfolio.

2012-07-05 Looking for Bubbles by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward, Thomas Wittenborg of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter picks up on the question we left hanging in the air back in May - is Asia a potential re-run of Europe? Although policy rates appear to be dangerously low, and thus encouraging further borrowing, Asia has come a long way since 1997 and there is no immediate risk of a financial meltdown. Australian property prices and commodity prices - in particular crude oil prices - are more likely 'credit event' candidates in our opinion.

2012-07-05 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

Investors focused on emerging markets may be well positioned to benefit from a "barbell" strategy, favoring sukuk and Southeast Asian equities. While in Afghanistan, were more inclined to tilt toward optimism than despair in the wake of military right-sizing. Both India and some Middle East countries are set to be active there. We offer other comments on high dividend yields in GCC stock markets and emerging trends in Ghanas timber industry.

2012-07-03 The 2012 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we use this early July report to offer our outlook for the next six months. In this issue, we will discuss what we see as the key geopolitical issues that will affect the markets for the rest of 2012. This list is not exhaustive but highlights our greatest concerns.

2012-07-03 The Next Frontier by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

In a recent interview, I was asked whether I was becoming a frontiersman in my quest for the next big investment opportunity. Its true that many of my recent investment adventures have taken place in frontier markets the smaller, less-developed cousins of the emerging markets.

2012-07-03 The Euro's Latest Reprieve by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Like an inmate on death row, the euro has received another last-minute stay of execution. The markets are celebrating, as they have after each of the many euro crisis summits until they come to understand that the fundamental problems have yet to be addressed.

2012-06-29 Winds of Change by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

The Jakarta air felt unusually comfortable as I stepped out of Soekarno Hatta International Airport earlier this month. It was certainly still hot and muggy but cool breezes made the evening a bit more bearable. It brought to mind Europe's economic chill, and I wondered if perhaps Indonesian businesses were facing a gloomier outlook due to global concerns.

2012-06-29 Fat Tails by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have moved modestly higher and may now be in a relatively large trading range. US economic growth remains sluggish and is drifting dangerously close to stall speed. Policymakers in Europe appeared to make some progress in the most recent summit, but much is left to be done and time is running out. Meanwhile, global growth is slowing and central banks are attempting to stem the decline.

2012-06-29 Unmasking the Asian Giant by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is far from perfect: While actors can perfect their lines and use masks to captivate an audience, smart investors know better to use a wealth of information across numerous sources to guide investment decisions. Weigh the evidence and judge for yourself. As my friend, Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recently said in an interview, A powerful China is coming, and we have two choices. Either we're at the table, or we're on the menu. To him this means, Good news from China is good news for the U.S.; bad news from the Chinese economy is bad news here.

2012-06-27 The Great American Mirage by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In September 1998, during the depths of the Asian financial crisis, the US Federal Reserves then-chairman, Alan Greenspan, had a simple message: the US is not an oasis of prosperity in an otherwise struggling world. Greenspans point is even closer to the mark today than it was back then.

2012-06-27 Q3 2012 Outlook by Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

The second quarter experienced a return to volatility as heightened concerns over the European sovereign debt crisis and an aura of pessimism around the pace of global economic growth have reverberated through financial markets. The year began on a positive note, with all major equity indices posting strong double-digit gains.

2012-06-26 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.

2012-06-26 A Top Analyst: North America Heading to Energy Independence by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Morse, a managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, said last week that by the end of this decade the US and Canada will have a surplus of oil, leaving it with 'no room for imports.' But the longer-term picture is far less certain, as extraction moves from conventional wells to newer sources, such as deepwater fields and shale-based oil.

2012-06-26 Running on Empty by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

In a move that was more anti-climax than comforting, the Federal Reserve (Fed) satisfied the minimum expectation of the markets and extended Operation Twist, or the MEP (Maturity Extension Program), through the end of the year thankfully taking us beyond the election period.

2012-06-25 Emerging Markets Converge With the Developed World by Michael Gomez, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

We expect to see growth moderating in emerging economies over the secular horizon, but still outpace growth rates in Europe and the U.S. Emerging economies entered this period of global uncertainty with relatively clean balance sheets, reasonably high degrees of policy flexibility, and substantial dry powder in the form of international currency reserves. Emerging markets are likely to be affected by the considerable growth headwinds and uncertainty emanating from the developed world.

2012-06-23 Daddy's Home by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we will look at the recent action of the Fed and use that as a springboard to think about how effective Fed policy can be in an age of deleveraging. And we simply must look at Europe.

2012-06-22 Vietnam Under Pressure by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

I recently spent a few days in Vietnam for research, meeting with several companiesall of which expressed a cautious near-term outlook. Having seen an average of about 7% GDP growth each year since 2000, Vietnam is lagging thus far this year. During the first quarter of 2012, the country saw GDP growth of just 4%. This contrasts sharply from the environment I encountered during my prior visit in September last year.

2012-06-19 Rising Tensions in the South China Sea by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Right now, the most critical geopolitical risk to the financial markets remains Europe, with the Persian Gulf probably the second most important concern. However, there is value in analyzing situations which may become problematic, even if it is in the distant future. By doing so, it allows investors to become aware of potential situations long before they become issues. We believe it is better to have some familiarity with geopolitical concerns in advance of any major problems.

2012-06-19 A Busy Weekend in Europe by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

The headline story is the election in Greece. The initial market reaction to the vote result was positive, with the Euro and Asian markets up strongly. Apparently, the market is realizing that though a disorderly Greek exit scenario has been taken off the table, at least temporarily, by the majority given to pro-bailout parties, we are really just back to where we were before, between the rock of an economy in free-fall and the hard place of an unsupportable and expanding mountain of debt.

2012-06-19 Is China Running Out of Steam? by Matthew Rubin, Ing-Chea Ang, Justin Gaines of Neuberger Berman

The Chinese growth story is especially impressive. At a time when many economies have struggled, China has continued to expand rapidly, helped by its dominant position in manufacturing, growing middle class and, after the 2008 credit crisis, its successful injections of capital and stimulus to ward off recession. Nevertheless, recent data have suggested that the Chinese expansion is now slowing more quickly than most investors expected.

2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Large Cap Value Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. large cap value market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the Russell 1000 Value Index had a total return of 5.9%, compared with a total return of 6.0% for the S&P 500 Index. For the year to date, the Russell 1000 Value Index had a total return of +3.5%, compared with +5.2% for theS&P 500 Index.

2012-06-18 Japanese Equity The Impact of Global Instability by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Mainly owing to fears of a potential Euro break up, the decline in the global stock markets in April 2012 continued through May as well. On June 4th, the Japanese equity market (TOPIX) sank to its lowest level in 29 years, declining even further below the bottom set in the aftermath of the Lehman shock in Japanese yen (JPY) terms. However, in U.S. dollar (USD) terms, the level of the Japan equity market is still above its post Lehman low recorded in March 2009.

2012-06-18 Secrets to Brand Building in China by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

The topic of Chinas consumer market tends to conjure up the catchphrase 1 billion customers and companies from around the world have flocked to cater to this market. As consumers in many developed countries have increasingly become overleveraged from years of easy credit, Chinas consumers have remained mostly underleveraged. Even as Chinas consumption growth has slowed recently, it is still expected to remain on a positive trajectory.

2012-06-15 Falling Equity Prices Reflect the European Crisis and Slower Economic Growth by Team of Thomas White International

Heightened concerns over the European fiscal crisis and slower economic growth dragged down emerging market equity prices during May. The emergence of political parties opposed to short-term austerity measures in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece has upset the political consensus that paved the way for an agreement on tackling the crisis last year. Borrowing costs of some of the troubled countries such as Spain have increased substantially, while countries that are in better fiscal health such as Germany remain hesitant about the issuance of common euro bonds.

2012-06-15 Remembering Hainan Development Bank by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

With tropical weather and white sand beaches, Hainan Island is often referred to as the Hawaii of China. Popular particularly among Chinese honeymooners, Hainan attracts tourists from around the world. Few, however, recall the islands darker days when it was mired in the failure of Hainan Development Bank (HDB). In June 1998, Chinas then regulator of commercial banks announced the closure of HDB, which was saddled with bad debts.

2012-06-15 Schwab Market Perspective: Time for Action by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

With escalated uncertainty, sitting back can be an easy choice, but we believe investors and policymakers alike need to take action. Equities bounced off of what appeared to be oversold conditions but although the US economy appears to be holding its own, a renewed sustainable uptrend may be hard to come by until some substantive policy actions are taken around the globe. The time for decisive action in the eurozone appears to be quickly approaching as short-term solutions are no longer satiating the market.

2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 6.4% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned +7.9%.

2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers International Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for theinternational real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 8.0% for the month (net of dividendwithholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 4.5% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +7.3% and +8.8%, respectively.

2012-06-15 Speed Up or Slow Down--Don't Exit the Commodities Highway by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A positive signal received this week came from Goldman Sachs, when the firm recommended stepping back into the markets in its latest Commodity Watch. Goldman is anticipating a 29 percent return for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity Index over the next 12 months and suggests investors might want to increase their position in commodities.

2012-06-14 Field Notes on Non-Traditional Markets by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

Saudi Arabia is now the worlds third largest holder of foreign-exchange reserves. It may be their quiet attempt to counter Irans influence with Shiism. We further offer views on China, Jordan, and Tunisia. Investors heralded Chinas rate cut last week, however modest in scope. Its common wisdom that China has the worlds largest slice of foreign exchange reserves, followed by Japan. But few appreciate that Saudi Arabia now ranks third, ahead of Russia and Taiwan. Importantly, Saudi Arabias reserve growth rate leads the world.

2012-06-12 Asia's Role in Global Economic and Portfolio Rebalancing by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

We expect that the reallocation of global investor portfolios toward more balanced allocations to emerging market bonds the Great Migration to support Asia in the coming years. To pivot to a growth model that emphasizes domestic demand, China must alter government policy on taxes, profits of state-owned enterprises as well as make other structural changes. Japans growth will continue to be challenged by secular dynamics, and by the countrys inability to respond to them.

2012-06-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - May 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Depressed market sentiment, high volatility, and low trading volume together resulted in another difficult month for the Pacific Basin regions equity markets. Following a great start to the year, Asian markets gave most of these gains back during May, as worries about the health of the Spanish banking system stoked deeper concerns about the progress of the eurozone debt crisis, with Greek elections looming on June 17th as well. U.S. data continued to disappoint, raising fears that the economic recovery could be stalling.

2012-06-12 Frontier Markets: The New Emerging Markets by Allan Conway, Edward Evans of Schroder Investment Management

In this paper, we summarise the attractive investment case for frontier markets both over the long term but also for an investment today. Frontier markets provide access to some of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world, supported by strong secular growth drivers. The investment opportunities are similarly benign as market liberalisation is accelerating and valuations look attractive in absolute terms and versus the developed and emerging world.

2012-06-11 Looking Over the U.S. Fiscal Cliff by Team of Neuberger Berman

Absent congressional intervention prior to year-end, over $600 billion (about 4% of U.S. GDP) of fiscal tightening is scheduled to take effect in the United States in early 2013. Dubbed the fiscal cliff by those in the financial community, the negative impact on growth caused by expiring spending and tax provisions has the potential to derail the ongoing recovery and, according to some observers, even tip the U.S. economy back into recession.

2012-06-11 China Toes a Delicate Balance by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Markets posted their best returns of 2012 last week as investors anticipated additional policy action from global central banks. A series of events during the week heightened optimism that central banks would once again step in to support financial markets. In a Wednesday release, the European Central Bank did not cut its policy rate, but ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to act in response to the deteriorating state of the Eurozone.

2012-06-11 Bertha and Casey by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Markets braced last week for a bailout on Spain which came this weekend. Its banking sector is in wretched condition and joins other European banks at 25 year lows in share price. The official downgrades came long after the stock market had voted with its feet. European leaders had little to add to the debate. There's some talk of a twin track: some European countries pressing on to further integration, some coping with contraction and austerity on their own.

2012-06-08 The Default Delusion - Inevitable....and Desirable by Jonathan Compton of Bedlam Asset Management

The many tortuous what if articles on the eurozones financial problems address the risks of collapse and contagion together with the inchoate political responses. Inevitably they conclude catastrophic consequences. There is no gain in further exaggerating this fairy tale, which is repeated to frighten voters into submission. Every scribbler had got there apart from those for whom it became a quasi-religious cult. The current cacophony of commentary remains backward looking so will again miss the key issue: default is good.

2012-06-08 More Fun in the Philippines by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

A combination of beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine, interesting historical sites and a hospitable population is generally fairly effective in forming the seeds required to capture a part of the worlds largest service sectortourism. Many Southeast Asian countries have spent the last 20 years trying to take advantage of their natural and cultural attractions to participate in the US$6.3 trillion global tourism market, with numerous success stories.

2012-06-07 The Absolute Return Letter - First Mover Advantage by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Investment Advisers

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the eurozone crisis has always been a banking crisis. It only morphed into a sovereign crisis because of political incompetence. Given the rather stubborn approach of the German government to its beleaguered eurozone partners, the crisis is rapidly moving towards some sort of crescendo. It is only a question of time before one of the Southern European countries come to realise that they might be better off outside the eurozone, particularly if they are the first mover.

2012-06-06 Economic Insights: Japan - Glimmers Amid the Gloom by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Japan still looks troubled. To be sure, the economy recorded a surprisingly strong 4.1% annualized real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter. Much of that growth, though, was due to government spending. Otherwise, the flow of news still points to the same tepid growth that has troubled Japan for more than 20 years now. Four of the last six quarters have shown real declines, including last years fourth quarter. This once-powerful exporter faces a deficit on its balance of international payments, while spring data releases show industrial production in decline.

2012-06-05 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Between the problems in Europe and the disappointing news on jobs and economic growth at home, stock markets globally have taken a tumble albeit with the USA doing much better than everyone else. For some reason investors finally opened their eyes these past couple of weeks. They did not like what they saw. As we have commented endlessly here over the past six months, there never has been a recovery in our employment category, and the growth rate of the economy has never shown any inclination to rise above 2% on an annualized basis.

2012-06-04 It's All Relative by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equities have pulled back and are flirting with correction (-10%) territory. We believed this was a needed process, and remain modestly optimistic that economic data will rebound and the market will eventually resume its move higher over the next several months. The Federal Reserve has made clear that it stands ready to act should the US economy deteriorate, or the European debt crisis escalate, but we remain skeptical. The more important issue in our view is how the coming "fiscal cliff" is addressed.

2012-06-04 Is Global Financial Reform Possible? by Paul Volcker of Project Syndicate

Nowadays there is ample evidence that financial systems, whether in Asia in the 1990s or a decade later in the United States and Europe, are vulnerable to breakdowns. The cost in interrupted growth and unemployment has been intolerably large. But, in the absence of international consensus on some key points, reform will be greatly weakened, if not aborted.

2012-06-04 Job Recap/How Big of an Impact from Europe? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Job growth has slowed. However, its unclear exactly why or even, despite all the hand-wringing on Friday, whether its something to worry about. A European recession would have a moderate impact on U.S. exports, but there are some positives. There are a number of other possible explanations for the recent slowdown in (seasonally adjusted) job growth.Firms may be reluctant to hire for a number of reasons: political uncertainty, fiscal policy uncertainty, higher gasoline prices, and worries about the fallout from Europe.

2012-06-02 First Deflation, Then Inflation. But the Timing? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

One of the more frequent questions I am asked in meetings or after a speech is whether I think we will have inflation or deflation. My ready answer is, Yes. Then I stop, which I must admit is rather fun, as the person who asked tries to digest the answer. And while my answer is flippant, its also the truth, as I do expect both outcomes. So the follow-up question (after the obligatory chuckle from the rest of the group) is for a few more specifics. And the answer is that I expect we will first see deflation and then inflation, but the key is the timing.

2012-06-01 Civil Disobedience Hong Kong Style by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Walking around Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by the citys own version of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Directly underneath the HSBC tower, in the center of Hong Kongs vibrant financial district, is a small paved area, a portion of which is home to Hong Kongs anti-capitalist, anti-Wall Street movement. In the skyscraper above, thousands of banking and financial employees toil away daily, not overly disturbed by the protesters directly beneath their feet. Why? Because the civil disobedience below is just sowell, civil.

2012-06-01 Are my methods unsound?...I don't see any method at all, sir. by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

This week we can add the lowest ever level of GT10, which touched 1.44%, and the 7-year note firmly below 1%. German 10-Year Bunds fell to 1.12%, brining the total return close to 20% over the last year. Over in Switzerland, it will cost you nearly 0.5% for the privilege of holding a two year bond. If negative rates are on offer, distress and fear are not far behind.

2012-05-31 The Global Industrial Sector: Have Profit Margins Peaked? by John Longhurst of PIMCO

Factors driving profit margin expansion in the industrial sector include globalization, EM capital expenditures, a focus on profitability and global labour arbitrage. Potential headwinds include a slowdown in global growth drivers, rising labour rates and global deleveraging. We believe profit margins are most at risk in product areas where EM companies are benefiting from state capitalism and seek to take local advantages global.

2012-05-30 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The 12-month period ended March 31, 2012 (the Period) could be described as one of contrasting halves. News emanating from Europe dominated market gyrations for the majority of the Period. During the second half of the Period, the market appeared to ascribe a more optimistic assessment to the European situation and the global economy. Regarding the U.S. dollar, we consider the more dovish FOMC voting member composition to be a negative for the currency, as it will likely lead to more expansionary policies relative to global central bank counterparts

2012-05-30 The What-Why-When-How Guide to Owning Emerging Country Debt by Tina Vandersteel of GMO

As GMO looks forward to its 20th year managing emerging debt portfolios, we offer our perspectives on the frequently-asked questions that have come up over the years, including: What is meant by emerging debt (external, local, corporate)? Why and when to own it: portfolio fit considerations, alpha, and absolute and relative value. How to own it: dedicated external, local, or corporate; blended; or multi asset (including emerging equities).

2012-05-29 The Bargains in Europe's Great Oversell by Bob Veres (Article)

When was the last time we saw negative headlines drive valuations as low as they have in Europe? Evermore's David Marcus, who succeeded Michael Price as manager of the Mutual European Fund, says this period of obsession with Greek debt, bank restructuring and single-digit P/Es may be known as The Great Oversell.

2012-05-29 Asia Exposed by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

For the second time in less than four years, Asia is being hit with a major external demand shock. This time it is from Europe, with financial and trade linkages leaving Asia highly vulnerable to a raging sovereign-debt crisis that threatens to turn a mild recession into something far worse. There are no oases of prosperity in a crisis-prone globalized world. That is equally true for Asia, the worlds fastest-growing region.

2012-05-29 Europe Is Near Term Driver of Market Movements by John Buckingham of AFAM

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds developments in Europe, so Ive chosen to pen this Memorial Day version of our Market Commentary on Monday afternoon rather than the usual Sunday evening. Of course, had the U.S. stock markets been open today, we might have seen a modest advance, given that the equity futures were suggesting that gains of some 40 or 50 Dow Jones Industrial Average points would be in the cards when trading resumes.

2012-05-29 Canada: Untangling Pipeline Projects to Realize Energy Export Potential by Team of Thomas White International

Oil production in Canada is set to increase to 6 million barrels a day by the end of this decade, but the country lacks pipeline infrastructure to facilitate exports. For a country richly endowed in natural resources, and with growing energy production, Canada has been facing a perplexing problem in recent years. While its producers are supplying oil and gas to U.S. refineries at prices below the international market, Canadian refineries on the east coast are paying higher international prices for the oil they import.

2012-05-25 Saber Rattling by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

Tension between Iran and its Gulf Co-Operation Council (GCC) neighbors continues to rise. The GCC was formed in 1981 by the Sunni controlled states to bolster security after the 1979 revolution in Iran and the subsequent war with Iraq. Tension between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia escalated last year after Saudi troops entered Bahrain to quell protests. The members of the GCC held talks to discuss closer political, economic and military union.

2012-05-25 India's Demographic Dividends by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

Fortunately, Indias vast population of 1.21 billion, considered a time bomb not long ago, is increasingly being viewed as a positive. While its population has grown by roughly 18% over the past decade, the percentage of its children has actually fallen during this same period.looking to base manufacturing operations in other countries.India would do well to realize that this period of demographic shift is not merely a stroke of luck, but a window of opportunity. For growth to be sustainable requires some reforms in the way people live and work.

2012-05-25 There's No Place Like America by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors arent endorsing U.S. equities today. With all the positive aspects mentioned above, todays low participation in the U.S. stock market is perplexing. Here are two more reasons to invest today: 1) About 620 companies in the S&P 1500 Index are growing their revenues at more than 10 percent; and 2) 428 stocks in the index have an annualized dividend yield higher than the 10-year Treasury.

2012-05-24 Why Invest in Asian Credit? by Showbhik Kalra of PIMCO

Asian sovereign and corporate credit offer more attractive yields than a number of other global fixed income sectors as investors take on additional risk. Given Asian markets diversity and the global macroeconomic environment, investors may wish to consider investment managers with a strong global macro process coupled with strong relationships with local stakeholders and experience in local portfolio management and markets.

2012-05-23 Global Investment Outlook by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

Investors continue to focus on the global macroeconomic backdrop, which is still relatively positive despite slightly disappointing data recently. There are signs that some of the imbalances within the Eurozone are starting to ease as competitiveness is improving in some of the peripheral countries and this is beginning to be reflected in trade figures. Looking further ahead, we feel that global consumption should be supported by falling headline inflation.

2012-05-22 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."

2012-05-22 Assessing the European Elections by Team of Neuberger Berman

In the two years since the onset of the European sovereign debt crisis, policymakers have struggled with the issue of fiscal integration and the tradeoff between growth and austerity. Although many observers hoped that some clarity would emerge from the recent elections in Greece, France and Germany, political paralysis continues throughout Europe. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss the fiscal and growth outlooks for key eurozone countries and the region overall.

2012-05-21 Global Shipping: Any Port in a Storm? by Sai Devabhaktuni and Gregory Kennedy of PIMCO

With the exception of LNG tankers, all three major shipping categories have been suffering from a supply glut. This, combined with higher fuel costs, has led many shipping companies into financial distress. Although banks have worked with ship owners through this down cycle, they have also pulled back from financing the industry. We believe downside risks are likely minimized in the shipping industry for new lenders and investors. Vessel values are depressed by rates that are sometimes below owners' operating costs and by an oversupplied market that suppresses secondary market values.

2012-05-21 Gilead Sciences Inc Strong Growth At An Unreasonably Low Price by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) is an innovative healthcare company with a strong record of historical earnings growth and expectations for above-average growth into the future. Nevertheless, Mr. Market seems unwilling to recognize the past and future earnings power of this niche pharmaceutical growth stock. Consequently, the company trades at a single digit PE ratio that we believe significantly undervalues both the companys past and future potential. Therefore, investors seeking high growth at a reasonable level of risk might want to look further into this undervalued growth opportunity.

2012-05-19 On Corruption by Bill Mann of Motley Fool

Several large countries have little or no presence in our portfolios that have international mandates. A major reason for this is our fear of corruption in those markets. Our heightened concerns about the treatment of foreign capital in Argentina, for example, convinced us that we should greatly reduce our exposure to companies generating large amounts of revenue there.

2012-05-18 How Gold Demand Remains Resilient by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Demand for gold was relatively resilient in the first quarter of 2012, with global demand falling 5 percent. Marcus Grubb, managing director of investment, calls this slight quarter decline in demand noise in the context of 22 percent rise in the price of gold compared to first quarter of 2011. Also, gold demand was very strong in the first three months of last year. Gold faced a complex quarter, as you can see by looking at jewelry demand by country. There was a significant rise in demand for jewelry from Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Taiwan, and China, compared to the first quarter of 2011.

2012-05-18 Postcard from Southeast Asia by Lydia So of Matthews Asia

A recent research trip I took to Thailand and Indonesia was a welcome break from watching gloomy macroeconomic data flash across my office computer terminals. Being on the ground, and literally on the streets, in Bangkok, Jakarta and several smaller Indonesian towns offered a reality check on the economic potential of Southeast Asian countries. This is not to say that these countries dont face challenges at their respective stages of economic developments. But speaking face to face with management teams offered me a fuller perspective.

2012-05-18 Gold: The World's Friend for 5,000 Years by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors have defriended gold recently in favor of the dollar, as Greek and French voters rejected austerity measures. Greeks have been responding to their escalating debt issues for a while by steadily pulling money from overnight deposits. I often say, money goes where it is best treated, and these deposits will need to find a safe haven.

2012-05-18 Real Assets by Team of Cohen & Steers

Chinas economic growth is a key theme that drives our outlook for real asset categories. As the worlds dominant consumer of most commodities, China is the largest importer of iron ore, producer of steel and consumer of copper. About 65% of the worlds soybean production is imported to the region. Thus, we were encouraged by central bank easing in response to the first-quarter slowdown, as it seems to have orchestrated a soft landing. Should there be further policy actions, it could spur opportunities in a number of natural resource categories.

2012-05-18 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

In a global economy characterized by moderating inflation and tepid growth in developed markets, we believe emerging markets real estate securities offer attractive upside potential on a risk-adjusted basis. Policymakers in emerging economies have indicated increasing comfort with accommodative monetary policies, while domestic demand remains robust, creating a positive operating environment for both landlords and developers. On a relative value basis, we are finding more opportunities in residential developers, as we believe share prices remain depressed following their poor 2011 returns.

2012-05-18 Global Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

North America fundamentals are on a slow but positive trajectory. European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-18 International Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-14 A Taste of Reality by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

There was nothing fun loving about the spoonful of bad news overseas last week that left investors with a bad taste in their mouths. New wrinkles to Europes debt crisis and slower growth in key emerging markets have shaken the stock market and put the U.S. recovery in doubt. The recovery may be weakening and there is a good chance we will see more negative surprises in the near term. This challenging environment calls for investors to be selective in choosing risk assets. Still, shunning stocks altogether could undermine long-term financial goals and, ultimately, is a recipe for disaster.

2012-05-14 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks have endured a rough couple of weeks as it has finally become obvious to everyone that the socalled recovery in the US has been a mirage while the difficulties in Europe have never been addressed. The latter problem is due to the flawed structure of the European Monetary Union, while our problem has to do with an incorrect mixture of policy choices from Washington and in many of our larger states such as California and Illinois. Last week saw a decline of 1.7% for the Dow Jones and .76% for the NASDAQ Composite. These declines were very modest compared to the carnage in Europe and Asia.

2012-05-11 Postcard from Shenyang, China by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

When people think about China, they typically think about cities like Beijing or Shanghai. But there are a number of lesser-known cities with populations as big as (or bigger than) New York. My hometown of Shenyang is one of these cities. Largely left behind during the countrys economic reforms of the 1980s and early 1990s, Shenyang has more recently started to attract some attention for the comeback it has made.

2012-05-11 Chart of the Week: Where Global Industrial Production Is Coming From by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many have compared todays economic recovery to the slow, stagnant growth Americans lived through in the 1970s. I argue theres at least one significant difference: Four decades ago, the world couldnt depend on emerging market growth like it can today. Take a look at Macquarie Researchs chart comparing industrial production (IP) following the 1970s with the output after the downturn in late 2008. The output during the mid-1970s and todays cycle looks very similar over the first two years. The decline experienced around the 31-month mark today also mirrors the drop of the 1970s.

2012-05-11 Here We Go Again....or Not? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Softer economic data has prompted concerns that the market may be headed for a summer swoonsimilar to the previous two years. We believe the backdrop is decidedly different (and better) this time around but investor and business confidence will continue to be important. Some appear to be hoping for weaker data in order to spur the Fed to enact QE3. We believe the bar is much higher and that the Fed should look to return to a more normal monetary stance. Complicating the overall picture and the Feds job is the coming "fiscal cliff" out of Washington at the end of this year.

2012-05-11 Looking to China to Fire Up its Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Following on the heels of renewed concern over Europes debt situation, China released its monthly economic data. Fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales all rose in April, yet growth was not as strong as analysts anticipated. Weak is the word to describe Chinas April figures, says CLSAs Andy Rothman in his Sinology Report. But China wants the ability to manage a stable decline to promote medium-to-long-term structural reforms as well as avoid a hard landing, says CEBM.

2012-05-10 Five Consumer Staples For A Hearty Portfolio With Yield by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The old adage that people got to eat apply to the five consumer staple companies covered in this report. From the farm to the table these companies provide sustenance to a hungry world. Therefore, we believe that conservative investors that are craving the opportunity for growth and income might want to look closer at these five consumer staples. Each appears to be reasonably priced, and the group provides various combinations of growth and yield.

2012-05-10 International Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices remained subdued during the month of April as concerns over the European fiscal crisis continued to cloud market sentiment. Accordingly, price declines were the greatest in Europe while select markets in Asia and Latin America outperformed. As expected, the economies of both the U.K. and Spain contracted during the first quarter, and underscored the mild recession the region is facing at the moment. Bond yields of some of the troubled countries such as Spain and Italy have increased in recent weeks, and investor response to new bond issues remains lukewarm.

2012-05-10 Global Overview: April 2012 The European crisis continues to cloud global outlook by Team of Thomas White International

Global equity prices corrected marginally for the second successive month, while energy and other commodity prices have also moderated in recent weeks. However, led by the U.S., China, and India, global factory output continued to expand in April. Consumer demand remains healthy in most major economies, except Europe, and data from Japan suggests that a healthy recovery is underway as expected. In its updated forecasts, the IMF has increased its global GDP growth expectations for the current year to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent earlier.

2012-05-10 Q112 Portfolio Commentary for the Absolute Strategies Fund by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

It is no secret the structural problems and crises throughout the global economy stem from excess debt. This letter attempts to explain why we think the global economy is in this situation, why the process for creating the problems continues to this day, why financial markets are not out of the woods. We are extremely optimistic about the future investing climate, but only after we get through the final stage of the credit bubble. In our view, the root of the problem stems from the willingness of a broad swath of investors and money managers to bid up asset prices to extreme levels.

2012-05-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

In April, risk-averse sentiment prevailed throughout the global financial markets amid fresh concerns about the prospects for European sovereign debt. Recent economic indicators have presented mixed signals, with signs that the Western economies are at a standstill together with a recovery for Asian industrial countries. Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic, and financial markets in the near future will be highly dependent on monetary policy. In the developed economies, we believe the authorities will probably take additional easing measures.

2012-05-09 Will The Bond Mania End Ugly? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Mass migrations of the investment public from one asset class to another have often ended very badly. We can all remember the late 2000-2002 bear market in stocks when the S&P 500 plunged almost 50% and the Nasdaq over 70%. Investors had been in a mania for stocks during the late 1990s. I believe what were seeing today qualifies as a mania for Treasury bonds. Im not predicting that the current bond bubble will end the way the dot.com mania ended, but it wont take a huge increase in interest rates to put a lot of bond fund investors who came late to the party underwater.

2012-05-09 Going Global Can Pay Dividends by Brad Kinkelaar, Cliff Remily and Raji Manasseh of PIMCO

In todays low yield environment, many investors now include dividend-oriented equities in their portfolios in an effort to reach their income goals. U.S. investors with home market bias risk severely limiting their income potential because in the U.S., dividend payout ratios are on the decline, taxes are potentially on the rise, and valuations in sectors that typically offer attractive dividends are near historical highs. In our view, global equities can provide more attractive dividend income opportunities and offer potential for additional benefits, including diversification

2012-05-08 Eurozone Election Hangover by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The euro is recovering after a dire Monday morning; keep in mind, though, that much of Asia had a holiday and missed digesting the disappointing U.S. unemployment report; liquidity is low, as London is closed for a holiday. Medium term, however, our bigger concern is that big money, such as the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, is taking a step back from the Eurozone. As such, the odds of more liquidity provisions from the ECB have increased. We believe the euro will underperform other European currencies; note, though, that the world, including the U.S., will remain awash in money.

2012-05-08 Dont Fight the Last War Lessons from the Battlefields of Risk Management by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors often behave as if they operate in a world of logic and certainty even when that is not the case. For that reason, history is littered with investors who have failed miserably. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we look at many of the pitfalls facing risk managers and we take a stab at where the next big crisis is going to surface. Our conclusion may surprise a few readers.

2012-05-08 A New Economic Era: The Usual Rules No Longer Apply by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

Against this backdrop of economic woes in the U.S. and Europe, business activity in Asia and Latin America is on the rise. The developing economies and emerging markets are where we see the better metrics, not in the US, Europe or Japan. One needs to look at the BRIC countries connection to commodities growth, and understand how they are getting on top of inflation. We believe China will lead the emerging markets in 2012. They will lean towards easing so their consumers will not be hurt by the less than healthy European export business as well as the weaknesses in the exports to the U.S.

2012-05-04 Trading Volumes in Perspective by Team of Neuberger Berman

NYSE Euronext recently reported a 44% decline in quarterly earnings, due largely to a 23% drop in the exchange operators trading volumes from a year earlier. The development confirmed something already known to many in the investment communitythat equity trading volumes have been depressed, which is traditionally a technical indicator of bearish sentiment. Curiously, this light volume has come in the midst of a 29% advance by S&P 500 since its October 4, 2011 market low. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss the reasons for the meager volume and what it could mean for investors.

2012-05-04 Mongolia's Treasure Chest by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

There has been much hype recently over the treasure chest of natural resources in Mongolia. Dubbed the next Saudi Arabia of coal, Mongolia claims more coal than China, which produced nearly 4 billion tons last year. At the same time, however, there continue to be conflicting reports from the Mongolian government over who may be allowed to develop and ultimately own the rights to the country's precious resources. One key concern among global investors is natural resource nationalism, a term used to describe the tendency of governments to assert control over these resources.

2012-05-04 Do Emerging Markets Win, Place or Show in Your Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The recovery in U.S. stocks is significant and helps restore confidence in equities. Were pleased to see markets improving, especially following a rough finish in 2011. Yet there lingers a persistent negativity toward emerging markets growth and commodities that prevents many investors from jockeying their portfolios into a position for growth. Rather, they remain spectators on the sidelines, with equity fund outflows continuing.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week was a seesaw affair, with the macro news being a negative, while corporate earnings served to support stock prices. The charts above illustrate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4% last week as the blue chips reported pretty good earnings and outlooks. The NASDAQ Composite though fell .36%, mainly because of concerns and some confusion developing in the shares of Apple, which reports tomorrow evening.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices rallied here in America last week as discouraging (but predictable) economic news at home along with the worsening situation in Europe were more than offset by positive earnings from Apple, dividend increases, and buybacks from countless other corporate names. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5% and the NASDAQ Composite which is heavily influenced by the price of Apple improved by 2.3% last week.

2012-05-03 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Earnings season continues (with the likes of Humana, AIG, Kraft), though investors may shift gears to focus on the economy next week as the new month brings key releases from manufacturing and labor. The recent jobless claims release has cast some doubt on the employment picture and last months lower-than-expected nonfarm additions have worried some analysts for the past month. (At least, it should look better than the picture in Spain?)

2012-05-03 Likely Triggers of the Next Recession by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

The conjecture about the next recession has raged ever since the end of the last one. Will it be in 2012 or 2013 or, if you believe the many mainstream economists' estimates, never? Historically speaking, recessions have occurred on average of about every 6-8 years regardless of monetary or fiscal policies, the strength of the economy or global peace - they occurred nonetheless. There is really no argument whether there will be a recession in our future. The only question is the timing and cause of it. The latter point is the most important. Recessions do not just happen. They need a push.

2012-04-30 Dissecting the US Q1 GDP by Monty Agarwal of MA Capital Management

4 years after facing a massive recession, the unemployment rate is still stuck above 8% and the economic growth is starting to slow. Many of my colleagues in the hedge fund circles are calling for a return to negative growth or recession in the US by the end of 2012. This does not bode well for the retail investor, who after missing the Q1 rally has decided to jump back into the markets only to see the rally dissipate.

2012-04-27 All in the Family by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

A recent study revealed that family-run businesses are at the heart of Asia, representing half of all listed companies with a market capitalization equal to one-third of Asia's GDP. Naturally, these businesses are a critical source of private wealth creation for the region. In researching Asia's small companies, we note that the role of ownership is important, especially when owners have significant financial interests in a firm, allowing them to take a long-term perspective in running their businesses.

2012-04-27 Roller Coaster Returns by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Despite an earnings season that has been much better than expected so far, investors appear to be again focusing on more macro concerns. Europe and China are dominant concerns but US growth sustainability is also being questioned. We remain optimistic on the ultimate direction of the stock market. The Fed meeting provided no changes but did show a slightly more hawkish tilt in their economic forecasts. Meanwhile, the US government continues to play a dangerous game of chicken as election season is already in high gear and the so-called "fiscal cliff" looms.

2012-04-27 Sell in May and Go Away? Not this Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One catchy investing maxim thats popular this time of year is sell in May and go away, the notion that investors should cash in their investments and take the summer off. We believe its a much better market this year. After following a similar trajectory as the previous year from October to the beginning of March, improving economic data pushed the S&P 500 over 3 percent higher in March 2012 after trending sideways during the same time period last year.

2012-04-26 Why Eurozone Woes are Creating Headwinds for Global Firms by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Europe is in crisis -- and that has major implications for multinational firms with significant operations in the region. In fact, while much is written about the race by corporations to penetrate emerging markets like China and Brazil, the reality is that the investment by multinationals in Europe dwarfs the assets they have in those fast-growing economies. And the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, along with weak economic growth, is sparking changes in how these firms operate -- altering everything from manufacturing strategies to marketing to financial maneuvers.

2012-04-26 Shareholder Letter and Commentaries by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

How the markets behave in the near future, including the size and duration of any pullback, is unknowable. However, we remain confident in the long-term growth and prosperity of Asia. Therefore, our approach, in the midst of what are admittedly absorbing macro discussions, has been to focus on finding good businesses, rather than try to speculate on events. As much as we all like to discuss the big issues of the day, the real excitement and challenge comes in discovering businesses whose future prospects are underappreciated by the average view of the investment community.

2012-04-26 Myanmar: Opening the Door to Democracy by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

As I have always maintained that with opportunities come risks. Myanmar is no exception. At this moment there is a lot of euphoria and excitement about the possibilities, but investors should try to avoid getting caught up in emotion. Its important to realize that the development of capital markets (bonds and stocks) takes time. One should be cautious about potential over-speculation, which tends to run high in the early stages of development. Investors often try to rush in early and can potentially push the price of stocks too high, which can in turn make valuations expensive.

2012-04-25 Readers Questions Answered Part IX by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I agree with your outlook on the emerging economies. My concern is the Eurozone, where there is political and currency instability. There is talk that one or more countries may leave the Eurozone. This could be a shock to the financial world, affecting currencies, and banks with exposure may tumble. How would you assess this risk? I believe the Europeans are on the right track and are addressing the fiscal issues facing not only Greece, but other countries in the Eurozone. Ultimately, these are issues impacting all developed countries, includng the U.S. and Japan.

2012-04-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies, which reported dismal economic numbers during the fourth quarter of 2011, recovered some lost ground during the first quarter of 2012. Export-led growth in many Asian countries, which had come under pressure during the last months of 2011, witnessed slight improvements in 2012 thanks to receding fears about a sovereign debt crisis in the EU and a stronger-than-expected recovery in the U.S. China, the regions largest economy, however, signaled that it will accept a slightly lower growth rate of around 7.5 percent over the coming years.

2012-04-23 Middle East/Africa First Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

While the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to weigh the impact of the tumultuous Arab Spring uprisings, the area is facing against another challenge yet again. In addition to the existing domestic instability, a strained external environment (the Euro debt crisis) is proving to be a major threat to the regions trade, tourism, remittances and other exports receipts. According to the World Banks Global Economic Prospects report, the economic recovery seen in Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia in late 2011 is likely to stall in 2012.

2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.

2012-04-20 The Good Life Comes at a Cost by Bill Mann of Motley Fool

If we see so little vitality from Europe, why do we invest there? First of all, the fact that Europe has been in crisis is obvious, which means that investors everywhere have been looking for other places to put their money. When this happens, investors tend not to differentiate between the great and the not-great. And second, even if Europe were toast (which it isn't), that doesn't mean that every company in Europe is equally hosed. Many of the worlds great brands are European, and many of them generate much, if not most of their revenues in other markets around the world.

2012-04-20 Whats Ahead for the Fed? by Team of Neuberger Berman

Although growth could slow from here, we do not believe economic conditions will deteriorate enough to provoke further accommodative measures from the Fed. The Fed may be on hold for the time being, but we also believe that Bernanke is acutely aware of the potential consequences of reversing monetary policy too quickly. As a result, interest rates may stay lower for longer. In this type of yield-constrained environment, we continue to favor segments like high yield fixed income and emerging market debt, which both offer attractive sources of income and upside potential.

2012-04-20 Powerless in India by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

More than 400 million people have no reliable access to electricity in India, which has more citizens living without power than any other nation. As is the norm in the worlds largest democracy, the root of the problem spans several sectors, and highlights structural issues and political considerations. It is an issue that ultimately requires clarity on policy and capable leadership at the helm of state-run enterprises.

2012-04-20 Outsized Outsourcing Opportunity in the Philippines? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Our investment team has reported in the weekly Investor Alert about a number of positive trends coming out of the Philippines lately, including a narrowing of the budget deficit, easing inflation and rising export numbers. In addition, CLSA reported last fall that, the Philippines increasingly looks like it could be where Indonesia was five years ago in terms of the potential for a multi-year credit and investment cycle to kick in after years of post-Asian Crisis de-leveraging.

2012-04-20 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

A general moderation in inflation pressures is giving emerging market authorities more liberty to pursue policy stimulus, auguring well for domestic growth. We believe this will create opportunities for residential developers in various markets and we have increased our allocation to these companies.

2012-04-20 International Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks. It does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.

2012-04-20 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, although our expectation for GDP growth in 2012 remains modest at around 2%. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, driven by growing demand from tenants and the scarcity of new supply in most markets. We believe these fundamentals will help support growth in asset values and dividend distributions for the U.S. public real estate sector.

2012-04-18 Global Overview: March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Select indicators showing a possible worsening of the European fiscal crisis and slower domestic demand growth in some of the emerging economies have dulled the global economic optimism in recent weeks. After Spain faced difficulties in finding enough buyers for a new issue of bonds, several distressed European countries have seen their bond yields rise. Inflation and retail sales data from China for the month of February suggested weaker than expected consumer demand, and slower growth in March imports strengthened these concerns.

2012-04-17 Muppet Capers by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Investors enjoyed strong stock market and credit market gains during the first quarter of the year, but storm clouds may be forming on the horizon. Corporate profits have likely peaked. Stocks may be the best house in a bad neighborhood, but houses in that neighborhood appear to be fully priced for now. There are also some troubling signs in the bond markets, particularly the long end.

2012-04-17 Is China Serious about Currency Reform? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Chinas central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, made comments that drew less attention than they deserve. First, he suggested that market forces would play a bigger role in setting the value of Chinas currency, the yuan. He also mused that the yuan should rise further against the dollar and on foreign exchange markets generally. An announcement by the People's Bank of China relating to increased flexibility in the trading band of the currency would appear to confirm Zhou's intent. There is room for two responses to this new Chinese positioning, one cynical and the other much more positive.

2012-04-17 Question for the ECB: What Now? by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

The ECB tipped its hand last week in terms of which direction it is likely to go. Board member Benoit Coeure indicated the ECB could step in and buy Spanish bonds. It is unlikely to be a sustainable solution. It wouldnt be surprising to see renewed stresses emanating from the peripheral sovereign debt markets. There is a limit to how much the ECB is going to be able to do in this situation. Ultimately, the real burden is going to have to be borne by politicians through substantial fiscal adjustments.

2012-04-17 How to Invest in the Best Equity Region in the World by Monty Agarwal of MA Capital Management

I believe that over the next several years, the single best region to buy and hold patiently will be Africa. Africas biggest lure are its vast hordes of natural resources. It is home to: 13% of the global reserves for oil, 50% of proven gold reserves, 50% of proven iron ore reserves, and 60% of cobalt. China, perhaps one of the hungriest consumer of natural resources and a savvy investor, is buying up mining rights and signing land deals everywhere in Africa. Here are a few more metrics that look very attractive for Africa.

2012-04-17 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Committee on PIMCOs Cyclical Outlook by Robert Mead, Tomoya Masanao and Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

We do not expect to see aggressively expansionary policy to combat the incremental economic slowdown in China. We believe that most countries in emerging Asia will continue to put their currency appreciation on hold, as inflation is expected to remain subdued over the cyclical horizon. We are concerned about the sustainability of Japans economic growth beyond 2012, as the governments reconstruction spending will fade in 2013. Relatively speaking, Australia is indeed a beneficiary of higher commodity prices as a result of the strong demand for coal, iron ore and liquid natural gas.

2012-04-17 The Elusive Equilibrium: How Financial Markets Shape Global Rebalancing by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

The mental and organizational infrastructure in the asset management industry has been built for a world with a sharp dichotomy between developed countries and emerging markets. Effective portfolio management requires an integrated approach that eschews the traditional dichotomy between developed and emerging markets. Emerging markets account for about 36% of global output and 68% of global GDP growth, but only represent about 4% of the equity portfolios of U.S. investors. We believe the representation in bond portfolios is even lower.

2012-04-13 What CLSAs Andy Rothman Thinks is the Biggest Misunderstanding in China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In our webcast last week on what to expect from China, Andy Rothman from CLSA outlined the major misconceptions about China. He believes the biggest myth that investors think about China is that its economy is primarily driven by exports. Using two charts which debunk this misconception, Andy explained that domestic investment and domestic consumption have long been the most significant drivers of Chinas economic growth.

2012-04-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview - March 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic. The U.S. in particular has exhibited some surprisingly buoyant conditions driven by improvements in the job market and stronger consumption. Europe for now appears to have disproved the more pessimistic forecasts, whilst Japan will benefit from reconstruction activity. Our sector allocation strategy remains biased towards growth. We hold overweight positions in the Industrials, Consumer Cyclical, and to a lesser extent, Technology, while we remain underweight in the Telecommunications and Utilities sectors.

2012-04-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies showed more promise in the first three months of 2012 compared to the gloomy scenario witnessed during the last quarter of 2011. A marked upturn in the U.S. economy along with receding fears about the debt crisis in Europe gave a fillip to export-based economies in Asia such as Japan and Singapore. Whats more, inflation in most of the developed Asia Pacific economies became less of a concern during the first two months of 2012, with Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand all reporting subdued inflation.

2012-04-13 China's Financial Reform by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

Investors have had concerns about Chinese banks with respect to slower loan growth and the potential for bad debt connected with local government financing vehicles. While 2011 was a difficult year for Chinas economy, its banks actually posted solid earnings growthso good, in fact, that last month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao declared that the countrys largest state-owned banks make money too easily. He added that their control on lending is limiting the growth of independent businesses. To remedy this, the central government agreed to allow private capital to enter the lending market.

2012-04-13 The Active Management Pretend Game by Eugene Robin of Cove Street Capital

Let us start by saying that this is not an essay on whether or not a large pool of institutional asset allocators should consider an indexing strategy or not. What follows is an analysis of the question: If you are going to charge active management fees with the goal of outperforming relevant benchmarks over the longer run within reasonable risk parameters, what sort of preconditions are suggestive of a higher probability of success?

2012-04-13 Schwab Market Perspective: Concern or Correction? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has softened a bit lately but still indicates growth in the US. After a long stretch of relative calm in the markets, we've seen the markets pull back, possibly fulfilling the correction that was overdue. We believe the longer-term trend is higher but near-term risks continue to be elevated and earnings season could bring more volatility. The minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed seemed to solidify that another round of quantitative easing (QE3) is not in the offing. Although the stock and bond markets initially reacted negatively, we are heartened by the rhetoric.

2012-04-13 Wheres the Beef for Gold Equities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you plan on shopping for bargains in the gold miner department, youre going to fight a crowd. Numerous global investors have been pounding the table for gold stocks, including Marc Faber who said gold shares have become extremely oversold and could rebound in the next few days and Global Portfolio Strategist Don Coxe, who reiterated that gold equities are undervalued compared to the precious metal. A big buyer has been the miners themselves. Mergers and acquisitions in the mining sector have been at an all-time high over the past two years. Theyve been willing to pay a premium too.

2012-04-12 Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor: Chapter Eight by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

There are only five pages dedicated to bonds in Chapter Eight. But, these five pages had such major influence on my early years as an advisor. And once again, it is those pages that are sending me a reminder as to why I should not buy bonds today. Given the current interest rates, I would strongly suggest any and all bond investors read these pages. I can assure you that Mr. Buffett has.

2012-04-12 Global Investment Outlook - March 2012 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global economic growth sustains its momentum for now. Fiscal policy remains a global focus. Further monetary policy accommodation should support markets. Recent positive momentum within the U.S. economy is driving the global economic recovery, overwhelming the negative sentiment emanating from peripheral Europe. Real incomes, boosted by employment growth and easing inflation, are showing signs of turning positive in the U.S., feeding through to the broader economy.

2012-04-11 Emerging Market Rates: A Different Cycle by Francesc Balcells of PIMCO

The business cycle in EM has been conducive to easing policy rates. Global growth decelerated noticeably in the second half of 2011, and this included most EM economies. While we expect EM local rates will move higher again as the business cycle progresses, the cyclical highs will likely be lower than the previous highs, reinforcing the secular trend towards lower rates. We like EM local rates with a strong credit quality, steep local curves and high real rates that may offer compensation for taking inflation risks. The local markets of Brazil, Mexico and South Africa all stand out.

2012-04-11 A Balancing Act by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The balancing act between inflation and growth that economies often face is perhaps even more pronounced in the emerging markets world: stimulate growth too much, and inflation could flare, but stamp out inflation too hard, and growth could freeze. The fire of inflation seems to have moderated and some central banks have taken actions to stimulate growth. I believe the fundamentals in many emerging markets look supportive of these actionsas long as it doesnt tip out of balance. Inflation is a big challenge, and I believe it will probably be a very important consideration going forward.

2012-04-11 We're Number One by Team of Dana Investment Advisors

The US has overtaken Japan as number one when it comes to the corporate tax rate. On April 1 Japan cut its corporate tax rate to 36.8% from 39.5%. The US has an average combined federal and state tax rate of 39.2%. In three years Japans corporate tax rate will drop further to 34.5%. Other Asian countries have even lower rates. Granted, corporations can reduce taxes through deductions and creative accounting. Nevertheless, high marginal tax rates hamper our ability to compete in the global market place.

2012-04-10 HBS Research: The Role of Business in Society by Michael Edesess (Article)

Many people believe that society needs to change for market capitalism to be sustainable - and it turns out a surprising number of business leaders are among them. That's the finding of a recent series of forums, organized by three Harvard Business School professors. Based on these discussions, the HBS professors advance a bold proposal - that business itself - not government, or even public-spirited nonprofits - should lead the charge to make the necessary changes to our capitalist system.

2012-04-09 And That's The "QUARTER" That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Europe hopes the latest (bailout and reg) moves will help it get its act together. (Good luck with that.) China applies the brakes. Labor looks strong, but can it continue? The Fed debates the need for more stimulus (without any consensus). Facebook moves closer to IPO (and investors beg to participate). The world lectures Iran and finally takes harsh measures (stand by to help Saudi). Investors hope to keep the mo going for another quarter, while being tempted to take profits along the way. Can we finally start focusing on Obama vs. Romney?

2012-04-09 Strong Fundamentals Drive Best First Quarter Since 1998 by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

The best first quarter since 1998 was marked by strong fundamentals and reduced volatility and global risk.Could it be that the vicious cycle of the past few years has been broken? Could we have entered into the type of virtuous cycle in which positive data beget more positive data, as has marked prior sustained bull markets? Sell in May and go away and other bear strategies that have worked in prior years will likely be ineffective this year, driven in large part by strong fundamentals and global risks that have been excessively discounted.

2012-04-09 An Update on U.S. Manufacturing by Team of Neuberger Berman

On April 2, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the ISM Manufacturing Index had increased to 53.4 in March from 52.4 in February, slightly ahead of consensus forecasts. Although this often-watched indicator has flirted with contraction territory (below 50) at different points throughout the economic recovery, it has now expanded for 32 consecutive months since August 2009 and continues to point to strengthening economic growth. Here, we discuss our expectations for the manufacturing sector and its potential impact on financial markets.

2012-04-07 It's All About Jobs by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Friday's employment numbers were decidedly soft, but the unemployment rate went down anyway, and that is about the best you can say. And this being a holiday weekend, it provides us an opportunity to look deep into the employment numbers, while we put off thinking about Spain for at least a week. And who knew that being an unmarried Asian-American in the US was a risk for unemployment? Plus a few other interesting items will make for an interesting letter.

2012-04-06 Managing Expectations: Why Gold Should Thrive by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Its been a challenging week for gold investors. As I often say, investing, like life, is about managing expectations. Over the past 11 years during golds spectacular bull run, investors should remember that price action can go both ways. What helps is to look at the historical rise and fall of gold. For example, looking at the past decade of one-day 5 percent drops in gold, you can see that this event is pretty rare. In 2006, gold dropped more than 5 percent in a day only two times. In 2008, there were three such events. Another one occurred at the end of this February.

2012-04-06 Postcard from Taiwan by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Managers of most businesses seem eager to duplicate their efforts in China and elsewhere in the region. Given the successful track record of Taiwanese companies in the food and beverage market, they should be well-positioned to transfer such service industries to China. I look forward to assessing the changes on my next visit, and hopefully, by then, getting into Taiwan will be a smoother process for me.

2012-04-06 On Starting Out by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

Judging from the headlines, it would seem an inauspicious time to start a company. The national rate of unemployment is high; the economy might have recovered from crisis, but growth is tepid, and confidence is low; myriad regulations and taxes supposedly stifle entrepreneurship; and our nation is deeply indebted. Many argue the country lacks the capacityand perhaps the willto invest properly in its own future. Whatever the case, it would not seem a particularly hospitable climate in which to launch a venture.

2012-04-05 Shifting Focus: Behind Country Valuations Today by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As the European financial crisis raged last fall, investors were closely monitoring metrics like credit default swaps and yields on Italian bonds to determine where to place their country bets. But 2012 has brought some stability to the eurozone and with it weve noticed a shift in the types of indicators that investors should be tracking when it comes to determining country valuations metrics that show economic growth.

2012-04-04 What Goldmines and Landmines Lie Ahead for Investors in Burma? by Patricia Higase of Link Road Capital Management

The events of the last few months in Burma, in particular the countrys decision to float its currency and allow foreign press to observe elections were unprecedented and clearly a divergence from the past. It appears the difference in this election in Burma to previous times is that parties involved are more economically driven. Aung San Su Kyis decision to move ahead for the people despite her dissatisfaction with the way the elections were conducted was another signal of a more practical approach to moving the country forward.

2012-04-03 Five Undervalued Dividend Paying Retailers by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

We believe the retail sector is currently a mixed bag where some of the best names are currently too pricey to buy. Retailers such as Costco (COST), Ross Stores (ROST) and T.J. Maxx (TJX) have seen their share prices skyrocket over the last year or so. On the other hand, not all leading retailers have followed suit even when their operating results have been comparable. We have identified five well-known and even leading retailers that offer attractive valuation, good dividend yields and the opportunity for double-digit total returns over the next five years.

2012-03-30 China's Family Planning by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia

Family planning in China has become a complex topic of debate as the country feels increasing pressure due to its growing elderly population. Chinas current one-child policy, introduced in 1979, allows some exemptions, including those for ethnic minorities, rural farming families and parents who themselves are single children. But the social and economic costs of implementing the one-child policy have risen, and many are calling for change.

2012-03-30 The World's a Little Richer by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The World Bank released an update to its consumption poverty estimates in developing countries, and for the first time ever, the organization found progress in all the regions they track. In terms of the number and percentage of people living on $1.25 a day at 2005 prices in 130 developing countries, the world is a little richer. The area seeing dramatic progress was East Asia, reports the World Bank. Back in the 1980s, this region had the worlds highest incidence of poverty. Nearly 80 percent of people lived on less than $1.25 each day; In 2008, the number dropped to 14 percent.

2012-03-30 Shifting Winds-Turbulence Ahead? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Treasury yields have moved somewhat higher, while stocks have largely continued to rise. Recent correlations appear to be breaking down, which could lead to increased volatility but we remain relatively confident in equities. Perception as to the next moves by the Fed appeared to be shifting, but Bernanke reiterated their easy monetary stance. Uncertainty is rising and the Feds goal of increased clarity through more transparent communication is under scrutiny. Liquidity concerns in Europe have eased but economic risks remain, while Spain and Italy face deal with their ongoing debt crises.

2012-03-30 Does China Hold the Winning Ticket? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Some bears may think the odds of China being the winner among emerging markets in 2012 are also remote. Over the past few years, Chinese stocks have lagged compared to its emerging market peers. However, the Periodic Table of Emerging Markets perfectly illustrates: last years loser can be this years winner. Historically, every emerging country has experienced wide price fluctuations from year to year. Over time, though, each country tends to revert to the mean.

2012-03-30 Singapore Gateway to Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Viewing the region from the now 20-year old seat of our Singapore office, what we see in Southeast Asia is a generally favorable combination of rising per-capita incomes and a relatively young population, a recipe with the potential to fuel the appetite for a wide variety of consumer goods. The challenges Southeast Asian markets face must not be easily dismissed, but overall I am optimistic about the regions long-term growth potential.

2012-03-29 Should you be Concerned About the U.S. Government Debt? by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Should investors be concerned about the size of the U.S. government debt? Does it matter who owns the debt? This months Fundamentals, authored by Research Affiliates CIO Jason Hsu, examines the implications for future consumption and investors portfolios.

2012-03-27 Success: The Enemy of Creativity by Justin Locke (Article)

Creativity and imagination are universal human traits, yet it's a common idea that certain countries are more creative than others. Can this notion have any basis in fact?

2012-03-27 Our Current Perspective on the Global Economic Outlook by American Century Investments (Article)

As we proceed through the first quarter of 2012, the U.S. economy continues to drift? not in recession, but far from the level of growth and dynamism we would like to have. Meanwhile, global economic growth has slowed as the world anticipates a solution to the European sovereign debt crisis. In short, we are in a period of uncertainty, not only about how key events will unfold, but about the timing associated with their future progress and resolution.

2012-03-27 The Great Escape: Delivering in a Delevering World by Bill Gross of PIMCO

When interest rates cannot be lowered further or risk spreads significantly compressed, the momentum begins to shift, gradually yields moving mildly higher and spreads stabilizing or moving slightly wider. In such a mildly reflating world, unless you want to earn an inflation-adjusted return of minus 2%-3% as offered by Treasury bills, then you must take risk in some form. We favor high quality, shorter duration and inflation-protected bonds; dividend paying stocks with a preference for developing over developed markets; and inflation-sensitive, supply-constrained commodity products.

2012-03-27 Bernanke's Problem with the Gold Standard by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In his new lecture series, Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke is going out of his way to discuss the "problems with the gold standard." To a central banker, the gold standard may be considered "competition," as their power would likely be greatly diminished if the U.S. were on a gold standard. The Fed, Bernanke argues, is the answer to the problems of the gold standard. We respectfully disagree. We disagree because the Fed ought to look at a different problem.

2012-03-23 Whats Next for Equities? by Matthew Rubin and Justin Gaines of Neuberger Berman

In 2011, the S&P 500 finished essentially flat on a price-return basis. That return, however, would not have been achieved without a 15% gain over the last three months of the year. Equities have since picked up where they left off and, year-to-date, most major indices are up by double digits. Front-of-mind for investors is whether this momentum can be maintained. We offer the bear and bull cases as well as our thoughts on what may lie ahead.

2012-03-23 International Real Estate Securities- Investment Review & Outlook - February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

International real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. Given this environment, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of slowing economies and a general deleveraging.

2012-03-23 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities - Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures continue to moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth in such an environment, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers. Our favored markets include Brazil, based on its natural resources, growing consumption trends and shareholder-friendly business environment. We particularly like the retail market, which continues to exhibit strong fundamentals.

2012-03-23 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Global real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. U.S. REITs, which advanced in 2011 while other regions struggled, had a modest decline.

2012-03-23 Diversification at the Core by Team of Franklin Templeton

The late Sir John Templeton was certainly a champion of diversifying ones basket of investments. And so is Tucker Scott, portfolio manager for Templeton Global Equity Group and manager of Templeton Foreign Fund. Diversification is at the core of his investment strategy. A summary of his recent remarks: We try to find stocks that we believe are undervalued, then build a portfolio thats well-diversified by industry and by country. We try to limit position sizes in an attempt to help limit potential stock-specific risk.

2012-03-23 Eye on Myanmar by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia

Since the U.S. declared that the Asia-Pacific region is America's new priority, its strategic moves in Southeast Asia have included the notable visit to Myanmar in December by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The visit was generally viewed as an endorsement of the reform processes that Myanmar has slowly begun to roll out over the past year or so. On my recent trip there, I was able to take a first-hand look at some of these developments.

2012-03-23 Gold and China: Where the Bulls and Bears Square Off by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

To paraphrase the great Steve Martin, todays investors are very passionate people and passionate people tend to overreact at times. An overreaction is exactly whats happened in gold and global markets in recent weeks. While market bulls have been sniffing out data points to support their case, market bears have continued to take a glass-half-empty approach. Gold and China are two areas that have been caught in the bear trap this week, but we believe the gold and China bulls still have room to run.

2012-03-22 The Case for Chinese Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Chinas recent lowering of its growth target made some investors nervous that the country may be in for a period of sluggish growth. Russ, however, believes that a hard landing can be avoided, and he continues to advocate overweighting Chinese equities for three reasons.

2012-03-22 Brazil Retail Sector Riding the Wave of Middle Class Growth by Team of Thomas White International

Even in the late 1990s, Brazil was just like any other emerging economy, characterized by extremes of wealth and abject poverty with no social class dividing the bridge between. A decade and more down the line, the effervescence in the middle cannot be missed. Yes, the great Brazilian middle class defined as those who earn between $690 and $2,970 a month has arrived and is here to stay. If Brazil has made a name in the global retail sector, it had better thank these late comers, empowered with good purchasing power and access to credit.

2012-03-21 Falling Treasuries: A Currency Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

What are the implications for the U.S. dollar and investors portfolios if bond prices continue to fall, as they have of late? Within that context, should investors care whether the U.S. retains its status as a reserve currency? Should it effect the way investors think about their own cash reserves?

2012-03-20 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.

2012-03-19 Readers Questions Answered Part IX by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

It doesnt make sense for any of the countries in the Eurozone to leave the Euro. Moving into another currency does not solve any problems. Thats why Im baffled when people say a particular country should leave the Eurozone. As I see it, the choice to exit a currency is not made by the government, its a choice made by the people. The good news is that the Europeans, in addition to providing more liquidity, are striving to get to the core of the problem by trying to impose fiscal discipline. For this reason, I think the outcome should be positive in the long term.

2012-03-19 Emerging Markets Equity Product Commentary February 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The renewed market optimism that surfaced towards the end of last year persisted in February as well, as emerging market equities again outperformed the developed markets. Though GDP growth forecasts for most emerging economies have been scaled lower for the current year and for 2013, it is widely expected that the risk of a further slowdown in economic activity is limited. Emerging markets in Europe and the Middle East continued to lead during the month, followed by Asia and Latin America. Egypt sustained its recovery during the month while Thailand, Russia, and Chile also outperformed.

2012-03-16 Why Invest in Asia Bonds? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The development of Asias bond markets is one of the regions most profound economic changes of the last decade. This month Teresa Kong, CFA, writes about the diversification Asias bond markets can offer investors, and their three primary return drivers: credit, currency and interest rates.

2012-03-16 February Leaps to a Multi-Decade Market Open by Doug Cote of ING Investment Management

The markets YTD success has been fueled by a dramatic reduction in global risk and upbeat economic data. The fence to contain the euro crisis has been definitively established. Oil prices are a concern, but the real economy has the wind in its sails. Though equity fund outflows continue, its never too late for investors to do the right thing.

2012-03-16 The Heart of March Madness by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone agrees that its unethical to put the firms interest ahead of its clients. More importantly, a self-serving financial attitude is a breach of fiduciary duties. It may be possible that Goldman Sachs has moral issues, but not all financial firms are morally bankrupt. Nor are thousands of executives and professionals employed in the industrymoms, dads, uncles, aunts, daughters, sonswho are hard-working and acting in the best interest of their customers.

2012-03-15 You Can No Longer Say Corporates Without EM by Brigitte Posch and Ignacio Sosa of PIMCO

In our view, the risk profile for EM corporates has improved thanks to stronger sovereign balance sheets and economic growth prospects compared with developed markets. While EM corporates generally have not garnered as much attention as sovereigns, PIMCO expects that significantly more assets will be managed against an EM corporate bond index this year. The road ahead for risk assets may be bumpy. But PIMCO believes the case for focused EM corporate bond investing remains compelling based on improved credit fundamentals, a solid macro backdrop, and potentially attractive yields.

2012-03-15 Where to Look for Dividends? Try Outside the US by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With the dividend corner of the US equity market now crowded and expensive, Russ gives three reasons why investors might want to consider looking abroad for dividend income. More Reasonable Valuations: Outside of the US, dividend paying stocks still appear cheap and are trading at a significant discount to the broader equity market. More Attractive Yields: Non-US dividend companies are offering more enticing yields. Outperformance in a Slow Growth Environment: high dividend paying stocks tend to outperform during periods of slow growth like the one were experiencing this year.

2012-03-14 Par for the Investing Course by Team of Franklin Templeton

Theres a certain Hollywood mystique around the quest for The Next Great Investment. The un-glamorous truth, of course, is that unearthing hidden opportunities actually takes equal parts elbow grease and know-how. Par Rostom, is that roll-up-the-sleeves kind of guy. Hes not looking to invest in companies just because they are household names with splashy advertising campaigns. The companies are the ones he feels are best in their particular niche, but that youve probably never heard of. Surprisingly, hes finding some of them in the eurozone, a place the crowd is largely avoiding today.

2012-03-14 Chart of the Week: The Worlds Infrastructure Plans by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Demand for access to basic needs, an emerging middle class and a never-ending use of global resourcesthese are the primary drivers of major infrastructure projects over the next several years. The infrastructure plans taking place across emerging markets emulate a 1950s America. As these governments help their residents pursue the American Dream of better homes, health care and quality of life, I believe the companies with a strong footprint in these growing markets stand to benefit.

2012-03-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview - February 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

We still have a broadly positive view of the outlook for the Asia Pacific equity markets. The European Central Banks efforts to provide long-term liquidity support have alleviated the default risk among the peripheral Euro-zone countries. It also appears that the Federal Reserves easy money policy is beginning to have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Given this optimism, we believe that equities in the region will continue to rally, particularly in the oversold cyclical sectors such as Industrials, Technology and Consumer Durables.

2012-03-13 Europe's ?Back-door QE?: Good News for Global Bond Investors by OppenheimerFunds, Inc. (Article)

By restoring confidence in the global financial system, the European Central Bank's Long Term Refinancing Operation has allowed global bond investors to participate in attractive opportunities around the world.

2012-03-13 Europe Needs a Good Crisis by Michael Edesess (Article)

When it comes to economies in general and financial crises in particular, it's remarkable how little we actually understand. While global financial actors struggle to restructure Greece's debt and to avoid contagion throughout Europe's periphery, we should recall the lessons of the Asian-Russian crisis 15 years ago. As the writings of Joseph Stiglitz and Martin Wolf remind us - and those events illustrate - crises are part of an evolutionary process, and the afflicted economies often emerge with surprising vigor.

2012-03-13 Will he? Won't he? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Will oil prices hurt the economy? No Recent good news on the economy has come with warnings of possible demand destruction from higher oil. First, lets stress that QE does not cause higher oil prices. There are too many iterations between increasing bank reserves and the trading firepower needed to drive spot oil prices sharply higher. And while we have seen an increase since September, we're no higher than a year ago. During that time economic prospects dimmed then brightened MENA troubles flared, receded and then grew, and Asian demand steadily rose. But there are reasons to be sanguine.

2012-03-13 Checking In With the Municipal Market by Team of Neuberger Berman

In 2011, many investors appeared concerned about the potential for widespread defaults in the U.S. municipal bond marketsomething that failed to materialize. Now, we check in with the municipal markets and find that the outlook is greatly improved; however, in the wake of recent robust performance, it may also be a good time to exert some caution.

2012-03-09 Long-Short Funds Lead Greenwich Indices in February by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

Hedge funds turned in another month of gains across all major strategies, notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President. Results from Long-Short Equity funds show that managers are increasing net exposures as they become more confident about economic conditions. Although some managers continue to expect a market correction, most believe it will be mild as institutional investors are still waiting for opportunities to add to their positions.

2012-03-09 The Healing Powers of a Weaker Yen by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

In mid-February, the Bank of Japan surprised markets with an expansion of its Asset Purchase Program, Japans version of quantitative easing. At the same time, the BOJ reworded its stance regarding inflation, revising its quantitative easing understanding to a goal and formally adopting an inflation target of 1%. Equity markets reacted positively, prompting foreign investors to pour more than US$5 billion into Japanese stocks and futures over just a 2-week period. The yen weakened to levels not seen since May 2011, and the currency seems to have broken from its 5-year appreciation trend.

2012-03-09 Why Equities Are Attractive Today by Matthew OConnor of Hartland & Co.

Is today the right time to invest in equities? Equity investors have experienced a roller-coaster ride. As a result, many investors have run as far as they can from equities, pulling out roughly $135 billion from U.S. stock mutual funds last year. Even with the S&P 500 Index off to its best start in 25 years and inching closer to its 2008 high*, investors continue to withdraw money from U.S. stock mutual funds. So, where are we? Is it the right time to invest in equities? Due to a combination of reasons, we believe equities do look particularly attractive today and for the long term.

2012-03-09 Market Fatigue? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market action has been relatively muted, notwithstanding the first 1% down day of this year. After the strong run to start the year, another pause or pullback would not be surprising but we continue to believe the upward trend will largely stay intact. Uncertainty abounds as to whether the Fed will unleash a new round of easing but liquidity remains abundant. Rhetoric continues in Washington but any substantial fiscal or tax policy action this year seems unlikely, despite the many challenges that are looming.Europe has stabilized somewhat but risks remain elevated.

2012-03-08 Oil and Gasoline Prices Rise Again: How High and How Long? by Team of American Century Investments

One year ago, we wrote on the recent up-tick in crude oil and gasoline prices which was caused by turmoil and revolution in the Middle East. A year later, were experiencing a similar rise in crude and gasoline prices. Last week, the average national cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was approximately $3.75 per gallon. One contributing factor has been the increase in tensions between Western countries (and Israel) with Iran over its continuing work to produce nuclear fuel which could be used in atomic weapons.

2012-03-08 Putting Colombia on the Global Investment Map by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Colombias real GDP is projected to grow by between 5% and 6% by end 2011, and inflation to end 2011 at less than 4%. The primary caveat: lack of infrastructure remains one of the main challenges for the country; past guerrilla conflicts made large parts of the country inaccessible, a hurdle the country has not quite yet overcome. However, as security has improved, the central government has gained more access to the countryside, enabling it to make some progress on infrastructure improvements.

2012-03-08 If Israel Bombs Iran How Could Stocks & Stock Markets React? by Paul Dietrich of Foxhall Capital Management

The probable results of Israel bombing Irans nuclear sites would be oil and gold prices skyrocketing, the stock market could drop precipitously and Iran would almost certainly retaliate by sending missiles raining down on Israel, close the Straits of Hormuz and even attack oil tankers or U.S. naval vessels, as they have threatened to do. Americans could also see a spike in terrorism directed against Americans and American interests overseas and here at home.

2012-03-07 Winning the War in Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

Given my view on the global liquidity glut, it probably will come as no surprise that I remain bullish on U.S. investments, including equities, high yield bonds, bank loans and other risk assets, as well as art and collectibles. I believe the United States has entered a period of self-sustaining economic expansion, driven primarily by the aggressive monetary policy of the Fed, which is now being reinforced by the ECB. U.S. growth is necessary to reduce domestic unemployment and to provide support to the struggling economies in Europe and Asia.

2012-03-02 Jeremy Lin and the Political Economy of Superstars by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

High salaries for athletes and movie stars are easily accepted by the public. So why, if a financial trader or a corporate boss is paid a fortune, does the public suspect that he or she must be undeserving or, worse, a thief.

2012-03-02 Austerity Korean-Style by Sang Yoo of Matthews Asia

Europe is undergoing its own version of austerity, where (ironically) the region actually is running budget deficits of 4.3% of GDP on average, spending more than it raises in taxes. These deficits run as high as 8.2% in Spain and 8.4% in the U.K. Meanwhile, as the U.S. calls for more stimuluseven with its own budget deficit at 8.7% of GDPit is interesting to look back at Korea and the crisis that began there 15 years ago this July.

2012-02-29 Capitalizing on Cambodia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Cambodia has been making strides into the capital market arena. The government has been encouraging foreign and local investment. Eventually, the local capital market should follow suit. The Cambodia Securities Exchange opened last year, making it one of the last Southeast Asian nations to open a stock exchange. Neighboring Laos opened its bourse in January 2011 and Vietnams exchange has been operating since 2000. 3 Though the Cambodian exchange has no stocks listed as I write this, the plan is to have state-owned companies in utilities, telecoms and portsto be listed.

2012-02-29 2012: A Year in the Global Economy by Azad Zangana and Keith Wade of Schroder Investment Management

Global growth is set to slow further in 2012 largely as a result of the euro crisis. On the positive side, two factors should support activity in 2012. The first is a fall in inflation, which will support household real incomes leading to stronger consumer spending. The second is the strength of the corporate sector; companies have stockpiled cash and built up profits. However, Europe is entering a serious recession and will weigh on growth elsewhere. Euro policymakers should redouble their efforts to find a solution to the eurozone crisis.

2012-02-28 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.

2012-02-28 Globalization: Its Saboteurs and Its Chicken Littles by Michael Edesess (Article)

The word 'globalization' provokes both excitement and fear. The excitement has sold millions of Tom Friedman books and turned a drab annual business conference, the World Economic Forum, into one of the hottest events of the year. It is front-and-center in recent tensions between the U.S. and China, and makes the European Union's economic crisis a concern for the whole world. Should we fear or embrace globalization?

2012-02-28 Asias Take on Austerity by Stephen S. Roach of Project Syndicate

With Europe on the brink of recession and recovery in the US finally getting some traction, the case for fiscal consolidation appears increasingly weak. But the case becomes stronger when one considers Asian countries' path from crisis in the late 1990's to astounding growth and prosperity today.

2012-02-24 Global Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including steady employment gains. With funding costs remaining low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012. Importantly, new supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.

2012-02-24 Global Listed Infrastructure - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

We have a positive near-term outlook for infrastructure securities based on improving U.S. economic data and stabilizing credit conditions in Europe. But there are still headwinds. The road to Europes recovery is unlikely to be smooth; and in the United States, state and local government debt may dampen growth. Emerging markets are likely to be somewhat stronger, in our view, driven by better structural demand. For this reason, we have increased our investments in Brazil, China and Mexico.

2012-02-24 International Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

International real estate securities rallied along with stocks broadly in January amid an easing of macro risk concerns. Positive developments in Europe significantly reduced the risk of a liquidity crisis, while data from China suggested the country was successfully navigating a soft landing to its economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continued to show evidence of modest yet self-sustaining growth.

2012-02-24 Global Commentary: Investors Want to Gains to Continue by Bill McQuaker of Henderson Global Investors

Although the start of the year has been encouraging, significant risks remain, especially from Europe, specifically Greece as it seeks to secure the next tranche of its bailout funding. The improvement in economic data, particularly from the US, however, provides some grounds for optimism, particularly as equities, despite their recent rally, appear inexpensive. Investors will be looking to see whether the global market momentum can be maintained: January last year began on a similar positive note, only to give way to weakness later in the year as structural economic problems resurfaced.

2012-02-24 Schwab Market Perspective: Two Steps Forward... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks and economic data appear to be moving at least two steps forward for every step back, which we believe leads to a strengthening trend for bothalthough there are inevitable bumps along the way. We believe the agreement in Washington to extend the payroll tax through 2012 may be the last substantial economic-related agreement before the election, but there are major issues looming. The Fed continues to believe another round of easing may be appropriate, which we think could be dangerous and that they should be looking to move in the other direction.

2012-02-24 Seeking Rewards in China by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia

The muted performance of Chinas equity markets in 2011 has left many investors a bit wary. Since last year, concerns over Chinas slowing macroeconomic environment coupled with some corporate governance scandals left many investors on the fence about investing in China. And, even considering a robust underlying business landscape, many Chinese businesses are finding the tight credit environment challenging. With all these factors in mind, market analysts have turned more cautious on the growth outlook for Chinese firms and the market has subsequently seen a number of earnings downgrades.

2012-02-23 PIMCO by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

Given the bimodal nature of the expected distribution of outcomes, it is important for investors to remain nimble so they can respond to high frequency data and global public policy developments. We expect the Bank of Canada to remain in wait-and-see mode until it is clear which way the economy is tipping. In our base case scenario, we estimate Canadian bond market returns in the range of 2%-4%, and if we tip into a virtuous cycle of economic recovery, we anticipate the possibility of negative absolute returns.

2012-02-22 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers

We believe that recent developments within emerging real estate markets are consistent with our macro view. As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers (e.g., in Brazil), and have selectively been moving in that direction.

2012-02-21 International Equity - January 201 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices recorded strong gains in January on increased optimism that the global economy is not headed for a significant downturn this year. Markets across all regions, led by Asia, recovered during the month. Emerging markets, which had seen price declines during the second half of last year, outperformed the developed markets. Economic indicators from most regions, except Europe, have been relatively healthy and suggest expansion. EU leaders have now agreed to set tighter fiscal rules for member countries, including limits on fiscal deficits and aggregate public debt.

2012-02-18 What Will be the Most Promising Emerging Market? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Bloomberg Markets magazine recently posted a list of the most-promising emerging and frontier markets for investors. Rankings were determined by several investment measures, including GDP growth and ease of doing business.

2012-02-18 Danger: Caution Ahead by Bob Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors

I know many of you would like more actionable ideas but principal protection is uppermost in my mind. Patience is required now. Many investors underestimate the potential risks and disruptiveness from high global financial leverage. We are in phase 2 of a continuing and expanding economic and financial market instability. Flexibility, high liquidity, and concentrated asset deployment, when appropriate, will be key elements in attaining superior investment performance. The era of being fully invested and adjusting portfolio weights relative to an index has been over for more than a decade.

2012-02-17 Digital Content in Asia by J. Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Most companies I met with were still cautious over the years outlook, which was evidenced by unusually low inventory levels going into the Chinese New Year holiday shopping season. Smartphone sales, however, continue to be one bright spot for markets in Asia. While second-generation mobile handsets still dominate the regions markets, 3G phones and smartphone sales have been taking off in some economiesmost notably in Asias more developed countries, with Singapore showing the highest smartphone penetration rate in the world (at over 50%), followed by Hong Kong.

2012-02-16 Hasenstab Sticks to His Guns by Team of Franklin Templeton

Michael Hasenstab, Portfolio Manager of the Templeton Global Bond Fund, doesnt scare so easily. As he reiterated recently, he actually sees times of market panic as opportunities to make investments where he sees long-term value. The key thoughts he shared: The challenge during periods of volatility is that, although investors can take a short-term hit, this volatility can create opportunity. Fears Europe will sink Asia appear overblown. China not likely to see a hard landing. The Eurozone drama continues to unfold.

2012-02-15 Stay Frosty by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

The Roubiniesque blues felt globally due to a lack of confidence is not isolated to just the marginally attached and does have merit. As the economy restructured manufacturing workers in the 1980s only had a 65% reemployment rate. We feel the past few years have marked another restructuring in US the economy. Again it will likely mean unemployment will remain high as many workers may not make the transition. This time around the reemployment rate for housing related jobs and financial services will likely remain very subdued.

2012-02-14 3 Reasons to Underweight South Africa by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In my opinion, investors should consider minimizing their exposure to emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, otherwise known as EMEA. The big reason: emerging markets in EMEA generally have close economic ties to the euro zone, which as we all know is going through a rough spot and is likely to experience at least a mild recession this year. Drilling down to the stocks of specific emerging market countries within EMEA, Im particularly focused on South Africa as its the largest country in the MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA index.

2012-02-11 The Answer We Dont Want to Know by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This election is ultimately about dealing (or not dealing) with the deficit, and putting the country on a path to a sustainable budget deficit, one that is less than the growth rate of the country. As I have argued elsewhere, and will argue in future letters, that is the paramount issue. Not dealing with the deficit runs the very real risk of the bond market treating us just as it is treating Italy and any other country that gets to the point where its debt is unsustainable.

2012-02-10 Current Market Volatility? Too Quiet by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In horror movies, the time to worry is when things become eerily quiet. Last Friday, the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), hit its lowest level since last July. This is the financial equivalent of eerily quiet. Assuming that volatility is set to rise, how should investors adjust their portfolios? First, remember that its the change in volatility that tends to impact asset prices. Investors would want to modestly lower their weight to market segments that are very sensitive to changes in volatility and raise their weight to less sensitive or lower beta instruments.

2012-02-10 Indices Show Hedge Funds Off to Strong Start in January by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

"US equities rallied significantly to begin 2012 and Long-Short managers are the best performers thus far. Hedge funds focused on Market Neutral strategies were also surprisingly strong as both Arbitrage and Event-Driven managers posted their best results in months. Despite investors being drawn into risk-on sectors of the market, most funds remain cautious with the economic situation in Europe still unresolved, notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President.

2012-02-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview January 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The risk of a meltdown in the peripheral European economies now appears to have been alleviated due to aggressive monetary easing by the European Central Bank. We have also recently upgraded our GDP forecast for the U.S. Japan has started implementing the third supplementary budget for earthquake reconstruction. As such, the countrys growth rate will exceed those of other developed economies in the first half of 2012. A less hostile global environment will be positive for Asian stock markets as investors increasingly appreciate the regions superior fundamentals.

2012-02-10 Bikes to Beemers and Bimmers by Satya Patel of Matthews Asia

A shift to redividing the pie in favor of the masses could further fuel Chinas domestic consumption and contribute to its rising middle class. Changes that enable Chinas bicycle owners to trade up, swapping their bikes for motorbikes and then motorbikes for luxury cars would likely help temper unrest and foster greater growth in Chinas economy.

2012-02-10 A Stock for its Dividends - Revisited by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

Since investors often turn to Asia looking for growth, they may overlook that the region offers a well-diversified universe of dividend-paying companies in terms of sectors and countries. This month Jesper Madsen revisits the notion that the Asia Pacific region should play an essential role for investors seeking yield and growth in income.

2012-02-09 Driving Forward: A Case for Autos in 2012 by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors

The fallout from the credit crisis and subsequent bear market in equities from 2008 through Q109 cut deep, but few industries faced challenges as profound as the auto manufacturers. Frightened consumers simply stopped buying cars. Banks implemented stricter lending standards for those still interested in purchasing a vehicle. These were unchartered waters to be sure. But the worst appears to be behind us.

2012-02-09 Q411 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

We continue to stress that investors remain patient. Given that we are likely in the 1% of money managers that look beyond the next 30 days, it is inevitable that the markets will move counter to our positioning. This is to be expected and is consistent with the Fund's historical performance.We continue to remain disciplined and receive counsel from the investing bible: Graham and Dodd's Security Analysis. For those few true value investors left, it's worth noting that nowhere is the phrase "margin of safety" defined by quantitative easing, government stimulus, or bank bailouts.

2012-02-07 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.

2012-02-07 Where to Find Value in Emerging Asia by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Im updating my views on some of the emerging market countries in Asia. While Im upgrading Chinese equities from neutral to overweight, Im downgrading South Korean and Indian stocks from neutral to underweight. Starting with China and South Korea the two countries are both highly exposed to global growth, but China currently appears to be the better positioned and is likely to hold up much better. To be sure, South Korean equities are also cheap compared to other emerging markets. Im downgrading India in response to the countrys recent surge in valuations and persistently high inflation.

2012-02-04 Who Took My Easy Button? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

There is no way enough money can be found to fund our entitlement programs, given the current system, even under the best of assumptions. Things must change. Either we will make the difficult choices or those changes will be forced by the market. The longer we put off the difficult choices, the more painful the consequences. This week we begin a series on the choices facing the US. We need to understand the consequences of the choices we make. Cut spending, say some. Tax the rich, say others. Cut out waste and corruption is always a popular choice. Do all of the above, intone others.

2012-02-03 Sri Lanka's Story by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

Ever since Sri Lanka ended more than 25 years of civil war in early 2009, its economy has been on the upswing. The countrys stock market has quadrupled in the two years since the end of its long and bitter conflict, helped by strong, pent-up domestic demand. Among Sri Lankas top priorities has been a rebuilding of its tourism industry, and officials have set a target of attracting 2.5 million visitors by 2016. They may well get there if they keep pace with their 2011 annual growth rate, which saw a 30% increase to 856,000 visitors.

2012-02-03 In the Bullring With Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We anticipated that the Year of the Dragon would spur an increase in the buying of traditional gifts of gold dragon pendants and coins. Gold buying did hit new records, says Mineweb, with sales of precious metals jumping nearly 50 percent from the same time last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce. This should serve as a warning to all of golds naysayers. Gold bullfighters bewareyou now have to fight the gold bull while fending off a golden Chinese dragon.

2012-02-01 Year-End Commentary by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

We find investing especially challenging todaynot that its ever been easy. We feel like we are forced to bet on policy, and how does one do that? Particularly when we believe we are betting that too many of the wrong people will make the right decisions. We feel a little like explorers, blazing new trails, learning about the new world weve come upon, charting a different path with new information, all while trying to avoid being scalped. We continue to seek the best path, even if its new, to both protect your capital (first) and to provide a return on it (second).

2012-01-31 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.

2012-01-31 2012 Tale of Two Bond Markets Handicapping the Bull and Bear Case for Bonds by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

2012 will likely be the tale of two bond markets. You have the high-grade debt market that has been the recipient of a huge flight to quality and fear trade. The prices of these obligations have skyrocketed and yields plummeted. Additionally, the Fed has turned out to be the biggest buyer of longer-dated Treasuries in the markets today. It is rumored that they might engage in a mortgage buying campaign later this year. That would have the effect of lowering mortgage rates further than the record lows where they are at. In short, the world has sought refuge in the U.S. bond high-grade market.

2012-01-30 Fourth Quarter Investor Letter by Mark Bennett, David Templeton and Nick Reilly of HORAN Capital Advisors

We have our reservations about world economic output, but stand by our past comments about slow U.S. growth without a recession. We do believe equities offer attractive return opportunities for the foreseeable future in the context of historical valuation and relative valuation. We acknowledge the structural issues prevalent in developed economies and the risk that comes with debt hurdles, demographic challenges and potential deflation, but there are many data points that make us optimistic about equity returns in 2012 and for long-term strategic investment allocations of capital.

2012-01-27 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the global shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data confirming steadily improving growth. However, we expect the fiscal crisis plaguing Europe to remain an overhang, as the region is likely heading into recession, making a long-term resolution increasingly difficult. Despite these challenges, we believe fundamentals for global real estate securities will continue to improve broadly, with the lack of new supply coupling with growing demand and effective expense reduction to generate meaningful cash flow growth.

2012-01-27 International Real Estate Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We remain materially underweight Europe and Japan, and overweight Asia Pacific (ex-Japan). We have selective allocations to well-established companies in emerging markets whose business models are positioned to benefit from secular growth in consumer spending among emerging middle classes. We are overweight high-quality retail and offices in major city centers globally, where tenant demand has been more resilient and supply more constrained. Finally, we have allocations in property sectors and geographies where stronger cyclical recovery is emerging as a driver of outsized cash flow growth.

2012-01-27 Filling an Energy Order with Chinese Takeouts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Years ago, China did not have a global footprint, but over the last few decades the country has transformed itself into a global power. It boasts the largest automobile market and the largest consumer of steel, copper, mobile phones, and energy. It has built 18k miles of high speed rail connecting 250 cities with 5.5k skyscrapers. This tremendous infrastructure has amplified and globalized M&A activity, which has a positive effect on commodity-related stocks. For commodity equity investors, BCA says to expect Chinese firms to play an increasingly important role in global capital markets

2012-01-27 Eager to Move Home by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Going public has long been viewed as a great milestone for entrepreneurs as the status of a public listing offers firms not only better access to capital, but also creditability. However, an increasing number of Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges have recently given up this privilege and been taken private again. Whether these firms are delisting from U.S. exchanges via their own management teams, strategic buyers or private equity investors, the value of these firms reportedly surpassed the total capital raised by Chinese firms in the U.S. from initial public offerings in 2011.

2012-01-27 Slow Road to 'Normal?' by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market volatility has fallen and tight correlations have loosened, indicating to us some calming of fears and increased attention on more traditional economic and earnings-related news. This is a good sign for stocks in the foreseeable future. The Fed unveiled its new communication strategy after its most recent meeting, reiterating that interest rates will likely remain extremely low for some time. The European picture is brightening slightly and there may be a glimmer of hope for stock market investors. After a soft patch, global growth may be turning around.

2012-01-27 Heart of China Bull Beats Strong by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With rising incomes and increasing urbanization, we believe China is pursuing the American Dream, and the government has shown great determination to build the necessary infrastructure along with a robust urban labor market. On a purchasing power parity basis, Chinas share of world GDP has risen significantly, from around 3 percent in 1985 to a current world share of nearly 16 percent.

2012-01-25 Rise of the Dragon by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

With the debt situation in Europe continuing to further unravel and dim economic prospects in the U.S., many have come to believe that the star of the dragon descendants has the potential to rise even further in the coming years. Chinas GDP growth is expected to moderate to around 8.2% in 2012, which is high compared to developed economies. In this highly connected world, China is unlikely to be immune to the global slowdown, but I believe the Chinese government will utilize their substantial reserves and banking system to stimulate the domestic economy, as they did in 2009.

2012-01-25 Significant Growth Potential for Indonesia's Middle Class by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Indonesias workforce is growing 7,000 people stronger each day, adding an estimated 21 million people to its workforce by over the next decade. This is second only to India. This growth has given birth to a burgeoning middle class willing to spend money on durable goods such as clothing, personal-care items, home appliances and electronics. Currently, domestic consumption accounts for two-thirds of Indonesias GDP. Weve already seen double-digit growth in sales for televisions, cars, computers and laptops over the past few years. More importantly, this trend is just getting started.

2012-01-25 Emerging Markets Real Estate Investment Commentary Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Over the long term, we believe emerging market real estate securities are well positioned to benefit from secular trends such as expanding urban centers and the rise of the consumer class. In the near term, however, we expect volatility to continue as markets grapple with uncertainty about Europe and further deceleration in economic growth. In this challenging market environment, we continue to favor commercial landlords over developers.

2012-01-24 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.

2012-01-24 Contrarian Concern Too Much Bullishness? by John Buckingham of AFAM

While we expect volatility to remain elevated this year, and we have to concede that the markets have come a long way quickly, we see no reason to alter our 1400 year-end S&P 500 price target. Of course, that level actually might be a little low, considering where we stand today, but we focus our attention on the companies in which we are invested. After all, we own businesses like International Business Machines (IBM - $188.52), Intel (INTC - $26.38) and Microsoft (MSFT - $29.71), all of which posted impressive Q4 results last week, and not index funds.

2012-01-24 The Global Economic Outlook: Diverging Paths by Thomas D. Higgins of Dreyfus

The global economy can weather a mild eurozone recession, but is too fragile to absorb a severe financial shock such as a breakup of the euro. Higgins expects Central and Eastern Europe are likely to be most negatively affected by a eurozone recession, followed by the UK, the US and other advanced economies, given their respective trade dependencies. The least vulnerable regions would be Asia and Latin America. Long-term value in popular safe havens such as U.S. Treasuries and gold, preferring to focus on U.S. non-financial corporate credit as well as emerging market local currency debt.

2012-01-24 Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in a Growing Economy by Team of The Royce Funds

As the South African economy continues to mature and other, even less developed, economies begin to thrive, we will keep our attention focused on company fundamentals, corporate governance, and what we think are attractively undervalued businesses with the potential to grow in the global economy. As the bulk of Africa's economies are frontier markets, still progressing toward the status of developing economies, the continent as a whole represents long-term opportunities that will require patience and diligence. Its resources and demographics are likely to make it well worth the wait.

2012-01-23 Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sovereign Debt Wolf? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Last Friday, the sovereign debt of nine European nations was downgraded by S&P. Now, there are only four European nations whose sovereign bonds carry the highest AAA rating: Finland, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Since the sovereign debt refinancing and potential default problem still goes unsolved, we foresee the markets having to keep digesting more waves of bad news. Yet the fear created by such news is diminishingnot because of a shortage of negative news headlinesbut because European banks are more protected by the many lifelines that central banks keep throwing them.

2012-01-23 Willful Optimism in the Face of Pessimism by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The U.S. has an unemployment problem, Europe is insolvent and Chinas banking system and property developers face the prospect of rising bad loans. The only thing that appears to be sustainable in investors minds is depression. Indeed, this has led to ongoing pessimismand perhaps too much of it. This month Robert Horrocks, PhD, takes a dissenting view on all the negativism as central banks in Europe, the U.S. and Asia appear to be shifting to more accommodative stances as inflationary pressures subside.

2012-01-21 Staring into the Abyss by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Europe's leaders are committed to keeping both the euro and the eurozone as it is. But for it to do so, everything must change, as the wonderful quote from the 1958 Italian novel suggests. This is no easy task, as no one wants a change that will impact them negatively; and there is no change that will allow things to stay the same that does not impact all severely, as we will see. In the third part of a continuing series, we look at the actual options that are available on the menu of choices, or as one group called it, the menu of pain.

2012-01-20 Emerging Consumers Drive Gold Prices: Who Knew? by Amit Bhartia and Matt Seto of GMO

Conventional wisdom has it wrong. The prevailing view is that the rapid rise of gold prices over the past 10 years has been caused by monetary authorities in the developed world debasing their currencies. By this logic, investors in the developed world have hedged debasement risk by pouring money into gold, both in the form of direct purchases and via ETFs. We believe that gold is an emerging markets asset as much as it is a bet against the Fed and that much of the rise in gold prices has been driven by purchases by emerging consumers, who are driven primarily by financial repression.

2012-01-20 The Debate Over "One China" by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

Taiwans recent presidential race, which saw the re-election of President Ma Ying-jeou, generated much mutual interest both in Taiwan and in mainland China, where millions reportedly used social media networks to comment on the developments. The Kuomingtang (KMT) partys control for another four years brings up the topic of One China that so often dominates headlines and online chatter.

2012-01-20 After 2011 Hit, Are Emerging Markets Set to Recover First? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Our team has put together a great table ranking 19 emerging market countries by how their stocks have performed in each of the past 10 years. Most of the E-7 countriesthe most populous nations in the worldare listed, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Russia, as well as other resource-rich and growing Asian, Eastern European and Latin American countries.

2012-01-20 It May Take a Dragon to Breathe Fire into Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Ive found many people are particularly energized about predicting a hard landing for Chinas economy, but I believe the country is no sinking ship. China isnt fast-approaching an iceberg in the dark of the night like the Titanic. Beijing has long been anticipating the ice chunks and subtly adjusting the rudder around inflation without steering the economic ship too far off course.

2012-01-19 Inflation: Wheres the Beef? by Team of American Century Investments

With inflation seemingly in check, we reevaluate the near- and longer-term inflation environment, and discuss implications for investor portfolios. It is easy to understand why this topic intrigues so many. Depending on your perspective, inflation can be said to be rising fairly rapidly from low levels seen just a few years ago; or it could be said to be quite restrained, given the calls in recent years for runaway inflation as a result of unprecedented U.S. monetary and fiscal policies and a number of pronounced global economic imbalances.

2012-01-19 Riding the Global Roller Coaster: The Outlook for Emerging Markets High Yield Corporates in 2012 by Brigitte Posch of PIMCO

Because many emerging market high yield companies were able to deleverage after the 2008/2009 crisis, we believe they are generally in a stronger position than their developed market counterparts. Limited financing needs should provide technical support to the overall emerging markets corporate market. In an environment where lending conditions tighten in international capital markets, domestic markets may become a source of funding for EM HY corporates.

2012-01-19 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Managers Discuss PIMCOs Cyclical Outlook by Robert Mead, Isaac Meng and Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

We expect emerging Asia growth below the market consensus due to its less aggressive policy responses compared to 2008-2009. The Asia-Pacific region is less affected than others by eurozone turmoil but contagion is still a risk through direct trade and the regional production chains that characterize Asias export-oriented economies. In this environment, we favor Australian government bonds for their high credit quality, low-beta currencies such as the Chinese yuan, corporate issuers that have delevered, covered bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

2012-01-19 Mission Impossible: Why Chinas Soft Landing Will Look like the One We had in the US in 2007-2009 by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Last week the Federal Reserve Board released the minutes of its meetings in 2006. There were discussions of the current economy, numerous credit tightening moves and a consistent belief in the idea that the US and its policy makers could engineer a soft landing from our real estate bubble. The landing that we had from our real estate bubble was the hardest landing since the Great Depression. Now we believe all the pieces are in place for a hard landing in the China real estate markets.

2012-01-18 Chinese Dragon To Unshackle Renminbi? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Chinese consumer spending is likely to have been under-reported for some time; we dont think a housing bust in China will stifle consumer spending as much as some fear. Importantly, Chinese consumer spending may rise like an avalanche in years to come. China is right to prepare its economy for this rise, amongst others, by unshackling the renminbi. A currency serves as a natural valve for domestic policies, helping to tame inflationary pressures. Currencies of the more developed Asian neighbors may also benefit in the process.

2012-01-18 Americas Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

As the year 2011 ended, the clouds of pessimism about the economy lightened across the Americas region, as key data trends suggested that earlier fears of a steep downturn were unfounded. Financial markets stabilized as investors turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2012. Concerns over external risks, particularly about the European fiscal crisis, also calmed down as hope was renewed that enduring political solutions will be found for the fiscal challenges facing the developed countries.

2012-01-17 Martin Wolf on the Eurozone and Beyond by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Martin Wolf is widely considered to be one of the world's most influential writers on economics. Since joining the Financial Times in 1987, where he is chief economics commentator, he has received numerous awards for excellence in financial journalism. In this interview, he discusses the Eurozone crisis and prospects for global economic growth.

2012-01-17 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.

2012-01-17 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

The season for predictions is behind us and we thought it might be fun to come up with a few predictions that go out on a limb, both positively and negatively. Here are five semi-wild, but possible predictions for 2012. 1: Jobs, especially manufacturing jobs, return to America. 2: Switching from the economy to politics, the Republicans will hold a majority in the House, although they will lose some seats. 3: Turning to the world, the euro survives in spite of its being badmouthed over the past several months, and it strengthens late in the year. ...

2012-01-17 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International

Fears of a recession in developed economies such as the U.S. have receded as recent data releases indicate that economic activity has not weakened as much as thought earlier. Though European economies are still expected to see a decline, there is now increased optimism that the monetary union and the common currency will survive the crisis. Large European countries such as Spain and France have been able to sell new bonds at relatively affordable costs and the European Central Bank has cut its benchmark rate again, besides extending additional liquidity support to the regions banks.

2012-01-17 Fed Policy Outlook More Communication Is Good by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The Federal Open Market meets next week to set monetary policy. Its widely expected that short-term interest rates will remain unchanged and that (for the time being) there wont be another round of asset purchases (QE3). The Fed will begin publishing the range of senior Fed officials projections of the appropriate federal funds rate target (for the fourth quarter of this year and the next few years). There are more benefits than risks in making these projections public.

2012-01-17 The Impact of the Falling Dollar by Jonathan A. Shapiro of Kovitz Investment Group

Regarding the progress of the businesses we own, a useful metric we track is the Price-to-Value ratio. Conceptually, this statistic measures the current price of a portfolio company to its intrinsic value, conservatively estimated through our multiple valuation techniques. For example, Wal*Marts current P-to-V Ratio is 80%, determined by taking its roughly $60 stock price divided by our current fair business value estimate of $75. This implies, based on what we know today, Wal*Mart is roughly 20% undervalued, providing approximately 25% upside from current levels (not including dividends).

2012-01-14 The End of Europe? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The peripheral countries have no choices that allow them to grow and prosper without first suffering (for perhaps a long time) some very real economic pain. Leaving the eurozone has severe consequences; but the economic pain of leaving would go away sooner and allow for quicker adjustments, than if they stayed. However, the initial pain would be worse than the slow pain they'd suffer by staying in the euro. Their choice is, simply, which pain do they want or maybe, which pain do they think they want? Because whatever they choose, they are not going to like it.

2012-01-13 The Year that Was and The Year to Come by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

From a long-term perspective, we continue to have a positive outlook on emerging economies. In our opinion, balancing growth, inflation and global competitiveness will be the task ahead for many emerging countries in the months to come. We believe that emerging stock markets could be much larger than they are today, and over the long term, their combined value could potentially exceed the combined value of the U.S., Japanese and European equity markets.

2012-01-13 What the Next Decade Holds for Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What will happen over the next 10 years? I believe the supercycle of growth across emerging markets will continue with rising urbanization and income rates. This bodes well for commodities, especially copper, coal, oil and gold, and well continue to focus on companies that will benefit the most from these much-needed resources.

2012-01-13 Euro Fears by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Global investing is likely to be very challenging in the year ahead. While the euro has so far been resilient, many eurozone countries face substantive debt refinancing in the coming year. Given the current political, structural, and economic reality there is no simple cure to the euro crisis. The ECBs evolving pursuit of liquidity policies and potential interest rate cuts may be helpful, but major political changes may be necessary. Beyond Europe, the remainder of the global economy may be very dependent on a continuing expansion of the American economy and improving consumer demand.

2012-01-13 Time to Climb? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The US economy continues to expand and has recently picked up momentum. Investors have been focused on European and US debt problems, but that may set up an environment for stocks to move higher. Many challenges await Congress. We're not optimistic that much progress will be made, but the rhetoric will almost certainly heat up as late-year elections loom. Recent policy decisions in Europe provide some hope but the region's banks continue to struggle and are pulling back on lending, which likely impedes growth. In China, policymakers attempt to keep growth from dipping below healthy levels.

2012-01-13 Chinese Debt Restructuring at Work? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

How long a restructuring takes will also have a notable bearing on recovery value. Given the myriad of jurisdictions involved, the legal battles will likely take many months if not years to resolve. Given the time value of money, a penny recovered today is worth more than a penny recovered tomorrow. Hence, investors must weigh the cost in terms of time and legal costs against any future recoveries. Asia offers great opportunities, but one has to be mindful that some of the regions markets are still developing.

2012-01-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview December 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

For much of the fourth quarter of 2011, anxiety surrounding the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis has kept the Pacific Basin equity markets largely range bound, although most indices managed to trend higher from their October lows with the help of unexpectedly buoyant economic data from the U.S. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 0.66% and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 3.96%, resulting in declines of 17.31% and 17.98%, respectively, for the full year.

2012-01-12 A Look Back (2011) and Forward (2012) by Team of American Century Investments

The major US equity markets ended 2011 not far from where they began in terms of their index values. Now that the New Year has arrived, the question is where these markets might be headed in 2012. Three important considerations behind this question are: 1. How key macro-factorse.g. the EU debt crisisare or arent addressed 2. Can U.S. corporations continue to deliver the earnings growth they have for the past three years 3. What are the prospects for US consumers and householdsan increasingly important consideration as the global recovery slowed in the fourth quarter of last year.

2012-01-12 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Policy makers globally face the challenge of supporting growth while managing debt levels, and still remaining aware of inflation. The Eurozone crisis is a further complication, and has the potential to make matters more difficult. That being said, there is still growth in the world economy, though perhaps more disparate than in previous cycles. Given the inter-connected nature of countries in the globalized world, there are few areas truly insulated from turmoil. However, there are safer-havens where clearer policy frameworks and the ability to enact solutions more robustly are helpful.

2012-01-12 The Other Presidential Election to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The US presidential election isnt the only race for top office this year worth closely watching. Right now, my attention is focused on an upcoming presidential election on the other side of the globe. On January 14, Taiwanese voters will vote for their countrys next president. This election is particularly important for investors. Though many factors drive stock prices, a win for incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou would be supportive of Taiwanese equities. A loss, on the other hand, could be a tailwind for the market.

2012-01-11 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 4th Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacifics economic expansion slowed considerably beginning in October 2011. In many economies, export growth along with investments grew at their slowest pace since the summer of 2009. Although the Purchasing Managers Index improved across key economies in November the index was still under the 50 mark, which generally means a contraction in manufacturing activity. Almost all the countries in emerging Asia Pacific posted slower third quarter expansion over the year-ago period.

2012-01-11 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies faced economic headwinds for the greater part of the fourth quarter of 2011 beginning in October. Major export-oriented economies such as Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore witnessed slowing export growth as consumer confidence in key markets such as the U.S. and the EU remained weak. Although China boosted exports from Developed Asia Pacific economies, overall exports to emerging economies across the world came under pressure. Furthermore, the resilience of the labor market was also tested by the slowing export and domestic markets.

2012-01-11 Aberdeen Chile Fund, Inc. Fund Manager Interview by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Chile has developed a middle class quicker than many of its Latin American peers and consequently, more robust domestic consumption trends. Chile has formed close ties with China in recent years and in 2005 became the first country in Latin America to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the Asian nation. Chile has proven to be a model to the Latin American region in regards to good corporate governance and transparency. Though Chile will not be fully insulated from the global downturn, the countrys longterm fundamentals remain sound.

2012-01-11 Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index Slips 15 Points in December by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

US equities ended 2011 essentially unchanged but endured significant volatility throughout the year. Hedge funds focused on market neutral strategies were above average performers for the month and the year as they were able to withstand the market uncertainty. Looking forward, we expect Directional and Long-Short strategies to have better performance as the global economy continues to stabilize

2012-01-10 Gundlach on the Key Risk for Bond Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Watch out if you own a bond fund that underperformed its benchmark by 2% or more last year, as most did. Rather than put their careers at risk by suffering a second year of poor performance, those fund managers will turn to indexation, according to DoubleLine?s Jeffrey Gundlach. And since the Barclay?s Aggregate Index holds nearly 35% of its assets in Treasury bonds with near-zero yields, its investors will endure poor returns.

2012-01-09 Middle East/Africa Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Weakening global activity and further political uncertainty are the foremost risks that are likely to affect the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions performance. The IMF report notes that oil exporting nations of the MEA region have benefited from continued high energy prices and are slated to finish off 2011 clocking in a GDP growth of 5% before easing to 4% in 2012. However, these countries do face a downside risk in the likelihood of fiscal and debt challenges in the developed nations that could adversely impact global activity and international oil prices.

2012-01-06 Pioneering Frontier Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

While emerging markets were considered a niche or exotic investment when I started investing in the late 1980s, many investors are now familiar with them and Im seeing more and more investors turning to emerging markets as a way to diversify their portfolios. Yet, emerging markets themselves are not a homogeneous zone. Within the emerging markets universe, we believe frontier markets as a whole have begun to take an impressive lead in terms of growth.

2012-01-06 Burgers or Barrels--What's Your Power Play? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In a recent blog post, the Wall Street Journal asked its MarketBeat readers if a share of McDonalds stock or a barrel of oil made a better $100 investment. The share price of the fast-food restaurant topped $100 for the first time ever in late December and rose 30 percent over 2011, substantially beating the overall market. Crude oil prices had less sizzle, only moderately increasing over the year. The three-year picture is a little different, with crude oil more than tripling since its bottom in late 2008. Over the same time, McDonalds increased about 66 percent, says the Journal.

2012-01-06 Euro Fears by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The euro crisis has dominated financial headlines and threatened global economic growth for the last two years. The European Union (EU) has repeatedly failed to articulate an effective plan to address Europes debt problems and deteriorating finances. German demands for austerity and economic rectitude by eurozone members, while politically popular in Germany, ignore basic principles of orthodox Keynes-Samuelson macroeconomics for dealing with a financial slump. There is no historical example of austerity leading to growth.

2012-01-06 ChindopiaA Utopia of Sorts by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

China, India and Indonesia have a lot in common. They represent three of the four biggest countries in the world by population and have fast-growing economies. All three were relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis and resumed rapid economic growth soon after. But they are also diametrically different in numerous ways. China has a demand deficit and India and Indonesia have supply shortfalls. China, with its low cost of capital and surplus savings, has the exact opposite problem of India and Indonesia, with their high cost of capital and a capital import dependency.

2012-01-06 And Thats The Year/Quarter That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Global geopolitical events continue to impact all investments markets. Just when Europe seemed to be taking positive steps to move passed crisis mode, along come Spain, Italy, and Hungary to remind investors that the road to recovery will be paved with many bumps along the way. A nuclear Iran presents huge concerns and additional sanctions could cause new crude supply challenges that may prompt inflation to resurface. The recent favorable labor releases woke the consumer from hibernation in time for the holidays, but will the enthusiasm last once the season ends?

2012-01-06 A Balanced Asia Strategy for 2012: Income, Quality & Growth by Carl Delfeld of Chartwell Partners

When investors think of Asia, they usually think of growth investing. When I was making my three-week swings through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Sydney to visit clients the issue of dividends and income rarely came up at all. Since then, the region has matured - representing more than a third of world GDP and world stock market value. Asia is a big deal and is at the sweet spot of dividend yield, growth and quality. But the challenge of volatility still lurks.

2012-01-06 What Will 2012 Bring? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

In 2011, financial news was dominated by the turmoil in Europe. Looking ahead, the ongoing crisis will be addressed by a global money printing jamboree and coordinated funding from central banks in the developed world, including the Fed. When the money starts rolling off the presses, the liquidity infusion will create some genuine buying opportunities for American, European, and Asian stocks, as well as selected commodities. Liquidity infusions are like a rising tide of money available to buy assets. Buy stocks, commodities, and primarily gold to protect the buying power of their assets.

2012-01-06 Have Winds Shifted to Provide Relief to Investors? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe the winds are shifting to bring needed relief to global investors. Weve seen improving economic data from the U.S. lately, and this positive news from the worlds largest economy, along with an improving Chinathe worlds most populated countryoffsets the negativity in Europe.

2012-01-05 True Reflections on 2011 and 2012 by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) managed a gain for the year in 2011, but very few investors were cheering. With inflation settling down, the upward boost to real gross domestic product (GDP) is likely being underestimated. Although the eurozone crisis may keep volatility elevated short-term, 2012 is looking like a better year.

2012-01-05 2012 Market and Economic Commentary and Outlook by Multiple of Various

This is a compilation of economic and market forecasts from managers at 14 individual mutual fund companies.

2012-01-05 U.S. Dollar & Currencies: Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

In 2012, policy makers around the world may be driven by the realization that the theme of 2011 was not a Euro-specific crisis, but simply another stage in a global financial crisis. Central bankers may ramp up their printing presses in an effort to limit contagion concerns. As such, the currency markets may be the purest way to take a view on the mania of policy makers. Market movements may continue to be largely driven by political rhetoric. We dont believe this trend will abate over the foreseeable future, especially given the likely leadership changes throughout several G-7 nations.

2012-01-04 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

The year 2012 is upon us and looms large for a number of different reasons. Within the next few days, the first of the Presidential primaries will begin and by early November we will know who our next President is and who controls Congress, along with many State Houses. Some astrologists believe this is the Age of Aquarius and according to the Mayan calendar, December 21st will be the end of time, or as some prefer to think of it (ourselves included) the beginning of a new age. Maybe the astrologists and Mayans have something going.

2012-01-04 Fundamentals March on Despite Global Risks in 2012 by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

The two primary drivers of market performancefundamentals and global risksacted in opposition in 2011. It is critical to understand the hierarchy of influence of these drivers in order to understand the current market and to forecast its future direction. Although spikes in global risk may make headlines and cause temporary shocks to investor confidence, the markets path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals. We expect 2012 will mark the third consecutive year that fundamentals relentlessly march forward despite ample global risks.

2012-01-04 On Tap for 2012: More Bond Market Transparency by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

In 2011, 102 new fixed income funds launched across exchanges in Europe, Canada, Asia and the United States. How will the landscape continue to evolve in 2012? Matt Tucker is here to provide a few insights, including his expectation that new fund launches will help to make the bond market more transparent.

2011-12-31 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Despite a remarkable series of crises, the stock market was roughly flat on the year. Earnings increasing, inflation decreasing, and economic data improving, the environment for a renewed upward move may be in place to start 2012. There seems to be little hope from DC for any relief in the near term, but 2012 brings an election cycle that will likely have a major impact on the future of the US. A near-term implosion in Europe seems to have been avoided but real solutions remain absent and the risks for a greater economic pullback are growing, which would likely have global implications.

2011-12-31 Collateral Damage by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economic travails of much of the West are reaching a decisive stage as the year ends. In 2008, we predicted sluggish recovery and a long period of low growth for the West in a two-speed world. This picture does not now properly reflect the downside risks. The policy of "kicking the can down the road" is failing, as the intensifying crisis in the euro zone and the failure of the G20 summit in late October clearly demonstrate. As to December's European summit, we describe its impact later in this paper.

2011-12-30 Beyond Beasts and Bossa Nova:The Brazilian Boom by Team of Guild Investment Management

What does all this mean for those who wish to invest in Brazil? It means that when it is time to buy Brazil and the time isnt here yet you will want to consider banks and credit card companies as a way to capture the wave of consumer cash since many consumers go abroad to buy personal and pricey consumer goods. To take advantage of rising internal Brazilian spending you will probably want to consider autos, housing, and big ticket durables that will not fit into the luggage of shoppers returning from spending trips abroad.

2011-12-29 On the Sharia and Islamic Finance by William Maeck of Seafarer Capital

The practice of banking according to Islamic principles, or the Sharia - the moral code and religious law of Islam - is relatively unknown within developed nations. However, in many parts of the developing world, Islamic banking is a burgeoning industry. It deserves closer scrutiny not only because it is bringing new and otherwise un-banked customers into the fold, but also because it serves as an alternative model for finance and it may manage certain types of risk better than conventional Western models.

2011-12-28 PIMCOs Scott Mather Discusses the Global Implications of the Eurozone Crisis by Scott A. Mather of PIMCO

The ECB does not want to be a bridge to an unsustainable and adverse economic destination. They would rather force politicians to address the critical problems of the currency union now. Greece will continue to have an unsustainable debt load until policymakers can come up with a credible plan to generate economic growth. Ultimately, the eurozone countries and many other developed economies have very similar problems: unsustainably rising debt loads coupled with structurally weak and imbalanced growth.

2011-12-27 Why India is Riskier than China by Stephen S. Roach of Project Syndicate

Today, fears are growing that China and India are about to be the next victims of the ongoing global economic carnage. Yet fears of hard landings for both economies are overblown, especially regarding China.

2011-12-23 Twenty Years of Investing in Asia by Paul Matthews and Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

This month Asia Insight speaks with Paul Matthews and Mark Headley to get their thoughts on 20 years of investing in Asia. Why were you so convinced of Asias growth prospects at a time when few others were? Paul: As a young businessman trying to build an asset management firm focused on Asia ex Japan, the challenge for me was that Japan was 95% of the investment universe and also a majority of the market for asset gathering. While based in Hong Kong, I was given the task of looking for ways to build the business and so I was attracted to the markets that were open and growing.

2011-12-23 Outlook 2012: Living In Interesting Times by Victoria Marklew, Asha G. Bangalore, James A. Pressler, and Ieisha Montgomery of Northern Trust

Setting aside the debate over the appropriateness of various policy directives, this Outlook considers which countries or regions are vulnerable as we head into 2012. Not surprisingly we start off with Europe, then go through the U.S., industrialized Asia, and Latin America, finishing with a brief discussion of the political powder keg that is the Middle East.

2011-12-23 Banking Reform: Hopefully Britannia Creates A Wave by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The British government has set in motion this week a future overhaul in the way that individual banks do business. British banks will be required to separate their basic lending and deposit operations from investment activities involving trading and speculation on behalf of clients and the banks themselves. This should mean that the deposits of retail customers will be shielded and protected from bank investment and trading ventures.

2011-12-23 European Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our global macro view has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, we expect Europe to struggle in the intermediate term as austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments continue to hinder growth.

2011-12-23 Global Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.

2011-12-23 International Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers

Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.

2011-12-22 Update on Korean Peninsula by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, escalated the uncertainty surrounding the regime change in Korea, which was preparing for a leadership transition in 2012. Little is known about Kim Jong-un, the young man who is taking on the role of dynastic head. Some analysts feel that the death of Kim Jong-il increases the risks and uncertainties from the secretive Pyongyang regime, which has consequences for security on the Korean peninsula and beyond. South Korea and Japan are most immediately threatened, but China and the U.S. are also deeply involved with stakes in North Koreas future.

2011-12-21 The Riches of Three Generations by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

We have had the Great Leader and the Dear Leader. Now North Korea falls to the Great Successor. There is a Chinese proverb that says a family cannot stay wealthy for 3 generations. The wealth is made by the first, enjoyed by the second and squandered by the third. Will the same be true of power in North Korea following the death of Kim Jong Il? For the short term, the worries over leadership transition are likely to dominatethere is the potential for the new leader to want to demonstrate power, authority and dominance.The market reaction has already started to factor in this scenario.

2011-12-20 Concussed, The Year in Review by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

We remain biased to a slow growth environment for as far as the eyes can see, an environment which continues to favor innovators. At the same time, with concerns about a slowdown in China emerging and Europe likely already in recession, the Economic Cycle may deserve some increased attention as a driver of alpha in the portfolio, particularly with a global monetary policy bias towards easing and leading economic indicators in the United State now improving.

2011-12-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview November 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

In our assessment the market has already priced in the prospect of future earnings deterioration and credit risk spreads. Although we must be watchful for the possibility of a temporary future decline in share prices in the event that investors again become more risk averse, we believe an up-tick in investor sentiment will be enough to support a market rally. Cash levels at institutions are relatively high, valuations are very reasonable and investor sentiment is weak. Nevertheless, support for Asian markets could come from the fresh evidence that the U.S. economy has regained some momentum.

2011-12-17 The Center Cannot Hold by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We'll leave aside the politics of the payroll tax extension and look at the economic implications, and then go on to examine the deficit in the US. That will give rise to some thoughts about Europe and what would have to happen for a country to leave the euro. We'll finally close with some thoughts and graphs about the more controversial part of the tax cut extension, the Keystone XL Pipeline. Just how radical is it to build such a pipeline in the US? And what are the implications for the deficit?

2011-12-16 Making Sense Of The European Chaos by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Developments in Europe have dominated the worlds economic headlines in recent days and have obscured some good news from China. In this weeks newsletter, we will cover the background of these important events and their meaning to global investors. We are recommending using the gold market decline to add to gold positions, we continue to hold other long term positions.

2011-12-16 A Bad Year for Common Sense by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

The phrase common sense can be a paradoxical concept in investment conversations. Seemingly imbued with a perverse, reverse meritocracy, the catchphrase appeals to investors as an intellectual leveler. It suggests, Let us think things through logically. Not only does this sound good, but what could be more egalitarian and humble? But when investment managers consider something to be common sense, be wary. We take a look at how common sense failed bond investors this year.

2011-12-16 Early Santa Arrival? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have continued their seesaw pattern around developments in the European debt crisis. The major indices remain in the wide range we've been in for the last two years. Factors are setting up for a potential break above that range in the coming year. Expectations about progress in Washington are extremely low and near-term the biggest issues are the proposed extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. The increasing populist rhetoric is not helpful and any chance of major debt-reducing legislation occurring before the 2012 election seems remote.

2011-12-16 Striking Portfolio Balance with Gold Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Back on August 22, I wrote that gold was due for a correction and that it would be a non-event to see a 10 percent drop in gold. I wrote, This would actually be a healthy development for markets by shaking out the short-term speculators. This mornings gold price of $1,590 is about 15 percent from the high, which is a little greater than predicted, but a non-event just the same. I believe the long-term story remains on solid ground.

2011-12-15 Asia: Diverging Outlooks Going Into 2012 by James A. Pressler of Northern Trust

With most of the industrialized world focusing on all things European, we thought it might be worthwhile to see just what was happening on the other side of the Ural Mountains. Asia has not become embroiled in the debt problems sweeping through the likes of Greece and Italy, and its exposure to the euro is contained. However, what happens in Europe will inevitably drift into Asia, so a look at its major economies might provide insight into what awaits the region in 2012. In particular, we are focusing on the two most populous countries in the world China and India.

2011-12-15 Fragile and Unbalanced in 2012 by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The outlook for the global economy in 2012 is clear, but it isnt pretty: recession in Europe, anemic growth at best in the US, and a sharp slowdown in China and in most emerging-market economies. Restoring robust growth is difficult enough without the ever-present specter of deleveraging and a severe shortage of policy ammunition.

2011-12-13 Harnessing the Power of Momentum by Michael Nairne (Article)

A market phenomena that we can harness on behalf of our clients is momentum - the propensity for price trends to persist in the short-term. I examine the origins of momentum, illustrate its return premium and consider how managers can leverage momentum on behalf of investors.

2011-12-13 Tale of the Tape U.S. Markets Back on Top by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

As investors say goodbye to a year that will be remembered in the history of financial markets for its volatility and investors obsession with it one of the most battered, bruised and, yes, volatile, markets has quietly reclaimed its spot as the worlds best performer. It is, of course, the U.S. Through November 15, the S&P 500 is up 1.8% year-to-date; the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 6.9%; and the NASDAQ, 1.3%. Meanwhile, the rest of the worlds major equity indices are covered with red arrows, all pointing down.

2011-12-09 Markets Rolling Look For More Of The Same by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

During the last two weeks, global markets have moved their way to higher ground and indications point to a healthier finish than expected to an otherwise sickly 2011. We see several developments supporting a continued equity market rally. They have to do with measures taken in China, Europe, and by central bankers around the globe. The Canadian and Singapore dollars are well-managed currencies in countries with conservative banking systems. They are good candidates for continued long- term appreciation versus the Euro and U.S. dollar.

2011-12-09 Emerging Markets Bonds and Currencies in an Uncertain World by Ignacio Sosa of PIMCO

Even if global risk deteriorates significantly, emerging markets may continue to offer compelling risk-adjusted return characteristics. Emerging markets external sovereign debt, along with receiving interest rates in higher-quality EM countries, could be the best relative performers. EM currencies would likely sell off sharply in risk-off periods but would also tend to rebound robustly when risk appetite returns. Several Asian currencies are likely to be the best relative performers. Emerging markets assets remain a risk asset class and will not be immune to waves of global jitters.

2011-12-09 Another Growth Engine by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

South Korea has long been an export-oriented economy; more than half its economy is still dependent on export-heavy industries such as shipbuilding, automotives and information technology. The governments supportive political sentiment toward exports is understandable since these industries have been South Koreas bread and butter ever since it began its transformation in the 1960s from one of Asias poorest countries. But Korea now needs to take a deeper look domestically, particularly in terms of its social welfare system.

2011-12-09 Greenwich Hedge Fund Indices Post Modest Losses in November by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

Hedge funds as measured by the Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index posted losses in November, losing ground during the latter half of the month on weak fundamentals in European markets. The GGHFI shed 1.05% compared to global equity returns in the S&P 500 Total Return (-0.22%), MSCI World Equity (-2.69%), and FTSE 100 (-0.70%) equity indices. European headlines continue to dictate the mood of global markets and cause increased volatility in equities. Hedge fund managers have decreased leverage and exposure to mitigate market risk but are still exposed to broader moves

2011-12-09 Building Wisdom with Our Boots on the Ground by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Analysts at U.S. Global Investors scrutinize research reports and study Bloomberg data to help our investment team gain first-mover advantage. Today, I asked research analyst and Shanghai-native Xian Liang to share how he combines analyses from third-party reports with boots-on-the-ground observations to find the best opportunities Asian markets have to offer.

2011-12-09 You Can't Print More Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As central banks print money and increase supply, currencies become devalued. Whereas in the recent past, one currency may be reduced in value compared with other currencies, this time there is global competitive devaluation as excess liquidity is put into the system. Historically, this excess liquidity has made its way to riskier assets, i.e. stocks and commodities. Gold is generally a benefactor of this flight to riskier assets as many investors see it as a store of value. This chart illustrates the interconnectivity of gold and global money supply growth.

2011-12-08 Significant Growth Potential for Indonesias Middle Class by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Indonesias workforce is growing 7,000 people stronger each day. This is second only to India as Asias fastest growing workforce. CLSA says this growth has given birth to a burgeoning middle class willing to spend money on durable goods such as clothing, personal-care items, home appliances and electronics. Currently, domestic consumption accounts for two-thirds of Indonesias GDP. Weve already seen double-digit growth in sales for televisions, cars, computers and laptops over the past few years. Indonesia appears well positioned for future growth.

2011-12-08 Global Economy and Market Summary Third Quarter 2011 by Stephen Hammers of Compass EMP Funds

The world economy has continued to slow during the last few months. The next several quarters are likely to be weak for three reasons. First, fiscal policy will continue to be restrictive as plans to trim excessive federal budget deficits continue to unfold. Second, private sector demand looks gloomy because households will continue to deleverage from high debt levels while unemployment remains a problem. Third, the uncertain future of the Euro-zone debt situation remains a major setback to future economic growth.

2011-12-08 2012: A Gut Check for Global Markets by Andreas Utermann of Allianz Global Investors

We are clearly facing a significant slowdown in economic activity in 2012, but we do not expect most developed economies to fall into recession. However, growth risks are increasingparticularly in Europe, where a recession is becoming increasingly likely. We do not expect a return of deflationary fears despite weakening growth, nor is inflation likely to be a threat in the foreseeable future. We expect rates to come down further in the euro zone and emerging markets; in the U.S., U.K. and Japan, we expect extremely low interest rates to continue.

2011-12-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The past few weeks have seen a rollercoaster ride for stocks. Despair over the European sovereign debt crisis has been replaced, for now, with optimism that the authorities there have finally decided to act. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite had stellar weeks. Both indices gained more than 7 percent for the week. Of course, this just reclaimed the losses from the previous couple of weeks, but the averages are once again positive for the year and given the level of pessimism and uncertainty supports our notion of just how undervalued this stock market is.

2011-12-05 Five Reasons to Buy Equities by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid all the risks today, and given the spotty history of stocks during the last 10 years or so, it is easy to understand why both retail and institutional investors continue to avoid the U.S. equity market. But understandable as their reluctance is, there are at least five good reasons to consider equities now: 1) There is good value. 2) There will be no double-dip recession. 3) Europe should survive. 4) Washington will not implode. 5) Nobody is buying equities.

2011-12-05 The Facts They Dont Want You to Know by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Our industry needs a good old fashioned kick up its backside. Far too much mediocrity is rewarded for nothing other than destroying value.

2011-12-03 Time to Bring Out the Howitzers by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is now common to use the term bazooka when referring the actions of governments and central banks as they try to avert a credit crisis. And this week we saw a coordinated effort by central banks to use their bazookas to head off another 2008-style credit disaster. The market reacted as if the crisis is now over and we can get on to the next bull run. Yet, we will see that it wasn't enough. Something more along the lines of a howitzer is needed (keeping with our WW2-era military arsenal theme). And of course I need to briefly comment on today's employment numbers.

2011-12-02 Indian Logistics Chug Along by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

In February, Indian officials addressed infrastructure issues with proposed policy reforms to create infrastructure debt funds, boost development with tax-free bonds and increase investment levels for foreign institutions. While these measures are steps in the right direction, the question remains over whether they will actually go the distance.

2011-12-02 What Makes the U.S. Special by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This economic and cultural DNA is difficult to reproduce elsewhere. There are many advantages to starting a business in the U.S., including an open immigration policy, excellent universities, a large domestic market, and venture funding. What stops other countries from having their own version of Silicon Valley are obstacles such as rigid labor laws, bureaucratic hassles, regulations and access to debt instruments. Similar hindrances seem to have sprouted in the U.S. in recent years in the form of regulations.

2011-12-02 Are Stars Aligned for a Year-End Rally? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Correlations will decrease along with volatility as we get more clarity on the eurozone crisis and see signs of stability in the global economy. Volatility fell this week, with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declining 20 percent. This could be related to the news that November U.S unemployment unexpectedly dropped to 8.6 percent, U.S. auto sales in November were the strongest in more than two years, and preliminary data on holiday retail sales appears to be strong. According to Bloomberg News, Black Friday sales hit a record high this year, with consumers spending $11.4 billion.

2011-11-30 The European Crisis and Global Investing by Team of Neuberger Berman

The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has placed persistent pressure on global equity markets since first emerging as a problem in Greece in the first half of 2010 and quickly spreading to Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. In a recent panel discussion, moderated by Investment Strategist Leah Modigliani, Benjamin Segal, portfolio manager and head of the Global Equity team, and Tony Gleason, portfolio manager for the MLG Group, discussed the turmoil in Europe, prospects for global growth, and some potential areas of opportunity. We share their thoughts below.

2011-11-30 Residential Housing Hangover by Team of Neuberger Berman

The housing crisis has left a lasting mark on the U.S. economy. Six years after the market peak in 2005, home prices continue to falter in some areas of the country, volumes remain low, and many investors and potential homebuyers remain wary of the residential marketplace. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we examine recent data from the U.S. housing market to consider how they may figure into overall growth expectations going forward.

2011-11-29 The Investment Case for Israel by Jamia Jasper (Article)

What country went into the 2008-2009 recession in a stronger position and exited sooner than any western nation? Whose stock market has outperformed the MSCI EAFE over the past 10 years?

2011-11-29 Sometimes We Lose Perspective by Scott A. MacKillop (Article)

It's been a rough ride lately for investors. Looking back over the course of my lifetime, however, what has been particularly exceptional is not recent market swings - these come and go - but rather the return one would have earned if they had been continuously invested in the stock market over the past 60-plus years.

2011-11-29 Family Feud by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Investors should recognize that Eurolands problems are global and secular in nature; it will be years before Euroland and developed nations in total can constructively escape from their straitjacket of debt. Global growth will likely remain stunted, interest rates artificially low and investors continually disenchanted with returns that fail to match expectations. Investors should consider risk assets in emerging economies, and bonds in the strongest developed economies, where the steep yield curve may offer opportunities for capital gains and potentially higher total returns.

2011-11-28 Another Asian Wake-Up Call by Stephen S. Roach of Project Syndicate

For the second time in three years, global economic recovery is at risk, with the crisis in 2008, triggered by subprime crisis made in America, now followed by Europe's sovereign-debt crisis. The alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear across Asia an export-led region that cannot afford to ignore repeated shocks to its two largest sources of external demand.

2011-11-28 The Global High Yield Opportunity by Matt Eagan, Kathleen Gaffney and Elaine Stokes of Loomis Sayles

The shifting characteristics of US, European, Asian and emerging markets high yield assets have contributed to an expanding opportunity set. This has prompted many institutional investors to broaden their high yield investment guidelines, often giving portfolio managers the flexibility to include exposures to these markets within one portfolio. The days of silo investing, in which non-US investors sought exposure to US high yield and emerging market debt through separate mandates, may be giving way to an era of sector allocation driven by investors.

2011-11-26 The Case for Optimism: Our Top 25 Dividend Growth Stocks are Dirt Cheap by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Within each challenge there has also been accompanying opportunity.And in most cases, the opportunities tend to dwarf the risks. The opportunities that we believe our recent challenges are bringing us are unnecessarily low valuations on some of our highest-quality companies.Yet, it is a fact that investors are flocking to bonds in droves at precisely a time when the risk of owning bonds is perhaps the greatest it has ever been. Most investors want to defy the cardinal rule of investing-buy low, sell high.

2011-11-26 With Rising Wages, Will China Remain a Manufacturing Hub? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 2010, countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Germany depended on China for data processing, apparel, and iron and steel exports. Chinas largest import partners in 2010 were Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Germany and Australia. For those companies not already doing business in China, theres one dominant factor that shows they should start: the vast domestic market. Companies may be able to find a cheaper workforce in Bangladesh, India or Sri Lanka, but being located in China allows convenient access to what is rapidly becoming the worlds largest consumer market.

2011-11-25 Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Angela Merkel is leading the call for a rule change, a rewiring of the basic treaty that binds the EU. But is it both too much and too late? The market action suggests that time is indeed running out, and so well look at the likely consequences. Then I glance over the other way and take notice of news out of China that may be of import.

2011-11-23 Seven Surprising Stats on the Internet and Emerging Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With rising wealth in emerging markets in recent years, people in China, India and Brazil have quickly acquired a taste for mobile phone and Internet technology. The industry in developing countries is in its infancy but growth has been swift. Here are seven surprising facts about this fast-growing emerging market trend.

2011-11-21 Investment Outlook: November 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Financial crisis continues to dominate the political agenda: a credit crunch looms as Europes banks shrink balance sheets, growth momentum is diverging among different regions, investor focus on global fiscal policy will intensify in 2012 and abundant liquidity via central bank easing is likely to prevail for some time. Economic data has tended to surprise analysts over the last few weeks, encouraging the view that growth may not be as weak as some were predicting only a month ago. However the picture is very different among different regions around the world.

2011-11-18 Coping with Uncertainty by Elizabeth Dong of Matthews Asia

During my recent trip to Beijing, I found the city to be bustling as usual with people and energy, and on the surface, the economy seemed just as robust as it did during my last several visits. But this time I did sense a slight erosion of confidence under all the visible activity. Among executives at small- and medium-size companies I detected uncertainty caused by the slow progress in global economic recovery and the need for change to cope with it.

2011-11-18 Big Shift in Gold Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 1970, according to the latest World Gold Council (WGC) report, half of the worlds gold was purchased in two regionsNorth America and Europe. Ten years later, that figure jumped all the way to 68 percent during a period of high inflation, a weak economy and spiking gold prices. At the same time, China and India (broadly represented in the chart as East Asia and Indian Sub continent) saw their combined share of gold demand diminish from 35 percent to 15 percent.

2011-11-18 The Gold Triple Play - Volatility, Currencies and Europe by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Resurgent investment lifted global gold demand 6 percent from the previous year to just over 1,000 tons during the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest Gold Demand Trends Report from the World Gold Council (WGC). The potent cocktail of inflationary pressures in the emerging world and the European sovereign debt fiasco left investors searching for a safe haventhey looked for it in gold.

2011-11-17 Why The Price Of Oil Has Risen From About $75 To About $100 Over The Past Six Weeks by Team of Guild Investment Management

Many veteran observers seriously question the intelligence of ongoing policies that ignore domestic resources and keep the US sending billions of dollars a year to countries that dislike the US and actively seek Americas decline. After it's recent rise, we recommend investors take profits in oil. It can go higher but we like taking profits after a rapid rise. Also, a mechanism is being put in place that will allow financially-responsible Eurozone countries to force irresponsible members to either make necessary changes in their approach to government spending or to leave the Euro currency.

2011-11-15 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.

2011-11-15 Capital Flows: Asias Quiet Revolution by Gerald Hwang of Matthews Asia

As markets evolve, so do regulations. The reflexive rebuke of capital controls once voiced by Western regulators has given way to a more flexible approach in times of extreme volatility. Asias regulators have observed the efficacy of volatility-dampening measures, and thus far, appear to have avoided the worst excesses. As fears continue over diminishing U.S. dollar power, Asias bonds remain attractive diversifiers for their yields and good credit ratings. However, one should never forget the volatile history of currencies in Asia.

2011-11-15 Occupy Yahoo by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

This is the first part of a non-vampire trilogy which will explore some of our inner thinking on the juxtaposition of "business vs. value vs. people" in the investment decision making process-a process that has led us to recent investments in Yahoo, HP and News Corp in our non-small cap strategies. In this first installment, we will focus on Yahoo for no other reason than to honor the company's place within the pantheon of failed corporate governance.

2011-11-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview October 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The Japanese equity market ended the month of October almost unchanged. Concerns about Europes sovereign debt crisis and a slowdown in the global economy initially sent the index sliding to a new year-to-date low at the outset. Subsequently, the Japanese stock market rebounded along with a steady retreat from the excessive investor pessimism surrounding overseas economic conditions. Positive U.S. economic indicators, including unexpectedly strong employment figures, housing data and solid GDP growth, boosted market confidence.

2011-11-14 Super Committee To The Rescue? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Hows it going? Not good. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has to score the super committees recommendations and return its analysis to the committee by November 21, which would allow the committee two days to make changes before its final recommendations. The CBO was supposed to receive the bulk of the recommendations by late October or early November. Things are a little behind schedule. The committee seemed doomed to fail from its inception

2011-11-11 Off With Their Heads! by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

It is hard to know now whether deflationary or inflationary forces will prevail. But we dont have to know. I do not expect that central banks will be able to get monetary policy just right and so it is clear to me that the current environment of low, stable inflation around the world is going to be short lived. This outlook combined with the extremely low interest rate environment cause us to focus on the preservation of capital. Avoiding losses is very important now. With yields so low, offsetting or recouping any losses is very difficult and would take much longer than is typical.

2011-11-11 ASEAN Cooperation by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

Given the difficulties facing the European Union, there tend to be very few die-hard proponents of economic integration, or more specifically, monetary integration. This makes the pledge by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to move ahead with forming an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) a surprising phenomenon. The establishment and prioritization of a move toward a common market by 2015 with free movement of resources comes in response to increased competition posed by China and India.

2011-11-11 China's Rising Imports of American Goods by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

American companies are riding the wave of Chinas growth all the way to the bank. From what they drink and eat to where they shop and what they buy, as increasing incomes provide more discretionary income, the dynamics of the Chinese consumer forever change. I believe savvy investors can benefit from these emerging trends.

2011-11-11 The Many Factors Fueling a Return to $100 Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The IEA says trends on both the oil demand and supply sides maintain pressure on prices. We assume the average IEA crude oil import price remains high, approaching $120 per barrel (in 2010 dollars) in 2035 (over $210 per barrel in nominal terms). Thats a distant projection but it certainly illustrates why you should consider investing a portion of your wealth in oil.

2011-11-09 Greenwich Global Index Hedge Funds Bounce Back in October by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

Hedge funds as measured by the GGHFI posted strong results in October, benefitting from a rebound in equity prices during the month. The GGHFI gained 2.27% compared to global equity returns in the S&P 500 Total Return +10.93%, MSCI World Equity +10.26%, and FTSE 100 +8.10% equity indices. 67% of constituent funds in the GGHFI ended the month with gains. Concerns over Europe began to lift in October and hedge funds were able to benefit from the rise in equity prices. Long-Short managers performed well given their cautious stance entering the month.

2011-11-08 Bill Gross' Revised Paradigm: The New Normal Minus by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Following the financial crisis of 2008, PIMCO articulated its 'new normal' forecast of slow growth and mediocre capital market returns. Appending the even drearier modifier 'minus' to that outlook, Bill Gross said that expectations now appear worse than even he previously feared. Gross was pessimistic in both the near and long terms, and he startled the audience with his premonition that 'capitalism is at risk.'

2011-11-05 Fund Manager Interview by Nick Robinson of Aberdeen Asset Management

The popular perception of Latin America as a region of weak political systems and economies is changing. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies have helped many countries stabilize their economies. The region came through the recent credit crisis relatively unscathed. Good-quality companies trading at attractive valuations can be found in the region. A local presence helps bolster our research.

2011-11-05 Where Will the Jobs Come From? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What is the role of government in creating jobs? To answer that, let's look at the data that shows us where jobs come from. And we find that net new jobs for the last 15 years came from new business start-ups. Big business is a net drag on job creation, and small businesses are a wash. Governments have seen job growth, but where does the money come to pay government employees?

2011-11-04 Buyer's Remorse by Hardy Zhu of Matthews Asia

Autumn has traditionally been a strong season for housing sales in China, and September and October are usually dubbed the golden and silver months. But press reports this year have called September copper and October iron in light of sagging sales figures. Sales dropped 49% over last year in the 14 major cities it tracks. Transaction volume in many major cities retreated even further. Due to weak sales and tighter loan quotas from banks, many developers have lowered prices in attempts to expedite sales. In Shanghai, prices for some units have declined 20% to 40%.

2011-11-04 3 Drivers, 2 Months, 1 Gold Rally? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Combine the central bank purchases of gold with the fact that we are now entering the strongest months of the year for gold. While the spot gold price has differed from the S&P/TSX Composite Index of gold equities during the first 10 months of the year, their historical pattern is very similar during the last two months. November has historically been the strongest month of the year for gold equities, with mining stocks increasing 8.1 percent.

2011-11-03 Households Continue to Reduce Debt and Embrace Frugality by Team of American Century Investments

Many things are different about the current economic recovery compared with past. One of the most important differences is the lack of any meaningful resurgence in consumer spending. Households continue to reduce their debt levels, which can be good for our long-term economic outlook. But in the near term, deleveraging means consumers cannot play the same role they have of driving strong economic growth by a surge in spending that satisfies their deferred consumption during the downturn. Well take a look at how households and consumers are faring in their efforts to reduce debt.

2011-11-03 A Gravity Test for the Euro by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

Although I appreciate that exchange rates are never easy to explain, I find todays relatively robust value for the euro mysterious. Do the gnomes of currency markets seriously believe that the eurozone governments latest comprehensive package to save the euro will hold up? The new plan relies on a questionable mix of dubious financial-engineering gimmicks and vague promises of modest Asian funding. I can think of one very good reason why the euro needs to fall, and six not-so-convincing reasons why it should remain stable or appreciate. Lets begin with why the euro needs to fall.

2011-10-31 Financial Market Update & Outlook by Jonathan E. Lederer of Lederer Private Wealth Management

In this volatile environment, I consider preservation of capital to be a higher priority than speculation and am inclined to remain defensive until valuations appear more attractive. I strongly believe that we will see better opportunities in 2012 as the markets start to better reflect the global economic situation and the inevitable reduction in corporate earnings estimates. Though we run the risk of getting left behind if this rally turns into a longer-term bull market, it is a risk that Im comfortable taking in light of the global macroeconomic backdrop.

2011-10-31 U.S.China Trade: More Than a Game of Chicken by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Now that the U.S. Senate has fired what might be the first salvo in a trade war with China, investors, already beset by a host of uncertainties, must consider anotherpossibly the most dangerous of all. If Congress can label China a currency manipulator, then tariffs aimed at China become likely, as does Chinese retaliation in a pattern that would hurt world trade, growth prospects in both countries, and asset values on both sides of the ocean and beyond. The Senates recent vote is still a ways from legislation, but the dangers here are so profound they demand a consideration.

2011-10-29 Missing the Forest for the Trees? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Earnings season was good and economic data in the US has improved. Robust growth is unlikely in the near future, but the economy is improving. Investors appear to be unconvinced that the picture may be brightening. Inflation continues to run higher than we'd like to see but sustainable price gains are unlikely. The Fed continues to be extremely accommodating. Italy has the potential to be a much bigger problem than Greece. A tentative agreement has been reached for Europe, but hopes for a true long-term solution remain thin. China is likely to suffer no worse than a soft landing.

2011-10-28 How China Drives the Global Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Chinese economy is not a bubble, but that does not mean a significant slowdown wouldnt affect the global economy, especially natural resources. This is because Chinas economic transformation over the past few decades has cast the country into the forefront of demand. PIRA Energy Group says that, in 1990, Chinas share of oil and GDP was less than 5 percent; its share of world energy was just under 10 percent. Since then, Chinas share of energy, GDP and oil has risen dramatically, with each expected to be approximately 28 percent, 21 percent and 16 percent, respectively, by 2025.

2011-10-27 FPA Crescent Fund Q3 2011 by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

An unresolved European sovereign and financial dilemma, in concert with a U.S. economy thats been a disappointment compared to the once-rosy projections of most economists, caused global markets to retreat in the third quarter. Crescent declined as well, but it fell 30% less than the U.S. market for the quarter and 40% less in the year-to-date period. The U.S. markets actually fared quite favorably and Crescent more favorably still when viewed in context of the global financial upheaval.

2011-10-27 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Committee Discusses Cyclical Outlook for Globe and Region by Robert Mead, Tomoya Masanao and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

China will likely focus more on rebalancing of the investment-focused domestic economy this time, rather than on reflating of the economy to engineer higher growth as it has done in 2008 to 2009. Japans fiscal policy will need to be expansionary to facilitate reconstruction efforts. We believe Australian government bonds have the potential to outperform U.S. Treasuries on a local currency basis, particularly in a left-tail global economic scenario.

2011-10-26 Occupy Wall Street: A Threat to the Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Both T.Partiers and Occupyrs say this is all crazy and must stop-albeit they have different prescriptions. However rather than stopping policy makers are ever more engaged. The best of intentions are creating an avalanche of unintended consequences. Voting with their feet to get their voices heard, the Twitter revolution wont stop with the Arab spring but sweep across America in its own incarnation.The issues are complex, the answers appear so easy; we dont want to belittle the movements, but see a trend that fosters politicians capable of distilling their political message into a tweet.

2011-10-25 Got Jobs?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Whether this stampede turns out to be that strong will likely depend on the economy, our changing political environment, and Europe. However, I remain cautiously optimistic, believing there is a change afoot inside DC whereby business people are being elected, fostering the hope of simple, market-based solutions to our Nations ills. And, over the last three weeks the stock market appears to be sensing this as well with winning sectors continuing to be Energy, Financials, Consumer Discretionary, and Materials. Such sector rotation suggests the stock market believes things are getting better.

2011-10-25 ASEANHow Different is it This Time? by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

ASEAN nations have recently seen increases in foreign ownership, and many show attractive demographics and the potential for strong economic growth. But with ASEAN nations having been a root cause and major casualty of crises past, investors may be asking: How sustainable is this? This month Kenneth Lowe, CFA, takes a look at how ASEAN got where it is today, and what challenges may still lie ahead.

2011-10-25 On Mexicos Shores by Kate Jaquet of Seafarer Capital

Investors must exercise caution when approaching Mexico. The countrys fiscal position appears to be eroding, and this may induce greater dependence on inflows of foreign capital to cover the deficit; and this in turn may make the peso more volatile. However, with scant few safe havens left and as the flights to quality and liquidity continue across the financial markets, I am optimistic that industrial production in Mexico will be a bright spot in the emerging markets in the coming years.

2011-10-24 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Big oil takes center stage in earnings as Exxon-Mobil and Chevron make a run at record profits. Amazon.com gives an early glimpse into the holiday season. Euro-zone leaders try to make progress on the rescue plan and France and Germany have sworn that the matter will be rectified by mid-week (or at least a course of action will have been set). The initial release of third quarter GDP highlights the economic releases. Somehow 9.1% growth rate (like Chinas) is not likely to be in the cards.

2011-10-21 Asia Pacific Real Estate Securities by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

Asia Pacific real estate securities declined sharply in the third quarter, a negative and volatile period for stocks broadly. Markets were roiled by reduced global growth expectations and intensified European sovereign debt concerns. Economic growth throughout most of Asia Pacific remains relatively strong, driven in large part by demand from China. The regions property markets have encountered policy headwinds, but the outlook for slower global growth has eased inflationary concerns.

2011-10-21 European Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

European real estate securities fell sharply in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The region underperformed North America and Asia Pacific, which also had double-digit declines amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt problem. We believe the European financial system is in need of substantial equity recapitalization. Until banks are able to achieve this, corporate financing in Europe, combined with austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments, is likely to remain restrictive.

2011-10-21 Emerging Markets Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

Emerging market real estate stocks were hit hard in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The asset class underperformed its developed-market counterpart, which also had a double-digit decline amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt crisis. Slowing global growth is taking some pressure off emerging markets in terms of inflation containment. A trend of policy easing appears to be underway. This could result in improved performance for recently problematic sectors. We have been incrementally adding to such sectors.

2011-10-21 Global Equity OutlookFourth Quarter 2011 by Team of American Century Investments

In this edition of Weekly Market Update, presents the teams outlook for global equity markets, based on the latest research and discussions with companies from industries and countries across the economy and the globe. The team focuses on individual security selection, building portfolios from the bottom up, rather than making top-down judgments about the economy. In their view, economic trends matter to the extent that they relate to corporate earnings power. As a result, the outlook focuses on corporate earnings and other areas they deem important to successful global equity investing.

2011-10-21 Postcard from China by Sherry Zhang of Matthews Asia

While companies throughout China are dealing with the pressure of rising inflation and tightening macroeconomic policies, many are cautiously optimistic about continued (albeit moderated) growth. In addition, more and more are seeing a domestic focus on that growth, and the development and maturity of the local restaurant industry is one example. Chinas food services industry is estimated at US$350 billion and growing. Although the industry is still highly fragmented, more restaurant chains are being launched to deliver consistent, high quality and safe foods.

2011-10-21 Do Bullish Investors Have an Ace in the Hole? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

You may not be able to count cards at the blackjack table, but counting historical trends of the stock market and discovering inflection points are not only legal strategies, they are essential to successful investing. One card worth counting is the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures the manufacturing strength of any given country. A rising PMI indicates a growing economy and is considered a leading indicator.

2011-10-20 International Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities markets as of September 30, 2011. International real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.

2011-10-20 Global Infrastructure by Global Infrastructure Team of Cohen & Steers

Global infrastructure stocks are in a position to perform well in the current economic environment as historically, their cash flows have been relatively resilient in the face of slowing economic growth. On a regional basis, we remain overweight the U.S. and underweight Europe, given the high degree of uncertainty regarding a solution to sovereign debt issues and the long-term impact of austerity on the regions growth outlook. Our Asia Pacific outlook is mixed: our investments in Japan remain defensive, and we are cautious on Australia, given the potential impact of a slowdown in China.

2011-10-20 Global Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of September 30, 2011. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 17.4% for the quarter (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars, and 12.7% for the year to date. Global real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.

2011-10-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

During the third quarter, the stock market plunged as investors hopes for a sustained U.S. economic recovery dissipated and fears of a world-wide economic slowdown and possible U.S. double-dip recession increased. The U.S. faces several major structural headwinds including a moribund housing sector, high unemployment, bank credit restraint, and a growing and worrisome federal debt. Underlying these and other problems is the depressing effect of the end of the debt super cycle.

2011-10-19 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

With so many global dynamics playing out, and the worlds financial markets fixated on the political process (or lack thereof) in the Eurozone, driving market sentiment around the world, it may be a good time to take a deep breath, take a look back at where weve come from, and assess the likely implications going forward. Specifically, what are the implications for the U.S. dollar and currencies globally? With continued expansionary monetary policy here in the States, and lack of such policies elsewhere, the divergence in monetary policy is likely to further erode the U.S. dollar.

2011-10-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview September 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europes inability to find a solution for its current fiscal problems and the weakening macroeconomic outlook sent equity markets into a downward spiral during the July-September quarter. In Asia, concerns about the risk of a hard landing in China resurfaced as well. All country and regional indices declined, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index declining 16.35% and 21.28%, respectively, for the quarter. In the short term, the rush to raise cash could lead to further declines in markets

2011-10-19 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The MENA region continues to grapple with instability in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings. The draining of public finances, elevated levels of inflation and high rates of unemployment seem to paint an unfavorable picture for the region in the short term. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook report, inflation in the region is expected to average around 7 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2012. In addition, the report noted the adverse impact of weaker growth in the United States and Europe on commodity prices, foreign investments and economic activity.

2011-10-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

After battling inflation for over a year, many emerging Asia Pacific economies are now facing challenges over stimulating growth. A year of persistent monetary tightening in emerging Asia Pacific has unfortunately coincided with slowing growth prospects in the developed world. The U.S. and the European Union are the largest trading partners for many export-dependent emerging Asian economies like South Korea, Taiwan and even China. With economic growth slowing in the U.S. and the European Union, many emerging Asian nations are rightly worried about their export prospects.

2011-10-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific nations continued to face headwinds to growth in September. With factory output across the world slowing down to a trickle, major developed Asia Pacific economies ranging from Japan to New Zealand started witnessing pressure on their economic output. As exports still act as the backbone for many of Asias developed countries, a global decline in manufacturing is causing concerns. A slowdown in the U.S. and Europe also cast a shadow on the economic prospects for Asian nations.

2011-10-19 Americas: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Financial markets faced significant volatility as the global economic outlook weakened and concerns about the European crisis worsened. Markets in the Americas region were also affected by the erosion in investor confidence, though the developed markets in the region fared relatively better. Latin American currencies saw steep falls against the U.S. dollar, as the weaker economic outlook is expected to force the central banks to cut interest rates in the future, potentially reducing the relative attractiveness of these markets to global investors.

2011-10-19 Global Overview: October 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Global financial markets have partly recovered from Septembers extensive price declines, helped by hopes of stability in the Euro-zone and moderately better economic data from major countries, including the U.S. Volatility in the currency markets has also eased somewhat after last months steep fall in international currencies against the U.S. dollar. Commodity prices have seen similar trends as well, though concerns about global demand persist. Monetary policy in major economies has seen significant shifts over the last month, as central banks have lowered their economic outlook.

2011-10-18 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?

2011-10-18 Dan Fuss on the Liquidity Problem in the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Each morning, the traders at Loomis Sayles' bond desk rate the degree of liquidity in the bond market, with a rating of one being the worst and 10 the best. Ratings of one or two ? as corporate bonds have been receiving of late ? are an ominous sign, according to Dan Fuss. 'Liquidity is the God of the markets,' Fuss said, adding that he expects to deal with illiquidity for a while.

2011-10-14 Postcard from Taiwan by Lydia So of Matthews Asia

On the surface of things, Taiwan indeed seems dwarfed by the glamour of some of its Asian counterparts. However, encouraging changes have been taking place since President Ma Yung-Jeou took office in 2008. These have included more relaxed restrictions on investments into China by Taiwanese companies, direct flights from China and, more recently, approved travel among individuals from China. In 2010, 1.6 million mainland Chinese tourists visited Taiwan, compared to just 81,000 in 2007. In related travel improvements, I was also encouraged to see ongoing renovations to the airport terminal.

2011-10-14 Elevation by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

One region has five of the twelve fastest economies in the world, including the fastest at a growth rate of over 20% this year. This region has grown faster than the OECD countries and its consumer sector is growing 2 3 times faster than the developed worlds. A study by the Harvard Business Review in 2009 reported that publicly traded companies average return on capital was 67% higher than comparable countries in China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Investors have been blissfully ignorant of Africa for decades, but the opportunity cost of ignorance is increasing.

2011-10-14 Case Study: Buyouts Crystallize Value in the Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Theres value in the market. Thats the message the market is sending through the recent strategic acquisitions in the energy and gold mining spaces. This week it was announced that Sinopec, a large Chinese oil and gas company, is purchasing Canadian energy company Daylight Energy for $2.1 billion in cash. The deal was struck at a whopping 120 percent premium to Daylights share price prior to the announcement and a 43.6 percent premium over the 60-day weighted average price, according to Reuters.

2011-10-13 Boomer Demographics: The Shift Ahead by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I looked at developments in U.S. demographics from 1980 to the present with a focus on the Boomer bulge. Then I examined current day demographics for several major countries around the globe. I've developed a set of population pyramids for the U.S. that start with 1981 and span7 decades at 10-year intervals using the U.S. Census Bureau data. Let's look at some comparative numbers for these seven snapshots. I've calculated the Elderly Dependency Ratios for each. As this ratio shifts higher, the productive population is increasingly burdened by the cost of entitlement programs.

2011-10-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks rebounded last week and are off to a very strong start this morning as the economic data shows few indications of recession and because Europe is beginning to disclose their intentions as to how to deal with their sovereign debt crisis. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.7% last week while the NASDAQ Composite did even better with a jump of 2.7%.

2011-10-11 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.

2011-10-10 And That's The "QUARTER" That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Yes, the quarter was bad for the markets, but earnings season will go a long way toward revealing if companies are truly hurting. Many are thought to be sitting on plenty of cash, just waiting for calmer times to invest in operations (and hopefully human capital). Meanwhile, Dr. B. still claims to be ready to jump in with more stimuli if deemed necessary. As for Europecan they ever get their house in order? Their politicos may be just as bad as ours?

2011-10-08 An Irish Haircut by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

But here is the issue for Europe. The amount of money needed for Ireland is going to be a lot more than they now think, or at least are willing to admit. When Eurozone politicians worry about 'contagion,' or one country wanting the debt relief that another country gets, it is a very real worry. And rightfully so, as voters in Portugal or Spain or (gasp) Italy who are burdened by debt that is seemingly intractable will also want relief. It is not just an Irish condition, it is a human trait.

2011-10-07 Market Turmoil by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

A promising market expansion was stilled by ugly politics in Washington and Brussels. While both domestic and European crises were largely political rather than economic, the consequences rattled investor confidence in capital values worldwide. As in the U.S., agency issues are the root cause of the European debt crisis. The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis resulted from agents paid to issue mortgages without considering the ability of borrowers to pay back the loans. Similarly, European bank agents ignored the default risk of euro-based Greek government.

2011-10-07 Postcard from Japan: Beyond Energy Savings by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Conservation measures helped lower peak electricity consumption by 18% compared to last year. The measures, along with a faster-than-expected upturn in thermal electricity generation capacity, helped Japan avoid any rolling blackouts this summer.And in early September, government restrictions on electricity usage were lifted. Given the public disapproval of Japanese power companies following the nuclear incidents this year, the time seems ripe for discourse over fullscale industry liberalization. Whether the equally unpopular Democratic Party of Japan can achieve that goal remains to be seen.

2011-10-07 Can Markets Find the Road Back to Positive Territory? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Can markets find the road back to positive territory? This week, wed like to point out three reasons investors should consider remaining in equities or reassessing whether to sit on the sidelines: 1. Investor sentiment is signaling the market is overextended to the downside. 2. Stocks are trading well below historical valuation trends. 3. S&P 500 dividend yields are higher than the 10-year Treasury yield.

2011-10-07 On Teflon and Emerging Market Currencies by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

Investors can distinguish between the fundamental health of EM credit which is, as some have suggested, strong and the still fragile currencies of those markets. Rapid unwinding of capital flows may do quick damage to local currency EM bonds, wiping out fixed income investors expectations for current income. EM credit denominated in U.S. dollars may be a viable alternative. EM currencies may offer desirable diversification, and they may even be a good investment but they remain speculative, and should not be considered a safe haven.

2011-10-06 The Risk of Recession and the Variable of Adjustment by Team of GaveKal

Looking solely at financial markets, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that we are heading straight into a global recession: most major equity markets have entered bear territory and registered new 52-week lows, commodity prices are plunging (see our Indicator of Economic Sensitive Prices on p. 2), spreads are widening everywhere, all currencies except for the US$ and Yen are feeling weak at the knees, etc... As one client put it to us, in September there was simply ―nowhere to hide; and such market dislocations are typically a harbinger of bad economic news.

2011-10-06 Global Investment Outlook: October 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth momentum continues to decline but is worst in Europe. Solvency of national governments and now banks is creating fears of a crisis. Coordinated policy action is key to stemming adverse market reaction. Although economic data has continued to demonstrate slower business activity, this is most obvious within Europe which has suffered from fiscal contraction as well as diminishing export demand from the emerging world. Unemployment levels remain elevated, and the reluctance to create new jobs is proving the Achilles heel of policymakers efforts to kick start private sector demand.

2011-09-30 The Impact of Uncertainty by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While markets act like toddlers over the short term, what are the key drivers over the long term? The impact of the European crisis on global growth will be the key determining factor on market performance. Small, open economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan will likely be more greatly impacted. Countries with domestic consumption as large drivers of GDP, China, Indonesia and India, might be relatively sheltered due to their relatively large internal markets. While risk aversion may cause markets to overreact in the short term, we believe long-term structural growth should continue.

2011-09-30 Schwab Market Perspective: Perception vs. Reality by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data continues to reveal sluggish activity, and markets have been increasingly trading in a risk-on, risk-off mode. The Fed continues to try to stimulate greater economic growth, most recently with the announcement of operation twist. We have serious doubts this will engender any broad upturn. We continue to look toward Washington to move beyond short-term rhetoric and provide some serious long-term plans that allow businesses to have more confidence in the future. European policymakers continue to delay any real action, increasing the risks of an escalation of the debt crisis.

2011-09-30 Extreme Divergence Between Coal Rocks and Stocks Unwarranted by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Coal was relatively flat for the quarter, but whats interesting is that coal companies were severely discounted. Over the last two years, coal stocks and the commodity have closely tracked each other, until this summer, when worries about a global slowdown caused coal stocks to fall off a cliff, not once, but twice, in August and again in early September. This extreme divergence between coal companies and the commodity seems unwarranted when the long-term drivers of coal remain supportive.

2011-09-29 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Growth Risks, Policy Polarization and Rethinking Returns by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO

Over the next 12 to 18 months, we expect the global economy to expand at a very modest real rate of 1% to 1.5% Global imbalances have continued to rise in the post financial crisis environment, global leaders continue to fail in their policy coordination efforts, and deleveraging and reregulation continue to be critical over the course of our cyclical horizon. We are transitioning into a world where we believe the incentives of policymakers and the divisiveness of politics will become the predominant drivers of investment returns and economics.

2011-09-28 Have the Central Banks Run Out of Tricks? by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

The big three concerns (a U.S. or Chinese recession, and a European banking crisis) continue to drive the markets, and the news got incrementally worse last week, and then better this week. The DJIA has been bouncing back and forth between about 10,700 and 11,600 since August. Could things get worse from here? Yes A U.S. recession isnt fully priced into the market, a Chinese recession isnt either, and a European banking collapse could trigger the forced selling of assets like we saw in the U.S. in 2008-2009. Could things get better from here? They could but muddle through is more likely.

2011-09-28 On Flexibility, and Why the World Needs More of It by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

I hold no illusions about the gravity of the current sovereign crisis. The intractable nature of such large debts has sapped confidence. Most of Europe is saddled with unsustainable obligations, and a decade of fiscal profligacy has put the U.S. on a trajectory to match Europes worst. The West must put its fiscal house in order. All that stated, I want to be clear about what I view as our central problem today: the world is not growing fast enough. The challenge we face is, first and foremost, one of growth, and not necessarily one of debt.

2011-09-27 Chinas Escalation up the Value Chain: From Low-Cost Manufacturers to World Leaders? by Vladimir Cara and Ewan Markson-Brown of PIMCO

As labour demographics change, China could suffer a double whammy of a falling savings rate and a diminishing labour force. The size of its domestic market allows China to spend more on research and development (R&D) and so potentially build technology and scale more quickly than many foreign competitors. In particular, we have identified wheel loaders and excavators as two sectors where we expect the Chinese to successfully migrate up the value chain.

2011-09-26 Reflections and Outrage by Bob Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors

Here is address given at the 2009 Morningstar conference which has just as much relevance now as it did then. Last years performance was a terrible one for the market averages as well as for mutual fund active portfolio managers. It did not matter the style, asset class or geographic region. We managers did not deliver the goods and we must explain why. In letters to shareholder will this failure be chalked up to bad luck, an inability to identify a changing governmental environment or to some other excuse? We owe them more than simple platitudes, if we expect to regain their confidence.

2011-09-26 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks jumped higher last week as the central bank took steps to ease the European sovereign debt crisis which relieved the concern about a short-term run on the European banking system. The week was a very strong one for stock prices with the Dow Jones Industrial Average moving higher by 4.7% while the NASDAQ Composite (a more growth oriented index) jumped 6.3%.

2011-09-24 Catastrophic Success by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Rick Perry touched the third rail of Social Security and called it a Ponzi scheme, which of course immediately made him the leading candidate in the shoot the messenger category. Behind the rhetoric, I look at some actual numbers. Not the unfunded liabilities, thats too easy. Lets look at what a heartless, uncompassionate man President Roosevelt was when he started Social Security. And of course, we must start off with the results of the FOMC meeting, which has me feeling not at all amused. What are they thinking? Apparently, they are seeing the results from another, alternative universe.

2011-09-23 Postcard from Thailand by In-bok Song of Matthews Asia

The Phue Thai (PT) Party led by Yingluck Shinawatra has already been voted into office, and various policies aimed at boosting domestic consumption have largely been expected. Changing consumption patterns that result from rising disposable income are likely to be pleasant challenges for Thai retailers. These challenges include finding the most complementary tenant mix and investing in information technology systems to monitor tenant sales and foot traffic. As always, we continue to research company fundamentals, but will note the efforts companies make in establishing long-term strategies.

2011-09-23 Extreme Moves Leave Markets in Rare Territory by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many investors have used gold and other commodities as a haven from recent volatility, buoying prices while equities sunk, but even those investments werent immune to the wave of selling. The U.S. dollar, in contrast, was up 2.2 percent. Much of the dollars rally came after the Fed announced the creatively named Operation Twist. The Fed will sell $400 billion of short-term securities and buy an equal amount of long-term debt. The goal is to push down long-term interest rates, which would spur economic activity.

2011-09-22 Talking Our Way to Recession! by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The Europeans do not yet have a political structure for engineering a rescue, and that will be the over-hang in Europe. They will figure it out - eventually. The risk remains whether Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland will require equivalent rescues. The largest unknown risk is: of all the banks and hedge funds that sold Credit Default Swaps on Greek bonds, do any have enough capital to pay off their exposure. Remember that the US Treasury directed $62 billion to AIG to cover CDS exposure at that firm in 2009. We doubt that the European central banks are prepared to do the same.

2011-09-22 World Running Low on its by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Did you know that Chinas energy demand is set to grow so dramatically over the next 25 years that its consumption is expected to be 68 percent higher than that of the U.S.? That was only one of the findings of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In its new International Energy Outlook 2011, the EIA reports that throughout the world, energy consumption is expected to rise by 53 percent from 2008 through 2035 driven by robust economic growth and expanding populations in the developing countries.

2011-09-21 Liquidity Crisis? A Currency Perspective by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In 2008, the global financial system faced a potential meltdown when funding seized up for investment banks, ultimately leading to the failure of Lehmann Brothers. Three years on, we have got plenty of problems, but as we shall argue - investors may want to differentiate between a financial meltdown and insolvency. While complaining about policy makers and bankers may generate animated water cooler discussions, lets take their human (and fallible) nature as a given, and discuss implications for investors. In this context, we assess the U.S. dollar, currencies and equities.

2011-09-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The global economic environment seems to be deteriorating rapidly. European economies are increasingly weighed down by the de-leveraging of the peripheral countries, while confidence in the U.S. is being sapped by the political paralysis in Washington. As a result, we have significantly downgraded our economic forecasts. For the U.S. economy, we are now predicting 2.0% real growth for 2012. However, we still believe that a double dip recession can be avoided.

2011-09-16 China as an Asset Class by Henry Zhang and Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

China's economic expansion over the last 30 years has allowed many enterprises to prosper. For a number of investors, Chinese stocks have also grown in importance. As modern capital markets have taken root in China, stock markets have become one of the primary channels for companies to raise capital. While China's capital market is still early in its development and has its own risks and challenges, the country is expected to continue to grow and increasingly influence world economies. For a variety of reasons, we believe China is emerging as an investment asset class in its own right.

2011-09-16 Crises Ahead As U.S. Banks Fight Against Needed Overhaul by Team of Guild Investment Management

Banks are supposed to be conservative institutions that do prudent analysis of credit risk, make loans accordingly, and buy government bonds. In the initial years of the 21st century, the banks were far from prudent and conservative. They were gamblers, and when they lost, the taxpayer had to bail them out. The banking sector is currently hard at work trying to stop implementation of the Volcker rule, a key provision in a needed financial overhaul legislation targeting the over-speculation madness.

2011-09-16 APEC Forum Convenes by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, representing 21 Pacific Rim countries, kicked off a summit this week in San Francisco. The summit will address issues including energy, transportation and womens economic participation in preparation for an APEC heads of state meeting in Hawaii this November. The topics being addressed during the summit are of great interest to those seeking to understand some of Asias long-term growth trends. Female participation in Asias labor force can be quite low.

2011-09-16 Sell your Bonds and Gold and Buy Dividend Growth Stocks Before it is Too Late by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Although we generally believe in the soundness of the principle of diversification, we also believe that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Any historian of markets or economies would agree that financial markets are currently far from behaving ordinarily. We intend to point out several markets that are behaving both inefficiently and completely out-of-sync from sound and prudent economic principles. Therefore, we will argue that certain sacred cows that would and should apply during normal circumstances need to be questioned and challenged in these very uncertain times.

2011-09-16 The Bottom Line #5 by Paul Azeff and Kory Bobrow of Euro Pacific Capital

Today marks the third anniversary of the death of Lehman Brothers, not the first, nor the last, bank or broker-dealer to require emergency meetings of exalted officials to take place over a weekend, but it is the only one that resulted in a complete loss for shareholders and significant losses for bondholders. Whether you see this as the example of the officials getting it right or stunningly wrong really depends on where you sit, and it should color your perspective on everything that has occurred since.

2011-09-16 Is the End Near for the Eurozone? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Warning signs are flashing red. Bond markets are projecting a 98% chance of default on Greece's debt. Stock prices for French banks, heavily invested in that debt, have plunged 10% in recent days. Has the European debt crisis hit the breaking point, with Greece -- and perhaps others -- soon to exit the eurozone? Or, will officials once more cobble together new agreements that keep Greece in the club and prevent a huge contagion effect likely to cripple an already slowing global economy? Wharton finance professors Franklin Allen and Bulent Gultekin offer their insight.

2011-09-16 Perfect Storm Creates Tidal Wave of Gold Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In the East, gold is not only celebrated, acquired, worn or displayed during holidays or special occasions; it is seen as an everyday symbol of wealth. Increases in demand from China and India have driven a 7.5 percent increase in demand for gold jewelry during the first half of the year despite a 25 percent increase in the price, according to a report released this week from GFMS. However, much of Indias potential gold demand remains untapped.

2011-09-15 Chinese Banks are Imitating Washington Mutual by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Washington Mutual is only in existence in the world of litigation. For those of you out there who like to avoid these kinds of risks, we at Smead Capital Management recommend you avoid China, avoid the commodities which are used most heavily in construction, avoid the makers of construction and mining equipment, avoid the countries which have benefitted the most from Chinas uninterrupted growth, and avoid the vehicles used for financing all of this growth. The inevitable economic recession in China which we expect to follow will turn the asset allocation world upside down.

2011-09-14 Asian Bonds Fund Manager Interview: A Misunderstood Opportunity by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global investors remain under-invested to Asian bonds. Exposure is often made through global debt benchmarks; however, these benchmarks typically have low allocations to Asia, may not be particularly active, have allocations to less creditworthy countries and possess limited local currency exposure. Many investment opportunities in the Asian region have been overlooked. Asia provides a diverse set of markets and a broad set of country issuers across the credit spectrum, offering what we believe are good opportunities for investors to enhance portfolio yields.

2011-09-13 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.

2011-09-10 China Fears Much Ado About Nothing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are many questions surrounding the global market but the Chinese economy remains headed toward the moon. The country, of course, remains vulnerable to external forces but we believe the economys strong momentum will be enough to carry the country through, should volatile times persist.

2011-09-10 Economic Resilience of Emerging Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A boxers stamina is judged by how quickly he rebounds from a blow. Strength of a country, then, could be measured by how quickly the economy can bounce back from a crisis. The Economist provided one measure when it compared countries percentage change in real GDP per person from the fourth quarter of 2007 through the second quarter of 2011.

2011-09-09 Chart of the Week - Can Russia Stay #1? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Siberias western oil fields have been a mainstay of Russias economic growth for decades, but the worlds largest producer of oil is now looking elsewhere in its country to replenish its stagnating supplies. Western Siberias oil fields have proven to be fertile hunting grounds for Russian oil companies, producing nearly 70 percent of the countrys exported oil. But most of W. Siberia's oil fields are considered brownfieldsregions where roughly 75 percent of fields have been exploited. The firm says oil and gas firms must now consider the big picture to maintain growth of their resources.

2011-09-09 Fast and Furious in India by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

Indian social activist Anna Hazare recently generated bipartisan debate, waging a 12-day hunger strike to pressure the government to pass stringent anti-corruption laws. It ended with a government resolution to acknowledge his key demandsmost notably, the creation of an influential anti-corruption ombudsman. Mainstream political parties have also called for such an ombudsman, however, with more limited sway due to concerns that officials may not be able to function effectively if all decisions were to fall under the purview of an intermediary.

2011-09-09 Schwab Market Perspective: What's Next? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The economic debate continues between the recession and slow growth camps. We lean toward the latter but the argument may be just splitting hairs. The more important issue is what this sideways movement may mean for the market and jobs growth. There seems to be more disagreement among Fed members than we've ever publicly seen. Theyve laid out potential further stimulus but we believe their effects are likely to be limited. The European crisis continues to fester and some hard choices may need to be made sooner rather than later. Slowing European economies however, could help emerging markets.

2011-09-08 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific countries faced increasing headwinds to economic growth during August. Lukewarm growth figures in developed Western economies such as the U.S. and the European Union are troubling the growth prospects of many export-oriented markets such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Despite some support from emerging markets, export orders for Singapore and Hong Kong have slowed down substantially. In Japan the current account surplus slid, while the Singapore government revised its export growth figures down for the rest of the year.

2011-09-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging markets across Asia experienced flagging equity prices as fears of a global slowdown, triggered by the downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating and concerns over the debt crisis in Europe, gripped markets. Stock markets in some of the emerging Asian economies flirted with yearly lows. The Asian Tigers including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand reported slower growth for the second quarter ended June 2011. Even China, the worlds second largest economy, reported headwinds to growth.

2011-09-08 Emerging Europe: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic growth in the Eastern European region faltered during the 2nd quarter. With this sputtering growth, the central banks are feeling pressured to reduce borrowing costs for consumers and businesses alike. Significantly, the economic recovery in the region is currently facing its most serious threat amid the burgeoning Euro-zone debt crisis and the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. The woes of these former communist states are compounded further by the fact that most of these economies are dependent on their exports to the industrial powerhouse Germany.

2011-09-07 Keep Calm, Carry On by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

The markets overreaction has created an incredible opportunity in U.S. equities. In particular, I see value in high-dividend stocks. Many companies with strong cash flows and stellar credit ratings pay more in dividends than the yield on their bondsa situation that hasnt existed for such a large number of stocks since the 1950s. Without doubt, Europes problems indicate that further turbulence, even a retest of recent lows on the S&P 500, cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, for investors with 2- to 5-year horizons, price dips represent buying opportunities.

2011-09-06 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.

2011-09-06 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When volume is as light as it was this week, two things can happen: 1) investors return from the holiday and seek value from the exaggerated downward moves, or 2) investors who were missing in action this week jump onboard and accelerate the selling. With little data of substance to analyze, fickle investor seek new answers.

2011-09-06 Its the Jobs, Stupid! Part VI by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The zero U.S. job growth also had an impact beyond its own borders. Even though U.S. markets were closed yesterday for the Labor Day holiday, Asian and European equity markets fell sharply on growing fears that the data release signaled the beginning of a U.S. recession. (Concerns about the solvency of the European banking system were the other reason for the market setback.) The United States and the European Union each account for about one-quarter of world GDP, and emerging markets cannot maintain global growth despite their faster pace of expansion.

2011-09-03 How to Find Opportunities from Blood, Debt & Fears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the long-term investor, the risk/reward profile for owning stocks appears positively skewed. Equity investors have suffered through one of the most difficult decadesrivaling even the Great Depressionwhile bond investors have enjoyed a 30-year bull market. Long-term mean reversion is a powerful tool that investors can use to help them attain their long-term goals.

2011-09-02 If Carlsberg Did Mortgages by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The old world is drowning in debt. Governments are responding with austerity programmes and near zero interest rates but neither will work. Economic growth will be required to get the escalating debt under control, but policy makers need to dig deep into the tool box for different ideas as to how to create this growth. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we focus on one particular idea which will greatly benefit economic growth at no cost to the tax payer - reform the mortgage finance system across the world, using the model developed by the Danes over the past 200 years.

2011-09-02 The Dilemma of the Yen by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

Last month, Japan took steps to help its economy ride out the surge in the yen. What the market may be overlooking, however, is that thus far Japanese companies are managing relatively well under the new 80-yen regime. The most recent operating margins appear to be a bit higher than the historical average of 4.5%. Nobody can accurately predict where the yen will go from here, but its current strength is a double-edged sword. While it can make Japanese exports less competitive, the strong yen also boosts Japans purchasing power abroad.

2011-09-01 The Blessing of Hitting the Skids First by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe that the first country to hit bottom, the first to confess its mistakes the way Frank Blake and Howard Schultz did for their companies, and the first to cleanse the banks, corporations and households will lead to lasting prosperity long before any other country in the world does. We also believe that the investment rewards of US non-cyclical large cap common stock investing has rarely looked more attractive because of the willingness of investors to underestimate the benefit of hitting the skids before everyone else does.

2011-08-30 New-Fangled Love Songs by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Liquidity concerns may affect all European peripheral bond markets unless the European Central Bank counters the rush for the exits with an enlarged daily checkbook. In the U.S., discord between rich and poor has led to lower, not higher, Treasury yields as approaching recessionary winds force the Fed and private investors to favor bonds. We prefer investing in the cleaner dirty shirt countries of Canada, Australia, Mexico and Brazil, along with non-dollar currencies that have strong trade ties with the Asian continent.

2011-08-26 Changing Times for China's Smaller Industries by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia

Over the past three years, Chinas small and medium businessesparticularly export-oriented firmshave been through particularly choppy waters amid continued global economic weakness. However, the challenges they face today differ somewhat from those of the 2008 financial crisis. For starters, the former crisis brought about a meltdown across all China's small and medium enterprises (SMEs), regardless of their sector or business model. In todays environment, it is the SMEs with labor- and capital-intensive business models that are not faring as well.

2011-08-26 Valuation Gap Makes Gold Miners Attractive But All Miners Arent Created Equal by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Goldwatchers were reminded golds volatility works in both directions this week, with prices falling more than $100 an ounce in just one day. We forecasted the selloff last week, explaining a 10 percent correction would be a non-event. Once again the CME Group hiked the exchanges margin requirements for gold investment to shake out overleveraged speculation. This is a positive for long-term investors.

2011-08-24 Clearing Up Corporate Vs. Credit Bonds by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

I often hear the terms corporate and credit used interchangeably to describe a certain segment of the bond market. However, they refer to two different types of bonds. When you buy a stock, youre buying an ownership stake in a corporation. Many of these corporations, regardless of where they are headquartered, issue debt in US dollars, and this debt is categorized as corporate. Easy enough. Where it gets tricky is that there are a number of other types of entities that also issue USD denominated debt. The term credit captures these other issuers, along with the debt of corporations.

2011-08-24 Much Ado About Debt: Dollar vs. Euro by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

A key reason for recent market turmoil may be the long overdue untangling of important debt-driven interdependencies between the U.S. and Europe. Not only has the Feds ultra-low monetary policy taken away any incentive to engage in meaningful reform in the U.S., but the easy money also spilled far beyond U.S. shores, providing European banks with hundreds of billions of reasons not to shore up their capital bases. With volatility riding high, investors appear to be chasing emotions rather than facts.

2011-08-23 A Fundamental Investment Strategy for Today\'s Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)

We spoke with Tim Hartch and Michael Keller, who are co-managers of the Morningstar 5-star BBH Core Select Fund (BBTEX) from Brown Brothers Harriman. The fund's strategy is strictly bottom-up, with investments in established, cash-generative businesses that are leading providers of essential products and services with strong management teams and loyal customers.

2011-08-23 Chinas New Currency Policy by Martin Feldstein of Project Syndicate

Chinas government may be about to let the renminbi-dollar exchange rate rise more rapidly in the coming months than it did during the past year. The exchange rate was frozen during the financial crisis, but has been allowed to increase since the summer of 2010. The dollar is likely to continue falling relative to the euro and other currencies over the next several years. As a result, the Chinese will be able to allow the renminbi to rise substantially against the dollar if they want to raise its overall global value in order to decrease Chinas portfolio risk and rein in inflationary pressure.

2011-08-22 The Neverending Story of a by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold continued to make headlines last week, reaching nearly $1,900 an ounce on Friday before resting around the $1,850 level. Golds 15 percent rise to new nominal highs over the past month has rekindled gold bubble talk from many pundits. Long-term gold bulls have been forced to listen to these naysayers since gold reached $500 an ounce. If you would have joined their groupthink then, you wouldve missed golds roughly 270 percent rise since. That said, gold is due for a correction.

2011-08-19 The Slow Build-Out of True Democracy by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

Long-term investors should care about not only the growth of Asian economies, but also the development of these societies as stability and transparency are generally rewarded with higher valuations. Implementing the rules of a democracy can happen with the stroke of a pen, but growing a true culture of democracy takes time. For Asian nations to find long-term stability, and capitalize on the regions impressive economic development to date, requires a focus on building out their soft infrastructure.

2011-08-19 Who Will Take Over China's Role as the World's Factory Floor? by John Scott of Saturna Capital

As China moves up through the economic chain by outsourcing many of its low-cost, low-value-added consumer goods to places like Vietnam and Indonesia and begins producing more value-added products, it is highly likely that prices of these intermediate consumer goods will fall. We anticipate that the price levels of basic consumer goods in the West will likely rise in the future, but they will be offset by a decline in the price levels of mid-tier consumer goods. This will benefit the middle and upper-middle income segments of our population at the expense of low-income households.

2011-08-19 Emotion in Motion by Rob Isbitts of Carson Wealth Management Group

We don't normally feel compelled to discuss short-term market activity. However, once in a while a month comes along that is very different from most other months. This is one of those months. With the S&P 500 down over 12% for the month of August (as of 2:30PM on Friday, 8/19/11), and Europe's economic and banking system woes weighing on the markets again, here are our current thoughts on global markets and our current positioning.

2011-08-19 The Silver Lining for Markets and the U.S. Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There is a silver lining: Despite all the negative news out there, the global economy will continue to grow. In fact, the U.S. economy has had several positive developments recently. The four-week average for unemployment claims dropped to 402,000 during the week ending August 13. There is still a large chunk of America unable to find a job, but that group has shrunk 13 percent since August 2010 and is about 40 percent of peak 2009 levels.

2011-08-18 The GDP Growth Downgrade by Team of American Century Investments

While much of the nation focused on events leading up to the credit rating downgrade for the U.S. by Standard & Poors last week, this was preceded by another downgrade to the estimates of our recent, past gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which was announced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Friday, July 27. While garnering much less attention, this revision has some serious implications for our economic outlook at least through the end of this year.

2011-08-17 Readers Questions Answered Part VII by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Many of you may be particularly concerned about the developments related to debt in the eurozone and theU.S.over the last few weeks. Id like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on these events and respond to a couple of reader questions. To me, the European debt situation does not seem as serious as the U.S. debt crisis, both in terms of scale and the possible impact on the global economy. As such, I believe the worlds focus should really be on the U.S. debt crisis. We also have to remember that the tolerance for debt is generally affected by investor confidence levels.

2011-08-15 Emerging Europe: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has sounded a cautionary note for the east European region after a new $229 billion aid package for Greece by the Euro-zone leaders was awarded in July. The bank, which was established to help the former communist states in their transition to market economies, said Eastern Europe and central Asia are at serious risk from the Euro-zone debt crisis, according to a news report published by Bloomberg. Still, the EBRD upped its economic forecast for the current year for the countries where it has investments.

2011-08-15 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

China, India, Taiwan and Philippines and other Asian economies seeing inflation accelerate to new highs in June. In most of these countries higher fuel costs and food prices were the primary culprits. While large economies such as India and China hiked interest rates aggressively, many countries increased bank reserve ratios to drain excess liquidity and rein in credit growth. The lone exception to the inflation-ridden scenario in Asia was Indonesia. Indonesia has successfully navigated inflationary pressures by allowing its domestic currency to strengthen strongly.

2011-08-15 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Reconstruction spending in some key countries in the region, like Japan and New Zealand, also played a key role in improving labor markets. In Australia, however, labor markets turned sour as job losses inched up during the quarter. Inflationary pressures have become acute in Singapore and Hong Kong mainly due to labor shortage and a relentless rise in property prices. Economies that depend on China for their export industries are worried about a weakening in the Chinese economy in the quarters ahead.

2011-08-15 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Inflation has been the highest in the MENA regions due to capacity constraints and food prices. While rising costs of food and oil have increased inflationary pressures in South Africa, Israels inflation rate has breached the target range set by its central bank. In addition, South Africa is witnessing strained consumer demand, while growing economic disparity despite lower unemployment rates has triggered social unrest in Israel. Jordan is also battling pricing pressures and is looking to bridge its wide funding gap by raising capital with the issuance of its first Islamic debt instrument.

2011-08-15 Panic Is Not a Strategy - Nor Is Greed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Originally published in 2008, it's time for a refresher about the perils of panic. Asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing are as close to a "free lunch" as you can get as an investor. ThIn world where time horizons have shrunk precipitously, think longer-term.

2011-08-15 Return to Recession.or Recovery? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Soft economic data has caused talk of a return to recession to grow, leading to a return to the risk-off trade and a spike in volatility. We believe these fears and the market reaction are overdone and indicators still point to growth, but risks are high. The chorus calling for a new quantitative easing (QE3) program from the Fed has grown. We believe it's unlikely at this point. The European debt crisis continues to damage investor confidence as policymakers appear to be consistently behind the curve. Meanwhile, the economic slowdown could ultimately help emerging markets.

2011-08-15 Is Capitalism Doomed? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial and economic crisis caused by too much private-sector debt and leverage led to a massive re-leveraging of the public sector in order to prevent Great Depression 2.0. But the subsequent recovery has been anemic and sub-par in most advanced economies given painful deleveraging.

2011-08-12 Another Look at China's Property Market and Financial System by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

There continues to be much debate over whether Chinas growth is balanced and sustainable, and many observers will demand you side with one camp or the other: extremely bullish or bearish. This month, Chief Investment Officer Robert Horrocks, PhD, takes a more nuanced view in examining the drivers behind Chinas real estate market and evolving financial system.

2011-08-12 Buy, Sell or Hold? Relax and Don't Panic by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There was more blood in the streets Monday as the world continued to digest S&Ps downgrade of US debt, the two-week market selloff, and the likelihood the US economy could possibly slide back into recession. These concerns, combined with continued political/economic struggles in the eurozone from socialist policies, have created a potent concoction of fear across global markets and sent volatility skyrocketing Monday to its highest level since the May 2010 Flash Crash. While many investors are running for the exits, others have chosen to ride the wave of volatility or buy depressed shares.

2011-08-11 Indians Celebrate Holiday with Offerings of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

No country in the world has a richer history with gold than India. One of golds strongest cultural bonds is with the holy Hindi month of Shraavan. The Varalakshmi Vratham, the festival of offering prayers to the symbol of prosperity and wealth, is said to be incomplete without a touch of gold. Many thought consumers would be priced out from participating this year, but the World Gold Council (WGC) has teamed up with local jewelers in India to offer discounts and small installment plans to those seeking to include gold in their puja.

2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

​Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.

2011-08-11 Saying No to Keynes and Fiscal Folly by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

​Taxpayers have been hoodwinked into believing the cost from profligate government spending is low relative to the benefits. The Keynesian revolution ignited a decades-long abuse of the core principle of Keynesian economics: for government to increase spending when private sector aggregate demand weakens and stymies job growth. The central banker is left to shoulder the burden, seeking all the while to pressure the fiscal authority to amend the abuse of Keynesian economics and decades of fiscal folly.

2011-08-10 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.

2011-08-10 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

2011-08-09 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 finite resources and exponential population growth had finally 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 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.

2011-07-22 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 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.

2011-07-21 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey & David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles

We are experiencing a case of déjà 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 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 Essential Summer Reading - Desperate Households and More by Michael Shamosh (Article)

Summer reruns don't have to be boring and predictable. If we use a little imagination, televised repeats can depict the problems facing our economy and markets, and the storylines can become tantalizingly uncertain.

2011-07-05 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

2011-06-24 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 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.

2011-06-23 Greek Drama and the Eurozone's Future: Wharton's Franklin Allen Weighs In by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

After a week of political drama within his Socialist Pasok party and a new wave of violent riots in the streets, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a vote of confidence, helping to pave the way for his plans to unleash further austerity measures to keep the country afloat. It has been just over a year since he shepherded in a multibillion-euro rescue package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which commits Greece to several more years of drastic budget cuts and will save it from defaulting on its staggering debt.

2011-06-22 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 The Consequences of Policy Failure by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Investment performance for the rest of the year will be determined by the macro-economic views of investment managers. While microeconomic factors are always extremely important in charting investment strategies, they are particularly important today as the U.S. and global economies continue to fight their way through the detritus of the global debt crisis. A compelling case can be made for weaker 2Q112 growth based on a combination of factors.

2011-06-14 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 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 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 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 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 New Challenges for the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The multi-billion dollar endowments of elite institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are supposed to never be strapped for cash, but that's not how things played out during the financial crisis, when all those schools and many others were forced to raise liquidity under adverse market conditions. The endowment model, despite those failures, is still basically sound, according to Luis Viceira, but it needs several key improvements before institutions and individuals can rely on it.

2011-06-07 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.

2011-06-07 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold (Video) 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 video of the interview.

2011-06-03 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

2011-05-17 Pippa Malmgren on Inflation and its Geopolitical Impact by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Cold War may have been over for a quarter century, but the inflation-driven challenges that characterized that historical era are heating back up. Today, global volatility is back, according to Pippa Malmgren, who says that commodity-driven inflation will lead to political instability in emerging markets.

2011-05-17 The Smooth Illusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In retrospect, the Federal Reserve's interminable zero-interest policy and its quantitative easing programs are likely to be seen not only as ineffective but damaging to the prospects for sustainable long-term economic growth. A number of asset classes are beginning to exhibit bubble-like behavior, something that would be far less likely to occur were interest rates normalized.

2011-05-13 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Why Demographics will Drive Global Growth by Sam Parl (Article)

When economic pundits trade heated predictions about the massive economic shifts we see internationally, it is easy to forget the subtleties that shade their forecasts. One such shadow overhanging any intelligent debate about our global economic future is global age demographics, according to Harvard Professor Richard Cooper.

2011-04-26 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

2011-04-12 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)

"The budget crisis is a crisis of leadership," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest issue of the HCM Market letter. "There is no intellectual mystery involved in cutting the budget - entitlement spending must be reduced through the adoption of tighter eligibility standards... The markets will also have to evaluate whether Congress and the Obama administration can make any meaningful progress on budget reform, which will mean tackling the entitlement issue. The failure to rein in federal deficits remains a profound threat to the dollar and interest rates."

2011-04-11 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 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 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 Inflation Worries? Commodities May Help by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Many of you may remember the movie This 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 ?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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Margin Shrinkage - It Can Happen to You by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

Profit margins are a tick away from all-time highs and are creating the impression of cheap equity valuations. But that impression is a mirage, because today's generous margins are destined to shrink.

2011-03-15 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Ed Hyman: The Key Threat to Economy Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Hyman is not worried about China, quantitative easing or fiscal deficits. Equity market performance this year will be strong, he predicts, and the US economic recovery will proceed. But there is a caveat in his outlook ? and it is an immense one.

2011-03-08 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Journey to the Center of the Average by Mariko Gordon (Article)

Averages, while comforting in their simplicity, often do more to hide the truth than reveal it. This article is inspired by a recent conversation with author and statistician extraordinaire, Kaiser Fung, who shares my suspicion of this often-abused mathematical construct.

2011-02-15 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 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 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 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 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 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 o