Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good Value Abounds

Gary Motel of Templeton Global Equity Group notes that,in the U.S.,stimulus hasn't kicked in yet,but it has overseas,particularly in China.We're finding good value in virtually every country right now,he said.The tech group has underperformed the market for 10 years,so Taiwan Semiconductor is attractive.Telecom stocks such as Telefonica still offer good value on a total return basis.In the health sector,Novartis exhibits good breadth of business and emerging market exposure,as well as potential valuation gains.Mr.Motel is looking for global growth for the next 3-5 years,but not to an outrageous extent.In recent days,fears that the Chinese markets may be overheating have been expressed by several analysts,however,as they look beyond the stimulus era.

Nature Note:Field Crickets

The field crickets are already chirping on the adjacent farm.Around the home,however,they are still silent.They do seem late this year.It's almost August,and the close-in crickets are songless.The unusually cool summer,plus a long dry spell,may have stunted them for a while.The past week has felt more like a traditional July week,with its heat and dampness.All it needs is the late summer song of this musical insect.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Insurers Looking Abroad

A majority of insurers are planning to concentrate their growth overseas in the next three years.In a survey conducted by Accenture,62% of the 100 firms surveyed said they planned to grow abroad over the next year.Brazil,Russia,India and China are their main prospects.
Insurers from North America were more likely to expand overseas than those from other regions.While property and casualty insurers are more interested in Western Europe,life insurers are focused on emerging markets such as South Korea,India and China,the Accenture survey found.

Nature Note:Overhang

One of the Asian pear trees is growing over the garage roof.I've been considering having it cut back-or even cut down.The wood isn't especially heavy,yet could still do some damage to the roof and shingles in severe weather.On the other hand,it certainly shades the home in summer,keeping cooling costs down.I have pruned this tree for a number of years,but it has resisted my efforts,finally overwhelming them.It has been a nest tree for robins and northern cardinals,and possibly many others.Cedar waxwings and others have eaten its small fruit in winter.A spruce or fir would be a possible replacement.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WTO Director Sees Progress

Pascal Lami,Director of the World Trade Organization,noted progress at the G8 summit in Italy last week:1.solid impetus,solid commitment to push back protectionist tendencies;2.commitment to finish the Doha round of negotiations;3.commitment to keep pushing on open trade,which is what developing nations need.As compared to last year,the U.S. and India have expressed the political will together.There remains a bit of compromising to be done,but their commitment to Doha 2010 is something new,Mr.Lami observed.
The G20 group of developed and key developing nations are to meet in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania in September.The G8 summit may be considered to have been preparation for what many believe to be the more significant meeting.

Nature Note:More Fine Days

The spectacular July weather has persisted in the Mid-Atlantic region.You would think you are in Arizona,with the low humidity.The early stages of drought are beginning to be evident.Dry leaves are starting to fall from the trees.Mowers are getting a welcome break.Weeders aren't,as garlic mustard continues to poke up everywhere.As the ground dries out,it becomes increasingly difficult to pull weeds.You can feel the hardness of the drying land on the soles of your feet.Eventually,the land will get so hard,it hurts to walk on it.Humidity is supposed to return to the region by tomorrow,but the thunderstorms it brings often do not yield enough rain to reverse the dessication.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

India's New Spending

The government of India will be adding new fiscal stimulus,increasing the deficit to 6.8% of Gross Domestic Product.Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said total spending will go up by 36% to 10.3 trillion rupees,or 214 billion dollars.Infrastructure spending will rise to 9% of GDP by 2014.The tax code will be simplified;credit provided to struggling exporters;and defense spending increased.Stocks fell on the news,with the Sensex index dropping 5.8% as investors doubted the wisdom of inflating the national debt.In the U.S.,some economists are calling for a second stimulus package,while France and Germany are worried about further deficit spending.

Nature Note:Mosquitoes Return

Ferocious mosquitoes have emerged in recent days,reviving memories of last summer as they bit growers going about their tasks,or resting on their decks and porches.Even if there isn't visible standing water,the parasites are attacking us,biting hands and arms.The humidity has been low in the Mid-Atlantic region,so it is hardly a tropical paradise for the insects.Temperatures have been below normal as well.Indeed,June 2009 was nine degrees Fahrenheit cooler than last June.The weekend will bring more normal conditions,only to return to pleasant weather in the early part of next week.The general reaction to this unusual gift has been one of astonishment.The air conditioners have been rested for entire days, or at least part of the day-unheard of in July.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Editor Picks China

Paul Goodwin,editor of the Cabot China and Emerging Markets Report,says China is going to be doing a lot of leading.They need to keep their populace happy.They need to create 20 million jobs a year.Their stimulus has been much more effective than the United States'.
As soon as any export growth occurs,China is gonna go through the roof,Mr.Goodwin believes.We are putting money into China;we're stock pickers in China.China right now is producing the charts we like to see,Mr.Goodwin added.

Nature Note:Out of Bounds

The tomatoes have outgrown their stakes.They are spreading all over the garden.It seems best to let them do what they want.All of the plants have green or ripening fruit.Few of the seeds that were planted have germinated,however.There is just too much shade on the property for that.That is the price for having substantial trees.You're just not going to get a good result with seeds anymore,unless you start them indoors or perhaps in a flower pot somewhere.