Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From Downturn to Downgrade

Concerning the Euro-zone plan for debtor aid,it's surprising in terms of the scope and the coordination,in the view of Rick Reider,Chief Investment Officer of Fundamental Fixed Income at BlackRock,who helps manage more than 600 billion dollars in assets.I think it's a pretty significant move.A series of parliamentary approvals have to take place,and we're still in a slow growth European economy,so we're not out of the woods yet.
The one point with the plan is,you're dealing with liquidity,but not solvency.That's the big risk.Also,how do you recapitalise the banks?
The U.S. still has the best refuge for investors.Even if it lost one AAA rating,there's nowhere else for investors to go.If losing the rating is a warning sign,it's ultimately terrific.
The markets are anticipating a 50/50 chance of a downgrade.Companies are in great shape relative to the governments around the world.Ratings agencies need to see real reform or they will downgrade.If the deal is late or weak,downgrade can still occur,Mr.Reider explained.
Although the global markets have transitioned from the collapse of equities engendered by bad loans and obscure instruments,they now must surmount a new challenge in the form of the sovereign debt issue.This aftermath of governmental largess is a follow-on dilemma for the wealth creators and managers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This Week's Notebook:Goldman and Greece

This week I have devoted the time slot for this blog to a story about Goldman Sachs that I came upon while researching a post for this blog.The Goldman story has been published in Wall Street Workbook,which you may access from the link list in the right hand column.Still,here are some notes on the European debt crisis.
France says the Euro-zone summit today,Thursday,will send a strong message.They are still discussing the share of the private sector in the Greek rescue.
After all the talk that has already gone on,scepticism about the summit may be widespread in the community of financial observers.Will this summit really resolve the issues?It may be just another photo op and delaying tactic-so the feeling goes.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Greece recently to express support for all the Papandreou government has done to impose austerity.The situation today is much different than two years ago thanks to the new measures approved by parliament,Greece pointed out.It was indeed a strong and positive first step.Hopefully Europe will get behind Greece with any practical help it really needs now.The serious risk of contagion makes it imperative that they do so.
Update:The Euro-zone countries have agreed a 109 billion euro aid package for Greece and potentially other troubled countries.This sent stocks decidedly higher worldwide.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dubai Retail Recovers

The retail sector in Dubai is on the mend.There is growing optimism this is a solid trend as tourists and shoppers return in droves.At the iconic Mall of the Emirates,consumer traffic is up 15% on the year.
Gulf region consumers think Dubai is retail central.The consumption of luxury goods is up 3% and projected to double.The regional consumers are supplemented by a gaggle of shopping tourists from both Saudi Arabia and the Indian subcontinent.
The Mall of the Emirates has 520 stores,anchored by the hypermarket Carrefour,the incredible Ski Dubai indoor slopes,CineStar Cinemas and several others.There are eighty eateries,two hotels and 60 luxury designer stores.Child care is also available at the huge emporium.
According to noted researcher Jim Bianco,the high end is doing better than the Wal-Marts of the world.The wealthy are benefiting from the higher stock market.If stocks start to slump,all bets are off for the consumer discretionary business.
For now,though,the woes of the financial crisis are fading in the desert sun.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Investing in Emerging Markets

According to Nicholas Smithie,emerging markets strategist at UBS,the emerging markets have had a splendid decade.We know there is an overhang about sovereign debt.They are trading lower than 75% off other periods,pricing at distressed valuations.We think investors go for them for their high rate of domestic growth.
In the emerging markets,domestic consumption and infrastructure are really starting to take off in Thailand,Indonesia and the Philippines.Investor holding periods have become very short:they want all their returns all at once.Those in it for the long haul will benefit.
We think that Chinese equities have fallen to very low valuations,pricing in a hard landing.In the second half of the year,Chinese growth will come through.We'd be buying,Mr.Smithie advised.
China has just raised interest rates for the third time this year,a sign that growth is still so strong,even with the tightening measures already taken,the government is afraid of the economy overheating into more inflation.
UBS offers wealth management,asset management and investment banking globally,as well as retail banking in Switzerland.Founded in 1854,it is based in Zurich and Basel,Switzerland.UBS has offices in more than 50 countries.