If there is one thing sure to make equity investors swoon, it is the prospect of buying into a credible, long-lived secular growth story at a relatively modest valuation. Over the past three decades, Emerging Markets (EM) have proffered just such an opportunity. EM’s economic growth rates have far surpassed those of developed nations, and the valuations attached to EM stocks have often been at a discount to other markets.
However, this combination of secular growth and attractive valuations has not always paid off for investors. The MSCI Index has underperformed the U.S., Europe, and even Japan over the last ten years in local currencies. Furthermore, EPS growth for the EM Index has come in far below its economic growth rate, creating an exasperating drag on Index performance as it tries to keep up with other regions.
Compare the U.S. monetary response in early 2020 to China’s: The Fed quadrupled the M2 growth rate (from 6% to 24%) in three months, while China merely bumped M2 growth from 8% to 11%. This relative policy restraint leaves China in a better position to handle potential fallout than if it had gone “all in” like the U.S.
Investors view Emerging Markets (EM) as the best source of economic growth across global equity markets, and rightly so. Annualized EM GDP growth of 8.6% since 2001 is more than double that of the U.S. and Europe. However, investors have not captured this extraordinary advance because earnings per share for the MSCI EM Index have lagged far behind EM economic growth rates.
Chinese and Hong Kong markets are currently following the same script as seen during the SARS outbreak, but we caution against using S&P 500 performance as a guide for what is likely to happen this time around.
The recent capitulation of the Chinese domestic equity market (or A-shares) makes headlines almost every day. Different theories, circulating in both China and overseas, pop up frequently to explain the daily movement of A-shares. It seems the investment community gets excited when the Chinese market is on the decline (but not so much when the market is on the upswing); many investors are quite reactive to any negative news coming out of China.
We examine Emerging Markets from both the top-down and bottom-up perspectives as we try to identify where to move and what to expect. We check in on two successful EM thematic group ideas as well.
For more than two years we’ve discussed the supply-side risks to commodity producers stemming from capacity built during the manic “Third Act” of last decade’s Three Act Play in commodities. Commodity-oriented equities have indeed underperformed since 2011, but to date, most pundits have laid blame squarely on the demand side.
Commodity producers seem to believe that last decade’s commodity boom is set to repeat. This belief itself probably ensures that it won’t.
In mid May, 4% of assets were shifted from U.S. stocks to Emerging Market holdings, buying a package of individual Asian stocks. This same package is being used to boost exposure to 70% in early June.
A look at the perils with Chinese A Shares. Concern has been raised about China A Shares because they are seeing significant increases in their share float, due to government releasing restricted shares to the public.
Steve Leuthold revisits the 1987 stock market, and includes some excerpts of his commentary in the Green Book from the months leading up to the October crash. There are some stunning similarities to today’s market. Also, commentary on the current China stock market. Some have compared it to Japan in the late 1980s, but there are distinct differences.