11/17/2011 6:41 PM ET|
Time to buy into China and Brazil?
These 2 emerging markets have been outpacing the US market for a month -- that's a trend that could make you some money. Here's why it's almost time to buy in.
It's early. The results are open to revision and interpretation. And one month doesn't make an investable trend any more than a single swallow makes a spring.
But have you noticed? In the past month, emerging stock markets, such as China and Brazil, have outperformed the U.S. market.
And that's an absolute turnaround from results in 2010 and for most of 2011.
Does it mean that we're about to reverse the pattern that's held for more than a year and see emerging markets start to outperform developed markets? Well, sort of. The picture right now shows that the outperformance is limited to some emerging markets, and even in those markets, the outperformance is spotty.
But I think there's the beginning of a trend here that your portfolio needs to respect. And because it's so early, you need to pay attention to what kinds of stocks in these emerging markets investors are willing to buy right now.
By the numbers
Here are the data.
U.S. markets: For 2010, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 15.02%. For 2011, as of Nov. 15, the S&P 500 was up 1.65%. In the past three months, it gained 5.05%. In the past month, 2.85%.
Brazil: For 2010, the iShares MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index (EWZS) was up 7.69%. For 2011, as of Nov. 15, it was down 19.54%. In the past three months, the loss was a more modest 2.80%. In the past month, the index climbed 4.35%.
Yep. In the past month, the Brazil index beat the U.S. market. After trailing for 2010. After getting killed in 2011 to date. After trailing badly over the past three months.
China shows the same pattern -- with some important wrinkles.
In 2010, the iShares MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index (EWZS) was up 7.58%. For 2011, as of Nov. 15, it was down 11.31%. For the past three months, the loss was 5.13%. And in the past month, the index climbed 4.77%.
In other words, exactly the same pattern as Brazil -- well behind the U.S. market until the past month, and then outperformance. Significant outperformance. We're talking a 2.85% gain for the U.S. index versus 4.35% for Brazil and 4.77% for China.
Bigger is better
One interesting wrinkle is that you could have done even better investing in China recently if you'd picked a different index. If instead of the SPDR S&P China, with its 4.77% gain in the past month, you had invested in the iShares FTSE China 25 Index (FXI), you would be looking at a 9% gain in the past month. (And a much lower 0.76% loss over the past three months, too.)
What's made the big difference in the gains from the two indexes? Size, in my opinion.
The average stock in the very concentrated FTSE China 25 Index has a market capitalization ---a total market price -- of $72.6 billion, according to Morningstar. These are huge companies -- and indeed, Morningstar categorized 92.4% of the index holdings as "giant." (This isn't exactly a surprise; the mandate of the index is to invest in the 25 largest Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong.)
The average stock in the SPDR S&P China Index isn't a small cap by any means (although the index does include a 0.43% weighting of small-cap stocks and even a 0.19% weighting of microcaps). But the average holding is a smaller (if still very large) $27.7 billion. Only 61.2% of holdings qualify as giant, according to Morningstar. The index even includes an 8.2% weighting to stocks that qualify as midcap. (The index is a market-cap-weighted index of 130 stocks that trade in Hong Kong, or as U.S. listed ADRs, or are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.)
There's isn't a similar big and bigger index pair for Brazil. But comparing the gains of the iShares MSCI Brazil Index with those of the iShares MSCI Brazil Index (EWZ) makes a similar point: Size matters very much right now.
In the month ended Nov. 15, the small-cap Brazilian index (the average market cap of its holdings is $776 million) showed a 2.28% gain, compared with the 4.35% gain for the iShares MSCI Brazil index (average market cap: $21 billion). Only 22.2% of the latter index is made up of midcap companies, and a tiny 2.2% consists of small-cap stocks.
Why size matters
Why the discrepancy between big- and small-cap performance in Brazil and China as these markets show signs of moving out of the downturn that has ruled them since they peaked back in November 2010?
A couple of factors explain it, I think.
First, the early cash flow moving into Brazil and China is dominated by institutional investors who:
- Favor big stocks when they put money to work, because they want to be able to deploy substantial cash without raising the price of the stock they're buying (until they're done buying).
- Want to make sure they can get out as easily as they got in.
Think it might be easier to move in and out of Petrobras (PBR, news), with its $173 billion market cap and U.S. ADR, than Kroton Educacional (KROT11, in Brazil) with its $968 million market cap and no U.S. listing? All else being equal -- though of course, it's not when you compare an oil company with an education company -- size explains why Petrobras is up 8.9% in the past month, while Kroton Educacional is down 0.06%.
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The best advice for investing is if at all possible, just follow our honorable Congress persons as they continue to dabble in insider trading always on top of the game.
The downside of this is when they get caught it's legal, for us it's jail time. Go figure.
joe seems to forget. If I don't pay my taxes the government will take my property. I have to pay farm taxes the farmers in China don't have to pay land taxes. There was a man who has property on the George Washington Parkway, cut down his tree on his property and was arrested. If you build a house without a permit on your land the county governments will fine you and make you remove the structure. Joe doesn't understand that the money differences are government of the monetary system. 165 yuan buy 16 bags of groceries. for a person who earns 10000 yuan /month is good .Try buying groceries here for $10 / bag. Tiananmen Square, how about Kent State where the students were mowed down by the National Guard. What happened in Waco Texas with the Branch Dravidians. Joe needs to remember we don't walk on water either. The government does let coporations take advantage of the people on high prices and run away coporate profits. like Richard Nixon did in his day. Joe you will learn this if you got out of your hotel and talked to the people in China. Llook at the problems we have now. Listen to warren Buffet, the man didn't get rich by being niave.
Atroponic and str8Vision,
Congress people have made themselves superior super citizens (Kings) with special rights and privileges over all others including super citizens (Lords). I often wonder if they can read the first line of the Declaration of Independence with a strait face. This also applies to super citizens (those that can afford legal regress) and superior citizens (government employees with special rights and privileges over common citizens).
“The quotation, ‘All men are created equal’ has been called an immortal declaration and is perhaps the single phrase of the United States Revolutionary period with the greatest continuing importance. Thomas Jefferson first used the phrase in the Declaration of Independence as a rebuttal to the going political theory of the day: the Divine Right of Kings. It was thereafter quoted or incorporated into speeches by a wide array of substantial figures in American political and social life in the United States. The final form of the phrase was stylized by Benjamin Franklin.” (Wikipedia)
We are once again a country of Tory vs Whig and for good reason; special rights and privileges worthy of the Divine Right of Kings. God bless the 99ers and all the other Whig groups getting bloodied by the Tory for the principle of all men are created equal.
Is it not amazing that no matter how polarized Congress gets, there is always enough votes to pass another trade deal for the merchant class.
Mathamatics to prove the laws governing the physics of the Universe is a grand thing.
Figures in the hands and minds of financial gurus is the mark of wizardry proving nor signifying nothing.
baseballfarming.com is the game of baseball.
Keep your money north of the equator, that way it won't go south when your invest is going up.
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