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Did You Give Thanks this Weekend for the Fed’s Easy Money Policy?

By for Investment Contrarians | Aug 6, 2014

021213_IC_leongStock Market Crash August 2014.

Reflecting on this past Thanksgiving weekend, there was a lot to be thankful for, especially if you have been long in the stock market for the past four years. Now is a time for reflection.

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The advance in the stock market has been stellar following the bottom in March 2009. The S&P 500 is up 171% since March 6, 2009 for a four-year annualized gain of about 38%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 is at a six-year high and over in Germany, the benchmark DAX is also at a record high.

However, the records in the stock markets are falling, not just in good old America, but worldwide. Of course, there are the exceptions, such as China, which I still consider to be undervalued and worth a look for investors searching for growth in foreign stock markets. In China, you can play almost anything due to the country’s insatiable appetite for goods and services. Some of the top areas for growth in China are the technology, health care, travel, and financial services sectors.

Yet while all of the stock market records are being set, I wonder if this is simply the new reality for stocks, or are we just setting ourselves up for a massive hangover when stocks fall? stock market crash 2014.

The Russell 2000, for instance, is a play on the economy. The idea … Read More


Landmark Ruling in Mexico a Boon for These U.S. Oil Stocks?

By for Investment Contrarians | Dec 11, 2013

U.S. Oil StocksIn 1938, Mexico nationalized its oil industry, taking over all aspects from production to final distribution. This ban on ownership by foreign companies continues today; however, changes are underway.

Under the leadership of Mexico’s new president, there is a growing desire and need for the knowledge and technical skills developed by foreign companies, many of which are U.S.-based, to stem the decline in oil production and revive the industry in that country.

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I think this will be a tremendous investment opportunity for oil stocks going forward. Mexico still has a tremendous amount of energy commodities under the ground, but many need advanced technology to extract them. And U.S.-based oil stocks are among the leaders in the world when it comes to extraction technology.

By allowing foreign-based companies to help develop projects, oil stocks would profit from having access to new reserves, and Mexico would benefit from having billions of dollars in funding and access to those with top-notch technical skills.

There are several different types of oil stocks that would benefit from this investment opportunity. One company that I’ve liked for some time is Halliburton Company (NYSE/HAL), a global leader in the oilfield service industry.

While Mexico has not yet changed its legislation and we don’t know which companies will obtain these oil rights at this time, Halliburton has been extensively offering its services in Mexico for a number of years. … Read More


Oil Prices to Reach $80/Barrel?

By for Investment Contrarians | Dec 11, 2013

Oil PricesOil prices are heading higher on the chart with the cash West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rallying back toward the $100.00 level after threatening to test $90.00.

Steady economic signs in the United States, China, and Japan—the three largest economies in the world—along with some muted growth in the eurozone and Europe are adding some spark to the oil futures… But hold on; doesn’t the buying seem somewhat premature?

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I’d say so, as I believe oil prices may have limited upside unless something dramatic surfaces in the Middle East that impacts OPEC oil.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has also come out and said it would maintain its current daily production quota and not cut supply in order to add support to oil prices.

I doubt we will see $130.00-per-barrel oil prices anytime soon—unless, of course, tensions escalate in the Middle East and a war breaks out across a wider region that would impact the flow of OPEC oil. The current nuclear agreement in Iran has also added some stability to the region.

And the futures market for oil supports my view, too. A look at the oil futures actually shows expectations for oil prices should decline back towards $92.00 by the end of 2014, drop below $90.00 in 2015, and continue downward to $80.00 by 2018. The December 2022 futures contract points to $78.00-per-barrel oil.

The chart … Read More


If You Are Thinking of Investing in Emerging Markets, Here’s What You Need to Know

By for Investment Contrarians | Dec 10, 2013

Investing in Emerging MarketsOne of the hottest investment strategy themes over the past few years has been to invest in emerging markets. For years, these markets were very attractive to investors, as these economies tended to have much higher growth rates when compared to growth in the developed countries.

However, this investment strategy is now beginning to look questionable, as it appears that growth rates are much lower than many had expected.

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The latest look at emerging markets from a fundamental standpoint comes from Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever PLC (NYSE/UL).

Polman stated that he believes that economically, these markets will continue to remain quite slow for some time, as these nations now need significant structural changes following their boom years. (Source: Bloomberg, December 2, 2013.)

This type of information is certainly a negative for any long-term investment strategy in the emerging markets. Structural reforms do not happen overnight; here in America, it’s obvious how slow and difficult it is to make any real structural changes.

For many, the investment strategy in emerging markets appears enticing because it seems so exotic. But comments such as those from the CEO of Unilever should be an eye-opener to these investors. Unilever obtains most of its revenue from emerging markets, so the company can feel the pulse of what’s really happening on the ground in these markets.

Frankly speaking, this isn’t a surprise to me; in these … Read More


Why What’s Happening in the Bond Market Now Is So Important to Stock Investors

By for Investment Contrarians | Dec 10, 2013

Stock InvestorsTaper or no taper? When? How much? These are the worries that are currently driving tensions in the stock market on a daily basis. As I wrote in a previous article, no one seems to care that corporate revenue growth is muted and consumers aren’t spending.

Last week, we saw jobs market data that helps support the Federal Reserve’s reasons to begin tapering its bond buying program.

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The non-farm payrolls reported the generation of 203,000 new jobs—better than the consensus estimate of 180,000 for the month of November. This represented the second straight month that more than 200,000 jobs were created, and while the jobs market has a long way to go, this is positive news. Jobs numbers were revised upwards in September and October.

Now it may be true that the quality of jobs created could be improved upon, as much of the increase in the jobs market continues to be driven by the service sector and other lower-skilled jobs. However, the results do suggest some action may be taken by the Federal Reserve.

The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of seven percent, much better than the consensus 7.2% and October’s 7.3%. The rate appears positive on the surface.

The Federal Reserve had said it wants to see the unemployment rate fall to around 6.5% before it considers raising interest rates, but with a seven percent rate, you … Read More