Tuesday, October 21, 2008


In his award-wining book, “When Markets Collide”, incoming PIMCO CEO, Mohammed El-Erian makes the following statement: “…in contrast to past episodes of US economic slowdowns, emerging economies have two distinct secular forces going for them; and these should prove sufficient to partially offset what is likely to be a relatively prolonged period of lower import demand on the part of the Untied States. First, the internal components of aggregate demand are coming online in a gradual and robust manner, thereby offsetting the prospect of reduced exports to the Unties States. Second, these economies – and in particular the commodity exporters – are looking to a period of relatively high export unit values.”

Mr. El-Erian goes on to point out that “There is also a third factor that is more cyclical in nature. The robust nature of many of these countries’ balance sheets – historically unusual – gives them the ability to stimulate internal consumption and investment.”

Investment Strategy Implications

In the aftermath of the credit crisis, three patterns re the equity markets and economy appear to be underway:

• Sector rotation (within a bottoming process, range-bound market) producing the likely winners and losers of the emerging economic environment
• Secular trend of a slowing US (and other developed countries) growth (driven in large part by deleveraging)
• Secular trend of higher emerging economies' growth rates (an evolutionary form of decoupling)

Should the second two patterns become a reality, the first will likely show some manifestation of them, although the full effect of an emerging markets global growth driver may take some time to register with investors. What appears to be very intriguing is the prospect that US domestic growth-oriented investors will find themselves disadvantaged (from an investment performance perspective) if the global macro secular trends Mr. El-Erian and others describe do in fact occur. The logical result will be an investment situation similar to the end of the dot-com bubble phase when many value investors were forced into owning growth issues just to maintain some semblance of relative performance.

Clearly, the longer-term investment winners in the above described scenarios will be those who recognize the secular trends and act on them sooner rather than later.

Note: For those interested in learning more about one such emerging economy, Brazil, you might want to consider a program that I am affiliated with that will take place one week from today (October 28) at the Bloomberg headquarters in New York City. For more information and to register for Brazil Day 2008, click here

To register, use the following login and password:
login: vinny
password: vcatabd08

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