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Overseas Investing: Going Against the Mainstream
TOO OFTEN, INVESTORS SIMPLY CHOOSE TO follow the crowd. This strategy works in the short term, but can lead to difficulty in the longer haul. It also prevents investors from finding the great opportunities that experts have missed.
Most of the time, when the market is rising merrily, following the crowd can be profitable, even if gains are only average. For those who are less adept at making market decisions, following the right crowd may even demonstrate wisdom. But eventually, one's lack of independence takes dominance. The real problem arises at the turning points. When the market has been moving up, and suddenly takes a major downward shift, investors must be able to think for themselves and adapt. Those who cannot are left holding the bag. Just as important is the ability to recognize an upturn when everyone else believes there is no hope. Last April, those who stayed on the sidelines missed great opportunities. Luckily, our readers were able to achieve excellent gains. Of course, no one can perfectly time the market, but it is helpful to recognize when turns are possible, or even likely.
Similarly, when picking stocks, it is important to see past the opinions of "experts" and recognize real value. In recent years, "Wall Street" has become more of a marketing machine than a center for careful analysis.
Over time, we can learn who the few viable analysts are, but in the meantime, most of us are almost better off ignoring the salesmen in the media.
Let's look at how following the crowd works. Quite recently, an election surprise in India led to a market crash. The crowds who couldn't understand the results exited India's markets in droves, driving them down significantly.
This is a clear opportunity for investors. India has tremendous potential. Yet, those who simply follow, without looking beyond the immediate news, will miss that reality. Our analysis of India's politics is that everyone is now on board for free markets. There is no longer a great impetus for socialism. Therefore, a victory by the Congress Party doesn't foretell an effort to disrupt the strong economy. It merely indicates that many are satisfied with life, but probably more secular than the previous ruling party. The reaction by investors here is confused. Clearly, the fact that the Communist Party's support for the new government may cause some concern, but the leading parties in the new government have long-since abandoned any socialist leanings. Among the first meetings after the new election was a summit where it was decided that Congress would continue on the path, despite objections from the left. No party that wishes to be re-elected will discard a successful economic strategy. Thus, we strongly believe that the success of the Indian economy is safe.
Investing in India is still not easy. A limited number of shares of Indian companies are available on U.S. exchanges, each carrying relatively high P/E's. Countless smaller companies, likely with better prospects are available on local exchanges, but purchasing those is costly for the small investor; we must look for more practical ways to approach these markets. One useful method is to invest through diversified closed end funds selling at discounts, such as the Morgan Stanley India Investment Fund (IIF). These fund managers have better access to local research and markets, and have people on the ground to evaluate the situation on a daily basis. A similar method is to buy Exchange Traded Funds (ETF's), which may be available for some nations or regions.
At the same time India's market fell, the Brazilian market took a heavy hit. While we are still optimistic about the Brazilian economy, we believe the risk factors there may be stronger. Firstly, the leader of the government is unabashedly socialist, despite the fact that they have recognized the importance of foregoing socialism to keep the economy strong. However, once the economy strengthens, it remains unknown if Lula da Silva will pursue foolhardy anti-economic policies. Secondly, there is some uncertainty regarding Argentina's ability to maintain stability, and another collapse in Argentina would again draw Brazil into the slump. Thus, while we are willing to invest small amounts in Brazil, we feel the situation in India is more secure, and better prepared for long-term growth.
Diversification is, as always, a good strategy to help protect against uncertainty. Being diversified across countries is also wise, even though international diversification has lost some of its impact in these days of globalization. Still, if some money is placed in markets that are less dependent on our own, we stand a better chance of being protected in times of U.S. weakness.
"The crowd" seems to feel more comfortable investing "at home" regardless of where the real opportunities are, and where the risks may be. Instead, we should look worldwide, seeking to reduce risk and increase returns. If, for example, it is momentarily safer to invest in Australia than in the U.S., that's where we should put our dollars. The U.S. remains attractive at amount of investment dollars in that large powerhouse economy, but are less excited about 2005 there.
Keep investing, and keep alert. In times like these, changes may take place more unexpectedly than normal, but we can adapt if we remain vigilant and avoid following the crowd.
To send comments or to learn more about Scott Pearson's Investment Management services, visit http://www.valueview.net
Scott Pearson is an investment advisor, writer, editor, instructor, and business leader. As President and Chief Investment Officer of Value View Financial Corp., he offers investment management services to a wide variety of clients. His own newsletter, Investor's Value View, is distributed worldwide and provides general money tips and investment advice to readers both internationally, and in the U.S.
Your Trading Objective: Why is that so Important?
You've decided to try your luck at trading stocks or commodities, but so called experts tell you that you need to determine your trading objective. What exactly does that mean and why is it so important? Well, it's really a question of your trading philosophy. A trading objective basically identifies the horizon on which you've chosen to trade. For instance, a day trader will have totally different set of objectives and goals than will a long term investor. They look at the market through different sets of glasses and it can be very dangerous to your trading account to try to mix and match trading styles.
Take The Time
You must take the time once a month to review your investment portfolio. It won't take long - less than one hour, maybe 15 minutes.
Just about everything you have been told about Social Security is an obfuscation. That is a big word for convoluted truth or lie.
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When an individual investor wants to roll up his sleeves and do some research in the pursuit of the next big winner in the stock market, the place many start is in the small cap sector.
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I cringe every time I hear a novice investor tell me that they only purchase low priced stocks because they offer higher potential gains. A common phase I hear is "I like to buy $1 and $2 stocks because they can double easily and I will make a 100% profit".
Stock Options Trading Strategies - Lean
Professional stock options traders use the term lean to refer to one's perception about the directional strength of the stock. When you own a stock option and intend to hold it for a period of time, you are aware that you will probably be holding it while it goes up and while it goes down.
How To Pick A Mutual Fund
Mutual funds by definition are a mixed bag of stocks, bonds and a little cash. Their price per share is the NAV, Net Asset Value of the total amount of money in the mutual fund divided by the number of shares. They seek to be fully invested at all times.
3 Components Needed for Beating the Market
Time to look back
Forces that Move Stock Prices
Among the largest forces that affect stock prices are inflation, interest rates, bonds, commodities and currencies. At times the stock market suddenly reverses itself followed typically by published explanations phrased to suggest that the writer's keen observation allowed him to predict the market turn. Such circumstances leave investors somewhat awed and amazed at the infinite amount of continuing factual input and infallible interpretation needed to avoid going against the market. While there are continuing sources of input that one needs in order to invest successfully in the stock market, they are finite. If you contact me at my web site, I'll be glad to share some with you. What is more important though is to have a robust model for interpreting any new information that comes along. The model should take into account human nature, as well as, major market forces. The following is a personal working cyclical model that is neither perfect nor comprehensive. It is simply a lens through which sector rotation, industry behavior and changing market sentiment can be viewed.
Caught in a whirlpool and being sucked under. No life vest or other device to save you. Gurgle, gurgle. Down you go.
Which Way The Market
I am hearing predictions by brokers, financial planners, talk show hosts and the talking heads on TV that the market is going back to its old highs - DOW 11,700 and NASDAQ 5000 here we come.
The Next Bull Market
We are already in it, but you can't see it. It doesn't look like the one we had in '99. Like the magician who has you watching what he wants you to and with the other hand he is doing something else that is what is happening in the stock market today. The magician is the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq or the S&P500 Index. These have John Q. Public mesmerized.
Oil Stocks As A Long Term Investment
The demand for world oil is increasing while world reserves are decreasing. This is a known fact. The current price of oil can certainly confirm this statement. Consensus also agrees that we will never see $25.00 oil again. The logical conclusion to our above statement is oil stocks should be a good long term investment. However, the location of the oil companies' reserves can affect their bottom line and valuation.
Option Trading Basics
Options trading can increase the profits you make when trading Stocks if you understand how to use them and know what you are doing. Options can be a very useful tool that the average investor can use to enhance their returns.
Successful Trading ? Taking Profits - Part 1
So you're started trading, you bought some positions with your online broker, you've set some reasonable stop-losses to protect your account and all of a sudden one of your positions move strongly in your favor ? so what do you do now? This my friend, is probably the hardest situation to deal with in trading the market ? believe it or not.
Historical Briefing: Stocks, Finance and Money
The World Bank claims that some two billion of the world's citizens live on $1 per day or less! That fact absolutely shocked me. With this statistic in mind it becomes important to focus on all of the things that have served as money over the history of civilization. Aztecs used Cocoa beans, Norwegians used Butter and dried cod, many Indian tribes used animal skins and some of the early colonists used grains. It's worth thinking about this the next time you pick up your paycheck. The word "salary" is derived from the word SALT, which is what was the key currency of the North Africans for hundreds of years. SALT was a key commodity substance used for preserving food.
If you have been watching the stock market at all you are probably very confused. You are not alone. One day is a hundred points up for the DOW and the next a hundred down. What is going on? There are many stocks that are going up and unless you are in the right ones you will be left behind.
What the Hell is a Stock option?
A 'stock option' is a contract between two parties giving the buyer (also known as the 'taker') the right, but not the obligation, to either buy or sell a specific quantity of shares at a pre-agreed price (known as the 'strike price' or 'exercise price') by a certain future 'expiry' date. There are two different types of options that can be traded, known as 'call options' and 'put options'.
Play another Day
Money management starts with protecting your capital, realizing profits and cutting losses. As I have stated in the past, without cash, you can't invest. Cash is king and learning to manage your money is the most important aspect to investing in stocks. The game is won by lowering your risk by properly turning the numbers in your favor. Cutting losses is the best insurance to keeping your cash.
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When it comes to stock market trading it PAYS to have more knowledge than the rest of the pack. Pure gold can be harvested in each profitable trade that you accomplish.
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