Barron's

Emerging Markets Haven't Hit Bottom Yet

23 January 2016
EM equities will get worse before they get better, but bonds may offer value
Emerging Markets: How Low Can They Go?

September 26, 2015

 

 

When Mark Mobius urges caution on emerging markets, you know they’re in trouble. The septuagenarian executive chairman of Franklin Templeton’s emerging-markets group has been boosting the asset class for decades, exhorting investors to pile back in after crises and meltdowns. Now, not so much. “Things have changed since the 1998, 2008, and 2011 downturns,” he says. “It would be dangerous to make an overall or categorywide judgment.”

Iran Can't Just Open the Oil Spigot

23 January 2016
Energy companies won't rush to invest billions in the Islamic Republic

July 18, 2015

The biggest ripple for investors from the landmark July 14 agreement that could free Iran from international economic sanctions in return for curtailing its nuclear program will be felt in the oil markets. They didn’t take the news well. The price of Brent crude fell 2.5%, to $57.06 a barrel, from what was already close to a four-month low, before falling a bit further later in the week.

China's Internet Stocks May Be Oversold

23 January 2016
Baidu, Tencent and others may rebound from the broader market rout

July 11, 2015 2:22 a.m. ET

Chinese Internet companies, led by search provider Baidu and wide-ranging conglomerate Tencent Holdings, held their value for nearly a month after the broader Chinese market started crumbling in late May, and with good reason. These two fast-growing giants, along with Chinese e-commerce king Alibaba Group Holding and its upstart rival JD.com, are listed on U.S. and Hong Kong exchanges. They are bought by global tech investors a world away from the mom-and-pop Chinese punters who have been borrowing money to gamble on little-known companies traded in Shanghai or Shenzhen.

 

India E-tailing Gets Big, and Burns Cash, Fast

11 June 2015
The world's sleeping digital giant is waking up. And coming soon to an IPO near you.
Flipkart, India's Amazon, is on the Move

June 12, 2015

Evolving technology promises to revolutionize the way a vast nation shops and communicates. Online merchants’ sales grow geometrically, as do their losses. Investment banks proclaim they have seen the future, and it works with eye-popping stock-market multiples. Tech investors may feel like they have seen this movie before, but the backdrop is new: India.

Rotten broadband networks and dodgy electricity have kept India, population 1.25 billion, as the world’s sleeping digital giant, despite its depth of engineering talent. A leap forward in cellular, with smartphones selling as cheap as $40 and 3G rates dropping steeply, is set to change all that. The value of goods sold online will double this year to $7 billion, and keep on multiplying to $220 billion by 2030, Goldman Sachs projected in a report last month.

Time to Buy Iran? Not Quite Yet

26 March 2015
"It's like Turkey with 9% of the world's oil," one banker raves. But investors are in no rush to Tehran.
Axis of Profit?

Iran: The Next Frontier?

Bibi Netanyahu and most of the U.S. Congress may still view Iran as an axis of evil. But a few brave analysts are starting to pitch it as something else: the next great emerging market. “Iran is the largest economy in the world by far that remains cut off from global markets,” says Charles Robertson, chief economist of Renaissance Capital, a London-based investment bank that had a good run in Russia and now wants to expand across the Middle East and Africa. “It’s like Turkey, but with 9% of the world’s oil reserves.”

Sovereign Wealth Funds are Still a $7 Trillion Gorilla

06 March 2015
Savings in places like Russia are dwindling, but the giants will thrive, barring a total oil-price collapse.
Oil Wealth Still Packs a Wallop

March 7, 2015

Sovereign wealth funds swelled to a $7 trillion investing gorilla on a rich diet of oil windfalls, so it makes sense that they would lose some punch as oil prices fall. Marc Faber, a Barron’s Roundtable member and the editor of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report newsletter, stressed at this year’s Roundtable that a tapering of sovereign-fund earnings would undermine global demand for securities in coming years.

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Where is the Emerging Market Oil Dividend?

26 February 2015
Markets of oil importers like Thailand or Turkey should be booming, only they aren't

Oil Dividend Proves Elusive for Emerging Markets

Shares of importers such as South Korea, Turkey, and Thailand haven’t enjoyed the expected boost from lower prices. What happened?.

By 

CRAIG MELLOW

Feb. 27, 2015 11:34 p.m. ET

Emerging Markets

It’s a common, and seemingly commonsensical, assumption these days that if oil-exporting emerging markets like Russia and Brazil have been hammered by sinking crude prices, oil-importing countries must be sailing. The hot performance of the two oil-buying BRICs, China and India, since the crash started last summer seems to cement the theory—except it doesn’t.

The Evil Twins of Emerging Market Debt

25 January 2015
Russia's Gazprom and Brazil's Petrobras are rattling their bond investors, but will probably pay in the end.

Emerging Markets: Sizing Up Debt’s Evil Twins — Barron’s

   By Craig Mellow (Jan. 26, 2015)

 

Petroleo Brasilieiro, better known as Petrobras, and Gazprom are terribly managed companies at the heart of the less-than-brilliantly-run economies of Brazil and Russia, respectively. Both have huge debts, which have become tougher to repay, thanks to diving energy prices and internal factors — a corruption scandal that is paralyzing Petrobras, and international sanctions that are keeping Gazprom out of bond markets.

But could either of these national champions actually default? Not likely, and that may spell opportunity for fixed-income investors who can hold their governance noses. “These credits are priced at distressed levels, while we foresee that they will repay,” says Max Wolman, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management in Scotland. “We are buying selectively.”

Bargain Hunting in Emergng Market Oil Stocks

12 December 2014
Emerging market oil shares have fallen hardest during the recent price collapse. Some could bounce back fast when crude recovers

Barron’s

 

Dec. 13, 2014

It’s a decent bet that the price of oil will rebound sooner or later from its current five-year low, and oil company stocks with it. Emerging-market petro-shares have been beaten down hardest over the past five months of crude free fall, and might be expected to bounce back accordingly — some of them anyway.

Emerging-market oil probably conjures visions of Russia and its sanctions-afflicted state behemoths Gazprom and Rosneft. But the developing world is full of big, liquid oil names, from China to Brazil. Their shares have been more volatile than those of U.S. or European peers. ExxonMobil (ticker: XOM) has lost 10% of its value since crude oil began its swoon on Sept. 1. Petrochina (PTR), China’s biggest energy company, has shed 30%.

Why Polish Stocks Can't Win

07 November 2014
Poland is an easy country to like, a hard one to make money in.

 

   (FROM BARRON'S 11/10/14)

  

Poland is an easy country for investors to like. The most populous by far of the ex-Soviet satellites, it has admirably anchored Eastern Europe's smooth transition to freedom and relative prosperity. Poland's gross domestic product has grown sixfold since 1990. Sticking to balanced budgets and conservative consumer lending, it was the only state in the European Union to avoid recession after 2008. Following a lackluster 2012-2013, growth is accelerating again to near 3% this year, positively tigerish by European standards. "Poles work hard, save a lot, and move forward cautiously but steadily," summarizes Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at Standard Bank in London.

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