Unless the European crisis is news to you, you probably know that Greece just suffered through its own Great Depression. Its economy shrank for six years in a row. Economic output fell by a quarter. The unemployment rate is 27%. And asset prices collapsed. No wonder, then, that some of the most successful investors are in Greece picking up bargains—including Dan Loeb’s Third Point, Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial, Seth Klarman’s Baupost, and John Paulson’s Paulson & Co.
Sales for the 1,000 most sought after single-malt scotches have risen around 175% since 2008. That’s based on auction figures compiled by Scottish company, Whisky Highland, which track the market. In 2013, some 20,211 bottles were sold at auction, up from 5,431 in 2010.
Bram Stoker never visited Transylvania. Instead, the Irish-born novelist relied on dusty old volumes from London’s libraries and second-hand stories from Ármin Vámbéry, a Hungarian writer and traveler with whom he was well acquainted, to inspire and inform his neck-biting masterpiece, Dracula.
Romania acceded to the European Union back in 2007… just in time for the global financial crisis to bite it in the neck. GDP growth, which at a robust 6% to 7% during the previous few years had been among the highest on the continent, promptly collapsed. The economy contracted by a whopping 6.5% in 2009 and remained in the red the following year. It’s been in a state of tentative recovery ever since.
I believe we all have a bit of the “collector” gene inside of us. We gather things throughout our lives…things capable of reminding us of a good time or a pleasant memory. It’s a way of capturing the moment to be relived at some point in the future. My Dad had the “collector” gene for sure. He collected mugs, decals, spoons, coins, stamps, Emmett Kelly paintings, Boy Scout council strip patches (CSP’s), Hummel figurines…and the list goes on.
By name, you don’t likely know Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi, “Basboosa” to his friends and family. He died of hunger. He was 26. But you’ll know of the young street vendor who set himself alight in front of the governor’s office in a small Tunisian town on December 17, 2010. That morning, police harassed the impoverished fruit seller struggling to feed his family on $140 a month.
The old notion that “when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold” is fading. U.S. businesses and consumers no longer rule the globe. And for smart investors everywhere, the message is clear: For solid profits, you must put some wealth to work in markets beyond U.S. borders.
In Chinese script, the character for crisis is actually a construct of two symbols: one for danger and the other for opportunity. The danger is what everybody sees; the opportunity is not quite as obvious, but it’s always lurking somewhere. Late last year I visited Cyprus to search through the rubble of a crisis—one of the most significant financial meltdowns in recent history.
I found Rebekah Opuni sitting on the tailgate of a truck with her younger sister. The air conditioner inside her small boutique hadn’t been installed yet and indoors without A/C isn’t always the coolest place to relax in Accra, Ghana…in midafternoon…in midsummer…just five degrees north of the equator.
The morning rush hour spreads through the central business district of Popayán, Colombia. But the rush of activity isn’t the relatively few cars and motorbikes slipping through the narrow lanes of this well-preserved colonial city. It’s the armada of street vendors for whom these lanes serve as a showroom floor.
Europe isn’t ridiculously cheap right now. But it is a heck of a lot cheaper than wading into U.S. blue chips at current levels. It is also packed full of high-quality companies with global reach…and a lot of these businesses are going at fair prices.
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 undersea, mega-thrust earthquake became the greatest ever to hit Japan. Minutes later another unforeseen event struck: a giant tsunami.
The Burmese story is pretty simple. There’s an economy of 60 million people that were shut off from the rest of the world and now the doors have opened. But what exactly will you find if you walk through them?
Today, owning productive farmland is one of the safest ways to grow or preserve your nest egg. The case for farmland has never been stronger. Increasing populations and wealth in emerging economies is the primary driver. As people in these economies become richer, they eat more food.
There’s something strange going on in Brazil. You might call it a “schizophrenic economy.” Brazil is an economy of two halves. From the outside looking in, it’s a former star player plagued by socialist leaders with no understanding of free-market principles. But from the inside looking out, it’s a booming emerging market with record low jobless numbers, a strong currency, and high interest rates to keep the economy from overheating.
It had to happen sometime. After a decade of outperforming U.S. stocks, Brazil has started lagging behind the States. Now, I have recommended Brazil a number of times in these pages. So in true IL fashion, I hopped on a flight to São Paulo to put “boots on the ground.”
Norway is uniquely placed to protect wealth. It is outside the euro zone, has low public debt, ultra-low unemployment, and a strong and stable currency. It also has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund…with a staggering $664 billion under management. Think of Norway as the Saudi Arabia of Europe.
Banksters…fat cats…one-percenters… there’s no shortage of put-downs for bankers these days. But not all bankers are evil. And not all banks are created equal. One bank that stands apart is Panama-headquartered Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior S.A.—or Bladex, as it is more commonly known.
It’s often overlooked, but dividends make up the lion’s share of stock-market returns. According to one study, dividend income made up 35% of the total returns of the S&P 500 between 1926 and 2009. There are two important reasons why this trend is set to accelerate. First, record low bond yields mean that dividend income is more sought-after than ever.
One of the best ways to create cash flow right now is through stock dividends—especially through stocks with exposure to the emerging markets. Cash flow is the amount of money your portfolio “pays you” each year. And by buying a diversified basket of dividendpaying stocks, it can be surprisingly stable.
If you want to see real economic growth, get a taxi through Hanoi at rush hour. Every day, millions of residents of the Vietnamese capital weave their way through the city on newly-bought Chinese and Japanese motorbikes and scooters. Twenty years ago, bicycles were the main form of transport.
The case for investing in Mexico has never been so compelling. And there are four important factors why. First, the Mexican government is planning to introduce important pro-market reforms under newly-elected president Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, who takes office next year. He is supported in these reforms by the opposition, center-right National Action Party.
The euro may implode at any moment. The euro zone is deep in recession. The slow-motion debt crisis there trundles on. We still don’t know what will trigger a full-scale meltdown. All we know is that there’s now a good chance it will happen.
The best time to buy stocks and other assets is when investors are running scared. I’ve been banging this drum all year—especially when it comes to Europe. I believe the crisis there is about to throw up a genuinely once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity for contrarian investors.
You won’t read about it in the mainstream media. But we are approaching what could be one of the greatest buying opportunities of a generation—in European stocks. This may sound strange at ﬁrst. Even deluded. Economies in the euro zone are tanking, along with stock-market prices.
I don’t blame the bond skeptics. When most people think of bonds, they think of Treasury bonds—those issued by the U.S. Federal government. Treasury bonds offer yields that are below the official rate of inflation.
Let me warn you up front: You probably won’t like today’s recommendation. It has nothing to do with the stock market. Today, I am going to recommend that you dip your toe into a different market—and buy bonds. I bet not one in 100 readers of this magazine gives the bond market as much attention as he gives to the stock market. And it’s fashionable these days to talk about all bonds as “bad” investments.
Your Own Home in the Sun Kit
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
June 7-9, 2012
In business, key deals are struck all the time over drinks or on the golf course. It’s no different with property transactions. Well-connected insiders can pay less… access preferential terms… and set themselves up for incredible profits…Like a 34.8% gain in 18 months… or 28.7% in less than a year…That’s how the folks we put on the inside last year are doing. This year, you could be the one getting in early with off-market deals.
It’s probably one of the last places most North Americans would think about investing, but the single best investment you make for the next decade could be to buy Africa. There are important reasons why African stocks are set to richly reward buy-and-hold-style investors. But the main reason is simply this: Africa is where the growth is. The continent’s economy has been growing at about 6% over the last decade. And it is expected to match that pace over the next several years.
Squashed into the back of a Buenos Aires taxi between the two women, I hadn’t been paying much attention. But once they mentioned MercadoLibre, it sounded like a conversation that I overheard several times during my three-week investment-scouting trip to Argentina and Uruguay.
Bull markets are all born in extreme pessimism. That means the time to invest is when the ﬂames are licking higher, not after the ﬁre trucks have arrived. And Europe is up in smoke right now…I’m not calling for the bottom in Europe stocks or for an immediate end to the debt crisis there. Plenty more can go wrong. But contrarian investors “run into burning buildings.”
The world’s consumer power base is shifting. The “rest” are playing catch-up to the “West” right before our eyes. Most investors don’t see this. They are blinded by the doom and gloom surrounding the financial crisis, the debt ceiling, and the gridlock in Washington.
Most investors don’t see fear or abject pessimism as powerful investing tools. But that’s exactly what they are. To maximize your proﬁts you must invest at rock bottom.
This kind of “mega trend” may not be winning a lot of attention in the mainstream media. But it is a critical insight for global investors. The “Age of Man” is literally changing the face of the earth. As such, it will have profound implications on every investment decision you make.
First Eagle Overseas Fund seeks long-term growth of capital by investing primarily in equities issued by non-U.S. corporations. The fund’s management’s research-driven approach seeks to minimize risk by focusing on undervalued securities.
Here’s a trend you can take to the bank: as consumers in the U.S. and Europe cut back on spending, the source of growth for companies will shift to consumers in fast-growing overseas markets.
For the first time, the planet’s population has crossed the seven billion mark. The world’s population has increased more than tenfold in the past three centuries, and it is expected to reach 10 billion in this century. To put this in perspective, human biomass is already 100 times larger than that of any other animal that has ever lived on the planet.
The day Warren Buffett became the world’s richest man for the first time, he went out and bought himself a hail-damaged Ford. Although the damage to the bodywork was mostly invisible, the dealer was offering a heavily discounted price. Buffett knew a deal when he saw one, and he snapped it up.
It’s easy to repeat Warren Buffett’s advice at dinner parties: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.” It’s harder to follow when it comes to your own portfolio.
Buy low. It’s a simple concept. But it’s downright difficult to execute.