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Reuters blog archive

from Lipper Columns:

CTRL:ALT:INVEST: Managed futures could hedge volatility

Salient Partners' Lee Partridge says managed futures, which seek low correlation to stock and bond markets, are shifting out of long equity positions and interest-rate sensitive bonds.

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from Lipper Columns:

CTRL:ALT:INVEST: Are Diamonds an Investor’s Best Friend?

Volatility in the stock market may increase appetite for diamonds as an investment and as a collectible, but Rapaport Group's Martin Rapaport warns returns can still be choppy.

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from India Insight:

Metal stocks top underperformers in 2013; outlook mixed

Shares of Indian metal companies are going through a rough patch in 2013 as a slowing economy at home coupled with rising input costs and weakness in Europe hurts demand.

Indian shares have had a mixed year so far, but the BSE metals index, which is a barometer of metal companies’ performance in India, has been the worst performer among sectors, data shows.

from Global Investing:

South African rand slides as labour unrest grows

The South African rand has lost most ground amongst emerging market currencies, according to Reuters data, falling almost 10 percent so far this year to hit 4-year lows against the dollar.

That is perhaps not so surprising given the country's high level of dependence on the minerals and mining sectors, which have been disrupted by labour strikes along the same lines evident in the summer of 2012. Lonmin, the world's third largest producer of metal, said it stopped its production of its Marikana mine near Rustenburg following strikes over wages.

from Global Investing:

Weekly Radar: Draghi returns to London

ECB chief Mario Draghi returns to London next week almost 10 months on from his seminal “whatever it takes” speech to the global financial community in The City  – a speech that not only drew a line under the euro financial crisis by flagging the ECB’s sovereign debt backstop OMT but one that framed the determination of the G4 central banks at large to reflate their economies via extraordinary monetary easing. Since then we’ve seen the Fed effectively commit to buying an addition trillion dollars of bonds this year to get the U.S. jobless rate down toward 6.5%, followed by the ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics of the new Japanese government and Bank of Japan to end decades.

And as Draghi returns 10 months on, there's little doubt that he and his U.S. and Japanese peers have succeeded in convincing financial investors of central bank doggedness at least. Don't fight the Fed and all that - or more pertinently, Don't fight the Fed/BoJ/ECB/BoE/SNB etc... G4 stock markets are surging ever higher through the Spring of 2013 even as global economic data bumbles along disappointingly through its by now annual ‘soft patch’.  Looking at the number tallies, total returns for Spanish and Greek equities and euro zone bank stocks are up between 40 and 50% since Draghi's showstopper last July . Italian, French and German equities and Spanish and Irish 10-year government bonds have all returned about 30% or more. And you can add 7% on to all that if you happened to be a Boston-based investor due to a windfall from the net jump in the euro/dollar exchange rate. What’s more all of those have outperformed the 25% gains in Wall St’s S&P 500 since then, even though the latter is powering to uncharted record highs. And of course all pale in comparison with the eye-popping 75% rise in Japan’s Nikkei 225 in just six months!! Gold, metals and oil are all net losers and this is significant in a money-printing story where no one seems to see higher inflation anymore.

from Global Investing:

There’s cash in that trash

There's cash in that trash.

Analysts at Bank of America/Merrill Lynch are expounding opportunities to profit from the burgeoning waste disposal industry, which it estimates at $1 trillion at present but says could double within the next decade. They have compiled a list of more than 80 companies which may benefit most from the push for recycling waste, generating energy from biomass and building facilities to process or reduce waste. It's an industry that is likely to grow exponentially as incomes rise, especially in emerging economies, BofA/ML says in a note:

We believe that the global dynamics of waste volumes mean that waste management offers numerous opportunities for those with exposure to the value chain. We see opportunities across waste management, industrial treatment, waste-to-energy, wastewater & sewage,...recycling, and sustainable packaging among other areas.

from Global Investing:

African growth if China slows

The  apparent turnaround in Africa's fortunes over the past decade has been attributed to the rise of China and its insatiable appetite for African commodities. So African policymakers, like those everywhere, will have been relieved by the recent uptick in Chinese economic data.

But is Africa's dependence on China exaggerated?  A hard landing in the Asian giant will be an undoubted setback for African finances but according to Fitch Ratings.  it may not be a disaster.

from Money on the markets:

Metal stocks post decent gains

The BSE Metals index gained 1.9 percent on Thursday, with stocks like Hindalco and JSW Steel posting top gains.

Hindalco shares closed 4.8 percent higher at 222.35 rupees, JSW Steel gained 3.5 percent. Jindal Steel and Power ended down 1.8 percent as the top sectoral loser.

from Money on the markets:

Weak day for metal stocks

The BSE Metals index ended down more than 2 perncent on Wednesday with stocks like Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa slipping more than 3 percent. Tata Steel fell 2.7 percent.

Such stocks declined as base metals prices fell in London and Shanghai following a sell-off in the international market on Tuesday after China's first rate rise since 2007.

from Andrew Marshall:

Problems in Papua: New ICG report

INDONESIA

International Crisis Group has a new report in the deepening impasse in Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua, which makes up one half of the vast island of New Guinea. Local anger about inward migration is mounting, and there is a risk of a rekindling of separatist violence.

Papua is rich in natural resources  - it is home to the Grasberg Mine, the world's largest gold mine and third-largest copper mine, operated by Freeport-McMoran Inc.

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