Global Investing

Investing in active funds: what’s the point?

March 19, 2012

Active vs passive investment is a long-lasting debate: active funds will tell you they deliver alpha (extra returns), but for a fee. Passive investment simply tracks the index so it’s cheaper. The risk is you may underperform your peers.

Three snapshots for Thursday

March 15, 2012

The VIX volatility index has fallen below the average level seen during the 2003-2008 pre-crisis period.

Three snapshots for Wednesday

March 14, 2012

Most U.S. banks passed their annual stress test driving shares higher. Where does this leave their valuation? Looking at price-to-book value in aggregate (1st chart) they are only just trading above a ratio of one, looking cheap compared to a 15-year average ratio of two.  However a premium is opening up over European banks which are still trading below book value, and analyst forecasts for return on equity suggest banks are in a very different environment to the last 15-years (2nd chart)

Three snapshots for Friday

March 9, 2012

The U.S. economy probably created 210,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey. If the forecasts are accurate, the government’s jobs report on Friday would mark the first time since early 2011 that payrolls have grown by more than 200,000 for three months in a row. Refresh chart

from MacroScope:

Vultures swoop on Argentina

February 29, 2012

Holdouts against a settlement of Argentina’s defaulted debt are opening a new front in their campaign for a juicy payout more than a decade after the biggest sovereign default on record.

How Turkey cut interest rates but didn’t really

February 21, 2012

How do you cut interest rates without actually loosening monetary policy? Turkey’s central bank effectively did that today.

Emerging market local bond rally has more legs

February 17, 2012

Just a month and half into 2012, emerging local currency bonds have already returned 9 percent, one of best performing asset classes. But the rally has further to go, says J.P. Morgan which runs the most widely used emerging debt indices. The bank is now predicting its benchmark local currency debt index, the GBI-EM, to end the year with returns of 16 percent, upping its original expectation for 11.9 percent.

What to do with Belize’s superbond

February 15, 2012

This year’s renewed euphoria over emerging markets has bypassed some places. One such corner is Belize, a country sandwiched between Mexico and Guatemala, which many fear is gearing up for a debt default. There is a chance this will happen as early as next week

Currency hedging — should we bother?

February 9, 2012

Currency hedging — should we bother?

Maybe not as much as you think, if we are talking purely from a equity return point of view — according to the new research that analysed 112 years of the financial assets history released by Credit Suisse and London Business School this week.

Currency rally drives sizzling returns on emerging local debt

February 7, 2012

Emerging market bonds denominated in local currencies enjoyed a record January last month with JP Morgan’s GBI-EM Global index returning around 8 percent in dollar terms. Year-to-date, returns are over 9.5 percent.