Global Investing

Zeitgeist check

Some more bits and bobs to capture the current mood among investors:

– MSCI’s all-country world stock index has recaptured all of its 2009 losses and is now working on recouping last year’s. It is up 6 percent for this year.

– Fund researchers EPFR Global notes investors are moving at pace out of cash into emerging market equity and bond funds. In the week to May 6 a net $3.6 billion moved into various emerging stock funds. Money market (cash) funds saw outflows of $1.6 billion.

State Street says there has been a “sea change” in investor behaviour. In April cross-border flows that it tracks suggested the most risk-seeking investment regime since May 2008.  “Institutions are buying emerging markets aggressively, adding to entrenched positions in Latin America and diversifying into emerging Asia,” it says.

– It is all obvious from the front end of the financial sector’s credit default swaps, according to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Alan Ruskin. Essentially, the hyper-stress is easing. “If financials grease the wheel that is the real economy, it is easy to see where the equity ebullience has come from,” Ruskin says.

– Merrill Lynch’s Global Wealth Management says it is still worth putting all this in context. “Equities are still 30 percent below the levels ruling on the eve of Lehman’s collapse.  Some European markets have suffered much deeper falls. Implied default rates in the corporate bond markets are still more pessimistic than the worst experience in seventy years,” it tells its clients.

Zeitgeist check

Some more bits and bobs to capture the current mood among investors.

–  So far, 2009 is worse than 2008 for stock investors. MSCI‘s main world index is down around 17 percent in January and February.  A year ago, it had lost around 8 percent.

– Eastern and central Europe are the new worries because of bank exposure to troubled economies.  ”The travails in the east, like the vampires of folklore, are sucking the lifeblood from European markets and investor sentiment,” State Street suggests.

– Cross-border flows into the euro zone hit record lows in February,  the same firm says.

Zeitgeist check

Some more bits and bobs to capture the current mood among investors:

– Some stock indexes have started to fall below their 2008 lows, meaning the turn-of-the-year rally has petered out. Dead cat bounce?

– Analysts are becoming increasingly downbeat about corporate earnings. Seven of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 are looking at a year-on-year decline in earnings, according to Thomson Reuters proprietary research. That’s the highest number of sectors in negative territory since Q4 2001.

– UBS economists have sharply revised down estimates for 2009 growth in Japan, China, much of the rest of Asia, and the euro zone. They now expect world GDP to grow a paltry 0.4 percent this year.

Zeitgeist check

– The estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 for Q4 2008 currently stands at -1.2 percent. Six months ago, this was estimated at 59.3 percent.

– The price of oil was $37.71 at the close on December 26, the last formal price before Israel began its bombardment of Gaza. It has since risen close to 25 percent.

– A standout winner among investments last year was German stock volatility. The DAX New Volatility index rose more than 139 percent in 2008.