Opinion

John Wasik

Don’t let Russia scare you from euro zone stocks

Apr 28, 2014 19:19 UTC

CHICAGO, April 28 (Reuters) – Although it’s easy to get
distracted by the turmoil in Ukraine, the trickle of economic
growth in Western Europe continues to boost euro zone stocks and
batter Russian companies. Multinational Western European stocks
should continue to be core holdings in your portfolio.

Things are looking rosier in the countries clobbered the
hardest by the 2008 credit meltdown. As of April 25, the Italy
FTSE MIB Index is up 13 percent this year, followed by a 12
percent gain in Portugal, almost 8 percent run-up in Ireland, a
5 percent increase in Greece and 4 percent recovery in Spain.

Among the negatives: Unemployment, deflation and tight
credit continue to be problems in these countries, even if they
are gaining ground on repairing their fractured banking systems.
Also, stock markets in The Netherlands and Germany are down
slightly this year (through April 25).

Independent of the Russian turmoil, there are concerns about
deflation in the euro zone and a strong euro. European Central
Bank President Mario Draghi said on April 24 that weaker
inflation could trigger a round of asset buying by the bank. The
rising euro also has the rapt attention of central bankers.

“The euro is too high,” former ECB president Jean-Claude
Trichet said on April 23 in Chicago while speaking at the
Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs. Troubled by weak economic
growth in central Europe, Trichet noted “clearly we need to
elevate growth potential through structural reforms.”

Column: Climate is right for clean energy firms

Apr 21, 2014 15:32 UTC

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you’re ecology minded, the news hasn’t been all that green of late, with ice caps and glaciers melting and storms becoming more destructive. But there is a huge silver lining for long-term investors in environmentally-friendly companies and technologies.

To stave off a nearly 5-degree global temperature increase by 2100, nations must cut their global greenhouse emissions by up to 70 percent by the middle of this century, according to a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There’s little consensus among developed and emerging nations on how to effectively deal with climate change and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, but there is agreement on one aspect of this global threat: Trillions of needed dollars will continue to pour into renewable and clean sources of energy, transportation, building and manufacturing.

Climate is right for clean energy firms

Apr 21, 2014 15:30 UTC

CHICAGO, April 21 (Reuters) – If you’re ecology minded, the
news hasn’t been all that green of late, with ice caps and
glaciers melting and storms becoming more destructive. But there
is a huge silver lining for long-term investors in
environmentally-friendly companies and technologies.

To stave off a nearly 5-degree global temperature increase
by 2100, nations must cut their global greenhouse emissions by
up to 70 percent by the middle of this century, according to a
recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There’s little consensus among developed and emerging
nations on how to effectively deal with climate change and
reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, but there is agreement on
one aspect of this global threat: Trillions of needed dollars
will continue to pour into renewable and clean sources of
energy, transportation, building and manufacturing.

How to avoid the trouble coming to the tech sector

Apr 14, 2014 17:31 UTC

CHICAGO, April 14 (Reuters) – A resounding shot across the
bow has been fired at the tech sector in recent weeks. The
tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is down nearly 5 percent in
April through Friday’s close and the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index
is off 21 percent from its record closing high on Feb. 25. Many
of the sector’s flagships and newcomers have been in the
crosshairs.

The latest tech stock falterings could be a sign of trouble
ahead.

To get a clearer idea of what’s roiling the tech sector, you
have to look at trends within various parts of it.

One item to look at is data storage, which is offered by
Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc and has been
the object of a price war of late. While falling prices in this
sub-sector are great for customers, they will eat into profits
for competing companies.

Smart shopping for mid-caps

Apr 7, 2014 19:48 UTC

CHICAGO, April 7 (Reuters) – Go for the most famous
companies when you are investing, and you are likely to pay the
highest price possible because most investors place a premium on
the biggest-name stocks. But take a look at the roughly 1,500
companies that make up the mid-cap market, and you could be
making a pretty solid investment this year.

Mid-caps, with market values between $1 billion and $15
billion, are often the least visible choices in investing. They
are big enough to have mature management teams, yet may not
carry the same downside risk as a mega-cap or a small company.
They may be able to grow more robustly than mega-caps because of
their size. And as market valuations have climbed for both mega-
and small caps, mid-caps offer returns that are right down the
middle of the plate.

The S&P MidCap 400 index returned 23.2 percent for
the 12 months through April 4 compared to 22 percent for the S&P
500 index of big stocks and 29 percent for the
small-company S&P 600 index.

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