Investing Strategies: How to Build a Global-Investing Portfolio Using ETFs
It wasn't all that long ago that global investing was an activity that was restricted to only the wealthiest U.S. investors. If you weren't one of America's ultra-rich, you weren't able to access foreign markets.
That began to change in the 1950s, with the advent of international and global mutual funds, and access further expanded over the next three decades with the introduction of single-country closed-end funds. Today, thanks to the recent explosion in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), investing in overseas stocks is now almost as easy as targeting a given market sector here at home.
In fact, although it has been a mere 17 years since the first ETF began trading in the United States (in 1993), the most recent count finds more than 290 international, regional and foreign-country-focused funds listed on the various U.S. exchanges – enough to entice any investor with even a modest yen for overseas portfolio exposure.
Drought Forces Russia to Ban Grain Exports
Russia yesterday (Thursday) banned grain exports after unrelenting heat left the country with its worst drought in at least a half-century.
Wheat rose to a 23-month high after Russia, the world's third-largest grower, announced a ban beginning Aug.15 that will last through the end of the year. Corn and rice prices also surged yesterday after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said a ban on those grains would be "appropriate" in light of skyrocketing prices.
Domestic grain prices gained 19% last week, faster than at the peak of the global food crisis in 2008. The ban includes wheat, barley, rye, corn and flour exports, according to the government decree that also set aside nearly $1.2 billion for stricken farmers.
Cashing in on Canada: Four Ways to Profit – Big – From the World's "Safest Economy"
Canada is more than just back bacon, maple syrup, and hardscrabble-mining claims. It's a leader in natural resources, precious metals, and such alternative-energy investments as oil sands.
In fact, Canada right now boasts one of the world's most compelling targets for investors' hard-earned money. Consider that:
- Through 2008, Canada enjoyed 12 straight years of budget surpluses.
- Since the outset of the global financial crisis, not a single Canadian bank failed.
- Canada was the first G-7 nation to raise interest rates.
- And while Canada has already reaped the benefits of a full 10 years worth of a full-blown bull market in commodities, there are at least 10 years more to go.
Added together, this points to a major potential payoff for those who invest in Canada right now.
Canada: The World's Economic Compass
If you're looking for a reliable investment, look no further than our neighbor to the north. This oft-overlooked country is quickly emerging as one of the world's strongest economies. Find out why in this report…
Hungary's Spat with the IMF and EU Could Signal Another Crisis to Come
The biggest financial news story out of the Europe this summer is getting very little play in the U.S. mainstream press. However, it has the potential to torpedo the European Union (EU), and has disastrous implications for borrowing costs worldwide.
Basically, a miniature banking crisis is festering in Hungary. If it isn't contained, it could grow into a genuine crisis that infects the secondary lending markets around the world.
Hungary is supposed to have about $30 billion in domestic liquidity for exchange, the equivalent of about five months of capital in its national account. But it won't be getting additional funds from the EU machine in Brussels, or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), anytime soon.
Four Ways to Profit From Britain's Surprising Post-Election Rebound
I have been negative on Britain for a decade – and with good reason. The British economy was over-dependent on financial services, and government spending – at greater than 50% of gross domestic product (GDP) – was out of control.
However, the new government that took office in May has prompted me to reconsider my investment viewpoint. The new coalition has made progress on both of these once-worrisome issues.
And that means the British market is now one that investors should very carefully consider.
Let me explain…
Canada's Economy Casts a Long Shadow Over its U.S. Counterpart
Canada's economy has consistently outperformed that of the United States since the beginning of the financial crisis. And while it's showing signs of slowing down, Canada's pending decline will be far shallower than that of the United States, and its rebound more dynamic.
Canada's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.1% in the first quarter of the year – the highest rate of growth among developed nations – and the country is expected to lead Group Seven (G7) nations in economic growth for at least the next two years.
The reasons are many:
- Canada's banking system is sound.
- It has a generous bounty of resources.
- Its economy is more service-based than it's been in years past.
- Corporate interests have less influence over government policy.
- And it has far less government debt.
Singapore's Economy Leads Asia's Rebound With Record-Breaking 2010 Growth
Singapore's economy grew at a record-breaking pace in the first half of 2010, boosting Asian economic growth that is outpacing the rest of the world.
Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry reported yesterday (Wednesday) that gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 18.1% in the first half of the year, expanding 26% in the second quarter from the previous three months, and 19.3% in the second quarter from the same 2009 period.
The rise is the country's biggest since record-keeping began in 1975.
Defensive Investing: Keeping Your Options Open with Covered Calls
Once you get beyond buying puts or calls for purely speculative purposes, no other options strategy is more popular than employing the use of covered calls – and with good reason: Few investment techniques offer more potential benefits with such a low level of risk.
Considered the most conservative of all option plays, this strategy – which basically involves selling (or "writing") one call option for each 100 shares of a stock you own – can be employed for one or more of five distinct purposes:
- To generate a stream of additional income – over and above dividend payments – from individual stocks in your equity portfolio.
- To generate a stream of income from stocks you own that pay no dividends.
- To reduce the effective cost basis of longer-term stock holdings by bringing in option premiums, thus recovering some of the original purchase price.
- To provide a limited hedge against potential losses in portfolio value as a result of overall market pullbacks or cyclical downturns in the prices of specific stocks.
- As an income-producing substitute for a "limit-sell order" – intended to liquidate a stock position when a specific profit target is achieved.
The Global Double-Dip Recession: Which Markets to Hold… And Which Ones May Fold
Last week's stock-market meltdown was a worldwide affair, and was touched off by trader fears of a global "double-dip" recession.
However, the truth is that the odds of a recessionary reprise are high in just a few countries – primarily those that have experienced excessive fiscal and monetary "stimulus," or that have real inflation problems.
The rest of the world is recovering just fine.