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.
Uncertainty Undermining the Global Economic Recovery
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said yesterday (Thursday) that the global economic recovery is losing steam because uncertainty in financial markets is keeping businesses and consumers from investing in future growth.
In a revision to its World Economic Outlook released yesterday in Hong Kong, the IMF said worldwide economic expansion will decline to 4.3% next year from 2010's 4.6% pace. The forecast for 2010 was revised upwards by 0.4 percentage points to reflect faster-than-anticipated growth earlier this year.
However, "downside risks have risen sharply," the IMF warned, referring to European governments' debt problems and volatility in financial markets.
Six Ways to Invest in Korea – Asia's Can't-Miss Market
With the U.S recovery looking a bit iffy after last week's unemployment report, Japan and Britain battling huge budget problems and Europe in trouble because of the Greek debt crisis, investors have quite naturally shifted their focus to Asia.
But even there the pickings seem a bit slim. Asian stalwarts China and India show signs of overheating (India more so than China). Taiwan and Singapore – both excellent markets – seem pretty fully valued right now.
That leaves us with one Asian market whose economy is enjoying well-balanced growth, whose government is a model of competence and efficiency and whose stock market is surprisingly reasonably valued.
I'm talking about South Korea.
Canada: The World's Economic Compass
If you're looking for a reliable investment, look no further than Canada.
It's strange, but with so much talk about troubles in the United States, Europe, China and the Middle East these days, one of the best-performing economies in the world is often overlooked.
Of course, that's finally started to change since the financial crisis has exposed our northern neighbor as a model economy – something the Group of 20 (G20) summit highlighted last weekend.
Money Morning Mid-Year Forecast: India is on the Path to Double-Digit Growth
If it's able to control inflation and cut its debt, India could well become the world's most appealing investment opportunity.
Europe is choking on debt and scrambling to salvage its beleaguered currency. The United States is saddled by high unemployment and struggling to preserve its wobbly recovery. Even China – which has had to reign in its stimulus to cool its red-hot property market and curb inflation – may have peaked.
Yet India's gross domestic product (GDP) is shooting sharply higher, and many economists think economic growth in the subcontinent is about surge into the double-digits for the first time ever.
It's Time to Invest in Chile and Colombia – Latin America's Reigning 'Good Guys'
For decades, investors with an interest in Latin America were essentially limited to two choices: Invest in countries that were moderately badly run; or invest in countries that were truly dreadfully run.
Most recently, it's been the "dreadfully run" group that seems to be attracting new members: Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua have subscribed to the economic and political doctrines of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
However, two elections this year have created a new category of Latin American country – the "truly well run" class – and installed the first two members: Chile and Colombia. As investors, we should rejoice, make them part of our portfolio, and keep an eagle eye out for other countries that may join this promising new category – the "good guys."
"Experts" Grow Bullish on Japan …But We See Reasons For Caution
KYOTO, Japan – Japan's Nikkei 225 is half the relative price of the U.S. Standard & Poor's 500 and is the cheapest that it's been in nearly three decades. This has led many Western analysts to conclude once again that it's "time to invest" in Japan.
I don't "buy" it – and you shouldn't, either.