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Global Investing

Canada: Investing in the World's Safest Economy Can Put Profits in Your Pocket

When a March 25 "no-confidence" vote toppled the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, it also set the stage for a new general election.

This May 2 election will be Canada's third in five years and fourth in seven years. In light of the civil unrest in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region – not to mention the financial problems that continue to plague Europe – it would be understandable if global investors added Canada to the "do not invest" list.Money Morning Quarterly Report

But don't make that mistake: Our neighbor to the north remains one of the most stable big-market profit plays on the planet today.

Some investors even refer to it as the "world's safest economy." And with good reason.

For four ways to profit from the world's "safest economy," please read on...

Investing in Steel: Nine Ways to Strengthen Your Portfolio

Global steel producers were prolific in 2010, with worldwide output reaching a record 1,414 million metric tons (mmt). According to the World Steel Association (WSA), that represented an average production increase of more than 15% from 2009, when the poor global economy had pushed steel demand down to levels not seen since before the turn of the century.

And, based on recent economic and industry forecasts, both production and demand are expected to continue rising for all of 2011 – which bodes well for investors looking to turn hard metals into solid profits.

The WSA forecasts finished steel consumption in 2011 will rise 5.3% to nearly 1,340 mmt – in spite of the fact that steel prices have reached near-record levels in recent months, climbing in January to more than $800 per ton of hot-rolled coil steel, the industry's base product unit.

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Japan Disaster Update: Beware of Global Insurance Stocks

The catastrophe-modeling company AIR Worldwide Corp. has estimated that insurance company losses from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami could reach $35 billion.

That has insurance analysts feeling bullish about insurance stocks: In their view, losses are good because it enables the insurers to ratchet up their premiums.

Personally, I don't see it that way. While I like life-insurance and domestic-insurance companies as investments for ordinary investors, I think the big-ticket insurance market is too opaque, too insider dominated, and much too unlikely to deliver decent returns to its outside shareholders.

In short, here in the aftermath of the deadly Japan disaster, investors need to beware of global insurance stocks.

To understand the troubles at hand, please read on...

Japan's Stock Market Plunges as Export Disruption Threatens Global Supply Chain

Japan's stock market fell the most in two years yesterday (Monday) in the aftermath of Friday's devastating earthquake, the biggest in Japanese history. Rolling blackouts and factory damage threatened exports for some of the country's biggest companies, many of which play a key role in industries' global supply chain.

The Nikkei 225 stock index closed down 6.2% yesterday at 9,620.49, after falling 1.7% Friday.

"The market is pricing in a better understanding of the enormity and complexity of the two natural disasters that struck Japan," Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer at Pacific Investment Management Co., told Bloomberg News. "The immediate impact will be felt through lower global aggregate demand, disrupted supply chains and funds flows into Japan."

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Investing in Sweden – A Cold Country with a Hot Economy

What comes to mind when you think of Sweden: Blonde hair, pale skin, and a pair of sullen blue eyes piercing through a whiteout – or an economy that grew 5.5% last year?

Too often, it's the former when it should be the latter.

Indeed, chances are you've never thought about investing in Sweden. But the country that is so often thought of as being cold – if it's thought of at all – is actually overheating.

The Swedish economy expanded by 5.5% last year, making it the fastest growing economy in Western Europe. Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, was the first central bank in the European Union (EU) to raise interest rates. It has lifted its key repurchase rate five times since last July, squelching inflation.

The most recent hike came on Feb. 15 – a 0.25% increase that took the rate to 1.5%. And with the prospect of further rate increases in the short-term, the Swedish krona has risen to its highest level against the euro in 10 years.

Some manufacturers have warned that the soaring currency could undermine the country's export-led recovery, but the Swedish economy is still on pace to grow 4.4% this year.

Additionally, inflation remains low, unemployment is on the decline, and Sweden's national debt is lower now than it was in 2006.

The Swedish economy expanded by 5.5% last year, making it the fastest growing economy in Western Europe. Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, was the first central bank in the European Union (EU) to raise interest rates. It has lifted its key repurchase rate five times since last July, squelching inflation.

Global Investing Strategies: A "Lightning-Round" Look at U.S. Stocks, the Dollar, Inflation and China

If you're a regular Money Morning reader, then you know that, d uring my appearances on national television or when I'm doing media interviews around the world, I frequently participate in something called a "lightning round " – a rapid-fire interview technique in which the announcer (and sometimes even audience members) run through a list of questions in rapid-fire order.

It's a technique that really puts you on the proverbial "hot seat." But I actually enjoy it: It forces you to think on your feet – which appeals to the former trader in me – and allows you to run through a bunch of topics in a very short stretch. In one way or another, each of these topics deals with global investing strategies.

I thought you might enjoy – and perhaps even find useful – a "highlight reel" of some of the best lightning-round questions that I've received in recent weeks, both in front of the camera and during the informal discussions that follow the presentations and broadcasts.

And we'll start with the topic that seems to be one of the most popular global investing strategies topics right now – gold.

To see what Money Morning's Fitz-Gerald sees for stocks, the U.S. dollar and inflation, please read on…

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Investing in Water: How to Profit From the World's Most Precious Commodity

2010 was the year of the commodity. Gold prices soared, copper hit record highs, oil again marched towards $100 a barrel, and many agricultural products doubled in value.

Yet hardly a word was spoken about the world's most precious commodity – water.

Indeed, few people in the developed world think of water as a commodity. After all, they can usually get all they want out of the tap in their kitchen or bathroom. And even fewer think about water's price – unless, of course, they're buying a bottle at their local convenience store, where it typically cost twice as much as gasoline.

But for the rest of the world – and even some areas in the United States and other developed nations – water represents a significant problem because of supply shortages, poor quality, or inadequate distribution and disposal systems. And, thanks to a mushrooming global population, the water problem is rapidly approaching crisis proportions.

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European Debt Crisis: How to Profit No Matter What Happens

Since the European debt crisis first emerged in early 2010, it has dominated headlines, roiled the world financial markets, and has kept investors in a perpetual state of alert as they wait for the next shoe to drop.

But let me share with you a little-known secret: Investors who understand where the "fault lines" are forming in this Eurozone debacle can transform the biggest sovereign-debt crisis in years into a major profit opportunity.

Let me explain…

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For the one investment that will let you profit from the EU debt crisis, please read on..

China Monetary Policy: Inflation Won't Last – Growth Will

Investors yesterday (Thursday) were rattled by fears that China's economy is overheating after it was revealed that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 10.3% in 2010.

However, the policy changes that will come as a result of the data ultimately will benefit both China and the United States.

No doubt, inflation will remain problematic for China in the short-term, but policymakers are poised to respond with tighter lending controls and an appreciation of the nation's currency, the yuan. That will help tame a politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States and ensure more stable growth for the world's second-largest economy.

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Telecom Investing Strategies: Six Ways to Profit From the International Broadband Boom

Telecommunications stocks have long been favorites among American investors, both for their sustained growth and their typically lucrative dividend payouts. What many investors don't realize, however, is that U.S. telecom giants now badly lag the rest of the developed world in one key part of the telecommunications sector – broadband Internet service.

Broadband providers in much of the rest of the world offer much faster connections at generally much lower prices. And those overseas players tend to have much more room for growth than the highly saturated U.S. market.

That's why investors who are seeking to maximize their long-term profits from the telecom sector need to start looking at the industry's emerging international players.

"The average U.S. household has to pay an exorbitant amount of money for an Internet connection that the rest of the industrial world would find mediocre," reported a recent issue of Scientific American.

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