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International Investments

Global markets

This "Contrarian Dream" Market Is All Upside Right Now

For decades, Argentina was radioactive for investors – a black hole for capital.

But a complete political shift has happened, and a brand-new president has instituted investor-friendly market reforms in a bid to return his country to its former economic glory.

This contrarian dream market is about to go on a bull run for the history books.

global markets

[CHART] Do the British Want To Leave the EU?

Do the British want to leave the EU?

We know Mayor of London Boris Johnson wants an exit and that Prime Minister David Cameron does not.

But what do the British people think of a "Brexit"? You may be surprised by the latest poll answering that question...

Global Markets

What Today's ECB Decision to Cut Rates Means for Investors

The European Central Bank announced a number of monetary policy changes Thursday in attempts to spur anemic growth and fend off slack inflation.

Disappointed investors sent stocks lower in early trading.

Here's what the ECB decision means for investors...

Earnings

IBM Stock Is Taking Yet Another Hit

In late October, I warned investors to avoid IBM stock. 

At that time, the stock was trading around $162 per share. Today it is trading at a shade under $158 per share, and could be heading much lower.  

"Big Blue's" transition, or perhaps we can call it "turnaround," is at best stalling, and at worst, setting investors up for more disappointment as evidenced by its fourth-quarter (2014) earnings report. 

In fact, let's cut to the chase right away: IBM's just reported fourth-quarter earnings laid another egg. 

It's simply not going well for IBM, and here is how we need to play IBM stock today...

Trend Watch

How to Invest in Agriculture After the Potash Price Crash

Global commodity woes increased again on Tuesday after Russia's Uralkali broke up one of the world's largest potash partnerships and ended a marketing venture agreement with producers in Belarus.

This development changes how to invest in agriculture- as it has already sent investors fleeing from nutrient and fertilizer stocks this week.

In addition, the impact will likely crash global potash prices by 25% to 30%, as the collapse of an international duopoly will end a price-fixing agreement that benefited other producers of the key commodity by artificially inflating prices and keeping supply off the market.

To continue reading, please click here...

Top News

Ouch!: This Laiki Bank Account Shows the Startling Reality for a Cyprus Businessman

We came across this story on the Lew Rockwell's Blog this morning.  It's an example of how a picture paints a thousand words.

This is what an 85% haircut actually looks like:

Writes the owner:

To continue reading, please click here...

Global Economy

Bank of Japan Policy is Doomed to Failure

The Bank of Japan (BOJ), Japan's central bank, bowed to government pressure this week by adopting a 2% inflation target and accepting responsibility for achieving that goal "as early as possible."

The BOJ announced today (Tuesday) that it will begin a program of "unlimited easing" beginning in January 2014 following the end of the central bank's current asset-purchasing program in December.

In a statement announcing the results of Tuesday's Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Bank of Japan said it anticipates purchasing 10 trillion yen in Treasury notes and 3 trillion yen in Japanese government bonds (JGBs) each month beginning in January 2014.

The statement also indicated the central bank's balance sheet will expand by about 10 trillion yen by the end of 2014 as a result of the purchases. No further expansion of the BOJ balance sheet is anticipated thereafter.

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Trend Watch

Investing in 2013: Don't Ignore this Huge Shift in China

When looking for hot spots for investing in 2013, investors must consider this major trade shift happening in China.

You see, China is the world's largest consumer of grains. That's not surprising considering China's population is 1.3 billion, with an additional 8 million children born each year.

China historically has been largely self-sufficient in most grain categories, rarely importing products like corn and wheat.

But that is changing

China is becoming a net importer of grains.

As Rabobank (one of the largest lenders in global agribusiness) analyst Erin FitzPatrick told AgriMoney, "This is something that the market should be looking at."

Here's why.

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Election in Japan: Will a New Government Revive Growth?

Following three-and-a-half years of government marked by scandal, incompetence and hesitation in the face of a natural disaster, voters in Sunday's election in Japan voted in a new party.

Japanese voters turned their backs on the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and returned the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to power in a landslide victory.

The LDP, which ruled Japan continuously for more than 50 years, has been chastened by its time in opposition and returns to power with a renewed vigor and strengthened belief in its core values.

Sunday's election, which had been characterized as a referendum on the future of nuclear power in Japan, actually turned out to be a vote in favor of competence and experience in governing.

Voters handed the LDP/Komei coalition a veto-proof majority of 325 seats in the Lower House of the Diet.

Under Japan's parliamentary system, if a bill passed by the Lower House is rejected by the Upper House, it can be resubmitted to the Lower House and become law if approved by a two-thirds majority. That means even the most radical LDP policies can become law over the objections of the opposition.

That's a good thing because LDP president Shinzo Abe, who will be the next prime minister, has some pretty radical ideas for dealing with Japan's economic malaise.

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Which One of These Losers Will Run Out of Money First?

After a surprisingly comfortable re-election, Venezuela has decided to stick with Hugo Chavez and all that comes with him.

That has prompted The Wall Street Journal and other pundits to forecast nothing less than economic doom for Venezuela in 2013.

But when it comes to poorly run South American countries, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is someone that could easily give Chavez a run for his money.

As Argentina's president, Fernandez de Kirchner is a master of economically inept policies in her own right.

So who will win this race to the bottom?

Let's examine which one of these losers will run out of money first, starting with Venezuela's Chavez.

After all, when it comes to wealth destruction, Chavez has had a pretty big head start. He was elected in 1998, while Fernandez's husband was first elected president in 2003 (she succeeded him as president in 2007; he died in 2009.)

What's more, the wealth destruction in Venezuela did not begin with Chavez. The Conference Board Total Economy Database shows that Venezuelan productivity was more than 20% lower in 1998 than it had been in 1970.

In fact, I did a study on the potential for Venezuelan corporate finance for a client bank back in 1990 and came to the conclusion that there was very little potential for it.

Other than the oil company PdVSA, there were very few corporations in Venezuela for which one could imagine doing corporate finance deals of any substance. There were a few local monopolies like the tobacco company, but essentially all business activity beyond the mom-and-pop store level centered round the oil sector.

That same thing was not true in Argentina.

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