U.S. Loses Crown as King of M&A to Emerging Markets
Maybe U.S. investment bankers are losing their touch.
For the first time since Thomson Reuters began keeping track in 1976, fewer merger and acquisition (M&A) deals were done in the United States in the first six weeks of 2010 than in emerging-markets.
During that stretch, emerging markets such as India, Mexico, Brazil and China accounted for 43% of global M&A volume with $91.2 billion worth of deals. That outpaced the United States, which completed roughly $55 billion in deals, accounting for a 29.5% share.
Surprisingly, Mexico alone did more volume, with 19.1% of the market versus Europe's 17.1% share.
The Year of the Tiger is the Perfect Time for Caterpillar Inc.
In China, the tiger is commonly thought of as lazy, merely appearing to be strong and ferocious.
But that's truly not the case. The tiger does not waste his energy showing his strength. Instead, it sees the future and knows precisely when to pounce on its prey. Those who can see past the great wall of today and look into the future - much like our wise friend, the tiger - understand just what it takes to be successful.
If we were to analyze the growth potential for the worldwide construction industry, we would find that Japan's Komatsu Ltd. (OTC ADR: KMTUY) and the U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) are best-positioned for global success.
With Inflation Accelerating Around the World, Will the United States be Next?
Inflation is now thoroughly entrenched in India's economy, and some analysts fear that the United States could suffer the same fate if adjustments to monetary policy aren't made soon.
India's wholesale price index-based inflation rate in February accelerated to 9.89% from a year earlier. That was the fastest pace in 16 months, blowing past the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) estimate for an 8.5% inflation rate at the end of March.
Soaring food prices were the primary driver of inflation. An index measuring wholesale prices of lentils, rice, vegetables and other food articles compiled by the commerce ministry rose 16.3% in the week ended March 6 from a year earlier after a 17.81% gain the previous week.
Goldman Backs Money Morning Prediction That China's Yuan Will Dethrone the Dollar
Back in May, just after he'd completed his latest investing tour of China, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald made a bold prediction: China's currency, the yuan, is destined to dethrone the U.S. dollar as the world's chief reserve currency.
Earlier this week, Fitz-Gerald's prediction acquired a powerful new disciple: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) Chief Economist Jim O'Neill.
In an essay that's part of a report published Friday for Chatham House, a London-based foreign-affairs researcher, O'Neill wrote that China's yuan is destined to become a global reserve currency on par with the U.S. dollar or European euro.
U.S. China Currency Dispute Heating Up
The heated debate between China and the United States over the value of its currency intensified yesterday (Thursday) when a senior Chinese trade official warned that further appreciation of the yuan could put many of its exporters out of business - something China can't afford.
Those remarks came shortly after a key International Monetary Fund (IMF) official flatly stated that the currency is severely undervalued.
China's Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told The Wall Street Journal in an exclusive interview that the profit margins on many Chinese export goods were less than 2% and any further increase in the currency's value would endanger more exporters' survival.
How Capital Waves Are Creating the Biggest Profit Opportunities in Today's Markets
Back when oil was trading at a record high of $145 a barrel - and was generally expected to go higher - I concluded that the forces at play were speculative, not fundamental - driven by new institutional money looking to diversify away from too many concentrated equity bets. I argued these forces were temporary, and not entrenched, meaning that oil prices were actually headed for a fall.
The "forces" I was referring to are called "capital waves." Capital waves create some of the biggest trading opportunities in the markets today. Investors who are able to spot capital waves and identify their likely impact have a huge advantage over those who don't.
With oil, for instance, pundits were calling for new highs of $200, $250, $300 and even $500 a barrel. But behind the curtain, there was a major capital wave at play: I knew that oil was being pumped out of the ground like mad, and that shipping rates were exploding because oil was being stored in offshore, idled tankers. I knew that as little as $20 billion had been "re-allocated" out of the equity markets and into this new-asset-class investment for pension fund accounts.
As a speculative frenzy seemed to be enveloping the oil market, I called for oil prices to plummet - to more than a few looks of incredulity or outright guffaws.
When the secondary capital waves took hold, the speculative advance in oil prices first stalled - and then oil prices plunged as capital exited in another wave.
Don't feel bad if you missed this opportunity. That's the important thing to remember about capital waves - they're out there if you know where to look and how to interpret them. In fact, as good as this oil play was, I see even better opportunities ahead.
To learn about the Top Five "capital waves," read on... Read More...
Iron Ore Negotiations Reach an All-Too-Familiar Impasse
Iron ore negotiations have ground to a halt - again.
Iron ore producers and consumers were so far apart last year that negotiations on pricing broke down entirely. No price benchmark was reached between major Australian iron ore miners and China's steel mills.
Instead, steelmakers resorted to buying their iron ore from smaller producers on the volatile spot market. And they may have to do the same thing again this year.
That's because iron ore producers - led by Brazil's Vale SA (NYSE ADR: VALE) and Australian juggernauts BHP Billiton (NYSE ADR: BHP) and Rio Tinto PLC (NYSE ADR: RTP) - are reportedly looking for an increase of as much as 90% in the benchmark price.
"The negotiations are difficult. These miners hope for a large rise" in the 2010 benchmark price of iron ore, said Deng Qilin, the chairman of both the China Iron and Steel Association and the Wuhan Iron & Steel Group. "We can't digest the pressure of what they're asking us."
- Chinese Premier Wen Rejects U.S. & European Pleas, Says Yuan to Stay Stable China's Premier Wen Jiabao vigorously defended his country's economic policies on Sunday, rejecting calls to let the yuan appreciate, and ratcheting up trade tensions with the United States where lawmakers and economists insist his stance is hindering a global recovery. "I don't think the renminbi is undervalued," Wen said at a press conference in Beijing, using the Chinese currency's official name. "We oppose countries pointing fingers at each other and even forcing a country to appreciate its currency." Read More...
The Scramble for Africa: Profiting From World's Largest Cache of Commodities
In the quarter century stretching from the late-1880s to the First World War, there was a mad rush by the world's leading powers to occupy and annex African territory. Now, 100 years later, the world's elite again are scrambling to make their respective marks on the continent.
The methods of extraction have changed, but the end goal remains the same - to gain access to Africa's coveted bounty of commodities.
Most notably, Chinese interests have swarmed Africa, constructing roads, rail lines, municipal buildings, schools, ports, and pipelines in exchange for access to natural resources.
China's Exports Surged by 46% in February, Adding to Currency Pressures
China exports in February rose for the third month in a row, beating forecasts and putting added pressure on government officials to rein in stimulus spending and loosen currency policies.
Exports in February jumped 45.6% from a year earlier after a 21% advance in January, the customs bureau reported today (Wednesday) on its Web site.
Seasonally adjusted imports in February rose 6.3% from the previous month, reversing January's 0.9% drop and narrowing the Red Dragon's trade surplus, indicating domestic demand remains strong despite government efforts to slow lending.
Analysts say the February data is hard to interpret since... Read More...
China Standing Firm on Currency Policy Despite Mounting Pressure
China's rigid stance to not appreciate its currency continues to cause problems with "hot money" and foreign trade relations.
A report from Yi Gang, China's director of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), today (Tuesday) shrugged off calls for currency appreciation. Yi said China's foreign-exchange reserves - which are the largest in the world at $2.4 trillion - are safe and stable, and the country will strengthen its supervision of speculative cash inflows.
Speculation that China's currency, the yuan, is soon to rise has increased investment, but such speculation is not particularly welcome. "Underground money shops" disguise funds as foreign direct investments and trade accounts in an attempt to profit from the increasing spread on interest and exchange rates, according to Yi.
How to Profit From the "Fertilizer Wars"
There's nothing like scarcity and supply disruptions to fuel violent price spikes. And there's nothing like the basic human needs for food and water to light that fuse.
Today's world food supplies run on razor-thin inventories.
While the food riots of 2008 have all but disappeared from our short-term memories, the threat of them returning grows stronger with every passing day.
According to the World Bank, food prices increased 83% between February 2005 and February 2008. In April 2008, when the United Nation's World Food Programme warned that a "silent tsunami" of hunger was sweeping the globe because of soaring food prices, it was more than just a clever sound bite tossed off by a bureaucrat: It was a warning that the world's poor were being squeezed as increasingly higher portions of their family incomes were being spent on the food they required for their very survival.
Improved fertilizers will be a key to the solution of this problem. And they won't just promote crop growth - savvy investors who fertilize their portfolios will be pleased with their profit harvest.
Let me explain ...
To discover how to profit from zooming fertilizer prices, please read on....
PetroChina, Shell Target Australia's Arrow Energy
Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE ADR: RDS.A) and PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR) yesterday (Monday) made a joint offer for Australian energy producer Arrow Energy Ltd. in yet another demonstration of how China is turning Australia into its personal commodities broker.
The $3.4 billion (A$3.26 billion) deal would give shareholders A$4.45 per share - a 28% premium from Friday's share price - and a share in a new Arrow international-business entity for each current Arrow share.
Market reaction was favorable as Arrow's prices soared 47% Monday following the news, up to A$5.11 on the Australian stock exchange (ASX).
"It's an opportunistic bid and good for Arrow shareholders," Tim Schroeders, Pengana Capital portfolio manager, told CNBC.
China Draws Plan to Reduce Risk While Continuing Economic Growth
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday pledged to maintain economic growth of at least 8% in 2010, while gradually drawing down government spending and taking measures to guard against inflation and potentially devastating asset bubbles.
The remarks came during Wen's annual report to the National People's Congress in Beijing - which is the equivalent of the United States' State of the Union speech - and they highlight the central government's determination to promote responsible levels of growth.
The call for 8% annual economic growth is the same goal that has been maintained since 2005 - and one that was easily passed last year with the implementation of a sprawling $586 billion stimulus package.