Trading is not a game of exacts. Perfectionists need not apply. Markets are made up of many irration...
...and Global Fund Favorites
12/09/2005 12:00 am EST
We end our global report with fund favorites. Leonard Goodall eyes Europe. Mark Skousen likes Asia/Australia. Doug Fabian and John Murphy pick Taiwan. Keith Fitz-Gerald seeks income. Richard Lehmann opts for India. And Kevin Kennedy offers an ETF package.
"We believe most investor should have some foreign holdings in their portfolios, says Leonard Goodall, editor of No-Load Portfolios. "T. Rowe Price Europe Fund (PRESX ) invests in a broad representation of the stocks of the major countries of Western Europe. The fund, which invests mainly in larger blue chips, is a good one for the conservative investor who wants to include one comprehensive European fund in a portfolio. Its largest weighting-31% of assets- is in the UK, followed by 20% in France. Vanguard Index European Fund (VEURX ) is a component of our 'global dollar cost averaging' portfolio. As an index fund, it provides a broad representation for the economy of the entire European region. Its portfolio is composed primarily of large caps with a blend of both value and growth stocks."PSAFX ) by its old name- the Safe Harbor Fund," notes Keith Fitz-Gerald, editor of The Skeptical Investor. "That's because the former names still describes it perfectly. By holding the bonds of first-tier nations, excluding the United States, Prudent Global Income provides investors with an important counterbalance to a weak dollar regardless of whether inflationary or deflationary factors affect its value. There's also a gold component, so we've actually been partially hedging our interest rate risk all along. Buy at the market and bank the 7.37% yield."
"While Wall Street flounders, we are looking abroad for profits," notes Mark Skousen, editor of Forecasts & Strategies. "Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific Fund (APF NYSE) is trading at an 8% discount to Net Asset Value ($15.91), which makes the closed-end fund a bargain. Half of its portfolio is currently invested in Japanese stocks. The Japanese market look strong, with the Nikkei Index now well over 14,000. Meanwhile, Australia is a commodity-based country and is likely to rise further. We continue to recommend the iShares MSCI Australia Index (EWA ASE), which is currently yielding 3%."
Fund expert Doug Fabian, in his VIP Investor, has been increasing his allocation to foreign markets. His portfolio already held a position in iShares South Africa (EZA ASE) and he recently added a position in iShares Australia (EWA ASE), and is now also adding a stake in iShares Taiwan ( EWT ASE). He explains, Australia is poised to reap enormous benefits from the China boom. Meanwhile, Taiwan has more upside potential than any other emerging market on Earth. The country's stock market is flat year-to-date, while comparable economies have seen 20% increases. But recent political developments in Taiwan have made it a more attractive place for international capital, and this is your chance to invest before the rest of the world catches on."
Technical guru John Murphy in StockCharts.com, also likes Taiwan. He explains, "The buying of semiconductor stocks may account for some of the recent strength in Asian exchange-traded funds. One of the strongest is iShares Taiwan (EWT ASE). Semis are the biggest part of the Taiwan ETF, with a chip weighting of 23%. The recent bullish breakout in the Semiconductor Index could also be signaling better days ahead for Asian markets with a heavy chip and technology weighting. Its biggest stock holding is Taiwan Semiconductor, which shows a pattern of higher lows over the last three years. This increases the odds for a bullish breakout, which in turn could give a big boost to Asian markets with a heavy chip weighting - and Taiwan in particular."
"Despite recent weakness in the Far East funds, we are still impressed with the long-term economic prospects in India" notes Richard Lehmann in The ETF Investor. "As a result, we have recommended a closed-end fund for exposure to this market - the India Fund ( IFN NYSE). We first recommended this fund in August, and it has since dropped from $37.58 to its current price of $34.56. Most of that drop in the India Fund was due to the evaporation of the premium to net assets. It is now trading with a 4% premium. As such, we have chosen to re-recommend the India Fund for this month's pick. The fund has had a yearly distribution of less than 15 cents a share for the past few years, but last year the distribution increased by a factor of ten, a distribution of $1.52. This year's distribution is likely to be rich as well. This fund would fit nicely in a qualified account like an IRA or a 401k, where tax considerations are not relevant."
In addition to his well-known expertise in small cap stocks, Kevin Kennedy also publishes the Coolcat ETF Report, which builds an ongoing portfolio of exchange-traded funds. He explains, "To compile our model portfolio, I rank prospective ETF positions by their prior six-month gain. We hold 10 positions in the portfolio and close out positions if they close the month below their close of six months ago or if they fall 10% below their initial purchase price. We rotate into the best performers over the past six months, which also meet the volatility and liquidity standards described above." We include this commentary in this special global report because the current four top ETFs on his buy list are based foreign indices: iShares Brazil ( EWZ ASE); iShares S&P Latin America 40 ( ILF ASE); iShares Mexico ( EWW ASE); and iShares South Korea ( EWY ASE).
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