The Emerging Markets Close to Home

10/12/2011 11:30 am EST

Focus: FUNDS

Jason Browne

Chief Investment Officer and Principal/Portfolio Manager, DAL Investment Co., LLC

Many of the companies that have and will benefit from global growth are based in the US, says Jason Browne, who shares a fund and ETF he invests in to play that growth in this exclusive interview with

Jason, you know over the last couple of years, US investors have dumped something like $300 billion in US stock mutual funds and purchased $70 to $80 billion dollars in emerging-market mutual funds, even though emerging markets have underperformed the US for quite a few months now.

Can you tell us what you’re seeing in that area, and what you’re recommending to your clients and your newsletter subscribers?

Sure. So, we can understand how compelling it is, the idea that emerging markets are growing faster than the US, that maybe they’re in a better fiscal position or any of these other kinds of things, that there’s an emerging middle class that people want to take advantage of.

What some people may not recognize, however, is that sometimes the companies that are going to benefit from that may not be local companies. It may actually be US companies that get to sell their goods to this emerging middle class.

It’s very difficult to sell. I mean, the stories are always there, but how they play out is often different. That’s why our strategy is really designed to follow market leadership, as opposed to predicting it.

OK. So, what do you see? You’re not obviously as big on emerging markets as you might have been, say, a year ago.

For us, we were heavy in emerging markets from 2003 to 2007, quite like most of the rest of the time. We did buy them for a little while last year.

We’ve been out of them for basically all of this year, and we’re happy to go there again if they’re performing well, but we do let performance be our guide in that regard.

I look at it a lot like technology in late 90s. There were all these wonderful stories about how it was going to change our life. It was the most important thing that was happening out there. It hasn’t always been the best investment theme.

Right. Well, and the other thing is that a lot of people who may have missed it in the late 90s decided a little later, "Hey, I’m going to get back into tech," but forget it…the game was over. I mean, it may take a few years before these things start to really start leading again, right?

Well, the way I look at it is all the stories turned out exactly to be correct.

So, in other words, technology made a tremendous difference in my business and the efficiencies in my life. It’s done all the things it was supposed to do, in terms of creating more productivity and so forth. It’s just that technology companies weren’t necessarily the best way to capitalize on that trend.

So let’s get back to emerging markets. How are you capitalizing on that in your investing?

Well, from our perspective, that may be the reason why companies are continuing to deliver such wonderful earnings, despite the fact that we’ve had this incredible slow growth environment here in the US. And so, I think what we’re looking for really is evidence of who’s performing and how. Currently, that’s mostly all US companies.

Multinational US companies in particular?

Many times it’s multinational US companies, but who are their suppliers, and so forth? In other words, in many respects the fact that you do have the opportunity to either get cheap labor overseas or whatever else, it’s not always the best thing for the economy.

I mean, we don’t get involved so much in all the politics or whatever else. What we really try to look at is, given the amount of risk that we’re willing to take, what are the things that are performing well and there are a lot of things that are performing well.

Can you give me one ETF and one mutual fund?

Sure, sure. With respect to what I would say, if I only get to pick one, I’m going to pick a core fund. I’ll take T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth (TRBCX) as a fund that has come up in our rankings and been doing fairly well recently.

In terms of an exchange traded fund, the Spyder Large Cap Growth ETF (IWF).

Is that the Russell Growth?

No, IWO is Russell Growth. IWF is the S&P 500.

And do you own either of these personally or professionally?

I own both personally and professionally.

Related Reading:

  By clicking submit, you agree to our privacy policy & terms of service.

Related Articles on FUNDS