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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Notes from the USA (Oct 2011) - a guest post

The Eurozone debt problems have been hanging like the proverbial sword of Damocles over global stock markets. Any deal eventually worked out by Eurozone leaders is likely to be a temporary relief for a deep-rooted malady.

In this month’s guest post, KKP chalks out a plan on how investors can benefit from the turmoil in global stock markets.


Déjàvu All Over Again?

There are so many variables in the market including earnings, recessions, financing, trade imbalances, debt to GDP ratio and many others. A lot of these variables are focus elements in the media and weigh on our minds and portfolios, but US took the lime-light in 2008-09 and now Europe is about to take that seat!

So, what are these ‘economic bombs’:

  1. Greece, and the in the bigger picture, PIIGS (latest group of countries in trouble
  2. Recapitalization of Debt in Europe (and the valuation of each country’s bonds/rating)
  3. Flexibility and affordability of EFSF (needs are far beyond EFSF capabilities)
  4. ‘United we stand’ mentality amongst the EU nations (Germany, France, UK and others are not of the same opinion)

In the reality that ECRI (Laxman Achutan’s indicator) is painting, the USA is heading for a recession of sizable proportions. The time frame has not been specified, although many speculate six months. This means that USA will not be in any position to help Europe with trade balances or with any QE packages if they need more than what they can afford.

My personal view is that the US market is behaving as the “least ugly” and hence pushing upward. Think about the “least ugly vs. ugly vs. most ugly” concept and things will come to perspective. This push is really a total suckers rally with very low volumes on the Nasdaq and S&P500. None the less, it is still a rally and one where US investors should be cashing out of the equity positions, slowly but methodically, and yet more importantly without fail.

Stocks are dramatically over-valued based on the underlying business trade going on (in the US). Any gains are in complete defiance of the many identified headwinds that will show its mighty strength soon. Sales to and within US corporations are weak at best, but the comparisons made to last year make it look better.

Hence, it is going to get very unpleasant and possibly catastrophic at the first sign that EU cannot afford the outcome of one or more of PIIGS defaulting on their debts. If the sovereign debt crisis results in anything less than a deep and prolonged global recession, there are chances (albeit a low probability) that this rally will continue for a short time. We will see a lot of investors get sucked into the rally and feel very lonely at the top, when the correction resumes at 3 times the speed (typical bear move vs. bull moves of US markets) of the slow move up that we are seeing.

BRICS will feel the pinch for a while (corrective), but the only positive view of all this is that we will be able to see a US$ rally, and therefore a gold/silver correction. As with the current softness in gold/silver that I had predicted on ISG and IIF investor forums a few weeks ago, I think we will get a slightly lower price from the current levels (to the next support levels), and that will definitely be the last hurrah based on the current state of US$ and Euro. Resumption in the gold and silver rally (new money as a lot of people call it), will happen as Euro falters, and the focus returns on US issues.

Bottom line, keep your powder dry to buy at lower levels, and, from those purchases in 2012-13, we will get our eventual high of 2015-16 (8 year cycle) once all of this settles down. Buying at these deep corrective levels, building a solidly balanced portfolio will be the right thing to do for serious investors (not traders), and we will also have a good amount of gold and silver to show in our portfolios between now and the eventual high of 2015-16 (as predicted by Vivek Patil of ICICI).

(Note: At the time of posting this, Eurozone leaders seem to have worked out an emergency deal to resolve the region’s debt crisis. That may provide a boost to global stock markets.)


KKP (Kiran Patel) is a long time investor in the US, investing in US, Indian and Chinese markets for the last 25 years. Investing is a passion, and most recently he has ventured into real estate in the US and also a bit in India. Running user groups, teaching kids at local high school, moderating a group in the US and running Investment Clubs are his current hobbies. He also works full time for a Fortune 100 corporation.

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