Emerging markets may be difficult place to invest in today: Marketfield Asset Management
November, 15th 2011
How would you characterise yesterday's selling? Do you think that was routine profit booking because on an average, major US markets and major European markets have appreciated by about 5-7% in last 15 days?
Michael Shaoul: If we look at the US markets, they have been bouncing around in the same range. So I do not think there was anything dramatically wrong with the US market yesterday. You lost 1%, it was really the same 1%, which you gained at the end of last week.
ET Now: The fact that Italy has a new government, Greece has a new government, despite that why do you think Italian bond yields have expanded further?
Michael Shaoul: Because you still have not come up with a credible solution by the ECB and by the rest of Europe's governments. Replacing the Italian government is a start, but what you have at the moment is a lot of selling pressure in the sovereign credit market. You have large institutions who are still trying to carve their positions and you do not have enough buying pressure on the other side. At the same time the most European financial markets have been quite settled in the last two weeks. It is really only the sovereign credit market which has been behaving very badly.
ET Now: The Eurozone yields continue to be on the rise though. Is that an indication that in the near term, we will see pressure on equities because the fundamentals clearly are not even supporting the one-off rallies that you may see?
Michael Shaoul: In the US the equity market outside of a financial sector still looks okay to me. Some of the European markets rallied very strongly in late September and early October and may go down. I still think it is the emerging markets which might surprise people as the most difficult place today.
ET Now: In the near term, what should investors do? Should they park money in US bonds with the assumption that global conditions are choppy, global conditions will remain volatile and for the next three months, it is all about capital preservation, not about capital appreciation?
Michael Shaoul: Outside of a financial sector in the US, you can still sit in the equity market. The technology sector is fine. The retail sector is fine. You are going to have to put up with volatility. The volatility in a range is not so destructive and I do not think that just sitting in fixed income makes sense at this point.
ET Now: Are you a bit surprised that Berkshire Hathway now owns 5%+ in IBM because if I look at the 50-year track record of Berkshire Hathway, they have never ever bought a single technology or hardware company?
Michael Shaoul: I do not think I am surprised. There is a big difference between technology, say, 10 years ago and technology today. IBM now looks like a typical Berkshire company. What I mean by that is it has tremendous and stable cash flow. What you are seeing is Berkshire recognising that technology has become a mature industry and frankly it is making the right call.