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The Shanghai Composite Index (SCI) has been rallying and is up 9.3% this year as of Thursday, which is ahead of the Dow Jones Industrial and just below the S&P 500.
However, playing the Chinese capital markets involves excessive political and economic risk. The country is also stalling, but continues to grow well above other global regions, including Europe and the eurozone. My investment advice is that you need to build a well-diversified portfolio that would enable you to play Chinese growth stocks, especially small-cap stocks.
China is the second largest economy in the world and is continuing to roll along at a nice pace in spite of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) slowing to 8.1% in the first quarter, down from 8.9% in the fourth quarter. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the U.S. will grow its GDP by around 2.5% this year, compared to around 8.5% for China.
While the risk is high in trading Chinese stocks, especially of the small-cap variety and for smaller trading accounts given the selling of Chinese reverse merger stocks over the past year, you could also play China via some good exchange-traded funds (ETFs). If you are looking for some Chinese Internet plays, find out which stocks are the most interesting in Surfing China’s Internet for Profits.
In the ETF area, I like the PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China ETF (AMEX/PGJ), which has strong small-cap components.
If you are looking for more of a blue-chip focus, take a look at the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index (NYSE/FXI), which holds the top major companies in China. Holding this fund … Read More
The fact that consumer spending has not tanked in spite of unemployment being at over nine percent and expected to stay around this level through 2012, and continued weakness in housing is encouraging.
We have a likely debt default in Greece, pegged at a whopping 98%. Ireland and Portugal continue to struggle with muted growth and massive debt. Spain may be needing help. Bond yields are rapidly increasing in Europe in line with the risk levels. You can get a whopping 70% yield in Greek bonds, but then the bonds are likely to default. In comparison, the current yield on a U.S. 10-year bond is less than two percent. Germany and France are suffering due to their focus on the poorer nations. Germany is said to have no issues letting Greece default and then dealing with the debt crisis mess after.
I must admit the fact that consumers continue to spend despite any strong or sustained job growth and continued weakness in housing is encouraging. With consumer spending accounting for two-thirds of GDP, retail sales will eventually be stronger when the jobs and housing areas improve, albeit it will likely take over a year.
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