November 2, 2018

Global Market Comments
November 2, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:

(EDIT), (TMO), (OVAS), (GE), (GLD), (AMZN), (SQ), (VIX), (VXX), (GS), (MSFT), (PIN), (UUP), (XRT), (AMD), (TLT)

September 7, 2018

Global Market Comments
September 7, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(AMZN), (MU), (MSFT), (LRCX), (GOOGL), (TSLA),
(TBT), (EEM), (PIN), (VXX), (VIX), (JNK), (HYG), (AAPL)

August 30, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 30, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(EEM), (EPHE), (PIN), (FXI), (EWZ),

August 24, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 24, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(BIDU), (BABA), (VIX), (EEM), (SPY), (GLD), (GDX), (BITCOIN),
(SQM), (HD), (TBT), (JWN), (AMZN), (USO), (NFLX), (PIN),

August 10, 2018

Global Market Comments
August 10, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(SPY), (TBT), (PIN), (ISRG), (EDIT), (MU), (LRCX), (NVDA),
(FXE), (FXA), (FXY), (BOTZ), (VALE), (TSLA), (AMZN),
(GM), (F), (TSLA), (GOOG), (AAPL)

May 25, 2018

Global Market Comments
May 25, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(TLT), (SPY), (TSLA), (EEM), (USO), (NVDA),
(GILD), (GE), (PIN), (GLD), (XOM), (FCX), (VIX)

April 27, 2018

Global Market Comments
April 27, 2018
Fiat Lux

Featured Trade:
(TLT), (TBT), (GOOGL), (NVDA), (PIN),
(SPY), (C), (AMD), (EEM), (HEDJ)

India is Catching Up With China

When I first visited Calcutta in 1976, more than 800,000 people were sleeping on the sidewalks.

I was hauled everywhere by a very lean, barefoot rickshaw driver, and drinking the water out of a tap was tantamount to committing suicide.

Aggressive population control measures where underway, and strict quotas were in force. Everyone was taking their grandmother in to get sterilized.

Some 38 years later, and the subcontinent is poised to overtake China’s white hot growth rate.
My friends at the International Monetary Fund just put out a report predicting that India will grow by 8.5% this year. While the country’s total GDP is only a quarter of China’s $6 trillion, its growth could exceed that in the Middle Kingdom as early as 2018.

Many hedge funds believe that India will be the top growing major emerging market for the next 25 years, and are positioning themselves accordingly.
India certainly has a lot of catching up to do. According to the World Bank, its per capita income is $3,275, compared to $6,800 in China and $46,400 in the US. This is with the two populations close in size, at 1.3 billion for China and 1.2 billion for India.
But India has a number of advantages that China lacks. To paraphrase hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, you want to aim not where the puck is, but where it’s going to be.

The massive infrastructure projects that have powered much of Chinese growth for the past three decades, such as the Three Gorges Dam, are missing in India. But financing and construction for huge transportation, power generation, water, and pollution control projects are underway.
A large network of private schools is boosting education levels, enabling the country to capitalize on its English language advantage.

When planning the expansion of my own business, I was presented with the choice of hiring a website designer here for $60,000 a year, or in India for $5,000.

That’s why booking a ticket on United Airlines or calling technical support at Dell Computer gets you someone in Bangalore.
India is also a huge winner on the demographic front, with one of the lowest ratios of social service demanding retirees in the world.

Even though it has recently been terminated, China’s 30-year-old ???one child??? policy is going to drive it into a wall in ten years, when the number of retirees starts to outnumber their children.
There is one more issue out there that few are talking about. The reform of the Chinese electoral process at the People’s Congress in 2013 could lead to posturing and political instability, which the markets could find unsettling.

India is the world’s largest democracy, and much of its current prosperity can be traced to wide ranging deregulation and modernization than took place 20 years ago.
I have been a big fan of India for a long time, and not just because they constantly help me fix my computers, make my travel reservations, and tell me how to work my new altimeter watch.

In August, I recommended Tata Motors (TTM), and it has gone up in a straight line since, instantly making it one of my top picks of the year. On the next decent dip take a look at the Indian ETF’s (INP), (PIN), and (EPI).


Better to Own This Pyramid

Than This Pyramid


The Cost of an Aging World

Regular readers of this letter are well aware of my fascination with demographics as a market driver.

They go a long way towards explaining if asset prices are facing a long-term structural headwind or tailwind.

The great thing about the data is that you can get precise, high quality numbers 20, or even 50 years in advance. No matter how hard governments may try, you can?t change the number of people born 20 years ago.

Ignore them at your peril. Those who failed to anticipate the coming retirement of the baby boomer generation in 2006 all found themselves horribly long and wrong in the market crash that followed shortly.

The Moody?s rating agency (MCO) has published a report predicting that the number of ?super aged? countries, those with more than 7% of their population over the age of 65, will increase from three to 13 by 2020, and 34 in 2030.

Currently, only Japan (26.4%) (EWJ), Italy (21.7%) (EWI), and Germany (EWG) are so burdened with that number of old age pensioners. France (EWQ) (18.7%), Switzerland (EWL) (18.2%), and the UK (EWU) (18.1%) are about to join the club.

The implication is that the global demographic dividend the world has enjoyed over the last 40 years is about to turn into a tax, a big one. The consequence will be lower long-term growth, possibly by 0.5%-1.0% less than we are seeing today.

This is what the bond market may already be telling us with its unimaginably subterranean rates for its long term bonds (Japan at -0.13%! Germany at 0.14%! The US at 1.75%!).

Traveling around Europe last summer, I was struck by the number of retirees I ran into. It certainly has taken the bloom off those topless beaches (I once saw one great grandmother with a walker on the beach in Barcelona).

For the list of new entrants to the super aged club, see the table below.

This is all a big deal for long-term investors.

Countries with inverted population pyramids have lots of seniors saving money, spending very little, and drawing hugely on social services.

For example, in China, the number of working age adults per senior plunges from 6 in 2020, to 4.2 in 2030, to only 2.6 by 2050!

Financial assets do very poorly in such a hostile environment. Your money doesn?t want to be anywhere near a country where diaper sales to seniors exceed those to newborns.

You want to bet your money on countries with positive demographic pyramids. They have lots of young people who are eager to work and to spend on growing families, drawing on social services little, if at all.

Fewer seniors to support keeps tax and savings rates low. This is all great for business, and therefore, risk assets.

Be careful not to rely solely on demographics when making your investment decisions. If you did that, you would have sold all your American stocks in 2006, had two great years, but then missed the tripling in markets that followed.

According to my friend, noted demographer Harry S. Dent, Jr., the US will not see a demographic tailwind until 2022.

When building a secure retirement home for yourself, you need to use all the tools in your toolbox, and not rely just on one.

A demographic headwind does not permanently doom a country to investment perdition.

The US is a prime example, where a large number of women joining the labor force, high levels of immigration, later retirement ages, and lower social service payouts all help mitigate a demographic drag.

A hyper accelerating rate of technological innovation also provides a huge cushion.

Percentage of Population over 65

India 2010 PopulationYou Want to Invest in This Pyramid?


Japan Population 2010…Not This One



Lady - Raspberries

The Game Changer in India

So far in 2015 the Indian stock market has handily beaten that of the US, by 10.6% compared to 5.3%.

?The India election result is the biggest development to affect emerging markets over the last 30 years.? That is what retired chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and originator of the ?BRIC? term, Jim O?Neal, told me last week.

Indeed, the stunning news has sent long term country specialists scampering. In my long term strategy lectures I have been titillating listeners for years with predictions that India was about to become the next China.

With half the per capita income of the Middle Kingdom, India was lacking the infrastructure needed to compete in the global marketplace. All that was needed was the trigger.

This is the trigger.

With a new party taking control of the government for the first time in 50 years, the way is now clear to carry out desperately needed sweeping political and economic reforms. At the top of the list is a clean sweep of corruption, long endemic to the subcontinent. I once spent four months traveling around India on the Indian railway system, and the demand for ?bakshish? was ever present.

A reviving and reborn India has massive implications for the global economy, which could see growth accelerate as much at 0.50% a year for the next 30 years. This will be great news for stocks everywhere. It will help offset flagging demand for commodities from China, like coal (KOL), iron ore (BHP), and the base metals (CU).

Demand for oil (USO) grows, as energy starved India is one of the world?s largest importers.

A strengthening Rupee, higher standards of living, and relaxed import duties should give a much needed boost for gold (GLD). India has always been the world?s largest buyer.

The world?s largest democracy certainly delivers the most unusual of elections, a blend of practices from today?.and a thousand years ago. It was carried out over five weeks, and a stunning 541 million voted, out of an eligible 815 million, a turnout of 66.4%. That is far higher than elections seen here in the United States.

Of the 552 members in the Lok Sabha, the lower house (or their House of Representatives), a specific number of seats are reserved for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and women. Gee, I wonder which one of these I would fit in?

Important issues during the campaign included rising prices, the economy, security, and infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water. About 14% of voters cited corruption as the main issue.

Some 12 political parties ran candidates. The winner was Hindu Nationalist Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who led a diverse collection of lesser parties to take an overwhelming majority. For more details on this fascinating election, please click here at

It is still early days for the Bombay stock market, which has already rocketed by a stunning 20% since the election results became obvious last week.

This could be the beginning of a ten-bagger move over coming decades. Managers are hurriedly pawing through stacks of research on the subcontinent they have been ignoring for the past four years, the last time emerging markets peaked.

In the meantime, the action has spilled over into other emerging markets (EEM), their currencies (CEW), and their bonds (ELD), which have all punched through to new highs for the year.

I?ll be knocking out research o specific names when I find them. Until then, use any dip to pick up the Indian ETF?s (INP), (PIN), and (EPI).

PIN 2-23-15

INP 2-23-15

EPI 2-23-15


India Election Results