Even though American indices were up on this balmy Friday, markets around the world did not fare as well with European concerns trumping good numbers from emerging market telecom giant América Móvil on many exchanges.
América Móvil (AMX, quote) reported better than expected earnings Friday on the back of a 38% jump in profits. The company also indicated that currency exchange helped bolster profit. AMX pointed to higher smart phone sales with price points for these devices falling as bullish for the companies’ prospects going forward. As we wrote earlier in the week, AMX remains a great, low-beta way to play the emerging market middle class.
Public animosity towards austerity measures across Europe continues to mount. The most recent manifestation of this trend came from Eastern Europe today with the collapse of the Romanian government in the wake of increasing outcries against proposed budgetary measures. Prime Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu had only been in power for two months before having to step down. The leftist Social Liberal Union looks poised to succeed in upcoming elections. Investors looking for opportunities in Europe’s wild, wild East should probably avoid Romania as a result of political instability and structural economic problems, and stick to more stable economies like Poland (PLND, quote).
The Chinese ETF FXI (quote) has underperformed expectations for some time, laments Rapoza. While it is tempting to buy the dips in the name, the author indicates that it is perhaps time to play some Chinese names directly in order to avoid this seemingly perpetual disappointment. Rapoza points his readers to a list compiled by Barclays of names that look to outperform or underperform in the event of a Chinese hard landing. From the outperform list, Tencent (TCEHY, quote) is the standout.
According to a report in Bloomberg, VALE (quote) is extremely concerned with the viability of its $5.9 billion potash initiative in Argentina in the wake of the government’s nationalization of oil firm YPF (quote). Wheatley informs his readers that VALE’s Rio Colorado project in Mendoza province has already been suspended by government officials. Evidently, the Argentinian government’s recent policies have already started to alienate foreign multinationals. VALE is not the only loser out of this delay; Argentina will miss out on much needed jobs and foreign capital.
As the second round election in France’s presidential race draws closer, unpopular incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is desperately trying to secure the vote of France’s far right. Garnering 20% of the first round vote, Marine Le Pen’s Front National is Sarkozy’s only hope of winning the second round against Parti Socialiste candidate Francois Hollande. However, Le Pen seems unwilling to compromise with Sarkozy and support his candidacy, preferring to wait until legislative elections in June to see if her party can pull in a large chunk of seats without diluting her message. Sarkozy has been frantically pandering to the right, but it remains to be seen if this change in tack will result in a change in voter sentiment.