Global stocks slid, following the biggest drop in Tokyo since 2008, and Treasuries gained amid concern Japan’s biggest earthquake on record will hurt economic growth. The euro rallied as European leaders agreed to expand the region’s rescue fund.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.6 percent to 1,296.39 at 4 p.m. in New York, paring a drop of as much as 1.4 percent as energy shares rebounded. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged 6.2 percent, with about $285 billion in equity value erased from the Japanese market. Ten-year Treasury yields lost 4 basis points to 3.37 percent. Oil reversed losses after dipping below $99 a barrel. The euro rose against 15 of 16 major peers.
Companies that operate nuclear power plants or supply the fuel helped lead stocks lower, with Entergy Corp. down 4.9 percent in New York and Cameco Corp. tumbling 13 percent in Toronto, while natural gas rallied amid speculation that the atomic-energy industry will suffer as Japan works to contain radiation at damaged reactors. Tiffany & Co. and Coach Inc. lost more than 5.2 percent for the biggest declines in the S&P 500 on concern sales of luxury goods in Japan will slow.
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If you’re looking to short Western currencies, one possibility is to short them against emerging-market currencies, such as the Chinese yuan, the Indian rupee, the Brazilian real and the Russian ruble.
India and Brazil are running large government budget deficits, in spite of their amazing booms, and both currencies are highly vulnerable to a sudden monetary tightening or a downturn in the global economy.
China, tightly manages its currency. There is certainly potential for the yuan to rise, provided that China maintains its present policy of allowing fairly free inflows of foreign capital while barring outflows of its own savers’ money.
Canada and Australia are reasonably well-run countries with large commodity exposures. So they should do well as long as the current commodity boom continues.
In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore all have superbly-run economies that are structurally sound.
A currency portfolio that contains those five currencies – the South Korean won, the new Taiwan dollar, the Singapore dollar, the Canadian dollar, and the Australian dollar – could thus be relied upon to maintain its value better than most.
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The U.S. recovery will continue this year, and U.S. stocks will continue to advance, though investors can expect whipsaw trading patterns and must beware of the point when the U.S. Federal Reserve ends the cheap-money mindset that’s fueling the advances, says Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald.
But uncertainty also brings opportunity, and Fitz-Gerald sees tremendous profit potential for those who are willing to remain invested – and who have the courage to make opportune choices. Commodities of all types, so-called “BEE” (Big Emerging Economy) markets and the stocks of companies that derive a major portion of their sales from these fast-growing overseas economies should be on everyone’s investment menu.
And don’t ignore multinational stocks from your own backyard: While it might surprise many investors to discover this, many U.S.-based companies are major players abroad, Fitz-Gerald says.
“I see the markets generally rising until mid-2011, which is when the reality of stimulus spending, the looming budget battle and fiscal follies set in.
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Analysts have been predicting the Internet’s “mobile explosion” for years.
It’s finally happening. And it’s a much bigger blast than anyone anticipated.
Slightly more than a year ago, Gartner Inc. (NYSE: IT) projected that 172 million Web-connected mobile devices would be sold in 2010 – a 45% increase over 2009.
Mobile devices – and M in particular – are a big, big business now.
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