Overall, it’s been a wild and mostly unpleasant ride in global markets during the past few weeks. All trades that were money makers so far this year, most notably the “long oil and commodities and short financial stocks,” have unraveled with startling speed during the past two weeks. In addition, the handful of equity markets that had been doing relatively well, such as Brazil and Russia, also seem to have entered sharp downtrends since they peaked in late May. It’s no surprise that you were stopped out of Brazil’s Vivo Participacoes S.A. (VIV), as well as the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) for a loss.
While the long-term bullish case for the Brazilian market remains intact, recent developments in Russia are particularly disturbing. The ejection of the CEO of the Russian oil company TNK and British Petroleum TNK-BP Ltd. from Russia, combined with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s unexpected outburst toward former Global Bull Market Alert holding Mechel (MTL), has left the benchmark RTS index firmly in bear-market territory. The TNK-BP CEO has literally gone into hiding somewhere in Europe to escape the wrath of the Russians. And on Thursday, Mechel, which we had stopped out of the week before last, tumbled 37.6% after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the company has been selling raw materials abroad at half the price it charges domestically and should be investigated.
The Russian government does not lack chutzpah. That hit close to home when the Russian national daily Pravda (“Truth”) recently reprinted an article from my free, weekly e-letter, The Global Guru, re-titling it “Russian Kleptocracy is Nothing But A Myth”.
In fact, the article states exactly the opposite, when I write: “Yes, (‘Russia’) is a kleptocracy and a handful of Western investors and Russian companies have been shafted in a high profile way.” The sheer brazenness of the misquote is typical of today’s Putin government-controlled media. It’s also a reason to treat Russia with greater skepticism than ever before.
P.S. I invite you to join me for the 30th anniversary celebration at The Money Show San Francisco, August 7-10, 2008. Hear from 50+ world-class experts in more than 150 FREE workshops at the San Francisco Marriott, where you will be given every opportunity to refresh your perspective and prepare yourself for the uncertainty that may lie ahead. Meet face-to-face with 150+ investment companies and evaluate the products and software designed to help you improve your market performance. Call 800/970-4355 and mention priority code #009613 or visit The Money Show San Francisco’s Web site to register FREE today!