Why Just Invest in China, When You Can ‘HyperInvest’? (Reuters)
Even though Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) secured “first-in” status in China years ago, the U.S.-based retailing giant now finds itself in a dogfight to maintain market share. The world’s second and third largest retailers — England’s Tesco Plc. (TSCO.L) and France’s Carrefour (CA.PA) — are also vying for leadership in China’s $81 billion hypermarket sector. Add in Germany’s Metro AG (MEO.DE) and a host of Chinese national firms, and you can see a multinational battle royal brewing. To maintain its lead, Wal-Mart plans to open 100 more stores in China by 2015, giving it a total of 470 locations and 118,000 employees.
Greater Depression Ahead in Europe: One in Four Spaniards Unemployed (YahooFinance.com)
How much more can investors in European stocks take? In the latest round of bad news, Spain reported 25% unemployment for Q312 — a number second only to Greece in sheer size — and it’s only expected to climb as new austerity measures take effect for 2014. The last time this many Spanish workers were adrift, the country suffered under dictator Francisco Franco. On the “glass-is-half-full” side of the equation, both the Spanish government and Europe’s largest bank, Santandar, forecast that 2013 will mark the end of the Spanish recession, with a recovery to follow… Buena suerte (Good Luck) with that.
Earnings Weakness Goes Global, Emerging Market Shares Shrink (Bloomberg)
As disappointing Q3 earnings numbers roll in for Far East giants like Kia Motors Corp. and China Unicom, emerging market shares dipped to six-week lows. Roughly 59% of the companies that make up the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) have trailed estimates for the quarter. The “earnings contagion” is responsible for wiping out months of gains for a number of indices, including: China’s Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), dropping 1.7%; South Korea’s Kospi index, slumping 1.7%; and Taiwan’s Taiex Index (TWSE), giving up 1.8%.