Eagle Eye Opener: Emerging Markets Rise; Fund Manager Shines; New Central Bank to Battle European Debt

Eagle Eye Opener

Emerging Markets Continue Streak… Minus the Volatility (Bloomberg)

Indications from Washington that a fiscal cliff agreement is becoming more likely continued to boost emerging market stocks, sending them to their highest levels since May — while dropping emerging market volatility to its lowest level in eight years. Add to this advance an improving economic picture in both America and China, and that equals good news for investors in developing nations. Both the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) and MSCI World Index (MXW) are up for the year: 13.5% and 14.1%, respectively.

The Clear Leader in Alternative Fund Management for 2012 (Morningstar)

Investors in the mutual fund arena who are looking for more diversification in 2013 have quite a choice ahead. According to Morningstar, there currently are 361 alternative funds, which they define as: “those that do not fit neatly in our traditional equity or fixed-income style boxes- — either because they invest in different asset classes, take long and short positions, or because they are illiquid”. To make choosing an alternative asset fund easier for you, Morningstar selected three managers in this arena for its Alternative Funds Manager of the Year Award. But of the three, one actually doubled the return of the other two: Michael Aronstein from MainStay Marketfield, notched an 11.6% year-to-date return. You may want to keep that name in mind, as you plan for 2013 investments.

Newest Super Power in ‘War on European Debt” (NewEurope)

The creation of the European Central Bank (ECB) may come to be a defining moment in the European Union’s battle against runaway debt – and investors’ ability to return to the troubled continent. The ECB will have direct oversight of the 150 largest “systemic” European financial institutions, but can include any of the 6,000 banks on the continent, if needed. However, this new entity does not enter the fray until March 2014, by such time a number of essential guidelines will need to be in place, including defined authority (for liquidation or recapitalization of problematic banks) and bank guarantee plans. The ECB also will control the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) — the institution that currently holds about 500 billion in euro assets used for bailout funds.

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Even though we have moved another five trading days toward the end of 2012, with only 10 left until we ring in 2013, last week saw the major stock market indices essentially unchanged. While all three closed the week down, the worst offender was the Nasdaq Composite Index.

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