International Markets in Turmoil – Part 2

Summary:

  • The German equity market is in a downtrend with negative impact for Europe
  • The bear market in natural resources continues to pressure Latin American and Asian markets
  • In our opinion, international markets will continue to decline and should be avoided in the near term

In our June blog post we warned about the rise of geopolitical risks and their impact on international markets. In the summer, one of the main concerns was the potential exit of Greece from the Euro Zone. While the exit did not happen, the continued weakness of the Greek equity market (GREK) shows that Greece is not yet in a better shape than before, and it is likely that the question will have to be addressed again in 2016.

grek-100115

Our current concern is the weakness of the German market, which is the largest and strongest economy of Europe. To illustrate the concern, lets take a look at two German bellwether stocks, Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Deutsche Bank (DB).

The chart below shows that the highly publicized “Dieselgate” emissions scandal has caused a more than 50% drop for the Volkswagen stock so far. With litigations just starting up and the recall for the diesel cars still not available, we see the weakness to continue for the near term. The chart of Deutsche Bank is also very bearish with a recent technical breakdown below the support level.

vlkay-100115

db

The chart of the German equity market shows a similar negative pattern:

ewg-100115

Besides the weakness of the German market, Europe has two additional problems that will have to be resolved before we can turn bullish again. The first is the concern about the effectiveness of the quantitative easing program with the ECB starting to hint again at the need for a new round of money printing. The second concern is the economic impact of the flood of immigrants and the political tensions it created in the Euro Zone.

fieux-100115

Our second topic is the impact of the bear market in natural resources, such as oil, on emerging markets that are net exporters of raw materials. The chart of the Fidelity Natural Resources Fund (FNARX) shows that the bear market resumed in late summer and downside volatility is very high:

fnarx-100115

It is not surprising to see that equity markets in Latin America and in Asia are also in a steep decline:

flatx-100115

fseax-100115

Visit FidelitySignal.com for investment strategies involving Fidelity mutual funds.

Advertisements

The Best Fidelity Mutual Funds for 2015

Summary:

  • Economic conditions continue to favor real estate investments
  • Municipal income and mortgage securities can provide an alternate source of income for bond investors
  • Style rotation: value investing is likely to outperform growth stocks in 2015, just as small caps have the potential to outperform large caps
  • Gold has not yet emerged as a good choice for diversification
  • It is too early to invest in the energy sector or in international equities

The slowly improving U.S. economy and low interest rates have created a favorable environment for real estate investments. The Select Construction and Housing Fund (FSHOX) and the Real Estate Income Fund (FRIFX) are two excellent Fidelity funds, which allow investors to participate in this trend. The blue arrow in the top panel of the chart below shows that FSHOX has a positive relative strength compared to the S&P 500 index, because FSHOX has outperformed the S&P 500 index since August of 2014. Similarly, FRIFX has outperformed the benchmark Fidelity Spartan U.S. Bond Index Fund (FBIDX).

fshox

frifx

As the U.S. economy continues to improve, the Fed may start to increase interest rates in late 2015 or early 2016. In a rising interest rate environment bond investors may find it increasingly difficult to identify income funds that do not decline in value. As an example, the Fidelity High Income Fund (SPHIX) has already started to decline:

sphix

Two income funds that can outperform in 2015 are the Fidelity Spartan Municipal Income Fund (FHIGX) and the Fidelity Mortgage Securities Fund (FMSFX). The current yield of FHIGX is 3.54%, while FMSFX yields 2.49%.

fhigx

fmsfx

Style rotation refers to the periodic over and under performance of different investment styles, such as growth vs. value, or large cap vs. small cap. For most of 2014 growth has outperformed value investing, and large caps have outperformed small caps. In 2015, we think that these relative trends can easily reverse. Two Fidelity funds, which can help investors to participate, are the Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX) and the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX):

fdvlx

flpsx

Investing in gold mining stocks can provide an attractive opportunity for portfolio diversification. Of course, the best time to invest in the gold mining sector is when it is not declining. Unfortunately, that is not the case right now. However, should this trend reverse, the Fidelity Select Gold Fund (FSAGX) is an excellent mutual fund for investing in this sector.

fsagx

The history of the stock market shows that the weakest investments in one year can often become the best performing investments a year or two later. However, looking at natural resources and international stocks, the two weakest investments areas in 2014, we think that they likely to continue to decline in early 2015, therefore it is too early to accumulate an investment position.

fnarx

fsenx

fieux

femkx

Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

.

 

Small Cap Stocks are Hit the Hardest as the Market Correction Unfolds; Avoid the Falling Knives; Large Cap Stocks and Biotechs Can Lead the Market when the Next Rally Arrives

Today was a tough day for stock investors. A toxic brew of bad news caused another round of market sell off, but now the volume is increasing, which is definitely not a good sign. The Russell 2000 index, representing small cap stocks, was hit the hardest out of the major U.S. stock indexes. Small cap stocks typically outperform during the expansionary phase of the economic cycle. Consequently, the underperformance of the small cap index versus the large cap S&P 500 index is a worrisome sign.

iwm

In spite of the best efforts by the ECB, increased concern about economic contraction in Europe has caused Eurozone markets to enter a downtrend in July. As the Wall Street adage says, “do not try to catch a falling knife”, we believe that investors are best served to continue to avoid Eurozone investments until the proverbial knife hits the floor. Currently, no floor is in sight.

fieux

Crude oil and other commodities tend to be priced in dollar terms, so as the dollar rallied against all major currencies starting in July, stocks in the energy sector to sell off. The sell off is also exacerbated by concerns about a possible world-wide economic weakness. We will continue to watch the relative strength of the energy sector compared to the S&P 500 index to look for a turn-around that may be similar to what we have seen in February.

fsesx

On the bright side, the bull market is still intact for large cap stocks as investors seek out the safety of blue chip companies. As we reported earlier (see article), a rotation of capital is under way into large cap stocks.

flgex

Biotechnology is another area of the stock market that is still holding up. While investing in the biotech sector is appropriate only for aggressive investors, tracking this sector can give us clues about the ability of the stock market to rebound from the correction.

fbiox

 

View investment strategies at FidelitySignal.com

.