Martin Spring's On Target
Comment of the Day

June 14 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Martin Spring's On Target

My thanks to this veteran strategist for his ever-interesting investment letter. It is sufficiently controversial so that you will most likely find points to agree and also disagree with. Here is a brief sample
"Now is a good time to go against the crowd and take a more positive stance on China," argues Daiwa Securities' Mingchun Sun. Despite continuing very high economic growth, share valuations are among the cheapest.

For years Chinese investors have much preferred real estate to equities. Which is not surprising, as China was the world's top-performing property market from 2008 to last year.

However, residential real estate is now arguably a saturated market, with limited upside potential.

Home ownership is among the highest in the world, while one-fifth of urban families already owning two or more properties. And the government is increasingly negative towards private investment in housing as it seeks to contain speculation.

If families who lost heavily when the stockmarket bubble burst in 2007 recover their confidence in equity investment, there is huge potential.

Chinese are the world's biggest savers, but park 58 per cent of their money in bank deposits and keep 18 per cent in cash at home.

Less than 20 per cent goes into shares directly and equity funds. US mutual funds have assets roughly the size of GDP; in China the equivalent figure is just 5 per cent.

The government is steadily pushing forward with measures to stimulate equity markets, but the latter continue to drift as they lack a strong catalyst.

That may come from an unexpected quarter - foreign demand.

China offers complete lack of correlation with other Wall Street-led major markets - an attraction for institutional investors seeking to reduce risk through balance in portfolios.

In a world hungry for yield, there are some interesting opportunities in big companies with high, well-covered diviends. And in a world where it is increasingly difficult for companies to achieve earnings growth, the potential in a huge, fast-growing middle-class is an enticing prospect.

David Fuller's view I agree, but we will have to be patient for a while longer.

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