The Chart Seminar
Comment of the Day

November 07 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Chart Seminar

Eoin Treacy's view The format of The Chart Seminar is workshop oriented which means that every one is different because of market circumstances and the depth and experience among delegates. This occasion was no different with people attending from 8 different countries and from as far afield as the USA and Australia.

Gold and precious metals were by far the most popular topics among delegates. US Treasuries were also a major topic of conversation. We talked at length about the Dow/Gold ratio and its implications. The S&P 500, China, India, industrial resources, rare earth metals, fertilisers, major miners, gold shares and oil companies as well as a number of currencies interested delegates. Consumer related shares and leading multinationals offered some of the most consistent trends among the hundreds of charts we examined.

Sometimes it is also interesting to note what was not requested. For example while we looked at a number of energy related charts, no one asked for oil. Likewise, while we talked at length about China and India, they were the only Asian charts requested. While all delegates were interested in the debt of European countries, no one asked to see the equity indices of those same countries. For a seminar held in the UK, it is notable that no one asked for either the FTSE-100 or British Pound.

When we ruminate on these developments, they are not so surprising. We have endured a highly uncertain investment environment over the last few months. US Treasuries and gold outperformed and are notable for the perception that they offer a safe haven. Equity markets, generally, have been notable for their volatility. The wide swings experienced have unnerved investors to such an extent that safety is often preferred to capital appreciation.

The fundamental statistics tables below confirm that equity markets are not expensive by historical standards. Chart action has been constructive over the last month. The fact that no one asked to see these indices suggests investors are not heavily long. Provided they can hold the majority of last month's rally on the next pullback the upside can continue to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Asia remains the centre of global growth. Young people are growing up and hitting the peak consumption years of their lives. At the drinks reception on Friday evening I was asked about my recent trip to China. As part of the conversation I mentioned Hong Kong listed Hengan International. It is the largest producer of sanitary towels and diapers in China. While the former might be a mature market, diapers is a growth sector in China. They have previously been too expensive for normal families but this is changing. The share has been consolidating for the last year but has held its progression higher reaction lows. A sustained move below HK$55 would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside.

A point made by two American delegates was the problem posed in gaining access to some of the instruments discussed in Fullermoney such as Blackrock World Mining Trust. Most large brokers should be able to deal in international shares and funds but we accept that this is sometimes a headache from a filing perspective and the SEC.

Most US resources or materials funds have heavy weightings of energy companies. For example the RS Global Natural Resources Fund has a similar pattern to the Blackrock World Mining Trust but is heavily weighted by energy companies rather than industrial metal miners. If subscribers know of US equivalents of funds holding the three major iron-ore producers BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Vale, I would be happy to add them to the Chart Library.

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