The 4th time was the charm for mainland Chinese stocks which were rejected from MSCI for the past three years. MSCI announced that domestic Chinese stocks will be included in MSCI's global emerging-market index for the first time -- inclusion will begin in 2018. It is largely a symbolic victory for China as they will finally be included in the popular MSCI indices but with just a 0.7% weighting.
When you go grocery shopping and walk down the cereal aisle, are you overwhelmed by the number of varieties? There are probably too many choices. Today the same situation exists in the stock market. Investors have so many choices that you literally have tens of thousands of alternatives.
In the last 10 years, there has been a dramatic shift away from mutual funds and into exchange traded funds or ETFs. The amount of mutual funds peaked around the year 2000 and has remained pretty constant around 8000 funds. In the meantime, the number of publicly traded stocks has declined steadily and the amount of ETFs has been on the rise. Today the number of funds and ETFs is almost 3x the number of stocks available on US exchanges. If you add them all up, you have roughly 13,000 potential investment options between stocks, ETFs and mutual funds.
During a bull market, it seem like every single year a chart will start circulating comparing the current price action to a terrible period like 2008, 1987 or even 1929. Well today is that time again. Yogi Berra said it best: "It's like déjà vu all over again." Here is the chart that is making its rounds on Wall Street.
I remember hearing about bitcoin for the first time about four years ago when there was news that someone used the digital currency to buy a Tesla Model S for $103,000 which was the equivalent of 91.4 bitcoins. That buyer may have a bit of remorse because if he held on to his digital currency, it would be worth roughly $260k today. This year the cryptocurrency is up 193% and it is up almost 4x in the last year. It has become one of the hottest investments of 2017. Now the question is: should you be a buyer or is it a bubble?
While in Manhattan for meetings recently, I walked past this shelf of Amazon packages being prepared for delivery. While, I admittedly have my fair share of Amazon boxes at home and the office, seeing it at this scale was eye opening. From watching Amazon Fire TV to my kids streaming Amazon Prime cartoons to asking Alexa to check today's weather forecast, Amazon.com, now in its 20th year as a public company, is everywhere.
Last fall, the US Dollar rose after the election and many pundits worried about the effect of the rising dollar on corporate earnings from abroad. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin advocates a strong dollar over the long term which is a policy that has been in place for more than two decades. Here are his thoughts:
Yesterday on Bloomberg, Barry Ritholtz posed the question "The Trump news flow is overwhelming. What should we do?
With over a 1.37 billion people, Chinese spent more than half a trillion dollars eating out in 2016. In a recent report, Dianping Meituan, which offers food-ordering and delivery services, estimates the country spent 3.5 trillion yuan ($507 billion) dining out in 2016. This number eclipses the GDP of Sweden ($496 billion), Belgium ($455 billion), Norway ($387 billion) and many other countries.
Another interesting fact from the report is that the country's favorite meal out is hot pot with roughly 22% market share. For those not familiar with hot pot, it consists of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of a dining table. While the pot is kept simmering, it is basically a do it yourself meal as you cook your favorite meats, seafood, veggies, dumpling and noodles. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce.
Last Wednesday, Convergex's Chief Strategist Nick Colas pondered on this question, "What would US stocks do if President Trump resigned?"
At the recent Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha, vice chairman Charlie Munger said that he thinks that stock market investors may be able to find better investment opportunities in China. He said, "I do think the Chinese stock market is cheaper than the American stock market. And I do think China has a bright future."
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