EM bears may end up in scrapbook of ‘really awful’ forecasts
‘In a lot of emerging countries now, the quality of the investment climate is as good as a lot of the developed countries’
After disappointing earnings results from one of China’s biggest tech giants, one index of emerging-market stocks fell into bear territory on Wednesday.
The FTSE Emerging Markets Index of stocks in the developing world fell 2.3%, marking a more than 20% drop since its peak in January.
The selloff of Chinese social-media, mobile-payment and video-game giant Tencent helped push the index into bear territory, after months of trade-war fears and rising US interest rates have weighed on sentiment.
But one billionaire investor, David Booth, whose investment firm has vastly over-performed the Morningstar industry benchmark, told Bloomberg that today’s hyperbolically pessimistic forecasts of emerging markets are missing the mark.
“Over the years, [Booth’s colleague Wes Wellington] saved magazine articles where people made forecasts and the ones that turned out to be really awful he highlights,” Booth said. The doomsayers who are worried about emerging markets today will likely end up in that scrapbook, he suggested.
“The global economy seems to be doing pretty well, give or take a bit. That’s always a positive impact. So I think these countries win or lose depending on that. If the global economy does well, they do very well and if the global economy does poorly, they typically do very, very poorly. Although during our financial crisis, emerging markets held up pretty well,” Booth noted.
“What’s happened to emerging markets over the last couple of decades is they’ve kind of wised up and realized if they want to attract capital, they better have better trading practices, shareholder rights have to mean something and I would say in a lot of emerging countries now, the quality of the investment climate is as good as a lot of the developed countries.”
As far as the trade war is concerned, Booth said, “We’re nowhere close to being there right now…. Everybody’s doing a little dance move back and forth.”