A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.
Bloomberg reports that an easing of foreign investment restrictions has led to an explosion in U.S.-issued exchange-traded funds focusing on Chinese equities. I'm having trouble coming up with a less promising investment idea but my skepticism has little to do with the mid-term outlook for the Chinese economy which is actually quite constructive.
The country's notoriously sketchy corporate accounting issues are one big problem. It's hard enough to confirm the accounting of a single Chinese company, never mind a large basket in an ETF.
Beyond that, the timing is also suspicious. China's economic policy makers are attempting to wean the corporate sector off easy credit. Previously, unprofitable Chinese companies were able to stumble along with money borrowed through wealth management products and government-mandated bank loans. Starved for credit, in many cases companies are looking for foreign investment to make up the difference.
I'm not the only one who thinks investors shouldn't bother with this theme, at least for a while. Two Canadian economics professors, University of Western Ontario's Mike Moffatt and Queen's University's Allan Gregory, jokingly suggested two more promising investment ideas on twitter this morning – Nintendo game collecting and betting on professional wrestling.
"China's $9-trillion untapped market spurs ETF frenzy in U.S" – ROB, Bloomberg
Have commodity prices bottomed? One blogger thinks so. I've never heard of Polemic Pains before but the author uses publicly available sources to argue persuasively that commodity prices have overshot to the downside and are likely headed higher. This would come as welcome news to Canadian investors.
"How do you know when the bottom is in for commodities?" – Polemic Pains
I've written what feels like hundreds of blog posts advocating that Canadian investors should continue to add holdings in U.S. equities, particularly in the health care sector. I still believe this, but a report from the U.S.-based Bespoke Investment Group suggests that, according to technical analysis, the American equity markets are now overbought and at risk of a pause or correction.
"[The S&P 500] is currently more extended versus its 50-day moving average than any other country ETF highlighted. Japan (EWJ) was more overbought last week, but it has pulled back significantly over the last five trading days and is now just a hair above its 50-day. "
Click through to the page for an excellent table summarizing the current state of major global markets.
"U.S. now the Most overbought" – Bespoke Investment Group
Tweet of the Day: "@5_min_macro Shorting EUR/CHF [euro to Swiss franc cross] here feels like the financial market equivalent of poking a wild animal with a stick."
Diversion: This article highlights the incredible progress (by very brave people) being made in medical research. It's an important and topical reminder as the Ebola panic fades in North America.
"How to eradicate a disease" – More Intelligent Life
Follow Scott Barlow on Twitter @SBarlow_ROB