The world is in motion, physically, and economically, and politically. Here at home, we’ve just elected a new prime minister, and the U.S. will be going through its election process come November.
As if to further affirm that change is afoot, growth in the investment markets seems to be shifting away from the developing world and back toward the more stalwart economies of Europe, North America, and Asia.
But there are many shifting factors that can affect investment markets — and investment decisions. For example, lower commodity prices, especially oil, may have an impact on the economic growth of oilproducing countries (including Canada).
So, how do we navigate this brave new world? Step one is to make sure your portfolio is calibrated to capitalize on the rich tapestry of global opportunities.
Mutual Fund opportunities abound
In the United States, even the possibility that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2016 isn’t dampening investor enthusiasm. Rather, it’s akin to taking the training wheels off a bike: If the Fed raises rates, it believes the economy can grow without fueling inflation and without intervention.
For the U.K., the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) expects the positive growth established in 2014 to gain pace through to 2016. Among positive indicators are falling unemployment and rising consumer demand.
Meanwhile, the Euro-zone continues to recover from the turmoil in Greece. There is even optimism that the refugee crisis could usher in a sustained period of economic growth. While there are short-term costs in providing immediate necessities, the migrants are generally young, able-bodied, and capable of filling the gaps in the current European labour force.
Even Japan is beginning to see increased traction from its ongoing fiscal stimulus measures including labour market reforms, and higher wages. In addition, ongoing weakness in the yen is positive for exporters.
There’s a fund for that
There are three ways mutual fund investors can gain crucial exposure to these potentialrich economies.
1. Broad-based global equity funds. Broadly diversified global funds give us a way to capitalize on “big picture” prospects for the overall global economy. The fund manager and research team determine the countries, companies, and currencies with best prospects and invest accordingly.
2. Region-specific funds. For investors keen on specific economies, these funds can be a gateway to opportunity. Options range from single-country funds (U.S. growth, for example) to entire regions (such as Europe).
3. Sector-specific funds. Rather than focusing on geography, you might prefer a fund that focuses on a specific industry sector. Choose from funds that concentrate on infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and health care, IT, financial services, agriculture, green/environmental companies and numerous others. All of these funds can help shield you from home country bias and excess exposure to our own commodity-dependent economy.
As with all investments, we’ll want to ensure any new additions to your portfolio dovetail with your existing holdings and are appropriate for your time frame and tolerance for risk.
Larry Kleinmintz, R.H.U., T.O.T., M.D.R.T.
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