Magazine article Newsweek International

The Bulls Are Running

Magazine article Newsweek International

The Bulls Are Running

Article excerpt

Venturing onto the trading floors of the developing nations has never been for the fainthearted. But for anyone with ready cash and a good set of nerves, the ride can be rewarding. Consider this year. After a wintry 2002, stocks and bonds are hot again, and not just on the Dow or the DAX.

Across Latin America, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe, the big boards are bright. China's surging economy has lifted that country's three big bourses by 40 percent since January. Healthier banks and a glowing year-end report from Moody's Investor Service have carried Thailand's benchmark SET to its finest year since pre-contagion 1997. Russia is also on a roll. Nowhere is the bull running harder than in Latin America. Mexico has seen its Bolsa Index climb 28 percent in dollar terms this year. Argentina's Merval, which was an echo chamber for the past few years, is packed and prospering--up 122 percent on the year. The powerful Bovespa of Brazil has risen a staggering 127 percent in dollar prices in 2003.

Much of the credit goes to a healthier global economy, led by a resurgent United States. Sagging world interest rates have also helped, pumping up liquidity and driving the adventuresome to gamble on the higher yields that only emerging-market assets can deliver. Improved prices for developing-world export commodities, especially oil, have also helped pump confidence into markets with a heavy dependence on natural resources.

Surely some of the revival is long overdue. …

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