- Emerging markets are poised to lead developed markets on a growth basis for the rest of 2019, according to LPL Research.
- There are positive growth opportunities in various countries from Brazil to India, and in industries such as technology.
- Investors should also consider countries in emerging Europe. Russia was a top performer last year and is up more than 20% year-to-date.
- Read more on Markets Insider.
Investors looking for growth should consider often-overlooked markets outside the US – and even the developed world.
Emerging markets, which include countries such as Brazil, India, and China – as well as an array of others around the globe – are poised for growth as the US economy slows, according to one Wall Street firm.
“We still expect emerging markets to continue to lead developed markets in economic growth, given the challenges in developed markets,” wrote a team of analysts from LPL Research for the firm’s 2019 Midyear Outlook.
Emerging markets have lagged their peers in the developed world for some time as the economic recovery in the US has ramped up and boosted global growth. Now, however, the US economy is sending mixed signals that can be a good sign for emerging markets.
Developed countries outside the US are also dealing with barriers to growth; Brexit in Europe, the yellow vest protests in France, and budget problems in Italy have made emerging markets look increasingly appealing.
Increased urbanisation and a rising middle class has boosted the potential for growth in countries outside of the US, said Rashmi Gupta, a money manager at JPMorgan Chase Bank. One example is India, a long-term overweight in her portfolio. India is a largely domestic economy, Gupta said, and thus tends to move differently from other countries.
In addition, since the country’s election wrapped up in May, Prime Minister Modi has focused on economic growth in the country. “We expect India’s GDP growth to outpace the rest of EM,” wrote the team from LPL Research.
Elsewhere, there are political reforms that could lead to growth such as in Brazil, which is up double-digits today. President Jair Bolsonaro campaigned on pension reform and it has remained a top priority of his in office. The bill’s proposed overhaul of the social security system would leave more money to invest in economic growth, a huge opportunity if it passes, Gupta said.
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A number of Asian countries are also seeing positive earnings growth around technology, one particularly large area where EM countries have benefited because it has allowed them to leapfrog expensive infrastructure spending. A recent note from Lazard Asset Management points out that technology companies now make up nearly 30% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, up from 2.3% in 1995. They are now the biggest industry represented in the index.
Of these technology firms, “some of the newer companies we’re seeing in EM could potentially become global leaders,” said Peter Gillespie, a portfolio manager at Lazard Asset Management, pointing out that there’s been company growth in digital payments, online shopping, education, esports and 5G.
Most technology innovation is coming from China, Korea, Taiwan, and India, Gillespie said. But there are also opportunities to invest outside of Asia in countries such as Russia, Brazil and South Africa.
This is not to say that all EM countries are immune to fears of slowing global growth or are not impacted by trade tensions – many are. However, given the current economic conditions in the US and globally, growth is harder to come by. EM can provide opportunities for growth and some protection from trade war fears if investors play their cards right and consider the entire EM landscape.
For example, Gupta said that emerging Europe is often overlooked, especially Russia. This year, Russian equities are up more than 20%, and it was a top performer in EM last year.
“We talk about emerging markets as one block one asset class but you have to remember that there are many different countries within emerging markets,” Gupta said, with many different policy regimes, and many different drivers of growth.
He added: “I think that for managers it’s one of the richest grounds for generating alpha or excess returns.”
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