By Gary Gordon of www.etfexpert.com.
Jim Rogers and Nouriel Roubini. Each has been credited with spectacular powers of foresight.
Writers happily proclaim that Rogers predicted the commodities boom in 1999. Few seem to mention that Rogers failed to see the commodity bust of 2008 that knocked a diversified basket of "stuff" down 50% to 60%.
enthusiasts proudly point to Roubini's 2006 warning of impending financial disaster. Yet Roubini also called the current cyclical bull a "dead-cat bounce" in May. Wrong indeed. He has also spent most of his media opportunities declaring a bubble for every asset -- gold, oil, stock, bond.
This is where it gets interesting ... when two gurus start calling each other to the carpet. Rogers slammed Roubini recently, chastising his guru-in-crime with ... "It's clear that Roubini hasn't done his homework, yet again."
You see, Rogers believes that all commodities will revisit the 2008 highs. He expects gold will get above $2,000 per ounce in the next decade. And he believes emerging-market stock prices are easily justified by the growth taking place in those regions and countries.
Roubini, on the other hand, counters that investors are borrowing the weak U.S. dollar at non-existent interest rates to invest in speculative growth assets. The dollar-funded carry trade... borrowing form one country to investing in higher-yielding or higher appreciating assets elsewhere... is pushing capital into emerging markets. If the dollar surges 15%-20%, he reasons, the sell-off would be catastrophic.
In spite of the "back and forth" between these modern-day warriors, there's actually more near-term agreement than disagreement; that is, neither Rogers nor Roubini sees riskier assets falling anytime soon.
In fact, the head of market research at Roubini Global Economics, Arnab Das, expressed that emerging-market assets are likely to extend their biggest rally in a decade. Das believes that while occasional corrections may occur, a surge in emerging-market asset prices will have many legs because of the world's willingness to borrow U.S. dollars to buy stocks, commodities and foreign currencies.
Rogers agrees. He too sees that the dollar's decline is helping to fuel the worldwide purchase of stocks and commodities. He just doesn't think high prices have anything to do with "bubbles."
So whether you follow Jim Rogers, Nouriel Roubini or neither one of them, which ETFs might benefit from their thinking? Here are a few ideas:
1. If you believe that investors will keep borrowing U.S. dollars to purchase higher-yielding currencies in the emerging market world, there's the
WisdomTree Emerging Currency Fund
. There's also the developed world version of the carry trade in the
PowerShares G-10 Currency Harvest Fund
. At the present time, both benefit from a weakening U.S. dollar.
2. Commodities are priced in U.S. dollars. All other factors remaining equal (e.g., supply, demand, speculation, etc.), the lower the dollar, the more that a given commodity will cost. If you want to benefit from rising commodity prices, there's the
Elements Rogers International Commodity ETN
. There's also the
GreenHaven Continuous Commodity Index Fund
3. Finally, R & R don't seem to have any dispute about emerging stocks going higher. The dispute seems to be in the nature of bubbles, the fundamentals behind asset price justification and the likelihood or non-likelihood of an ugly ending. For now, however, they're both on board for
as well as broad-based exposure in
Vanguard Emerging Markets
Gary A. Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc. He has more than 20 years' experience as a personal coach in money matters, including risk assessment, small business development and investment. Gordon is often asked to consult as an educator. He has taught financial concepts in Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. He also wrote the draft copy for a McGraw-Hill publication, Maverick Investing. Gordon hosts ?In the Money with Gary Gordon? on San Diego's 1700 AM and writes commentary for the International Business Times as well as TheStreet.com.