BRIC Acronym – Does it Have Any Relevance?

globeAlmost all do-it-yourself investors who are reading about emerging markets would be aware of BRIC acronym. BRIC stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China. This BRIC label clubs four distinct emerging markets into a single entity. Based on this labeling, there are many different mutual funds, closed-end funds, and ETFs. What is ironical is there is no similarity except that they are supposed to be the new growing economies. Each of these countries have different governance structure, different governance policies, different types of economies, different strengths, different financial markets, different values, etc., Even with these differences they are clubbed together and viewed as single entity for investing in emerging markets. This is again one of the follies of Wall Street investment firms (think GS!). To top it off GS and other investment firms seems to have more lenient bent towards China’s market among the BRICs. Is this because these firms get more business in China? I am not sure if there is an open answer to this one. But clubbing all these countries under BRIC acronym does not make sense to me. continue reading rest of the article….

Banking CEOs, You Cannot Change Colors

The declaration of first quarter earnings is over. Like everybody else I was interested in updates from our banks. I was expecting another round huge loses and write downs, and downsizing. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon whether you believe the results, that was not the case. Most of the major banks showed profitability. I have reserved this argument for later. I was intrigued by the comments coming out of the banking CEOs. The CEOs of all major banks, viz., Bank of America, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Well Fargo, BB&T (and may be more) have criticized governments heavy handedness and continued interference in the way these esteemed folks run their banks. This criticism was directed particularly at TARP program in which these banks took money from.

When government instituted the TARP program, these same bank CEOs were happy to take liquid capital to shore up their balance sheet. These CEOs were happy to take practically zero interest money from government. At that point in time, when panic set in (if we can call it?): continue reading rest of the article….

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