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  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    @BenFE, my mother stopped shopping at JC Penney (JCP) - mainly because she thinks their prices are now too high w/o the coupons (and she knows all the prices around town) and she doesn't like their new ads - so go figure :) RadioShack was always good for picking up little electronic stuff you needed - I guess until Wal-Mart (WMT) or Target (TGT) opened a store within 15 minutes drive of practically everyone on the planet - or at least in the States....
    Jan 9 12:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    Maybe they should hire Ron Johnson as that would stop the bleeding at JC Penney (JCP) because he clearly has no clue how to sell clothes to women! He has the right experience to know how to sell tech gadgets, but clothes - NOPE!
    Jan 9 12:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    It seems like Berjaya has done that or is doing that in Asia....(Now if only RadioShack USA would do that....)
    Jan 8 09:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    Berjaya isn't interested in reviving the company in the USA or what happens to it and any shareholders (If RSH goes bankrupt in the USA, Berjaya would be a winner as I'm sure they have to remit revenue back to the USA or something as part of the franchising deal). Berjaya would only be interested in the brand making money for them in Asia. I suspect RadioShack will be long gone in the USA and end up working out here in the long term - just like Borders and Kenny Rogers Roasters (which actually has pretty good food, but a bit on the pricey side)
    Jan 7 11:20 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Emerging Markets Save RadioShack? [View article]
    Actually, I think they are going to try to compete on quality etc as comments about RadioShack on various IT forums in Malaysia are to the effect that they won't be the cheapest b/c of their expensive mall locations. It will be hard to compete on price with a Chinese shop owner or his kids who sit in a small shop 12+ hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week, have little labor/management/marke... overhead and source directly from China (perhaps with a few trips with suitcases...). Maybe when they have 100 locations they can compete on price after the brand is more known, but even then it will be hard.

    I would think the Philippines would be the best market for RadioShack in Asia because Filipinos would be the most familiar with the brand since so many have relatives in or have visited the USA. There aren't that many Malaysians who visit or live in the States. They would be more familiar with British or Aussie brands like Harvey Norman.
    Jan 7 11:13 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    VNM does not even have Vinamilk, Trung Nguyen, Highlands Coffee, THP etc. among its top holdings (not sure if they all have listings though). Closed end funds can do a better job of not getting overloaded on certain sectors that predominate in some countries e.g. IF for Indonesia and CH for Chile aren't loaded up on mining or copper stocks but are more into consumer stuff - the more interesting place to be...

    Most Americans probably use discount online brokers now. I can get a quote for the VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund through mine but because its trading in the "grey market" for Americans, I can't buy it through my broker. I guess I would need to either go to a full service broker (that charges an arm and a leg in commissions) or open an account with a broker in Europe to buy it (and fill out even more tax disclosure forms...). Maybe it can also be bought by day traders who trades pink or OTC issues through whatever trading platforms they use (On an unrelated note, I am half Dutch and have traveled all over the Netherlands...)
    Nov 18 01:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    I'd be leery of buying pink sheet listed foreign stocks but maybe if they have a good volume on the pink sheets, they are ok. Unfortunately, the USA's misguided attempts at "financial reform" means there will be fewer and fewer ADRs who want to go through the trouble of a listing on a major US exchange as they will instead list in London or Hong Kong where its easier and make themselves out of reach for most retail American investors who don't want to go through the trouble of investing. Soon we will only get foreign ETFs and funds (and maybe that's what Wall Street also wants...). And you should see all the paper work from the IRS if you have any type of foreign financial account!

    One other issue: I know of a major emerging markets MNC that has a reputation for being "flexible" when it comes to doing business in emerging markets and a concern is that when you have operations / presence in the USA of any kind (as the company I am thinking about does but it has no ADR listing), its the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - especially if some of the execs or board members also carry a US passport. In other words, they worry about being prosecuted for stupid stuff if the US gov't sticks its nose in things as the US gov't likes to do.

    I thought I saw signage on Da Nang projects and maybe I took pics of it (I can send you a link to the pics - again from late 2010) where Vinacapital and other funds were listed as investors or as being involved. They and the other VC funds would all be well managed but the funds also all took a hit a few years ago in the financial crisis. I don't think anyone can be certain of valuations in Vietnam for anything right now.

    With that said and also with what Doi Moi posted on here, the managed closed end funds could be a much better investment than the Vietnam ETF. That could be true with other emerging markets e.g. the Aberdeen Indonesia fund limits exposure to mining and is focused on consumer stocks - a far more interesting reason to invest in Indonesia, especially if you already have mining investments...
    Nov 17 11:44 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Can They Spare A Penny A Click For International Coverage? [View instapost]
    I had mentioned this in a sub-comment above but it seems like part of the equation is getting (or SA getting) major syndication sites Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance on board. The way they butcher the spellings (by shortening the names etc) of foreign stocks and often OTC issues is a problem and there is not exactly agreement on how foreign or OTC tickers should be spelled e.g. a dash or a dot and then the exchange abbreviation at the end or a PK or OB etc. And other than releases from Reuters, often there is little content on these sites about foreign stocks - meaning they probably aren't getting that much traffic right now... And it looks like Motley Fool now has a .UK and .AU site...
    Nov 17 03:10 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    Actually, you did not see bridges "from nowhere to nowhere," you saw the money flowing from the South up to the North! For me, the Da Nang (the city area along the river) and China Beach area was astonishing but I still don't know who they expect to go there... Sure, the old imperial city of Hue, the DMZ and the world heritage sites of Hoi An and My Son are all nearby but its hardly a great place to be in the wet season. No doubt alot of VC fund and bank money has been spent on Da Nang and China Beach...
    Nov 16 11:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can They Spare A Penny A Click For International Coverage? [View instapost]
    Hi Alex, I certainly agree with you but another issue is the syndication on or to Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance. Look up Unilever Indonesia Tbk. (UNVR.JK) on Yahoo! Finance (its an important stock on the Jakarta stock exchange) and what do you see? Just three articles - one dating from last year and no financials or alot of other data posted (I have a friend in Indonesia who trades the local stocks there but he probably does not look on Yahoo! Finance for info - unless there are localized versions of the site). I can't find the Unilever Jakarta listing on Google Finance, just the pinksheet / otc issue for US investors plus the names of foreign stocks are often butchered by both Yahoo! Finance and Google (making it hard to get into the feeds). So getting Yahoo! Finance and Google Finance on board or getting SA to get them on board would be part of it as they area major sources for SA's traffic...

    I have been in SE Asia for several years and would love to look into and write more about Asian stocks as there are alot of interesting listings on the Singapore, HK etc exchanges; Malaysia has had some of the hottest or biggest IPOs this year; and there are investors or stock traders in this part of the world; but if its only going to pay a few pennies or dollars per article, its not going to be worth it unless I decide to go through the trouble of setting up my own blog/newsletter etc...

    However, I think Motley Fool is pushing to cover London listings (which tend to cover Africa) - so maybe Jon should check how they are doing things over there and whether it could work for SA...
    Nov 14 01:08 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can They Spare A Penny A Click For International Coverage? [View instapost]
    Well, I have three articles on here so far regarding Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam (two are editor's picks BUT they did not get into the Yahoo! Finance feed). If I write a fourth article, I will probably guarantee myself at least a (lousy) $100 at the end of the quarter :) Realistically though and while my articles are slowing creeping to the average PVs (they DO get steady traffic...) that a typical (and often more fluffier) article gets on here about a popular stock, there is really nothing more I can write about Vietnam or the PH other than comparing them to other countries.

    Sri Lanka, Mongolia etc? Realistically, what can an American investor (SA's readers) easily buy in these places? Sure, there are several int'l mining stocks operating in Mongolia and I think they are changing their mining laws there - worth an article but then what? Certainly not a weekly piece about the country for SA...

    You would be better off using SA to promote a blog with google adsense and other advertising or a formal newsletter or just promote yourself. E.g. Before I wrote an article here, I was contacted by someone on LinkedIn (really a form email he probably sent to a bunch of people) who was doing research for hedge funds regarding me doing a primary research project where I would get prices and other info from Malaysian companies for construction equipment (I think) coming from China to try and gauge the impact any slowdown globally or here in SE Asia is having on China. I was busy at the time (he was willing to pay ALOT more than what you get for PVs on here) and I was upfront that the exercise would be pointless b/c all he would find out was how much the political party in power in Malaysia is spending to get themselves reelected for a 56th or so year in power - not what the impact any global slowdown is having on China... He clearly did not read my reply b/c he then sent me another form email..... :)

    So clearly there is demand (albeit limited) for in-depth knowledge about frontier markets - just not from most readers of SA who, for the most part, can't invest in these markets unless its through a fund or an ADR....
    Nov 14 09:06 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    They were booted down to the OTC pink sheets as Cavico Corp. (PINK: CAVO) - so you should still be a shareholder (check with your broker). I did not realize a Vietnamese company had gotten on the Nasdaq already - was it through a reverse merger like what many Chinese stocks did? It looks like some of their employees are on LinkedIn...
    Nov 13 06:03 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    They got booted down to the OTC pink sheets as Cavico Corp. (PINK: CAVO) - so you should still be a shareholder (check with your broker). I did not realize a Vietnamese company had gotten on the Nasdaq already - was it through a reverse merger like what many Chinese stocks did? It looks like some of their employees are on LinkedIn...
    Nov 13 12:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    I would add that investors really need to look carefully at ETFs and that closed-end funds may actually be a less risky and better investment than ETFs for emerging markets like Vietnam, certain commodities or any lightly traded sectors considering liquidity, holdings and other issues (the fine fine print....).
    Nov 12 10:53 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apocalypse Now For Investors? A Vietnam Investment Review (And Reality Check) [View article]
    I am not saying that the fund managers are at fault as they try their best to do due diligence and the ones you mentioned are well managed (they have to be in order to have survived for this long) but there is a real limit when it comes to how many investments there are that are of high quality and can be funded. You make a very good point about the VNM though - especially the fact that they don't have big positions in Vinamilk and other well known local consumer brand names...
    Nov 12 10:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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