Brazil's Market Shows Impressive Relative Strength

by: Babak

We know what the US market is doing, shrugging off every single bit of negative news and floating higher almost effortlessly. But what about the emerging markets?

One of the strongest emerging markets before the recent bear market was Brazil and it has come roaring back with a vengeance. If you think the recent gains, whether a bear market or the real thing, are impressive, then consider Brazil’s gains.

brazil bovespa index compared to SP500 May 2009

Similar to almost all world markets, the Bovespa started the last bull market in late 2002 and went almost non-stop until late May 2008. As a sign of the impressive relative strength, it shrugged off any signs of a top in October 2007 and went sideways as other markets around the world weakened and fell. Then in early May it surged to new highs, to then reverse and form a top.

Using simple Weinstein stage analysis, it was easy to see the trouble signs. But even after such a strong showing the index still fell 60%. It reached its low in October and in the following months, every single low was higher than the previous one.

While the US market struggled, falling lower still in March, Brazil was already trading 19% higher than its October 2008 low. As of today, it has made an astonishing 70% gain from the extreme low of last year.

I don’t know enough about the fundamentals to make a case but I imagine it would refer to the fact that the Brazilian banks were, for the most part, left unscathed by the financial mess that enveloped US and European banks. And also the turbo boost provided by Brazil’s commodity wealth can’t be ignored. They produce everything from soybeans to precious metals.

But all that can be encapsulated in the relative strength of BOVESPA to the S&P 500 index. It has already surpassed the previous high it set in 2008.

There are a few ETFs for the country:

  • WisdomTree Dreyfus Brazilian Real Fund (NYSEARCA:BZF)

As well, there are many ADR’s like:

  • Petrobras (NYSE:PBR)
  • Itau (ITU)
  • Banco Bradesco (NYSE:BBD)
  • Brasil Telecom (NYSE:BRP)
  • Brasil Telecom (BTM)

While continued heady gains are improbable in the short term, a pull back would bring prices back to the 150 day moving average (in red) which is slowly flattening out. This would then provide a platform from which it can realistically challenge the previous highs.