Five investments for an inflationary New Year
作者: Scott Cendrowski    时间: 2010年12月31日    来源: 财富中文网
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    Inflation is weighing on the minds of many Americans experiencing a rise in prices from the grocery store to the gas pump. Here's where to park your money if you predict high inflation ahead.


    With the Fed's recent plan to pump another $600 billion into the U.S. economy, a rising chorus of investors is warning of high inflation, even as the Fed tries to allay worries. Earlier this month billionaire investor Jim Rogers called U.S. government inflation data "a sham" and told a Thomson Reuters summit, "Everybody in this room knows prices are going up for everything."

    How does he recommend fighting it? By buying commodities. It's well-worn advice from Rogers but you can't argue that it hasn't been right. Since he predicted a commodities bull market in 1999, the benchmark S&P commodity index has risen 200%. Rogers said this month gold can still rise to $2,000 an ounce and silver can reach its previous high of $50 and go much higher in the next decade.


    The minds at Goldman Sachs are also predicting a bull market for commodities in 2011, a kind of bonus for investors nervous about inflation. Crude oil is at the top of the recommendation list by Goldman's commodities research group. It's the one commodity that has lagged others' run-up in 2010, and Goldman expects a U.S. recovery and China's powering economy to drive prices to an average of $100 a barrel in 2011 and $110 a barrel in 2012.

    Investing in oil exchange-traded-funds can be a dangerous venture for individual investors, so we suggest looking to stable super majors such as Royal Dutch Shell, a 2011 pick by Fortune's Jon Birger. It carries a 5.5% dividend yield, trades at a P/E below its competitors, and as Birger argues, Shell has growth plans that should reward shareholders even if the price of crude doesn't rise.

Chasing yield

    When high inflation reduces the value of a company's future earnings (a dollar earned today won't be worth as much a year from now), its stock price usually falls. But dividend payers are the exception. As the strategists at mutual fund family MFS Investment Management put it in their 2011 outlook letter, "[T]he market says `we don't care or trust earnings derived from inflation,' but the market does not distrust dividends."

    What that means is that high-dividend paying stocks are a boon in high-inflationary times. MFS chief strategist James Swanson recommends low-priced utility and technology companies. He says utilities stand to benefit from a recovery U.S. economy and they payout a steady stream of their income.

International stocks

    High inflation will eat away the value of the dollar, so Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital has recommended swapping U.S. stocks for overseas ones, especially those paying a nice dividend. A collapsing dollar should boost worldwide currencies, helping advance foreign stocks, he says. And as mentioned before, dividends produce reliable income even in inflationary times.

    You're best off trusting a veteran manager to pick overseas stocks, so here are a couple of the best foreign stock-picking mutual funds: Oakmark International, which returned an average 9% a year over the past decade, looks for cheap stocks no matter their size or home country. The Wintergreen Fund, which buys distressed debt and cash-rich companies, is run by well-known value investor David Winters and is up 22% over the past year.

Go Long TIPS

    The TIPS market--Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities -- experienced a first in 2010: yields went negative. Unless you're a financial advisor, you probably missed the news, so here's what it means: investors showed faith that the Fed would prevent deflation. They accepted a negative 5-year yield (today) for the expectation that there will be moderate inflation ahead (and thus create a positive return for the bonds).

    That sounds like good news for the economy. But noted strategist Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates recommends buying protection in the event inflation is not moderate -- if it instead comes in severe bursts. Long-dated TIPS -- 30-year and 40-year bonds--offer yields of 1.5% and 1.7%. It's a puny yield, Arnott admits, but it might just be the insurance investors need if the years ahead are characterized by low interest rates and bouts of inflation.

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