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美股不行了,新兴市场明年会涨到你怀疑人生

Shawn Tully 2018年12月08日

发展中国家的股票市场有波动,但股价便宜。一些因素预示着曾经低谷的新兴市场正在强势回归。

投资圈的意见领袖们共同认为,出现疯狂行情的时代已经到来。五年来,一群大佬们,包括价值投资派的头面人物如杰里米·格兰瑟姆、马克·莫比斯、罗伯特·阿诺特不断发声,称新兴市场的企业股票提供了世界上最罕有的诱惑组合:相较于美国企业股价,它们的价格大大低于价值,再加上货币价格便宜,而且在不断增长的年轻中产劳动者和消费者人口的驱动下,经济增长后劲十足——所有这些因素预示着曾经低谷的新兴市场正在强势回归。

两年前,大佬们的预言成真。新兴市场——共约25个国家,具有人均收入低但持续增长、快速工业化、货币汇率时高时低的特点——的估值真的起飞了。2016年1月底之后的24个月内,作为基准的MSCI新兴市场指数上涨了85%,超过标普500指数31个百分点。尽管增速巨大,新兴市场看来仍然潜力无穷。新兴市场不仅每美元股价收益远高于发达国家,还得到了它们一直缺乏的东西并从中受益——直线上升的乐观情绪和强劲的发展势头。

但这种复兴突然垮掉了。在今年1月26日达到顶峰后,MSCI指数已下跌22%,是标普500跌幅的7倍,下跌原因是各种负面消息,比如中美贸易战的阴霾、土耳其和阿根廷的债务危机。但对于四方寻找低价买入机会的投资者来说,下跌是一种馈赠。这次下探使发展中国家和发达国家间的股市估值差距几乎回到了历史最高水平,使得一向精于投机的指数看上去更有诱惑力了。为共同基金和交易所交易基金提供指数设计和管理服务的Research Affiliates公司的负责人阿诺特告诉《财富》杂志:“新兴市场出现了十年一遇的买入机会。”资产管理巨头GMO的联合创始人格兰瑟姆在一封给客户的信中说,他把一半的家族退休基金放到这里面了。新兴市场投资的先驱者莫比斯今年早些时候刚从富兰克林邓普顿基金退休,他正在筹集超过5亿美元,准备从他所称的,因最近新兴市场的波动而产生的“现象级机会”中谋求收益。

新兴市场提供了一种经典的高风险、高回报的投资机会。按国内生产总值衡量,符合新兴市场标准的国家代表了世界经济的四成产出,但在全球股市价值上只占12%。高增长潜力与这些国家快速地从高度依赖农业和原材料出口,转型到成品生产和服务有关。话虽如此,高增长预期也伴随着更大的波动性,尤其是因政治、货币和其他风险带来的波动。这解释了估值与GDP为何不符,同时这也是资本对新兴市场的投资策略总是趋避不定的原因。

所以,尽管坚持新兴市场投资策略的专家们相信这是大好的买入机会,对普通市民和持怀疑态度的人来说,新兴市场投资感觉像个陷阱。到底孰对孰错?

出于审慎的原则,让我们从可预料的那些风险开始谈起。从中也可以了解到今年出现大抛售的原因,以及为何说对中国、墨西哥和印度等国家下注的投资人,事实上开启了一段有获利前景、同时无疑又跌宕起伏的旅程。导致今年新兴市场股市下跌的两个主要原因:一是美联储调高利率的举措带来的振动波,二是特朗普政府引发的全球贸易紧张局面。这些因素也触发了新兴市场增长率下降。

随之而来的是人们担心类似1997年亚洲债务危机的崩盘事件重演。如果公司有巨量的美元负债,而投资者对这些国家的政府或主要企业的偿付利息能力失去信心,那么资金危机就爆发了。贷方拒绝就债务提供再融资,导致一波企业的倒闭潮。20世纪90年代末的情况就是如此。GMO资管公司的约翰·桑代克说,“人们阅读新闻头条会发现一些国家有严重的货币问题,联想到20年前的金融灾难,他们确实会害怕。”

投资者的焦虑是可以理解的,这样的资金危机在阿根廷和土耳其已经上演。美联储利率的高企引发了美元价值相较于发展中国家货币的飙升。许多新兴市场国家的资本市场并不完善,所以这些国家的政府和公司会举借外债,通常是美元。而由于美元的增值,他们被迫支付更多的本国货币——比如印尼盾或者阿根廷比索——来偿还其美元标值的借款利息。中央银行于是提高本国利率,以防止本国货币贬值加剧,这一举措又会延缓其经济发展,进一步妨碍公司经营和税收收入,而政府却需要这些收入来支付给外国借款人。自2017年年底开始,墨西哥、韩国、俄罗斯、印尼和土耳其都已经提高利率,土耳其的利率在今年从8%提高到24%。这种恶性循环会导致政府信用的下降,所以当其债务的主要部分到期时,海外的银行会要求两位数的利率才会为其贷款提供再融资。可能的结果是:20年前的金融违约和货币贬值再度上演。

另一件头疼事是股市的波动。21世纪初,新兴市场股价随着全球大宗商品价格上涨而蒸蒸日上,因为许多股份落户在资源丰富和净出口的国家。但之后,昂贵的货币价格和石油等原材料价格的下跌,把新兴市场送入了长达五年的熊市。从2011年年初到2016年年初,以美元计价的新兴市场股价下跌了40%。对于美国投资人来说,回报包括两种变量:以当地货币计算的股价起伏轨迹,以及以美元汇率衡量的中国人民币或巴西雷亚尔的实际购买量。汇率的下跌导致了五年的经济下滑,而货币价格的反转又助燃了2016年年初的85%的暴涨,又一轮的货币下跌对于股价从1月高点下跌超20%,占了大概三分之一的因素。

For a chorus of the leading voices in investing, it was the monster rally whose time had come. For about five years, a group of sages, including value-investing boldface names Jeremy Grantham, Mark Mobius, and Rob Arnott, kept pronouncing that shares of companies in emerging markets offered the world’s rarest blend of attractions: deep-discount prices compared with U.S. equities, cheap currencies, and the prospect of robust growth driven by a burgeoning population of youthful middle-class workers and consumers—all factors that long promised a powerful comeback in the beaten-down sector.

Two years ago, their prophecies came true. Valuations in emerging markets—a group of some 25 countries defined by low but growing per capita incomes, rapid industrialization, and zigzagging currencies—took flight. In the 24 months beginning in late January 2016, shares in the benchmark MSCI emerging markets index surged 85%, beating the S&P 500 by 31 percentage points. Despite the sprint, emerging markets looked as if they had plenty of room to run. Not only did they still boast a lot more earnings per dollars paid for equities in the developed world, they also now benefited from what they had long lacked: surging optimism and powerful momentum.

Then the revival suddenly collapsed. After peaking on Jan. 26, the MSCI dropped 22%, seven times the fall in the S&P 500, crushed by negative news about a looming U.S. trade war with China and debt crises in Turkey and Argentina. But for investors rummaging for bargains, the drop is a gift. It has sent the gap in valuations between stocks in developed and developing countries back to near-record levels, making the always-speculative index particularly attractive. As Arnott, chief of Research Affiliates, a firm that designs and manages indexes for mutual funds and ETFs, told Fortune: “Emerging markets are the buy of the decade.” In a letter to clients, Grantham, cofounder of asset-management giant GMO, said he was putting half his family’s retirement funds into the sector. As for Mobius, a pioneer of emerging-markets investing who retired earlier in the year from Franklin Templeton Investments, he’s raising more than $500 million to take advantage of what he calls the “phenomenal opportunity” caused by the recent turmoil in the sector.

Emerging markets offer a classic high-risk, high-reward investment opportunity. The countries that fit the description represent 40% of the world’s economic output as measured by gross domestic product but just 12% of global stock market value. The potential for high growth is associated with countries moving rapidly from heavy dependence on agricultural and raw-materials exports into finished goods manufacturing and services. That said, higher growth prospects come with greater volatility, especially owing to high political, currency, and other risks. This explains the valuation/GDP mismatch, and it’s also why emerging-markets investment strategies fall in and out of favor so frequently.

So while experts pursuing emerging-¬markets investment strategies insist they pre¬sent a buying opportunity, to commonsense civilians and other skeptics, they look and feel like a trap. Who’s right?

For the sake of prudence, let’s start with the considerable risks. These involve understanding this year’s big selloff and acknowledging that by betting on the likes of China, Mexico, and India, investors are embarking on a potentially lucrative but almost certainly bumpy ride. Two principal factors triggered this year’s drop: shock waves from moves by the Federal Reserve Bank that raised interest rates in the U.S. and the rise in global trade tensions stoked by the Trump administration. Those factors, in turn, triggered a slowdown in emerging-market growth rates.

What ensued was fear of a meltdown that could mirror the Asian debt crisis of 1997. A funding crisis occurs when companies borrow heavily in dollars, and investors lose confidence in the ability of national governments or leading corporations to cover the interest payments. The lenders then refuse to refinance the debt, leading to a wave of bankruptcies. That’s what happened in the late 1990s. “People read these headlines about countries with big currency problems, and given the disaster of 20 years ago, they get really scared,” says GMO’s John Thorndike.

Investors can be forgiven their concern, considering that funding crises have already hit Argentina and Turkey. The Fed’s rate hikes caused the U.S. dollar to spike relative to currencies in the developing world. Many of those countries have underdeveloped capital markets, so their governments and companies borrow from abroad, frequently in dollars. As the greenback appreciates, they’re forced to pay a lot more in Indonesian rupiah or Argentine pesos, for example, to meet their dollar-denominated interest payments. Central banks then lift their own rates to prevent their currencies from sliding even more, a move that slows their economies, further curbing the business and tax revenues needed to repay foreign lenders. Since late 2017, Mexico, South Korea, Russia, Indonesia, and Turkey have all raised rates, with Turkey going this year from 8% to 24%. That vicious circle may cause a downgrade in their credit, so as principal payments on their debt come due, overseas banks demand double-digit rates to refinance their loans. The possible upshot: a replay of the defaults and devaluations of 20 years ago.

The other peril is volatility. Emerging-¬market equities flourished in the run-up of global commodities prices for most of the 2000s as many involve resource-rich countries and net exporters. But then pricey currencies and falling prices for oil and other raw materials sent the sector into a five-year bear market. From early 2011 to the start of 2016, equities tumbled 40%, measured in dollars. For U.S. investors, returns comprise two moving parts: the trajectory of stock prices in local currencies and the exchange rate measuring the dollars the Chinese yuan or Brazilian real buys. A drop in exchange rates helped fuel the half-decade decline, a reversal in their currencies’ fortunes fueled the 85% explosion starting in 2016, and another currency drop accounted for around one-third of the 20%-plus market decline from the heights in January.

***

新兴市场看多者对市场风险的评估被极度夸大了。要让市场产生灾难性的螺旋上升局面,一个国家必须面对三种不利因素:巨额外债(通常是美元)、外汇储备的欠缺和贸易赤字。事实上,只有三个国家同时面对这三种困扰:阿根廷、土耳其和印尼。据Research Affiliates的一份分析,这三个国家都有着巨额美元外债,阿根廷和土耳其正面临着巨大的危机。今年阿根廷从国际货币基金组织获得500亿美元的救助,避免了阿根廷比索的崩溃,该国的中央银行将贷款利率调到了65%。土耳其的经济并没有出现自由落体式下跌,但它面临着高通货膨胀和巨额支付赤字。相对强劲的经济增长使得印尼能稳定其印尼盾,并将利率锚在5.75%。

尽管危险程度不及上述三国,但巴西和南非也令人担忧。它们有着中等规模的美元外债,以及迫使他们借美元外债的贸易赤字问题。“他们都亮黄灯了,”Research Affiliates的首席投资官克里斯·布莱特曼说。“但它们同时具有大量的外汇储备。巴西终于从极度萧条中复苏,而南非也在降低利率重启增长。”须知这8个国家和地区构成了82%的MSCI指数:中国、韩国、中国台湾、印度、巴西、南非、墨西哥和俄罗斯。按平均数算,这些国家和地区的美元外债占GDP不到10%。中国和印度的这一数字分别是1%和4%。阿根廷的外债占比高的很,但它被算在“发达”国家行列,并不在MSCI指数内,可作为一个曾经的债务危机受害者,它仍然会让人们产生对比,担心起其他新兴市场。

简单地说,主导了新兴市场指数的国家发生资金危机的威胁很小。“东南亚国家并不依赖美元外债。”Key Private Bank的首席投资官乔治·马特尤说。“他们在20年前已经痛过了,现在所有的新兴市场都被一把巨大的刷子惩罚了一遍。”

更有甚者,即便新兴市场经济放缓,其增速仍超过那些长期面对低增长的成熟经济体。尽管评级下调,国际货币基金组织依然预计发展中国家明年增长4.7%。而发达国家则在走向相反的方向。国际货币基金组织预测工业化国家的GDP增长将从今年的2.4%下降到明年的2.1%。“记住了,美国如今是在经济上升周期的第10年,而新兴市场是在第2年。”提出这一说法的是普信集团的投资组合专家查克·克努德森。而且,新兴市场国家的债务负担,一般低于GDP的50%,比主要经济体的债务负担要轻得多,比如日本(253%)和英国(85%)。新兴市场还占了世界人口的80%。

Research Affiliates和GMO均预测,新兴市场未来的投资回报会比美国股市高得多,尽管存在波动性。两家机构均指出,由于基本数据的算法不公,存在着估值上的巨大差距。他们认为最好的衡量方法,是耶鲁大学的经济学家罗伯特·席勒首创的周期性调整后的价格-收入比,简称CAPE。这一算法使用10年期的经通胀调整的平均收入作为分母,纠正了短期的收入高峰和低谷。如今,标普500的CAPE值是31.1,而新兴市场为12.5。“这意味着新兴市场股价比美国股价便宜60%。”阿诺特说。

Research Associates表示,新兴市场的收入增长率为3.8%,仅比美国高一点点。部分原因是总部设在这些国家的大公司面临着美国和欧洲巨头同样面临的竞争因素。 但新兴市场3.1%的股息收益率远高于美国基准标准普尔500指数所给出的1.9%。(收益率反映股息占价格的百分比。)

那么多新兴市场的股票价格如此便宜,于是诱惑来了。Research Affiliates的布莱特曼说,上涨的估值应该每年增加1%。算上所有的因素,新兴市场股票在未来10年每年能产生约10%的回报。Research Affiliates对美国股市的预测是:2.6%。GMO不那么乐观,但认为每年5.2%的回报是很有可能的,同时对于美国股市,它认为在估值持续萎缩的打击下,将会惨淡经营,让投资者背负平均每年损失3.2%的负担,直到2025年。

这些丰厚的新兴市场股价回报率也是有代价的——那是一张骤升骤降的股价图。据Research Affiliates分析,新兴市场股价的波动性比美国股市高50%。在你持有这些股份的三分之二的时间里,6%左右的波动算是正常。确有不少起伏。GMO的桑代克解释了为什么值得去闯一闯这趟过山车。“便宜最好的一面就是,”他说,“作为一个投资者,你不期待有伟大的事件发生。你只希望许多坏事不要发生。”这一篮子的股票在上涨之前骤跌,这是很有可能的,所以要有长远眼光。当悲观情绪足够高,而价格足够低,那就是扑上去的时候。(财富中文网)

本文的另一个版本刊于2018年12月1日的《财富》杂志,是“2019年投资指南”的一部分。

译者:宣峰

Emerging-market bulls rate the sectors risks to be greatly exaggerated. For a disastrous spiral to take hold, a nation must be battling three negatives: huge foreign (usually dollar) debt, a dearth of foreign reserves, and a trade deficit. In fact, only three countries face the full trio of headwinds: Argentina, Turkey, and Indonesia. According to an analysis by Research Affiliates, all three carry heavy dollar debt, and Argentina and Turkey are grappling with full-on crises. This year it took a $50 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund to arrest the collapse in the Argentine peso, and the country’s central bank has hiked lending rates to 65%. Turkey’s economy isn’t in free fall, but it faces high inflation and a big balance of payment deficits. Relatively strong economic growth has enabled Indonesia to stabilize the rupiah by hiking rates to 5.75%.

Brazil and South Africa also merit concerns, if not as severe as the other three. They have medium-size dollar debt loads and carry trade deficits that force them to borrow dollars. “They’re both flashing yellow,” says Chris Brightman, chief investment officer for Research Affiliates. “But they also have large foreign reserves. And Brazil is finally emerging from a deep recession, while South Africa is lowering rates to restart growth.” It’s important to recognize that eight nations and regions make up 82% of the MSCI index: China, South Korea, Chinese Taiwan, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and Russia. On average, those nations and regions hold the equivalent of less than 10% of GDP in dollar debt. For China and India, the figures are 1% and 4%, respectively. Argentina now rates high enough on “developed” metrics that it’s not in the MSCI index, but as a past debt-crisis sufferer, it still has the potential to stoke investor concerns about other emerging markets.

Put simply, the threat of a funding crisis in the nations that dominate the emerging-market index is minimal. “The Southeast Asian nations have not binged on dollar debt,” says George Mateyo, chief investment officer at Key Private Bank. “They took their pain 20 years ago, and now all of emerging markets have been penalized with a broad brush.”

What’s more, even when emerging-market economies slow, they still grow faster than their grind-it-out, mature-economy counterparts. Despite the downgrade, the IMF still expects developing economies to expand at 4.7% next year. The developed world is heading in the opposite direction. The agency forecasts that GDP expansion in the industrialized world will decline from 2.4% in 2018 to 2.1% next year. “Keep in mind that the U.S. is in the 10th year of an economic up cycle, and emerging markets are in the second year,” notes Chuck Knudsen, a portfolio specialist at T. Rowe Price. Also, their government debt loads, generally averaging less than 50% of GDP, are far less burdensome than those of many major economies, including Japan (253%) and the United Kingdom (85%). And emerging markets hold 80% of the world’s people.

Both Research Affiliates and GMO predict far higher future returns in emerging markets compared with U.S. stocks, despite the volatility. Both point to a gap in valuations that’s unjustified by fundamentals. The best measure, they say, is the cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio, or CAPE, developed by Yale economist Robert Shiller. It uses a 10-year average of inflation-adjusted earnings as the denominator, correcting for temporary peaks and valleys in earnings. Today, the CAPE for the S&P 500 stands at 31.1, vs. 12.5 for emerging markets. “That means emerging-market stocks are 60% cheaper than U.S. stocks,” says Arnott.

Earnings growth of 3.8% in emerging markets is just a bit better than in the U.S., says Research Associates. In part, that’s because big companies headquartered in those countries face competitive factors similar to those of the U.S. and European giants. But dividend yields of 3.1% are well above the 1.9% offered by the U.S. benchmark S&P 500. (Yields reflect dividends as a percentage of prices.)

Then there’s the lure that so many ¬emerging-market stocks are so darn cheap. Rising valuations, says Brightman of Research Affiliates, should add another 1% a year. Add all the components, and emerging-market stocks should return around 10% annually over the next decade. Research Affiliates’ forecast for the U.S.: 2.6%. GMO is less optimistic but believes a 5.2% annual return is probable. Still, it thinks U.S. stocks, hit by a steady contraction in valuations, will fare miserably, saddling investors with average annual losses of 3.2% through 2025.

Those rich emerging-market returns come at a price—a performance chart that careens from sharp spikes to jolting drops. According to Research Affiliates, emerging-market stocks are 50% more volatile than U.S. equities. In two-thirds of all the months you own them, you can expect 6% swings to be normal. That’s a lot of lurching around. Thorndike of GMO explains why braving the roller coaster is worth it. “The great thing about cheap,” he says, “is that as an investor, you don’t need anything great to happen. You just need a lot of bad things not to happen.” It’s possible that this basket of stocks will get worse before it gets better, so you need to take the long view. When pessimism is much too high, and prices are much too low, that’s the perfect time to pounce.

A version of this article appears in the December 1, 2018 issue of Fortune, as part of the “2019 Investor’s Guide.”

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