【英语财经】重新设计新兴市场股指 SMART MONEY New EM indices offer route to economic exposure

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2014-7-2 07:14

小艾摘要: With the US economy settled in a fitful, sluggish recovery, it seems increasingly likely its natural growth rate is lower than in the past.Maybe the twin drags of financial sector deleveraging and an ...
SMART MONEY New EM indices offer route to economic exposure
With the US economy settled in a fitful, sluggish recovery, it seems increasingly likely its natural growth rate is lower than in the past.

Maybe the twin drags of financial sector deleveraging and an ageing population will make US investors do what years of exhorting by their financial advisers failed to achieve: reconsider the domestic bias of their portfolios and look to the developing world.

It is worth pausing, however, to ask: are we investing the right way in overseas markets? The answer may be no.

“Essentially nobody is getting what they think they are investing in,” says Rob Lovelace, manager of the $24bn New World fund at American Funds, and he is right. Traditional emerging markets investing, based on separating companies by country of origin, does not necessarily get at the reasons investors are excited about the developing world growth story.

Rising living standards in China and elsewhere are leading to strong demand for luxury goods and consumer brands, many of which are developed by western companies. Emerging market stock markets, meanwhile, skew heavily to older domestic companies, often heavily regulated, many state owned.

Investors who bought the MSCI China index at inception in 1992 are sitting on a gut-wrenching 48 per cent loss, even though the country’s GDP is up 1,780 per cent. China is an extreme case, skewed by technical factors. But among the 10 largest countries in the MSCI Emerging Markets index, the average correlation of stock market performance to GDP growth is only 0.73, where 1.00 would be perfect correlation, according to a BlackRock.

“If you really want to get at the emerging markets opportunity, it is a strange limitation to only invest in companies that are listed in these countries,” Mr Lovelace says. “I want to be able to invest in the Nestlés of the world. About 40 per cent of Nestlé’s revenue comes from emerging markets.”

Developed market stock markets also suffer mislabelling. An estimated 47 per cent of revenues at S&P 500 companies are generated outside the US. Investors betting on the eurozone recovery are finding a poor proxy in European stock markets, whose companies generate a similar proportion of sales elsewhere.

The solution appears to be a new class of indices that aim to reflect their members’ economic exposure to different regions and countries, rather than where a company has listed its shares or screwed a brass plaque to a door.

MSCI, Russell and Stoxx have all developed regional or country-by-country indices whose members get large proportions of their revenue from a geography. Morningstar is considering launching a similar product. Ultimately there could be exchange traded funds tracking these indices, while active EM managers could use them as benchmarks.

As well as a “does what it says on the tin” justification, investing by economic exposure could open EMs to investors with caps on investing outside their home market, depending on how these new index families are sliced and diced.

Above all, economic exposure indices could damp the volatility of emerging markets investing. EM stock markets tend to get bid up by foreigners during times of euphoria, and swing wildly to the downside when foreign capital threatens to flee, especially if countries have a history of imposing capital controls.

The threat of such volatility appears to be elevated at the moment. EM stock markets are one of the asset classes puffed up on cheap money from western central banks’ quantitative easing programmes.

At the nadir of the EM swoon in February, after the US Federal Reserve began tapering QE, the traditional domestic company-only MSCI Emerging Markets index was down 8.4 per cent from the start of the year. The new economic exposure EM index, which includes multinational companies, was down a more muted 6.6 per cent. MSCI China was down 10.2 per cent in the same period, versus a fall of 5 per cent in MSCI’s Chinese economic exposure index.

As emerging market companies shop around internationally for welcoming stock markets on which to list – as China’s Alibaba has done – and the boundaries between developing and developed markets blur, the attractions of economic exposure investing ought to become more obvious.

There is some distance to go before it can become a reality, however, and the new benchmarks first have to be improved. Index providers are scrabbling to assemble revenue breakdowns from clues scattered across earnings reports and investor relations slideshows.

And for every Nestlé, which gives a revenue figure for its 11 most important countries, there are scores of companies that provide only cursory regional breakdowns, leaving MSCI and others guesstimating the numbers based on relative GDPs.

What is needed is for investors to push for more disclosure from multinational companies. That ought to be in companies’ interests, because it spotlights their EM growth credentials and potentially attracts a new class of shareholder. It is certainly in the interests of investors, who deserve to get something a little closer to what they think they are buying.

美国经济复苏进入了断断续续、节奏迟缓的轨道,其自然增长率低于过往的可能性似乎越来越大。

在金融业去杠杆化和老龄化人口的双重拖累影响下,美国投资者或许会做出理财顾问多年努力劝说无效的举动:重新考虑投资组合中偏高的国内比重,把目光转向发展中世界。

然而,行动之前值得先停下来问一句:我们投资境外市场的方式正确么?对这个问题的答案可能是否定的。

新世界基金(New World fund)是美洲基金(American Funds)旗下基金,规模为240亿美元。该基金经理人罗布?洛夫莱斯(Rob Lovelace)表示:“实际上没人知道自己正把钱投到什么地方。”他说得没错。传统的新兴市场投资方式建立在以总部所在国家划分企业的基础上,不一定能抓住投资者对投资于发展中世界增长故事感到激动的原因。

中国及其他地区不断提升的生活水准,正在导致对奢侈品及消费者品牌的强劲需求,这些品牌有许多是西方企业开发的。与此同时,新兴市场的股市向历史较悠久的国内企业严重倾斜,这些企业往往受到严格监管,许多还由国家控股。

那些1992年从一开始就买入摩根士丹利资本国际(MSCI)中国指数的投资者痛苦地承受着48%的亏损,尽管同期中国的国内生产总值(GDP)增长了17.8倍。中国是一个极端例子,受到一些技术因素的扭曲。不过,根据黑岩(BlackRock)的说法,在MSCI新兴市场指数(MSCI Emerging Markets index)覆盖的10个最大国家中,股市表现与GDP增速的关联度平均只有0.73——1表示完美关联。

洛夫莱斯表示:“如果真的想抓住新兴市场机遇,只把钱投向在这些国家上市的企业是一种很奇怪的限制。我希望能够投资于全世界的雀巢(Nestlé)——雀巢大约40%的营收来自新兴市场。”

发达市场的股市同样存在这种“贴错标签”的问题。标普500(S&P 500)指数成分股企业的营收,估计有47%来自美国以外。那些把赌注押在欧元区复苏上的投资者同样发现,欧洲股市也无法很好地体现欧元区复苏,欧洲上市企业也有类似比例的销售额来自欧洲以外。

解决方法似乎是设立新一类指数,反映其成分股企业对不同地区和国家的经济敞口,而不只是公司在哪里上市,或者在哪里的门上钉了一块黄铜牌匾。

摩根士丹利资本国际、罗素(Russell)和斯托克(Stoxx)都研发了地区性指数或按国家划分的指数,成分股企业的相当大部分营收来自同一个地理区域。而晨星(Morningstar)则在考虑推出类似产品。最终,市场上可能会出现跟踪这些指数的交易所交易基金(ETF),而主动型投资的新兴市场经理人有可能将它们用作基准。

除了“贴对标签”这个理由,基于经济敞口的投资还有可能向境外投资受限的投资者打开新兴市场的大门——取决于这些新指数的具体设计。

最重要的是,经济敞口指数还有可能抑制新兴市场投资的波动性。在市场情绪乐观时期,新兴市场的股市容易被外国投资者推高。而在外国资本有逃离危险时——尤其是相关国家有实行资本管制历史的情况下,新兴市场的股市会急剧下滑。

当前,这种波动性的威胁似乎较高。新兴市场股票目前是被西方央行量化宽松计划催生的廉价资金推高的资产类别之一。

今年2月,在美联储(Fed)开始缩减量化宽松计划之后,新兴市场跌至低谷。当时,只纳入传统国内企业的MSCI新兴市场指数比年初下降了8.4%。而涵盖跨国公司的新版经济敞口新兴市场指数下跌了相对轻度的6.6%。同期MSCI中国指数下跌了10.2%,而MSCI中国经济敞口指数只下跌了5%。

随着新兴市场企业在国际上寻觅欢迎自己上市的股市——就像中国阿里巴巴(Alibaba)所做的那样,随着发展中市场和发达市场的界限变得模糊,基于经济敞口的投资的吸引力应该会变得更为明显。

然而,要使之成为现实还有一段路要走。首先是新的基准必须得到完善。目前,指数提供商费尽心思把通过各种线索分析出来的营收数据综合起来,这些线索散布在盈利报告和投资者关系活动的幻灯片中。

雀巢给出了11个最重要国家的营收数据,但很多公司只提供简要的地区数据,这让MSCI及其他指数提供商只能根据相对GDP估测国别数据。

对于投资者来说,推动跨国公司披露更多信息十分必要。这应该也符合跨国公司的利益,因为这样做会凸显它们的新兴市场增长潜力,有可能吸引新一类股东。这么做当然也符合投资者的利益,对于他们正在买入的资产,他们有资格获得更为密切的了解。

译者/简易

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