Jive Turkey

News out of Turkey dominated the market headlines on Friday. The Turkish lira currency tumbled sharply against the U.S. dollar, falling by as much as 16% as concerns mounted about the financial health of the world’s 13th largest economy. Makes for interesting headlines, but since I don’t own any Turkish stocks in my portfolio, I’ve got nothing to worry about here, right? Not so fast.

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Talking Turkey

The global headlines were dominated over the weekend by news of a coup attempt by the military in Turkey. Although the coup ultimately failed, the repercussions and fallout effects in what is the 18th largest economy in the world as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) are likely to be felt within the country for some time going forward. As a result, it is worthwhile to determine exactly where investment exposures to Turkey might exist in your portfolio, if at all.

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The Investors That QE Left Behind

Quantitative easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve has certainly been great for the U.S. stock market over the last five years. But that does not necessarily mean that it has been great for everyone. Just as there is no free lunch, the cost for first rescuing the global economy and subsequently inflating asset prices including stocks in a failed attempt to generate sustained economic growth through the ‘wealth effect’ has been borne directly by retirees and those living on fixed incomes that have been forced to take on greater risks with their savings to generate income with interest rates pinned effectively at 0%. And not all investors have benefited equally. For while the U.S. stock investor has certainly been blessed in this sluggish growth world over the last several years, the same cannot be said for those allocated across many other asset classes.

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Financial Crisis Early Warning System

Social unrest is exploding across many parts of the world. In the past week alone we have witnessed scenes of violence erupt in several emerging market countries in different parts of the world. While the unfolding events are important to monitor closely from a geopolitical and humanitarian perspective, it is also important to consider the following – at what point might these events start to have an impact on investment markets including stocks? For if the financial stability of any of these at risk countries starts to crumble, the threat of a global financial contagion could soon follow as the fallout effects have the potential to be the catalyst for the next major market crisis. In monitoring the situation, two key market indicators are readily available to keep investors informed as to whether further action is needed.

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The Crisis That Isn’t (Yet)

The stock market has been an utter horror for investors these past few days. In what has been a most unpleasant interruption to the persistently dreamy trading bliss over the last several months, stocks have actually (gasp) gone down over the last several trading days (oh, the humanity!). But while the recent decline of less than -4% has certainly generated its share of desperate media pleas in search of when the worst will finally be over, this so called crisis isn’t even a crisis (at least not yet), as the signs of broader stress to the underlying financial system are mostly lacking at this stage. Instead, the recent decline may simply be a sign that investors are finally looking for opportunities somewhere other than stocks for a change.

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