Romantic Brazil…

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HOME TO THE OLYMPICS, RAMPANT CORRUPTION, A RECESSION & MAYBE THE BEST OPPORTUNITY THIS YEAR

The Olympic Games are close. Brazil and the rest of the world are getting excited. The country has poured billions of dollars into getting ready. It’s sure to be a beautiful event. And, seemingly from Mount Olympus, a lightning bolt has struck Brazilian politics and economics.

They’re experiencing a 5-quarter recession…so far. The government is so crooked that 6 of 10 Congress members are facing corruption charges. The stock market is in the dumps.

SEEING THROUGH THE SMOKE

My favorite investing quote and strategy is to “buy when there’s blood in the street.” Very graphic but very helpful. We want opportunities that are cheap and beat-up. We want discounted assets.

The way I look at Brazil is the country is trading at 2005 prices. At that time, their economy was at about $882 billion. The 2016 estimate is for them to hit $1.53 trillion. That’s an increase of 73 percent! We’re buying a much bigger economy at half the price….

PLAYING THIS OLYMPIC-SIZED TRAGEDY

The largest ETF for Brazilian stocks is the iShares MSCI Brazil Fund ($28.15; symbol: EWZ). It has a 12-month yield of 3.3 percent and a low expense of 0.62 percent per year. The fund has over 60 different investments and over $3 billion in assets.

A warning: the top two stocks make up over 20 percent of the portfolio. So it’s both a concentrated and diverse fund. Yep. Sounds strange but they’ve achieved it. This can be good if you want exposure to Brazil and you have faith in these two companies.

The largest is Itau Unibanco. According to Wikipedia, it’s “the largest financial conglomerate in the Southern Hemisphere.” That’s usually a great way to get exposure to an economy. Banks lend the growth money, profit from upswings and are a good representation of the overall market. Buying a bank is like buying the lifeblood of a nation.

The second-largest holding is Ambev SA. They’re based in Sao Paulo and controlled by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This parent company is the maker of Budweiser, Corona, Stella Artois and over 200 brands. It’s also the world’s largest brewer.

These two concentrated positions look pretty stable and may juice-up the portfolio volatility. Both upward and downward. Yet the downward movement may have largely already happened.

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How To Profit From Davos, 2016, Part 2

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Recently at The World Economic Forum in Davos, the CEO of PayPal said you can “have the power of a bank branch in the palm of your hand.” I thought that was pretty amazing, if true, and set out to figure out if he was really accurate.

Just poring over my memory of recent commercials, I figured if you had a Samsung (SSNLF 1025.oo, in local currency) smartphone and a Wells Fargo (WFC, $48.56) bank account you could, indeed, have “the power of a bank branch” in your mitts. Wow! You can get a check from a customer, take a picture and deposit it; you could transfer money from account to account and then back again; you could “withdraw” at a store, using your smartphone payment or shop from your phone; you could check balances and transactions, all with an app! This is amazing technology. Unheard of two or three decades ago. Real Star Trek stuff here.

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While Samsung is very tough to buy directly for an American investor (I checked into it for a client and, if that same ol’ memory serves, you would need to be a citizen of some European country to get it done). The next best thing is to buy a U.S.-based mutual fund that holds a large position in Samsung. Does such a fund exist? Sure does.

The iShares MSCI South Korea ETF (EWY, $46.77) holds almost 20% of it’s funds in Samsung Electronics. This would probably be the easiest way to get significant exposure to the stock. As a bonus, an investor would also get diversification, liquidity and over 2% in annual dividend income.

Despite the exciting possibility, despite the source of the idea don’t invest a lot into trends. Rarely does it end well going “all in” following an amazing idea. Maybe for a time but not long-term. Yet these industries and ideas can make investors money.

My point here is that following hot ideas is usually a fun way to play with a small bit of money. For consistent wealth-building, though, you want to stick with the very boring approach of asset allocation, true diversification, buying low and time in the market. Sure, play around with 5% of your money but be ready for any result, good or bad.

Here’s the Bloomberg Davos video that got the juices flowing for this article.

For my popular report “10 Investor Oversights” visit RetireIQ.com, enter your info and mention the name of the report to receive a free copy. Also, if you wrangle a new sign-up to this e-letter I’ll give you a $5 Starbucks card. Just direct ’em to the above website. Thanks.