Money Matters: Firstline Securities Blog

The Weekly Report: A LATAM Focus on VENEZUELA

3 October 2012

Even before Chairman Bernanke’s announcement of ‘unlimited’ or responsive quantitative easing, which sent ‘risk assets’ like stocks and emerging market securities rallying, Latin America has been a very attractive place for investors in both equities and fixed income securities.

Just this quarter, we have seen upgrades for Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Ecuador, while Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia bonds have rallied due to different reasons. It is likely that we will see additional upgrades in Chile and possibly in Colombia in the next 6 months. The region contains some of the world’s largest commodity exporters across metals, energy and agricultural commodities, while also featuring robust, consumer driven internal economies that have seen incomes and social mobility increase substantially in the last decade. Additionally, while the region was a basket case for credit investors for the better part of the last 3 decades, many Latin governments now have some of the most solid fiscal positions in the market — much better than many of the countries which helped rescue them from the brink in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Firstline has been developing expertise in the region’s corporate and sovereign bonds, and constantly monitors and identifies opportunities tied to Latin America across both equities and fixed income. We will explore a number of opportunities on a regular basis through our LatAm Focus blog series.

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In T&T: 44% GAS HIKE

2 October 2012

Super + gas treatment time? Gov’t seeks to enhance competitiveness and revenue stream by phasing out fuel subsidy.

Motorists who use premium gas will be the main persons to feel the pinch from Minister of Finance Larry Howai’s first budget, presented yesterday in the Parliament. Read more…

In the U.S.: U.S. Stock-Index Futures Advance as Europe Concern Eases

2 October 2012

“Sentiment is getting pretty optimistic.” Let’s see how long it lasts this time.

U.S. stock futures advanced, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will post its first back-to-back gains in more than two weeks, as concern about Europe’s debt crisis eased. Read more…

In Europe: European shares bounce back, led by peripheral markets

2 October 2012

Bailout request set to lift markets…trying times I’d say.

European stocks rose around midday on Tuesday, reversing early losses and led by peripheral markets on growing expectation of a near-term bailout request from Spain.

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In T&T: HOWAI’S TEST

1 October 2012

D-Day for Finance Minister…Planning Minister reminds that “growth cannot be achieved without stimulus. “

Austerity versus stimulus, politics versus economics.

Those are the dual balancing acts of the People’s Partnership Budget 2012/2013, titled the “People’s Budget”. Read more…

In the U.S.: U.S. Stock Futures Advance as Concern Over Europe Eases

1 October 2012

“It’s one less thing to worry about.” For now!

U.S. stock futures rose, following the biggest weekly decline since June in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as concern about Europe’s debt crisis eased. Read more…

In Europe: Europe shares climb in technical rally that may be short-lived

1 October 2012

“The dips…do provide an opportunity to buy equities.” Cautious optimism still the mantra.

European shares rebounded from three-week lows on Monday in a technical rally, with price dips and the unsurprising results of a Spanish bank stress test luring investors into the market, but analysts said the bounce was unsustainable. Read more…

In T&T: Govt stifling middle class, says economist

20 September 2012

Hope for ” increased demands on implementing ministers to ensure there is value for money spent.”

Government needs to focus on spending money in ways that will stimulate the middle class in society, economist Indera Sagewan-Alli has said.<%

In the U.S.: Jobless claims fall last week, but trend weak

20 September 2012

Job numbers excite very few, economy “still in a period of slow growth.”

The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits held near two-month highs last week, suggesting some weakening in labor market conditions. Read more…

In Europe: European shares slip on China slowdown, Spain worries

20 September 2012

Modest day of trading ahead as “stimulus… takes a while to kick in.”

European shares fell in thin trade on Thursday as disappointing Chinese manufacturing data weighed on cyclical stocks and euro zone banks continued to retreat on uncertainty about if and when Spain would apply for a bailout. Read more…

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