China's Results Suggest Emerging Markets Are Doing Fine

Want to know how emerging markets are doing? Ask China. They account for 57 percent of Chinese exports, compared to 43 percent for the developed world.

Emerging-market stocks are rising as data released overnight indicates China's emerging-market trading partners bought more in August than they did in the same month last year. Presumably, increased buying from China implies increased consumption in each of these countries, which in turn suggests domestic growth and argues for higher stocks prices.

The magnitude of the gains for these four countries speaks for itself. Also note, these gains helped power the overall figures above forecast, as well as boosting the six-month average.

Meanwhile, emerging markets have gotten clobbered this year: their stock markets are down 7.6 percent compared with a gain of 16.6 percent for the S&P 500. Part of the decline may be related to the possible slowing of the Fed's bond-buying program. Any so-called tapering would help remove excess capital from markets and prompt large U.S. investors to scale back risk-related buying abroad. However, I suspect fundamentals will trump money flow and prolong today's bounce.

One final point for blog readers: valuation. The emerging-market companies that comprise the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) trade at an average 11.7x earnings, compared to 15.3x for the S&P 500. Here are the price-to-earnings ratios (based on 12 month forward estimates) for some of the notable countries within emerging markets: Egypt 8.5x, Hungary 8.0x, India 8.0x, Kenya 8.4x, Russia 6.0x, Ukraine, 3.3x, Vietnam 6.8x.

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