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Mobius Says ‘Consumers Are Back’ as U.S. Shopping Drives Stocks

Templeton Asset Management's Mark Mobius
Mark Mobius, chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Rising confidence among U.S. consumers will help drive global economic growth and spur a “secular bull market” in developing-nation stocks, investor Mark Mobius said.

“The consumers are back,” Mobius, who oversees about $34 billion as executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, said in a phone interview today. “There’s still an incredible amount of economic activity taking place, more in emerging markets, but it’s also true in the U.S.”

The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer sentiment rose in November to the highest level in five months, while figures from ADP Employer Services today showed companies boosted payrolls by more than economists’ estimated ahead of the holiday-shopping season. A Brazilian gauge of consumer confidence jumped to a record last month. Companies that sell discretionary consumer goods have led gains in global equities this year, according to MSCI Inc. indexes.

“The airports are packed with people travelling and shopping,” said Mobius, who spoke after reaching Hong Kong from Dubai. “You see that everywhere you travel.”

The Conference Board’s sentiment index increased to 54.1, exceeding the median forecast of 53 in a Bloomberg News survey, figures from the New York-based research group showed yesterday. Companies in the U.S. boosted payrolls by 93,000 in November, the most since November 2007 and propelled by increased hiring at small businesses, ADP Employer Services said today.

In Brazil, the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s seasonally adjusted consumer-confidence index rose to 125.4 in November, highest since at least 2005, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The MSCI All-Country World Consumer Discretionary Index has climbed 21 percent this year, compared with a 5.2 percent gain in MSCI’s gauge of global shares.

“I never believed in a double dip” recession, Mobius said. “It’s just not in the cards.”

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