Markaz international products continued to outperform their benchmarks as of the end of July 2009


Markaz announced that its international products continued to outperform their benchmarks as of the end of July 2009.

The Emerging Markets Thematic Fund, which invests in a portfolio of globally diversified equities with a focus on select themes, returned 14.5% year-to-date (YTD). Atlas Diversified Class, which seeks to obtain consistent returns with low volatility by investing in a portfolio of global securities and financial products, returned 11.1% YTD. ETFs Program, which seeks to achieve out-performance of broad market and sector indices by allocating its assets into various Exchange Traded Funds, returned 21.3% YTD, beating its benchmark MSCI World by over 7.8% YTD.

Mr. Gopal Menon, Executive Vice President of International Investments and Investment Advisory said “We have seen a strong recovery in stock markets from the bottom of March 6th in line with what we had been telling our investors since the beginning of the New Year that there were immense opportunities and market anomalies present in the global markets. In addition our view has been that markets would soon anticipate economic recovery and start their ascent. For Q2-09, S&P 500 earnings were expected to be 34% down YOY as per the market consensus. But the results announcements made so far point to only a decline of 14%, thereby supporting the US stock market’s upward momentum. The speed and the magnitude of the recovery in global stock markets have baffled everyone. It is possible that pretty soon we will enter a consolidation mode. This should be viewed as an opportunity to invest further into BRICs and the commodity theme, provided their pace of growth is somewhat checked."

As of 31st July, the broad index S&P 500 is up 9.3% YTD, and up 46% from the low it registered on 6th March 09. Nasdaq is up 25.4% YTD. Emerging markets have surprised everyone with their relentless run since March 09. BRICs on the whole posted 56.5% growth with China up 85%, India 60%, and Brazil 45%. Europe is still ailing but has never-the-less managed to eke out a gain of 12.68%.

Mr. Menon added “We expect the major global equity markets to close on a positive note this year. The weakness of USD and the emerging consumer sentiment across the countries may pave the way for sustained and well deserved market stability. Technical factors like volatility index trading at 2007 averages, LIBOR-OIS spread and 10 year treasury yielding above 3.7% are all pointing towards strength in the US capital markets. Though decoupling is back on the market side, on a day to day movement basis most of the major markets are taking cue from US. After all, stock markets do not follow the economy, it is the opposite.”

Mr. Menon concluded “Going forward, we may consider a strategy of selling USD and buying emerging market currencies and stocks along with a positive bias towards commodities. The appropriate investment vehicle is ETF. However, a lot depends on the development on the economic front in US and China. Market participants should also be aware that recovery is to a large extent factored into the markets.”


Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. "Markaz", with total assets under management of over KD 900 million (USD 3.1 Billion) as of June 30, 2009, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. "Markaz" was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.

Photo Caption: Mr. Gopal Menon, Executive Vice President of International Investments and Investment Advisory, Markaz