Yet I've not said it nearly as forcefully as Swiss banker Dr. Konrad Hummler. Here's what he wrote in his recent Wegelin Investment Commentary: "It's time to take advantage of the recovery of the U.S. dollar to get one's currency diversification in order."
Read between the lines. He's telling you the dollar is going down . . . hard.
But don't just take my -- or Dr. Hummler's -- word for it
But we're not the only ones giving such advice. If you've been paying attention, then you know that Warren Buffett came out against the dollar in an August New York Times editorial.
And Hummler, in his commentary, points out two other investing luminaries who have taken high-profile stands against the dollar:
- "Bill Gross of Pacific Investment Management Co. (PIMCO), which manages the biggest bond fund in the world, advises investors to sell dollar investments 'before the central banks and sovereign wealth funds do.'"
- "[C]ommodities specialist Jim Rogers . . . announces his new favorite currency -- the Chinese yuan."
Now, you can heed these words of warning, or you can stick to your U.S. investing guns. But allow me to suggest that the latter is an irrational position.
After all, there's limited downside to diversifying into great companies that do business outside of the United States. There is, however, significant downside to investing in nothing but dollar-denominated investments.
It'd be crazy to stash your entire life's savings in one company. It's just as crazy to stash your entire life's savings in one currency.
But there's opportunity in the meantime
Despite the dollar's precarious, debt-laden position, the currency is in a pretty good place relative to other world currencies -- thanks to investors having abandoned emerging markets for perceived financial safe havens during the recent financial crisis.
In other words, should you opt to sell some of your dollar-denominated investments (like U.S. stocks) and buy investments that are denominated in Chinese yuan, Brazilian real, South African rand, and so on and so forth (like foreign stocks), you have stronger purchasing power today than you'll likely have in 6 or 12 months.
In other words, this is a temporary opportunity. But there's still time to take advantage.
Have a look at this table
To make this simple, I've put together a quick chart of popular U.S. investments and their foreign counterparts -- all of which are recommended by Motley Fool Global Gains and which offer similar advantages with significantly more foreign currency exposure.
If you own...
You should look at...
Altria (NYSE: MO )
Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM )
Telkom Indonesia (NYSE: TLK )
Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN )
CNOOC (NYSE: CEO )
These are all solid companies with somewhat similar profiles -- because what makes a good company outside of the United States isn't at all different from what makes a good company inside the United States.
Altria and Philip Morris, for example, both sell a top-notch brand, pay a hefty dividend, and generate significant recurring cash flows. Furthermore, because foreign economies are smaller than the U.S. economy, you'll often find that in a sector like telecom, you can find a company with far more market share than anything you'd find in the U.S. (which is another good thing).
So, again, don't change your approach when you go searching for stocks abroad -- simply change your purview.
At the end of the day, however, the most important point is that the stocks on the right will make sure that your life's savings aren't 100% aligned with the health of the dollar. Konrad Hummler, Warren Buffett, Bill Gross, Jim Rogers, and I all think that's a very smart move.
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Tim Hanson is co-advisor of Motley Fool Global Gains. He owns shares of Philip Morris International. Philip Morris, Telkom Indonesia, and CNOOC are all market-beating Motley Fool Global Gains recommendations. Telekom Indonesia is also an Income Investor choice. Enter the Fool's disclosure policy.