Global investing guru Jim Rogers has said that his incredible success in investing is the result of two basic principles:
1. Buying things that are cheap; and
2. Buying things that are about to see a dynamic change in their favor.
Put those principles together, and you'll succeed as an investor by buying assets that are out of favor -- just before they come back in favor.
Sounds like market timing
Being able to execute these basic principles successfully and repeatedly requires that you either have more information than the stock market at large, or have more intelligently interpreted the information that is available to the stock market at large.
In other words, you probably can't pull off this little trick when it comes to big tech names such as Yahoo!
Rogers has demonstrated, however, that you can pull it off in niches where you can gain an informational advantage over the market.
And that doesn't mean you're practicing market timing -- it just means you've noticed a real-world trend in a niche that the broader market hasn't caught onto yet.
O niche, where art thou?
There's good news in this regard: Thanks to the recent chaos in the financial sector, there are more chances to take advantage of market inefficiencies than ever before (or at least since the bull market of the 1990s). That's because -- bear with me here -- stock market analysts are losing their jobs.
Now, the aim here is not to celebrate others' misfortune. Instead, it's to point out that between last September and the middle of this past May, according to Factset Research, there have been more than 2,200 instances of an analyst dropping coverage of a company.
That means opportunity ... for you
Less coverage means less public information, and less public information means a greater opportunity for you to either get more information than the market, or better interpret the information that is available to the market.
This is particularly true if you're willing to look at investment opportunities that few others have the time or resources to consider.
At Motley Fool Global Gains, we believe that some of today's best opportunities exist a little bit off the beaten track. Say, for example, in rural China -- the best little investing opportunity I know.
See, international investing is becoming more popular, as Americans recognize that they can get greater growth and cheaper prices from international holdings in Brazil, India, China, and elsewhere than they can from U.S. stocks. Thus, the major companies in these major emerging markets -- names like MercadoLibre
That's not true, however, if you get to the less-traveled parts of China -- a niche whose stocks look pretty cheap today and should benefit over the next few years from a dynamic change in their favor.
First, you may not know that rural China has been and will remain the fastest-growing part of China.
Second, you may not know that rural China stands to benefit significantly from government infrastructure projects and social safety net spending.
And third, you may not know that rural China has long been considered the most entrepreneurial part of China (see the research of MIT's Yasheng Huang) and is home to many companies that are poised to take advantage of further economic liberalizations.
Add it all up, and that makes for a very bright future for a niche that few investors are talking about. That gives you the opportunity to follow Jim Rogers' advice and buy cheap assets that are about to see a dynamic change in their favor.
That's what we seek to do over and over again at Motley Fool Global Gains, our global investing newsletter that's devoted to studying investment opportunities around the world. A major part of our investment research involves actually traveling around the world, to meet with companies and get the view from the ground. You can see what we're recommending by clicking here to join Global Gains free for 30 days.
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This article was first published June 18, 2009. It has been updated.
Tim Hanson is co-advisor of Motley Fool Global Gains. He does not own shares of any company mentioned. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread on eBay. MercadoLibre is a Rule Breakers selection. The Fool's disclosure policy recommends that you take a mountain bike off the beaten track.