Motley Fool Money is a one-hour weekly business radio show syndicated to radio stations across America. The latest show features an interview with film critic Nell Minow about the just-released Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps as well as our analysts discussing what some of the week's business news means for investors.
Chris Hill: In a poll conducted with more than 1,400 Bloomberg subscribers, the U.S. now ranks fourth as the preferred place to invest. Brazil is now the No. 1 market followed by China and India. Three months ago in this poll, the U.S. was No. 1. What happened?
Tim Hanson: Well, what happened was that emerging markets started going crazy over the past couple of months and people have been pulling money out of domestic U.S. stocks and putting it into emerging markets. As for what this means for investors, for people listening, I would consider it a contrary indicator. Brazil, India, and China are not by any means what you would call riskless nations.
Seth Jayson: Well let's point out to our listeners who may not realize, Tim is the guy in the room, in the building, who likes these markets the best of all of us.
Hanson: It is true. You have got to be crazy to pay high multiples to get into these markets. We like them because they are volatile and you can be opportunistic, but right now, frankly when we are looking for emerging markets exposure, we are finding better luck with companies like Wal-Mart
James Early: And what is even worse, the U.S. may not be the fourth best place to invest, but Denny's was No. 5. (Laughter.) Now here's the deal; this poll was done three months ago also, and back then the U.S. was still first place, so any poll that moves around that much, I have to be a little suspect of.
Jayson: What is interesting about this to me is that it just shows that people, fads are definitely out there. We talk about it. We say you want to bet on the opposite side of the fad. If you think about it, if you step away from where the money is going or where the hot money has been, you consider the excuses or the criticism of the U.S. is that oh, with this anti-business administration, there is just too much uncertainty here. Well, I don't think we are that anti-business here, but even if you say the Obama administration is somewhat anti-business, the unknowns in a place like Brazil or China or India are much, much greater than they are here.
Hanson: Well incredibly, Petrobras
Jayson: And the reason they did that?
Hanson: The reason they did that is because a couple months ago or last year, they found all this oil and they were supposed to have the rights to develop it and the Brazilian government said, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, we are going to change the rules. We now want you to compensate us for some of that oil," so they had to go do this offering. Why there would be so much demand in a market where they can change the rules like that, it is a little bit ironic.
Early: When your government ownership went from 40% to 48%.
Hanson: Yeah, and the government actually took advantage of this offering to increase their stakes, so if you are an outside Brazil shareholder of Petrobras, I am not sure you should feel so comfortable.
Hill: Regardless of the order, are there countries in your top four that would replace U.S., Brazil, India, China? Are there other markets out there that you would look at that you would rank in the top four ahead of those?
Hanson: One of the markets that I think people aren't looking at that they should be looking harder at, and it is a very risky market, so I am not sure it should really be top four, but some of the Sub-Saharan African countries, and the reason for that is that they have got a lot of natural benefits going for them, including the resources that you see in Latin America, the farmland that is becoming very valuable around the world, but they are really suffering from governance issues, generally speaking. But if you can buy a basket of those, I think that is sort of an interesting opportunity because as we all know, based on this Bloomberg survey, people with Bloomberg terminals are looking hard at India, China, and Brazil. Where they are not looking is Africa, and that makes sort of an opportunity for the investors.
Seth Jayson, James Early, Tim Hanson , and Chris Hill may own stocks discussed during the course of the weekly radio show, which you can listen to on radio stations across America and on iTunes. You can also follow the show on Twitter. To see the stocks they own, follow the links above to view their profiles.
Petrobras (Petroleo Brasileiro) and Coca-Cola are recommendations of Motley Fool Income Investor, and Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Wal-Mart is also an Inside Value pick, and The Motley Fool owns shares of Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.