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Friday, February 14, 2014

Mark Mobius' Forever Valentine

News summary by MFWire's editors

Templeton's Mark Mobius loves diamonds, which everyone knows are forever. His undying affection for emerging markets appear to be just as permanent. Even when investors started dumping emerging markets in 2014, Mobius, who oversees more than $50 billion in developing countries, has loudly and actively proclaimed his devotion to his beloved asset class.

On the last day of 2013, the lifelong global markets advocate displayed his optimism to Barron's. Then, during an interview with CNBC in January 2014, hesaid "there's no good reason why this (emerging market blowout) is happening. I believe it will be temporary and we will be able to find buying opportunities along the way."

Right after that, he projected to Bloomberg "we're going to see a lot of overweight positions in the US. So, given the fact that emerging markets are still growing fast, given that they have low debt-to-GDP ratios, given that they have high foreign exchange reserves, we believe that money will be flowing back in again to emerging markets." And he pointed out in MarketWatch "people are overreacting to recent Chinese data, forgetting that growth is still very strong."

A few days later, though, he admitted that there are real problems in some emerging markets, but argued that for them  "to be described as some kind of emerging-market crisis is frankly kind of ridiculous." And most recently, the 77-year-old fund managerdeclared his loyalty on Bloomberg radio, “we are nearing the point where people are beginning to say ‘hey, it looks pretty good now in terms of valuations. We are probably nearing the end of this big rush out of emerging markets.”

These sound like conflicted, slightly desperate love confessions peppered with a bit of sincerity and faith. After all Franklin Templeton has been known for courting international markets for some time.

And there could be more than a little bit of the arranged marriage to all of this. More than half-a-century ago, John Templeton, founding father of TG&H had already started to purchase shares from Europe. Recently, the investment advisor MarketRiders' CEO Mitch Tuchman wrote in Forbes, although the esteemed Mr. Templeton ended up with a lot of bankrupt junk during the World War II, "he quadrupled his money in four years, then really set his mind to work on understanding the foreign opportunity."

And when the international stock picking specialist was acquired by Franklin Resources in 1992, known as Franklin Templeton afterwards, the affection for international market has never changed. 

So, is this a star-crossed love? An arranged marriage going through growing pains? Or just a modern-kind of love? What do you think of Mobius' unchained melody for the emerging markets? 

Edited by: Amy Xie


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