Relative Strength and ETFs

Rather than ring a bearish bell, it is more useful to address the authenticity of renewed interest in foreign assets. Foreign developed equities from Europe to Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) have picked up speed. Even emerging markets are demonstrating marked improvement. This has been true in spite of the manufacturing contraction occurring in Japan; it has been happening in spite of an economic slowdown in China and a Russia-Ukraine turf battle. Indeed, it appears probable that confidence is rising with respect to the price-to-sales (P/S) and price-to-earnings (P/S) on overseas equities – something that is far more difficult to justify stateside.

The RSf data has anecdotal backing as well. An industry consulting firm that regularly surveys endowment and foundation money managers found that they are even more bullish about alternative and foreign investments than U.S. securities. Think hard assets, like those that GreenHaven Continuous Commodity (GCC) purports to represent. Think emerging markets as well. Endowment and foundation money say emerging market stocks should finish 2014 as one of the strongest asset classes.

Vanguard FTSE All-World (VEU) is one of the least expensive vehicles for gaining access to foreign equities. Granted, developed countries in Europe and the Pacific represent the bulk of the portfolio. Nevertheless, one can get his/her feet wet in the emerging markets with roughly 20% exposure in this particular basket. At present, VEU is positioned at a new 52-week high and remains well above key moving averages.