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By Jason Stipp | 05-18-2010 04:49 PM

Emerging Markets Not Overvalued Yet

The EU's austerity measures won't necessarily be as negative to the global markets as widely believed, says Leuthold Group director of research Doug Ramsey.

Jason Stipp: Doug, a Morningstar analyst who covers some of the Leuthold funds had mentioned that the portfolios had taken an emerging markets tilt. I'm wondering your thoughts on what was behind your move there, and some of the austerity measures that we're starting to hear about, that some of the developed countries are going to have to take in light of all of the stimulus that they have done and all of the government intervention.

There could be some concern that we might not be as big of a market for the emerging markets anymore. Is there any concern about emerging markets maybe not living up to expectations? And also, what was behind that tilt in some of the portfolios toward emerging markets?

Doug Ramsey: The thinking is just to attach ourselves to higher real GDP growth on a longer-term basis, at valuations--at the time we put the position on--that were very cheap. I still think emerging market valuations are, maybe within a broad fair value zone, they're certainly not overvalued yet.

In terms of exposure to a weaker eurozone, certainly, that's a concern, but I'm not sure that the austerity measures necessarily will be as negative as widely believed. The extent that the government belt-tightening forces those previously employed in the government sector to engage in more free market endeavors, starting small businesses which have kind of been the engine of job growth in the U.S. over the last 15-20 years.

I'm not sure you can necessarily look at the decline in government spending and just straight deduct it from GDP. There could be positive free market effects down the road from less onerous government involvement.

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