The biggest financial threat that most investors face is the effect of inflation on purchasing power. Yet lately, most signs of inflation have just about disappeared. Is the threat of inflation finally behind us, or are investors ignoring inflation to their peril at the worst possible moment?
Why inflation matters
Millions of conservative investors happily put their money in low-yielding bank accounts and fixed-income securities, secure in the belief that they’re investing safely. Yet the apparent stability in the nominal value of their investments hides the fact that their money won’t be able to buy nearly as much in goods and services in the future as it did in the past.
In recent years, though, investors have discounted the potential impact of inflation on their portfolios. Consider these facts:
Gold is the traditional safe-haven investment for those who believe that inflation will take away the purchasing power of paper currency. Yet the plunge in gold prices has led to a mass exodus of investor interest in gold, with the popular SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEMKT: GLD ) losing billions of dollars not just due to price declines but also as investors have taken money out of the ETF entirely. Inflation-indexed bonds like the Treasury’s TIPS have climbed so far in price that their real inflation-adjusted yields are negative, even for bonds that don’t mature for another 20 years. That’s been excellent news for existing investors in iShares Barclays TIPS Bond (NYSEMKT: TIP ) and similar inflation-indexed bond investments, but it presents no inflation protection for those considering purchases now. The sole fly in the inflation ointment has come from energy prices, with gasoline and heating-oil prices having remained stubbornly high despite plentiful domestic production from unconventional plays as refiners Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX ) , Valero (NYSE: VLO ) , and others have greatly boosted their exports of refined products rather than letting Americans reap the benefits of high supply. Yet even the oil market has seen international spreads narrow, and gasoline prices have finally started to come down modestly, providing further downward pressure on inflation.
Based on the conventional understanding of inflation, you’d think that all these signs of its demise were a good thing. The truth is far less clear.
Top India Stocks For 2015: Stewart Information Services Corporation(STC)
Stewart Information Services Corporation provides title insurance and related information services required for settlement by the real estate and mortgage industries. It operates in two segments, Title Insurance-Related Services and Real Estate Information. The Title Insurance-Related Services segment offers services that include searching for and examining documents, such as deeds, mortgages, wills, divorce decrees, court judgments, liens, paving assessments, and tax records, as well as provides titles insurance for residential and commercial properties, undeveloped acreage, farms, ranches, and water rights. This segment serves attorneys, builders, developers, home buyers and home sellers, lenders, and real estate brokers. The Real Estate Information segment offers products and services, which primarily include lender services, title technology, foreign and domestic government services, mapping, title information, Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 tax-deferred property e xchanges, pre-employment services, and online filing and transaction management. Its customers include mortgage lenders and servicers, mortgage brokers, mortgage investors, government entities, commercial and residential real estate agents, land developers, builders, title insurance agencies, and others interested in obtaining property information, as well as accountants, attorneys, investors, and employers. The company has operations primarily in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, central Europe, Mexico, central America, and Australia. Stewart Information Services Corporation was founded in 1893 and is based in Houston, Texas.
- [By James Fink]
My housing pick is Houston-based Stewart Information Services (STC), a 120-year-old real estate business founded in 1893, that is still owned and managed by the founding family.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Tower Group has dropped 12% to $3.88 today at 11:39 a.m., while Stewart Information Services (STC) has dipped 0.1% to $31.16, the Navigators Group (NAVG) has fallen 1.4% to $54.78 and HCI Group (HCI) has gained 1% to $38.16.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Tower Group has dropped 40% to $4.43 today, and some other small insurers are also getting dinged this morning. HCI Group (HCI) has fallen 1.8% to $39.36, Stewart Information Services (STC) has declined 0.7% to $31.36 and the Navigators Group (NAVG) has ticked down 0.4% to $56.10.
Top India Stocks For 2015: Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd(RDY)
Dr. Reddy?s Laboratories Limited, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a pharmaceutical company. It produces finished dosage forms, active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates, and biotechnology products. The company also conducts research in the areas of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, inflammation, and bacterial infection. In addition, it involves in the contract manufacture generic prescription and over-the-counter products for branded and generic companies in the United States. The company primarily focuses on therapeutic categories of cardiovascular, diabetes management, gastro-intestinal, and pain management. It markets its products in India, the United States, Europe, and the Russian Federation. The company has a co-development and commercialization agreement with Rheoscience A/S for the development and commercialization of Balaglitazone/DRF 2593, a partial PPAR-gamma agonist for the treatment of type 2 diabetes; an agreement with ClinTec Internatio nal for the development of an anti-cancer compound, DRF 1042; collaboration with the National Cancer Institute in Maryland; and an agreement with Argenta Discovery Limited for the joint development and commercialization of a novel approach to the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also has an agreement with 7TM Pharma for drug discovery collaboration on selected drug targets; and an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline plc to develop and market pharmaceuticals for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, oncology, gastroenterology, and pain management. Dr. Reddy?s Laboratories Limited was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Hyderabad, India.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (NYSE: RDY) is expected to report its Q4 earnings at $0.52 per share.
YuMe (NYSE: YUME) is estimated to post a Q1 loss at $0.15 per share on revenue of $35.36 million.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Teva has dropped 7.7% to $37.85 today at 3:23 p.m. but doesn’t seem to be spreading though the generic drug space. Taro Pharmaceuticals (TARO) ha gained 1.1% to $79, while Actavis (ACT) has gained 1.2% to $156.25 and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (RDY) has advanced 1% to $40.24. Mylan (MYL) has dropped 0.7% to $38.40.
- [By Dan Carroll]
The company’s generic drug segment should also help push emerging market sales. Abbott markets generic pharmaceuticals outside the U.S. only, and while the division isn’t growth-oriented — sales actually fell around 2% for the quarter — it provides an entry for the company to push into lucrative new markets such as India, where generics make up the large majority of the country’s retail market. The company will face tougher competition in this industry, however: Firms such as India-based Dr. Reddy’s (NYSE: RDY ) have also pushed hard into emerging markets lately, and Dr. Reddy’s in particular should benefit from its being headquartered in one of the industry’s top locales.
- [By Benjamin Shepherd] We’re now into day 15 of the US government shutdown, as House Republicans stubbornly try to defund Obamacare. No matter what sort of deal is eventually struck, health care costs aren’t likely to come down any time soon. And that’s good news for generic drug makers.
Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (NYSE: RDY) is one of the biggest players in generic drugs, offering more than 200 off-brand medications in the areas of cardiovascular disease, pain management and oncology, among others. In fact, this India-based company has become one of the largest makers of generics in the world, helping to drive more than 20 percent annual compounded earnings growth at the company over the past decade.
Top India Stocks For 2015: Infosys Technologies Limited(INFY)
Infosys Ltd. provides information technology (IT) and consulting services worldwide. It offers IT services, such as application, architecture, independent validation and testing, information management, infrastructure, packaged application, SOA, systems integration, and knowledge services; product engineering services, manufacturing process and plant solutions, and product lifecycle management services; and consulting services in the areas of information and technology strategies, product innovation, next generation commerce, process excellence, and learning and complex change. The company also provides business process outsourcing solutions in the areas of business platforms, customer service outsourcing, finance and accounting, human resources outsourcing, legal services, sales and fulfillment, and sourcing and procurement outsourcing. In addition, it offers collaborative analytics solutions; digital consumer platform; Finacle universal banking solution; iProwe, a Web ac cessibility assessment product; mConnect, a real-time enterprise middleware; and research and analytical support services. Further, the company offers unified communications and collaboration solution that streamlines business processes between employees, customers, and suppliers; iTransform that helps healthcare organizations accelerate transition to new platforms; and supply chain visibility and collaboration product suite. It serves aerospace and defense, airlines, automotive, banking, capital markets, communication services, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, education, energy, healthcare, high technology, hospitality and leisure, insurance, life sciences, logistics and distribution, publishing, resources, utilities, and retail industries. Infosys Ltd. has a strategic partnership with Alstom SA. The company was formerly known as Infosys Technologies Limited and changed its name to Infosys Ltd. on June 16, 2011. Infosys Ltd. was founded in 1981 and is headquartered i n Bengaluru, India.
- [By Robert Martin]
Infosys (INFY), Housing Development Finance and Reliance Industries LTD are the top three holdings, with weightings between 8% and 10.5%. Of course, just about any India ETF will have a heavy allocation to Infosys and Reliance. However, INDA dedicates a lower percentage to energy than some of the alternatives, and instead leans more on IT and consumer spending.
- [By Aaron Smith]
The government accused software developer Infosys (INFY) of using workers with B-1 visas, which only allow temporary entry into the U.S. for business purposes, to perform skilled labor jobs.
Top India Stocks For 2015: Sify Technologies Limited(SIFY)
Sify Technologies Limited provides enterprise and consumer Internet services primarily in India. The company offers various corporate network/data services comprising e-commerce and network connectivity solutions, such as end-to-end services network, application, and security services; voice origination and termination services; co-location and managed hosting services; and system integration services for data centre build, hardware distribution, security solutions, and turnkey projects. It also provides application services, including SLEMS and Microsoft Exchange messaging platforms; I-test for online assessment and LiveWire, which enable management of training processes across the organization; document management system for the management of documents electronically; and Forum, a forward supply chain solution. In addition, the company operates e-Ports that offer browsing, chat, email, gaming, utility bill payment, travel ticketing, hotel booking, mobile recharge, Intern et telephony, and online share trading services; and portals, which provide news, views, reviews, interactions, and services in the areas of movies, sports, finance, food, videos, astrology, online games, shopping, and travel, as well as offers content offerings and broadband services. Further, it provides infrastructure management services, such as network management, datacenter and helpdesk outsourcing, desktop and storage outsourcing, IT security outsourcing, LAN and WAN outsourcing, database and telecom outsourcing, and application monitoring and management services to automotive, chemical, media, and financial enterprises; and virtualization design, integration, and deployment services for servers, storage, networks, and end user clients. Sify has approximately 1,278 e-Ports in 200 towns and cities; and serves 1,06,000 broadband subscribers through 1500 cable TV Operators. The company, formerly known as Sify Limited, was founded in 1995 and is based in Chennai, India. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Technology stocks gained Tuesday, with Ku6 Media Co (NASDAQ: KUTV) leading advancers. Among leading tech stocks, gains came from Rubicon Technology (NASDAQ: RBCN), Bitauto Holdings (NYSE: BITA) and Sify Technologies (NASDAQ: SIFY).
- [By Jake L’Ecuyer]
Leading and Lagging Sectors
Technology stocks gained Tuesday, with Ku6 Media Co (NASDAQ: KUTV) leading advancers. Among leading tech stocks, gains came from Rubicon Technology (NASDAQ: RBCN), Bitauto Holdings (NYSE: BITA) and Sify Technologies (NASDAQ: SIFY). Utilities shares dropped by 0.11 percent in the US market today.
Top India Stocks For 2015: Tata Motors Ltd(TTM)
Tata Motors Limited, an automobile company, engages in the manufacture and sale of commercial and passenger vehicles primarily in India. The company offers cars, utility vehicles, trucks, buses and coaches, and defense vehicles, as well as develops electric and hybrid vehicles for personal and public transportation. It also involves in distributing and marketing cars; and financing the vehicles sold by the company. In addition, the company engages in the provision of engineering and automotive solutions, as well as machine tools and factory automation solutions; construction equipment manufacturing; automotive vehicle components manufacturing and supply chain activities; tooling and plastic and electronic components for automotive and computer applications; and automotive retailing and service operations. It offers its products and services through its dealership, sales, services, and spare parts network. The company also markets its commercial and passenger vehicles in Eu rope, Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, South Asia, and South America. The company was formerly known as Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company Limited and changed its name to Tata Motors Limited in July 2003. Tata Motors Limited was founded in 1945 and is based in Mumbai, India.
- [By Paul Ausick]
Among car makers, the Cadillac brand from General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), the Lincoln brand from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), and Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus brand make the list, as does Jaguar, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors Ltd. (NYSE: TTM).
- [By Sophia Yan]
Shares of Tata Motors (TTM) tumbled almost 5% in morning trading in Mumbai as investors reacted to news of Slym’s death. Tata Motors also owns Jaguar and Land Rover brands.