Let the great debate over whether or not the U.S. stock market is getting frothy begin!
Speaking at a recent conference in Chicago, longtime bull and BlackRock (BLK) CEO, Larry Fink, believes that we’re seeing “real bubble-like markets again.”
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley’s (MS) CEO, James Gorman, disagrees. He recently told Bloomberg that the S&P 500 Index is “frankly not bubble-like relative to the year 2000, 2005, 1995 and so on.”
So who’s right? Don’t waste your time trying to figure it out. Seriously, it doesn’t matter.
Here’s why – and, of course, what you should be focusing on instead…
Market Timing is for Fools
Even if we determine conclusively that U.S. stocks are utterly expensive, it doesn’t matter. Prices could continue to rise even higher – for a lot longer.
Or as John Maynard Keynes famously said, “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.”
Given the Fed’s non-stop money printing, such a scenario is not only possible, it’s highly likely.
Add it all up, and there’s no reason to bother trying to predict the exact market top. It’s truly a waste of energy. (As long as you’re using trailing stops, that is. They protect our downside and make sure we keep profiting for however long the market ticks higher.)
What should we be doing, then?
Simple. Finding new opportunities that are undeniably cheap.
After all, Warren Buffett’s number one rule of investing is to “never lose money.” Naturally, the easiest way to adhere to his rule is to invest with a margin of safety – or buy assets on the cheap that can only go up in price over the long haul.
We’ve used this strategy twice in the last year, when stocks in Japan and Europe were trading at undeniable bargains. Fast forward to today, and shares in both countries are up by solid double-digit margins.
So where can we employ such a strategy today?
Well, it just so happens that seven similarly cheap, low-risk/high-reward opportunities exist in the market right now.
More specifically, stocks in Russia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, China, Taiwan and Turkey are among the cheapest in the world, according to BCA Research.
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Mind you, the firm’s analysis isn’t based on a single valuation criterion. To the contrary, it took five metrics into account, including trailing and forward price-to-earnings ratios, price-to-book ratios and dividend yield.
Naturally, the cheaper the market, the more attractive the long-term opportunity, which means Russia and Poland should stand at the top of our emerging markets “Buy” list.
Bottom line: Instead of arguing about whether or not shares in the United States are expensive, spend your time finding cheap stocks in the seven countries listed above.
I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Warren Buffett – and the almost $40 billion in cash sitting in the bank at Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) – is targeting opportunities in these countries, too.
Now, if you don’t have the time to conduct your own due diligence on individual opportunities, don’t fret.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like the Market Vectors Russia Fund (RSX), the iShares MSCI Poland Capped Fund (EPOL) and the iShares China Large-Cap Fund (FXI) represent compelling options to gain quick exposure to these markets.
But don’t delay. The bargains never last long, and all three ETFs have already started to make a move higher in the last three months.
Ahead of the tape,