Distressed Investing Blog

George Putnam, one of the country's leading turnaround and distressed investing professionals, shares his timely insight on the economy and turnaround investing opportunities.

Emerging Markets/International Stocks

United States of Europe?

June 15, 2012

What’s the difference between Illinois and Greece? The biggest similarity is that they are both reported to be virtually bankrupt. But the big difference is that Illinois is part of the United States and Greece is part of the European Union. 

If the state of Illinois goes bust, it won’t be great for people holding its bonds, but otherwise economic life will go on pretty much as normal for Illinois residents. Moreover, there won’t be much fallout for residents of Indiana, or Wisconsin or any other state. And nobody is likely to worry about the problems in Illinois leading to the demise of the U.S. dollar. That’s because Illinois is part of the United States, and we have a federal government that can levy taxes and a strong central bank. The European Union lacks those features, and so the problems in Greece are raising fears of economic turmoil in Europe, perhaps leading to the collapse of the Euro.

It remains to be seen if the Euro-zone countries can agree on the strong measures that it will take to stem the turmoil. In the meantime, we would be very cautious about investing in most European securities. As turnaround investors, we would normally be tempted to jump into a situation like this, but right now we find the outcome too difficult to call and the downside risk still too great.

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While we normally focus on individual stocks, from time to time we like to look at mutual funds that focus on turnarounds. Mutual funds can be attractive for many investors because a single fund can provide fairly broad diversification across a large number of stocks. There will be years that large, mainstream stocks will perform badly, and that's when contrarian funds like these can really shine. Read More.

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George Putnam has always followed the same straight-forward and highly-profitable investment philosophy. He published his first Turnaround Letter issue back in 1986, and readers have seen extraordinary long-term stock profit ever since.

 

In fact, 12 of 2014's 13 closed-out purchase recommendations saw gains--with five of those enjoying total returns greater than 100%. The Turnaround Letter's average return for 2014's stock picks is +82%:

 

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