Before I get churning with this week’s Friday File, I want to take the opportunity to thank you, the Irregulars — and particularly the several new members we’ve had join up as Irregulars in the last few weeks — welcome to the club! Stock Gumshoe has always tried to balance how we do things, offering up a great free service to help folks think for themselves and avoid making marketing-driven decisions about investments and supporting that free service with advertising, but also trying to share some ideas and build a community of investors who are interested in thoughtful chatter about all kinds of investments.
As we’ve grown, the support of the Irregulars has meant we’ve been able to upgrade both our content and the technology we use to deliver it (we brought on four paid contributors in the last year who I think bring great perspective to our community, and who can write about topics that I don’t understand, and we’re spending a lot of that Irregulars money on upgrading the site to add some features, make it more stable, and upgrade our servers in the next month or so). Hopefully all of this is completely unnoticed by you (other than the occasional smile at a new feature or the gift of an extra second of your time as the site loads faster), because that means we’ll have just been quietly helping the foundation stay sturdy while the spires of Castle Gumshoe grow off in all directions… but I do want you to know that I appreciate the contribution you make to keeping this site going (and growing).
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The last few months have had me thinking some more about emerging and frontier markets — partly because there was quite a bit of chatter about these markets when they bottomed out again in February and early March, partly because several of my holdings in foreign countries have generated some news of late, and partly because, well, I remain pretty cautious about the big, developed debt-fueled countries and their ability to grow enough to justify the valuations we see in the broader market. If even the United States economy can’t post above-average growth this year, with the tremendous capital available to invest at extremely low rates, it’s hard to justify buying average companies who might be dependent on economies with demographic ...