July and Emerging Markets

There's no shortage of bleak news out there that's weighing heavily on the markets, but we could be coming into a positive period for emerging markets investors.

The chart below, from Jim Lowell at Dow Jones MarketWatch, shows that July tends to be a good month for emerging market equities.

The sector's beta-weighted performance in July tops 2 percent on average, far greater than any other asset class on the chart.

COMM -July Index 070210

Of course, emerging markets can be highly volatile and there's no assurance that this month will follow the pattern. But Lowell's observation is certainly timely and may be of value to investors looking for opportunities in the current market.

Our experience is that seasonality is one of many important variables to monitor to keep a finger on the pulse of the market.

We have found it useful over the years to watch the seasonality of gold, oil, copper and other commodities as part of our broader approach of tracking both short-term and long-term cycles.

Beta is a measure of the volatility, or systematic risk, of a security or a portfolio in comparison to the market as a whole.