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WSJ: Developed Markets Take Back Leading Role in Global Economy

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 08:26 AM

Developed market economies are making a comeback at the expense of emerging markets.

The latter had led the way since the financial crisis. But now, for the first time in six years, the developed world is accounting for more economic growth than its less-developed counterparts, according to estimates from investment firm Bridgewater Associates, The Wall Street Journal reports.

There's been a combination of improvement in the developed world and stagnation in emerging markets. Japan is enjoying buoyant growth, the United States experiencing steady, though modest, growth, and now Europe looks set to emerge from recession.

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Meanwhile, growth has tailed off in developing nations such as China, India, Brazil and Russia.

However, the emerging market sluggishness could cause problems for U.S. corporate profits, as many companies have come to count on growing sales in those markets, according to The Journal.

Conditions around the world "have slowed down to a much greater degree than we had anticipated," Richard White, chief executive at Flexible Steel Lacing in Downers Grove, Ill., tells the paper.

The company, which sells products for belt conveyors, had expected its sales growth to slow to 12 percent this year from 20 percent in recent years. But thanks largely to China's slowdown, sales are now unchanged, White says.

As for financial markets, some experts say declines in emerging market stocks make them attractive buys now.

"I'm pretty comfortable saying that we've seen the bulk of the downside in emerging [markets]," Michael Reynal, co-manager of the RS Emerging Markets fund, tells Forbes.

"When to buy? You buy it early. With valuations back in the single digits and discounts to developed markets averaging 30 percent on an earnings basis, I think now is a good time."

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