While jobs in the U.S. continue to be a problem, the economy is still gaining momentum each quarter.Â Â The U.S. economy expanded at the fastest pace in more than six years in the fourth quarter, reflecting stronger business investment and a greater contribution from inventories.Â However, employers have eliminated jobs in 11 of the past 12 months, cutting 3.3 million positions.Â The S&P 500 is up 70% from its march 2009 low
s.Â Where should you be invested today?
With an improving economy, you shouldÂ be in U.S. stock
s.Â However, you may want to be more selective and move into large-cap quality stocks.Â This includes Wal-mart (WMT), McDonalds (MCD), Proctor & Gamble (PG) among other high quality stocks.Â
Emerging markets are still offer
the highest growth rates.Â Â Brazil, China and India are still places to be invested.Â Brazil still offers value while China and India are the fast growers.Â China does have a real estate bubble as construction has gotten ahead of demand.Â The Chinese government will use their force to keep growth in check moving forward to diminish any impact of inflat
ionary pressures in China.
Contrarian investor Barton Biggs, managing partner at Traxis Partners LLC, expects stocks to soon jump.Â â€œI think weâ€™ have got a move of 10 to 15 percent in the next couple of months here in the U.S. and 15 to 20 percent n the emerging markets,â€ Biggs says.
â€œEarnings are coming in very strong and I think the U.S. and global economy are gaining momentum as we come into spring this year,â€ he recently told Bloomberg.Â â€œI think thereâ€™s too much bearishness â€¦ everybodyâ€™s seeing bubbles everywhere. Maybe theyâ€™re going to be right (but) I think in the shorter run, things are going up,â€ Biggs says.
Biggs likes emerging market stocks now, especially China and India.Â In the United States, he says that big-cap quality stocks are the cheapest part of the market.
Sam Zell, the billionaire investor who once call
ed himself a grave dancer for profiting from troubled assets, said U.S. stocks are poised to extend the biggest rally
since the 1930s as the economy rebounds.
â€œConditions are getting better,â€ he said. â€œBut thereâ€™s a lot of uncertainty and the real question is: Can confidence return enough so that what you call the green shoots or whatever would continue forward?â€
Zell says he likes distressed debt and stocks in the U.S.Â He sees merger and acquisitions increasing within the REITs.Â Â Zell said the number 1 country to invest is Brazil where there is still great value to be found.
The euro is unlikely to still exist as a currency over the longer term, the pound will fall substantially in the next few years and US Treasuryâ€™s and some real estate in China are the worldâ€™s two current bubbles, legendary investor Jim Rogers stated in a recent interview.
Rogers stood by his prediction that gold prices are likely to reach $2,000 per ounce in the next 10 years, because of â€œmany things, especially the debasement of currencies around the world. Itâ€™s a simple statement that gold will go up by 6-7 percent a year in the next 10 years.â€
Oil is another commodity to watch as the world is running out of known supplies, while cotton is 70 percent below its all-time high and sugar is 80 percent below, he said.Â A bubble in commodities is likely to form, but probably not before 2019, according to Rogers.