9/15/11: Update on Speculative Trades

The summer selloff hasn’t spared our open trades. However, our original investment theses remain intact for all our positions, though these stories may take longer to play out than we had initially anticipated.

Readers have voiced concern about the latest developments in the EU sovereign-debt crisis and the implications for iShares Italy Index (NYSE: EWI) and National Bank of Greece (NYSE: NBG). At the time we highlighted these stocks, we regarded both markets as oversold. Both names have pulled back significantly amid concerns that a sovereign default is inevitable and that the economic situation on the Continent will continue to deteriorate.

The success of these speculative bets ultimately hinges on an improvement in the EU economy and whether policymakers will be able to prevent the sovereign-debt crisis from worsening.

Although the Greek economy and the National Bank of Greece face daunting challenges, panicked investors have failed to recognize that the Mediterranean nation’s largest financial institution holds a number of desirable assets with real value.

At these levels, National Bank of Greece’s stock price reflects a lot of bad news. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the shares can fluctuate wildly based on developments in Europe: Positive news can propel the stock to sizable gains in a single day, while bad news can send it even lower.

Investors should remember that these speculative bets could take some time to play out. We continue to rate iShares Italy Index and National Bank of Greece as buys for aggressive investors. If our opinion on any of our open trades changes, we will notify subscribers via a Flash Alert.

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