An open and curious mind is indispensable for anyone wanting to profit well in financial markets. I could say inquiring mind but that is apparently what one needs for the tabloid trade.

An open and curious mind is indispensable for anyone wanting to profit well in financial markets. I could say inquiring mind but that is apparently what one needs for the tabloid trade.


More specifically, successful trend investing requires that one should quash whatever prejudice he or she has about companies, countries, governments and like issues. I do try to avoid violating my personal moral principles when possible.


For example, long-term U.S. government bonds hit a low in February last year, began working upward in value and exploded higher in August, when the wheels were coming off the government machine. From the stock market low on Aug. 8 through year end, the Vanguard Extended Duration Bond Fund (EDV) rose by 24 percent. For all of 2011, the gain was 47 percent as measured by that ETF.


Does that make any sense? The federal government shows its complete dysfunction and inability to avoid or even slow its credit card spending, but millions shovel money into that bottomless pit of debt in order to be safe!?


In my mind, lending money for 30 years to power-drunks who spend other people’s money is not very safe. But just the same, I would not have minded having a lot of assets that made a 40-plus percent return last year because I did not have any. My rational thinking and prejudice cost money in lost opportunity.


How about government environment in emerging markets as a factor? In case you missed the memo, we, or at least capitalism, won the Vietnam War. Market Vectors fund company has an ETF, symbol VNM, representing Vietnam’s stock market. Although it has fallen in value about 27 percent since its inception in August 2009, the little rascal had gained 38 percent this year through Monday.


Want to cash in on the Arab Spring? Market Vectors also brings you its Egypt Index ETF, symbol EGPT. After being 51 percent higher this year on March 5, it now shows a still respectable 35 percent gain year to date. Someone obviously is willing to take a risk on regime change. It must be the eye of the beholder, that sort of thing.


I am certainly not suggesting any of these vehicles as ripe for the picking. Buyer, beware as always. The point however should be clear as a bell that opportunities exist today in all corners of the earth and for many different reasons. Some are good and some awful, from a common-sense view. This is why I call this the golden age for investing. But if I view investing candidates with lots of preconceptions, I am liable to hurt myself in the wallet.


All statistics provided through Worden Brothers Inc., TeleChart software, 2012. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.