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Vodafone the Victor in Verizon Wireless Buyout

British telecom giant Vodafone (VOD) agreed to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications (VZ) in one of the biggest deals in history.  That’s the headline.  But the question no one seems to be asking is Why was Verizon that eager to spend $130 billion on a capital-intensive business in a saturated market with cutthroat competition from cheaper upstarts?

Seriously.  Mobile phone penetration is the United States was 102% as of the end of last year, and this is a conservative number using the entire population of the United States and its territories as the denominator.  Removing small children, the elderly and infirm and the prison population, the number would be significantly higher.  Not only does every American already have a cell phone, but many of us have two or three.

Sure, everyone already has a phone, but there is still growth in the smartphone market, right?

Not nearly as much as you might think.  Already, more than 61% of all American mobile phones are smartphones. Even among Americans aged 55 and older the rate of ownership is 42%.

Will the Baby Boomers adopt iPhones and Androids in larger numbers going forward?  Probably.  But the low-hanging fruit was picked a long time ago.  And to the extent that the over 55 demographic adopts smartphones, they are likely to buy entry-level data plans that are highly competitive on cost.

It’s hard to see a lot of room for margin expansion in a saturated market where the “stickiness” of consumer loyalty is being steadily eroded by falling switching costs to the consumer.  Add to this the body blow that T-Mobile (TMUS) dealt to the industry with its adoption of transparent pricing and the elimination of the carrier phone subsidy, and it’s hard to find much to like here.

Don’t underestimate the effect of that last point.  Carriers have offered “free” or highly discounted phones for a long time as a way of enticing you to pay up for a Cadillac voice and data plan.  It was a terrible deal for the consumer, but the pricing was opaque enough that most had no idea just how bad of a deal it was.  T-Mobile’s transparent pricing has been something of a wake-up call.

All of this is a long way of saying that Vodafone got the better end of this deal.  They rid themselves of a profitable but soon-to-be no-growth business, have the means to pay off all company debts nearly three times over, and have the financial firepower to expand their emerging markets presence, which is already one of the largest among Western carriers.

As far back as 2011, Vodafone’s CEO had publically stated that Vodafone was an “emerging markets company” and not a European company.  Emerging markets accounted for 29% of Vodafone’s service revenue last year and virtually all of its expected future growth.  The company operates in 30 countries and partners with other carriers in 40 more.

So, what will Vodafone do with all of its cash?  That’s a fine question, and the company hasn’t given a lot of specifics just yet.  Some combination of debt retirement, share repurchase, and a special dividend would seem likely.

Should you buy Vodafone now, after the Verizon Wireless divesture?  Perhaps. Vodafone likely will release a large special dividend, but it’s harder to say whether its current generous 6% dividend will stay intact. Also, Vodafone is a great way to get “back door” access to the emerging middle class in India and parts of Africa.

This article first appeared on InvestorPlace.

Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA, is the editor of the Sizemore Investment Letter and the chief investment officer of investments firm Sizemore Capital Management. As of this writing, he had no position in any stock mentioned. Click here to learn about his top 5 global investing trends and get your copy of “The Top 5 Million Dollar Trends of 2013.”

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. This material may not be suitable for all investors and is not intended to be an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities nor is it intended to be investment advice. You should speak to a financial advisor before attempting to implement any of the strategies discussed in this material. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all investment strategies discussed in this material have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The author of the material or a related party will often have an interest in the securities discussed. Please see Full Disclaimer for a full disclaimer.

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Europe Will Be the Best-Performing Market for the Rest of 2012

September 18, 2012 was a noteworthy day for students of history.

King Juan Carlos of Spain stepped into the political fray for the first time in more than 30 years, calling on all Spaniards to stick together during the hard times in front of them and to avoid chasing unrealistic pipedreams (those who can read Spanish can view his letter here).

Advising Spaniards not to tilt at windmills since 1975.

The King’s comments were his most direct involvement in Spanish politics since he intervened in 1981 to prevent a mad, machine-gun-toting colonel from taking over the government.

Today, no one is walking into Spain’s parliament building and spraying the ceiling with bullets, but the King’s letter is telling.  Spain—and much of the rest of peripheral Europe—is mired in a cycle of debt-necessitated austerity and economic contraction that has created the worst crisis in decades.  Europe is a mess.

For all of the optimism surrounding Mario Draghi’s “Big Bazooka” moves to stabilize the Eurozone through outright monetary transactions, the crisis still has a long way to go before it is resolved.

And I should be clear—it may never get resolved.

Depending on the political decisions made over the next 3 – 6 months, the Eurozone could emerge from the crisis as a stronger, more durable union.  Or, the entire European project—which has been in the works for sixty years now—could come apart at the seams.

With all of this as an intro, you might be surprised by what I say next: https://auntchiladas.com/banquets-and-events/ buy cialis online cheap I’m bullish on European equities and maintain an overweight position in them in most of my client portfolios.

Let’s look at some of the bullish arguments:

  1. https://roundhouseaquarium.org/classes-and-field-trips/roundhouse-field-trips/ order cheap viagra online The ECB doing “whatever it takes” via unprecedented monetary stimulus  – All investors have heard the standard advice: Don’t fight the Fed.   I would argue that, for the first time, the same can be said of the European Central Bank.  Mario Draghi broke long-standing taboos and asserted his authority over the German Bundesbank by launching his program of potentially unlimited outright monetary transactions over the objection of Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann.  Draghi has a bigger bankroll than you, and he’s shown that he’s not afraid to use it, even if it means stretching his constitutional mandate.  This does not by any means suggest that Draghi can create the conditions for a durable bull market; but it does mean that he can stoke the flames of a multi-month rally.
  2. https://markavery.info/home-2/about/ buy cialis without a doctor prescription usa The bailout mechanisms will clear up the uncertainty weighing on the market – Spain has yet to formally request aid from the ECB or the bailout institutions; yet rumors that prime minster Mariano Rajoy was getting close to doing so was enough to send Spanish stock prices soaring last week.  According to leaked news from the parties involved, EU and Spanish officials are working behind the scenes to set out the conditions for a Spanish bailout that Rajoy would accept.  Meanwhile, Der Spiegel reports that talks are underway to allow the Eurozone’s primary bailout fund—the European Stability Mechanism—to be leveraged to 2 trillion Euros if need be.  Suffice it to say, a lot of monetary firepower is being thrown at the Eurozone, and a fair bit of it can be expected to find its way into the Eurozone equity markets.
  3. European stocks are the cheapest in the world – Finally—and most importantly—European stocks are dirt cheap relative to their world peers.  To be sure, some sort of “Europe discount” is appropriate given the macro risk and the unappealing growth prospects for years to come.  But at some point, the stocks are simply too cheap to ignore.   By FT estimates, the French, German and Spanish markets trade for just 14.1, 12.7, and 13.4 times earnings, respectively.  Depressed earnings, I might add.  Each also yields between 3 and 5 percent in dividends.  Compare this to the United States,  which trades for 16.1 times cyclically-high earnings and yields a pitiful 2.1%.  Are European stocks as attractively priced as they were two months ago?  Of course not.  But I still expect them to be among the best performing in the world over the next 6-12 months.

It’s only fair to mention the other side of the coin.  If the bond market loses faith in Mr. Draghi or infighting among Europe’s politicians prevent them from making the institutional reforms needed to make the bailouts credible, then all bets are off.  (Just today it was announced that the German, Finnish and Dutch finance ministers had announced opposition to aspects of the bank bailout….sigh). In the event that the reforms truly break down, investors will want to not only exit their European equity positions but exit all risky assets, as this would mean a return to the risk-on / risk-off volatility we’ve had to endure for much of the past two years.

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Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. This material may not be suitable for all investors and is not intended to be an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities nor is it intended to be investment advice. You should speak to a financial advisor before attempting to implement any of the strategies discussed in this material. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all investment strategies discussed in this material have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The author of the material or a related party will often have an interest in the securities discussed. Please see Full Disclaimer for a full disclaimer.

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The 10 Best Stocks for 2012

Charles Sizemore, the winner of InvestorPlace’s “10 Stocks for 2011” contest, offers his favorite stock for 2012.  Read about Charles’ pick and the other contestants below.

Wondering what the best stocks to buy for next year are? Well, look no further than the 10 Best Stocks for 2012.

This InvestorPlace feature lists 10 long-term investments from a group of money managers, market experts and financial journalists. The 10 Best Stocks for 2012 is meant to provide buy-and-hold picks you can purchase now and sit on for a year — ideally, winding up richer on the other side.

The buy list this year is a diverse group of stocks — from banks to technology, from emerging markets to Dow components, from old favorites to a stock that went public just a few months ago.

Throughout the year, the writers will regularly offer updates on the good, the bad and the unexpected as it relates to their best stock for 2012. We’ll find out in a year who had the best pick — but first, let’s examine each writer’s recommendation and what made them pick their stock as the best investment for the New Year:

Best Stock for 2012: Turkcell

Turkcell TKCMoney manager and stock picker Charles Sizemore, CFA, picked Visa (NYSE:V) as the single-best stock to buy and hold for all of 2011 — and thanks to market-trouncing returns of 40% year-to-date, his Visa pick was the winner among 10 picks in our similar contest last year.

This year, Charles gets a purer play on emerging markets with telecom stock Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS (NYSE:TKC), a mobile phone operator more commonly known just as “Turkcell.”

Yes, there is unrest in the Middle East and in the euro zone right now. But as Charles writes, this means you can buy a great company at a fire-sale price.

“If you believe, as I do, that Turkey has one of the brightest futures of any country on the planet, then the crises on Turkey’s borders should be viewed as a phenomenal opportunity to buy shares of some of Turkey’s finest companies,” Charles writes. “And my choice for 2012 is Turkcell.”

Read Charles’ complete recommendation on Turkcell.

Best Stock for 2012: Caterpillar

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT)Investor and CBS MoneyWatch columnist Dan Burrows picked industrial giant Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) as his best stock for 2012.

His reasons? Dan says CAT stock was oversold during the summer volatility, has good fundamentals (including retail sales that grew 31% in October) and a bargain valuation with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of about 10.

“Wall Street’s mean (and median) price target for Caterpillar currently stands at $114.50, according to Thomson Reuters data. Add in the 2% yield on the dividend, and the stock offers an implied return of 28% in the next 12 months or so,” writes Dan. “Not too shabby for a company with a market cap of more than $58 billion.”

Read Dan’s complete recommendation on Caterpillar.

Best Stock for 2012: FedEx

FedEx FDXCNNMoney’s Paul R. La Monica said, “When I was asked to pick one stock to write about for InvestorPlace that I was confident would do well next year, I immediately started thinking of companies that should benefit from a steadily improving U.S. economy.”

At the end of his deliberation, Paul settled on FedEx (NYSE:FDX).

Don’t think this is just a play on a broad-based recovery, though. A discounted P/E ratio vs. rival UPS (NYSE:UPS), a strong dividend history, recent rate increases and the lack of competition from a U.S. Postal Service in disarray are all reasons to be bullish on FedEx.

“FedEx may not be flashy. But that’s kind of the point,” Paul writes. “In a market where volatility seems to be the new black, you could do a lot worse than a stable blue chip with steady earnings growth.”

Read Paul’s complete recommendation on FedEx.

Best Stock for 2012: Hershey

Hershey HSYRenowned trader, journalist and money manager Jon Markman has a sweet play for you in 2012: confectioner Hershey (NYSE:HSY).

Why this consumer stock? Well, because in the short-term Jon is decidedly bearish on just about all corners of the market. The euro zone debt crisis will continue to rock Europe and subsequently affect nations that export goods there or rely on plush government subsidies from the content.

In fact, Jon thinks that in the short term, “the simplest trades next year will likely be short iShares Europe (NYSE:IEV), short iShares Emerging Markets (NYSE:EEM) and short solar energy equipment producers like First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR).”

But what does this mean for buy-and-hold investors? Simply put, get defensive with consumer staples stocks.

For those who think that chocolate is discretionary, Jon adds, “Well, try explaining to my daughter that chocolate isn’t a household staple.”

Read Jon’s complete recommendation on Hershey.

Best Stock for 2012: Capital One

Capital OneBanks aren’t exactly super popular right now, so it might surprise you to see senior analyst Philip van Doorn of TheStreet picking Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF) as his best best for 2012.

But a closer look at the stock shows a lot to be bullish about, even as the rest of the financial sector melts down. Namely, strong fundamentals and a historically low valuation and book value.

Capital One also has two very important mergers in the works that will provide future growth beyond its generally well-run banking operations.

Philip is adamant that this is not just a dumpster dive, saying “the most important factor in Capital One’s strong performance this year is its outstanding earnings performance.” Compared with the big banks on Wall Street, COF is in a class of its own.

Read Philip’s complete recommendation on Capital One.

Best Stock for 2012: Mako Surgical

Mako SurgicalDavid Gardner knows a thing or two about picking stocks. As co-founder of The Motley Fool, he is the brains behind the innovative Motley Fool CAPS rating system. And from his own research and what other investors are saying, David thinks he has a quite a pick for 2012 in Mako Surgical (NASDAQ:MAKO).

What makes Mako special? It’s an innovative medical device company that has revolutionized joint replacement. It’s not profitable yet, but the potential is huge, and stories of treatments and recovery are quite dramatic.

“It’s a long way from here to there, but for the speculative portion of your portfolio, MAKO could richly reward a little patience,” David writes.

If you don’t mind taking a little risk with your investments in 2012, consider this up-and-coming medical company.

Read Dave’s complete recommendation on Mako.

Best Stock for 2012: Microsoft

Blogger, author and founder of Stockpickr James Altucher joined a similar InvestorPlace.com feature in the beginning of 2011, picking one stock to buy and hold all year. Back then, he picked Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) — and his choice is the same a year later.

Similar to his previous write-up, the highlights of this year’s recommendation include:

  • 8x earnings
  • Huge stock buybacks
  • Secret weapon: Skype replaces all smartphones within next five years

The idea of Skype taking over the mobile market is intriguing, considering voice represents so little of what we can do with our smartphones these days.

Read James’ complete recommendation on Microsoft.

 

Best Stock for 2012: Arcos Dorados

Arcos Dorados ARCOJosh Brown, adviser at Fusion Analytics and the author of The Reformed Broker blog, picked freshly minted Arcos Dorados (NYSE:ARCO) as his top pick for 2012. ARCO is the largest McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) franchisee in the world with more than 1,750 locations, largely in Latin America.

Arcos Dorados went public in April and has been up and down ever since — not a newsflash, considering the volatility of the market in general. But in the new year, Josh is expecting the stock to take off due to four factors:

  1. Expanding consumer spending in Latin America
  2. The ferocity of McDonald’s as a global brand
  3. Growth within a defensive sector
  4. The comeback potential for emerging-market equities in 2012

If you’re sick of trying to bargain hunt in struggling U.S. blue chips, and if you aren’t afraid of looking for growth abroad, ARCO could be your best bet in the new year.

Read Josh’s complete recommendation on ARCO.

Best Stock for 2012: Alcoa

Alcoa AAAs with previous picks Caterpillar and FedEx, InvestorPlace.com editor Jeff Reeves has leaned in favor of broad economic recovery with his recommendation of aluminum giant Alcoa (NYSE:AA).

Not only will growth in demand and higher prices result in bigger Alcoa profits, but overly negative sentiment has provided a great entry point, Jeff writes.

“Yes, big problems persist in the global economy, and aluminum demand and prices remain weak as a result,” he writes. “However, Alcoa hasn’t seen the $9 level since spring 2009. Are the macroeconomic fears really worse now than in 2009?”

In addition to valuation, Jeff likes Alcoa’s improving earnings, dividend potential, streamlined operations and hope for better margins in 2012.

Read Jeff’s complete recommendation on Alcoa.

Best Stock for 2012: Banco Santander

Banco Santander STDAccording to longtime stock picker, financial columnist and money manager Jim Jubak, your best bet for 2012 is a European bank. Really!

It’s an aggressive play, but Jim’s faith in Banco Santander (NYSE:STD) comes from a lot of number crunching — and the idea that as bad as things are over in the euro zone, they aren’t as bad as you think.

“The worry about European banks right now is that they can’t raise capital in the financial markets,” Jim writes. “During the past two quarters, Banco Santander has very clearly demonstrated that this bank doesn’t fit that profile of worries.”

It has attractive assets to sell if it has to, Jim says, and that’s on top of accessing credit markets just fine at the present — on top of $8 billion in free cash flow that shows a nice cushion for STD. The only catch is that Banco Santander holds almost $50 billion in Spanish government debt.

“If you think Spain will have to write off part of that debt, then Banco Santander sure isn’t the pick for you,” Jim writes. “If you think Spain is in better shape than Italy (or Greece), I think that in Banco Santander you’re looking at one of the best performers in 2012.”

Read Jim’s complete recommendation on Banco Santander.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. This material may not be suitable for all investors and is not intended to be an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities nor is it intended to be investment advice. You should speak to a financial advisor before attempting to implement any of the strategies discussed in this material. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all investment strategies discussed in this material have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The author of the material or a related party will often have an interest in the securities discussed. Please see Full Disclaimer for a full disclaimer.

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Follow-up to Israel and Turkey: How Changing Demographics are Affecting International Relations in the Middle East

As a follow-up to my prior post on how demographics are affecting the calculus of international relations in the Middle East—and between Turkey and Israel in particular—I’d like to start with some comments from Mark Steyn.

Steyn is a bit of a controversial shock jock—the Howard Stern of conservative commentary, if you will—so I hesitate to quote him too regularly. Still, despite his rhetorical bluster, he is a man who has a firm understanding of demographic trends and what they mean for the future. (His 2006 book America Alone, though a bit of a political screed, is also an astute look at global demographic trends and what they imply for geopolitics.)

Writing for Investor’s Business Daily (link to article) on the Mavi Marmara incident, Steyn writes,

[W]hat was most striking was the behavior of the Turks… Ten years ago, Turkey’s behavior would have been unthinkable. Ankara was Israel’s best friend in a region where every other neighbor wishes, to one degree or another, the Jewish state’s destruction…

Making me reminisce about some of my own late-night bar conversations in Istanbul, Steyn continues,

I remember sitting in a plush bar late one night with a former Turkish foreign minister, who told me, in between passing round the cigars and chugging back the Scotch, that, yes, the new crowd [the AK Party led by Prime Minister Erdogan] weren’t quite so convivial in the wee small hours but, other than that, they knew where their interests lay. 

Like many Turkish movers and shakers of his generation, my drinking companion loved the Israelis. “They’re tough hombres,” he said admiringly. “You have to be in this part of the world.”

Six years later, the Turkish state is tacitly supporting a “charity” organization suspected of ties to terror groups and has gone so far as to threaten breaking the Israeli blockade by force—an overt act of war.

Turkey has essentially turned its back on more than twenty years of friendship with Israel and by proxy more than eighty years of friendship with the West in order to pursue an independent foreign policy nearly 100% at odds with its former allies.  Some have called Erdogan’s policy the “re-Ottomanization” of Turkey.  We’ll return to this theme shortly.  But first, we will return to Steyn.

Steyn asks rhetorically, “Who lost Turkey?”  His surprising answer is Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the staunchly secular post-Ottoman Turkish state.

Steyn writes,

The short version of Turkish demographics in the 20th century is that Rumelian Turkey — i.e., western, European, secular, Kemalist Turkey — has been out-bred by Anatolian Turkey — i.e., eastern, rural, traditionalist, Islamic Turkey.

Ataturk and most of his supporters were from Rumelia, and they imposed the modern Turkish republic on a reluctant Anatolia, where Ataturk’s distinction between the state and Islam was never accepted. Now they don’t have to accept it. The swelling population has spilled out of its rural hinterland and into the once solidly Kemalist cities.

Some readers might have heard the expression “Young Turks.”  For those unfamiliar with the term, the Young Turks were a reform movement in the late 1800s that sought to modernize the Ottoman Empire, making it more Western.

But as Steyn puts it, the Young Turks are now the Old Turks.  The new Young Turks are less modern than their forbears.  Call it the “demodernization” of Turkey.

The Re-Ottomanization of Turkey

How can we explain Turkey’s diplomatic break with its decades-long allies?  In short, Turkey is doing it because it can.  With EU membership now highly unlikely, Turkey has decided to change it focus to its other frontiers.  Rather than being an unwanted periphery member of the West, Turkey sees an opportunity to reassert the role it played prior to World War I the leader of the Islamic world and of the broader Middle East.

Writing for the Financial Times, Josef Joffe writes,

Next to Iran, Nato member Turkey is now the biggest headache for the west. With Egypt sinking into torpor and Riyadh firmly ensconced on the fence between Washington and Tehran, Turkey has seen the leadership of the region up for grabs – and is going for it. It has drawn Syria into its orbit and has reached a nuclear deal with Iran, its rival for hegemony.

What better way to pursue this end than to lead a crusade against the Jewish state? Going after the “Little Satan” is the card that trumps them all, and it embarrasses the “Great Satan” to boot. The real game is about dominance at the expense of America... The US must learn that the real contest is between itself, Turkey and Iran. It is now up against both. 

So, Turkey’s war of words with Israel has little to do with the Palestinian cause and everything to do with reestablishing Turkey as the preeminent power in the Middle East a role it has eschewed for nearly a century.

Given the regional alternatives, Turkish hegemony might not be the worst outcome.  Turkish hegemony would certainly be preferable to Iranian or Saudi.  Though drifting towards soft Islamism, Turkey is still a constitutionally secular republic.  And despite Steyn’s grim words, secular Turks are not exactly dying out.  Were Erdogan to lose the next election (which could happen if the Kemalist opposition found credible leadership),  Turkey’s anti-Western lurch could come to an abrupt end.

Outside of Israel, Turkey also has the most developed and diversified economy in the region and has its most important city in Istanbul.  Among emerging markets, Turkey remains one of Sizemore Capital’s favorite investment targets.

Still, shifting geopolitical relationships promise to make this region highly volatile in the decades ahead. And if we intend to invest in this part of the world, we must understand the changes taking place.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. This material may not be suitable for all investors and is not intended to be an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities nor is it intended to be investment advice. You should speak to a financial advisor before attempting to implement any of the strategies discussed in this material. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all investment strategies discussed in this material have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The author of the material or a related party will often have an interest in the securities discussed. Please see Full Disclaimer for a full disclaimer.

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The Iran Protests and Demographics

By now, everyone should be aware of the anti-regime protests taking place in Iran.   The country is experiencing unrest not seen since the 1979 Islamic revolution that deposed the Shah and brought the current regime to power.  The “spark” that ignited this rebellion was the disputed presidential election, of course.  But the “tinder” that caused this fire to spread are Iran’s demographics.  As you can see from the charts below, Iran is primed for revolution.

We’ll start first with a flashback to the original 1979 revolution, the one in which young Islamic militants  shocked the world by holding 52 American diplomats hostage for over a year.  This is the event that most historians mark as the beginning of the global Islamist movement.   The reasons for the revolution are too complex to be discussed in a short blog post, but looking at Chart 1 it’s not hard to see why it was a success.

During the Islamic Revolution, 1979 American Baby Boomer student revolutionaries  in the 1960s used to say “Never trust anyone over 30,” and there is a reason for this.  A young person has nothing to lose and has the youthful audacity to believe in change (for better or worse).   But by the time a person reaches their 30s, they have a career, a spouse, a family, and a stake in the status quo.  As we age, we get more resistant to change because, at the end of the day, we have more to lose.  Why risk your livelihood for abstract ideals like “democracy” or “freedom”?

So, how do Iran’s demographics look today?  In a word, “revolutionary.”

Consider Chart 2: Iran’s population is absolutely dominated by the 15-34 age group.  This cohort includes everything from rebellious teenagers to idealistic college students to frustrated and unemployed 20- and 30-somethings — exactly the kind of people with the reckless abandon needed to launch a revolution. We have no real way to handicap the likelihood of success for Iran’s young revolutionaries today.  Their passion is impressive, but they are up against some truly nasty people who will do anything to stay in power.

The Tiananmen Square protests in China twenty years ago were inspirational to those watching, but in the end they accomplished very little.   The might of the Chinese state was too much for a ragtag band of students.   Still, given their sheer numbers today, the young Iranians have a fighting chance to un-do the Islamic revolution of their parents’ generation and replace it with a more liberal revolution of their own.

Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, as of the date hereof, and is subject to change without notice. This material may not be suitable for all investors and is not intended to be an offer, or the solicitation of any offer, to buy or sell any securities nor is it intended to be investment advice. You should speak to a financial advisor before attempting to implement any of the strategies discussed in this material. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all investment strategies discussed in this material have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The author of the material or a related party will often have an interest in the securities discussed. Please see Full Disclaimer for a full disclaimer.

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