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Asian Markets Plunge; Experts Look for Opportunities

Michael Kearns|Head of News and Programming, CNBC Asia Pacific
Friday, 5 Aug 2011 | 6:55 AM ET

Asian markets fell Friday with Japan's Nikkei, Australia's ASX200, South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng all closing down around 4 per cent.

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That followed the worst sell-off in two years for U.S. stocks. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard and Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all in correction territory.

"Welcome to panic selling, welcome to chaos," Enzio Von Pfeil, founder of the Economic Time Bond Fund told CNBC on Friday. "The psychology of the crowd is coming back, so everybody wants to be out of these stocks.

According to Von Pfeil, the selloff was because "reality has finally set in that things are just not going to get solved."

Michael Yoshikami, CEO & Founder of YCMNET Advisors said, "In this kind of environment, when we are panic selling, there isn't any investment strategy...the only way that you're going to insulate yourself from this downturn is to be out of the market."

But others saw the selloff as a buying opportunity, especially over the short-term.

"In this kind of market that we're going through now, there will be a lot of volatility particularly on the upside, the rallies will be very intense, very short, and people will want to get in," Dodge Dorland, Chief Investment Officer at Landor & Fuest Capital Managers said. "They don't want to miss it because they still haven't given up the hope."

Some analysts point the finger directly at Europe for the volatility. The European Central Bank held its benchmark interest rate at 1.5 percent on Thursday. It also reactivated two of its most potent anti-crisis measures, increasing liquidity to banks and purchasing eurozone bonds.

Despite the debt crisis in the Euro zone, European Central Bank president Jean Claude Trichet told CNBC on Thursday that he thought Europe is actually healthier than some of the world’s major economies.

"I am not concerned for the Euro-system as a whole… if I take the Euro-system as a whole we are in a much better situation… than the U.S. and Japan or other big economies," Trichet said.

Others aren't so sure. “There is a crisis of confidence coming out of the Euro zone that is directly affecting our market,” Jack Bouroudjian, CEO of Index Futures Group told CNBC.

“No doubt about it, it was because of what the president of the European Central Bank said,” added Yu Dee Chan, Principal and Chief Advisor at ACE Investment Strategists.

Investors may be looking for safety plays, but Bouroudjian and Chan see opportunities for gains in coming sessions.

“I think there may be a little more weakness to come," said Chan. “I am looking for a buying opportunity right now. There are two sectors I am looking at right now. One is the consumer staples - they’re cash rich. Second is the multi-conglomerate, the multi-nationals, they’re income or revenue is projected to come from all over the world, so they are less affected by the currency risks."

Bouroudjian remains very bullish and is advising investors to hang on for a wild ride in coming days. “In the next day or two, we’re going to see a tear-your-heart-out-of-your-chest kind of rally if you’re short."

Bill Smith, President and Senior Portfolio Manager SAM Advisors, said the firm had been putting all its cash to work on Thursday buying financials, chemicals and energy.

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