— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on April 15, Wednesday.
Much of the U.S. stock market's meteoric rise over the past six years has been predicated on an acronym that Wall Street refers to as TINA-There Is No Alternative.
The subtext is that with the U.S. moving faster than much of its counterparts around the globe, and with its central bank in extreme, unprecedented easing mode, there simply was no place else to grow money except on American shores.
2015 has seen the light start to dim on the U.S. bull market and shine more brightly in some unlikely corners of the world, like Russia, Israel and Japan. European stocks have staked their claim as new world leaders, and China and Japan equities have ripped higher as well.
Investors have taken notice in a big way, giving TINA some competition by spreading their money around the world.
Funds that focus on global equities have taken in $81.5 billion this year, a pace that, if continued, would break a record for four-month inflows in the category, according to data research firm TrimTabs. Thanks to a record $7.8 billion in European funds, March inflows are at $34.8 billion, also a single-month record, with April already showing a $14.8 billion inflow total. (The totals include mutual and exchange-traded products.)
The S&P 500 U.S. large-cap index has been a global laggard, registering just a 1.8 percent gain so far this year. U.S. small-caps have performed much better, with the Russell 2000 registering a 5.1 percent gain, but even that move is well behind many other global indexes.
The Russian stock market, for instance, is up 28.4 percent, the Europe STOX 600 has gained 20.2 percent and France's CAC-40 has surged 22.1 percent. Other indexes have followed suit:
YTD % gain
BUX Hungary 32.1
PSI 20 Portugal 30
FTSE MIB Italy 24.9
CAC 40 France 22.1
Shanghai A Share China 27.8
Nikkei 225 Japan 14.1
TA-100 Israel 14.4
The global market outperformance has created some interesting developments in the ETF industry. Over the past month in particular, funds that use leverage to double and triple returns of foreign indexes have soared in value.
The highest flier over the period has been the Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X, a fund that uses leverage to triple the returns of Chinese depositary receipts on Chinese equities traded on U.S. exchanges. The fund has soared more than 88 percent over the past month.
Similarly, the Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3X is up about 48 percent during the period, while the Direxion Brazil Bull 3X has surged 39.5 percent and the Direxion Daily Emerging Markets Bull 3X has returned 39.2 percent.
Those are highly risky moves, however, and investors can choose from a slew of funds that play both emerging and developed markets outside the U.S., where strategists say fertile ground is ahead.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients it has grown cautious on U.S. equities and has decided to increase its cash allocation until a better re-entry point emerges. Like the rest of the Wall Street, BofAML is anxiously awaiting clearer direction from the Federal Reserve. The Fed is expected to increase interest rates later in 2015 for the first time in nine years, but the pace of tightening remains unclear amid much slower economic growth in the first quarter than anticipated.
CNBC's Qian Chen, reporting from Singapore
Good air quality, solid infrastructure and a world class medical system.
These advatages have all helped Singapore to rank consistently as one of the most livable cities in the world. In fact, Singapore claimed the top spot in a recent survey by consultancy ECA International. In its global livability index, the city-state ranks as the best in Asia and throughout the globe.
According to Teng Chye Koo, The Executive Director for Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore can chalk that up to two things.
[Teng Chye Koo, The Executive Director for Centre for Liveable Cities] "It's about planning, but it's also about governance. And I think these are the two things. The systematic way in which we approach planning and governance I think is responsible for a lot of the outcomes we see in Singapore"
As Singapore looks to the future, technology is increasingly playing a bigger role in that planning. It's already laid the groundwork to become the world's first "smart nation".
The aim is to use sensors and super wi-fi networks to manage things like traffic, air pollution and even to remind you to take out the trash. 79213? For Singapore public housing and development board or HDB- it's all about making the lives of residents easier. STOP HERE
"Because they have so much data in their databases, the issue is then how do you then using the latest advances in digital technology take advantage of that data to make the lives of the residents in HDB towns a lot better."
But as our cities become "smarter" using technology is not without its downsides.
[JUSTIN SEARLE/ Managing Partner, UtiliSec / Instructor, SANS Institute] "I think when we look at smart cities, one of the concerns we primarily have is we're taking a lot of technologies and systems and appliances and devices in our homes and networking them together so they can communicate with each other. Traditionally over the last 10-15 years we have malware and attackers attacking our personal computers but now we'll be able to have people and attackers and malware attack our appliances inside of our homes and the other systems inside of our homes."
Computer controlled infrastructure and public utilities that are in the same network will now have to be digitally protected.
Everything could come to a standstill with one single hacking event and authorities need to be prepared.
[JUSTIN SEARLE / Managing Partner, UtiliSec / Instructor, SANS Institute] "Governments and companies that are creating these systems definitely have to take a proactive approach in trying to create security defenses in these devices from the ground up. And then when they connect these devices together and build these networks, to put additional defenses in place there."
Singapore is one place taking the issue of attacks seriously, launching a brand new Cyber Security Agency at the beginning of April.
The challenge is striking a balance between regulation and digital freedom.