An Emerging Market Takeover at the IMF?

French finance minister Christine Lagarde is seen as a front-runner to succeed Strauss-Kahn.
Yoshikazu Tsuno | AFP | Getty Images
French finance minister Christine Lagarde is seen as a front-runner to succeed Strauss-Kahn.

An emerging market takeover? Emerging markets are going to make a major power play at this weekend's International Monetary Fund meeting.

They are going to put up big bucks to help bail out the developed countries, specifically Europe. If the strangeness of this does not impress you, you're not paying attention. The Russians, the Chinese, the Brazilians all want more say in how the IMF is run. They're going to get it, in the most traditional of ways: They're going to buy into it.

No one knows how much money will be raised, but the Russians are already strutting around Washington assuring everyone that money will be pledged.

To help everyone figure out what they should put up, IMF head Christine Lagarde (a Frenchwoman) has already said she wants $400 billion. Talk among yourselves, fellas, and figure out how to come up with the money.

There's talk the emerging market countries will pony up at least $100 billion of that. Developed countries — Europe and Japan — are going to put up cash, too. The U.S., not so much, if at all.

But watch the fine print in the final communiqué. The Brazilians are already demanding more voting power in exchange for anteing up.

The IMF has 24 members on its executive board, weighted heavily toward Europeans. That's 24 members representing 187 countries. The big guys, like the U.S. and China, have their own seats, but most countries are grouped in "constituencies" representing four or more countries. That is where the fight is going to be. The big emerging market countries want to reshuffle that deck.


1) Another strong morning for earnings: Nine major companies reported this morning, seven beat expectations, two matched, none missed.

With so many earnings reports, how to make sense of it all? Look for companies that are exemplars in their field, and that have global diversity.

Take Johnson Controls. They make the stuff behind your walls: integrated heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), as well as car interior systems. Very big in Europe. What we got: A good, not great quarter. Their most important sector, business efficiency, was a bit weak (up only 1.1 percent year-over-year), with little surprise because this business is heavily exposed to Europe and the U.S. residential market. But the automotive segment did better, up 7 percent year-over-year. Most important, they are comfortable with current 2012 analyst estimates of about $2.75. That is good news.

Take Ingersoll Rand, another one of my favorites. Like Johnson Controls, big in HVAC, but also makes locks, tools, pumps, and fluid handling systems.

Commercial HVAC was strong, the one downside is it maintained its 2012 guidance, which is conservative and below consensus. Considering they beat in first quarter estimates, the failure to raise was a slight disappointment.

And take Honeywell, (think aerospace, environmental controls, chemicals, and coating) which also beat. Aerospace sales were up 9 percent, automation and control systems (environmental controls) were up 4 percent. The company raised its guidance to $4.35 to $4.55 (from $4.25 to $4.50) and consensus of $4.44 a share. Up 4 percent pre-open.

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