While Greece sinks into the mire, and quite a few other European member states find themselves ankle deep in quicksand, Germany goes from strength to strength. Last year the country's economy grew by an impressive 3 per cent. It boasts a jobless rate of 6.6 per cent - contrast that with Spain's rate of 22 per cent - its public finances are in great shape, German companies are booming and its exports are soaring. The appeal of Europe as an investment theme may have lost its lustre but the same can't be said of the economic powerhouse at its core. Julian Hofmann examines the best ways to access the German stock market and the shares to focus on. And if a better way of buying into Europe is to buy German, there may be a better way of buying into the emerging markets story than simply chasing developing nations' "biggest and best". They may be great companies but do they offer exposure to the real growth potential in the developing world? Our columnist Bearbull thinks not and he's dumping a fund packed full of global giants, quasi utilities and national champions and replacing it with one that links his portfolio with the dynamic side of developing economies and their consumers. Meanwhile Martin Li explains how increasing structural challenges facing miners are likely to underpin long-term commodity prices and, as the new tax year draws nearer, Leonora Walters argues the case for putting a low cost ETF into your Isa and identifies suitable core holdings.
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