It takes a lot to impress emerging markets guru Mark Mobius.
But even he, who has seen wars, political coups and market collapses come and go in emerging markets, admits Asia's current financial morass is a doozy.
"It's the worst crisis I have ever seen," said Mr. Mobius, the president of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, Singapore. He likened it to a modern version of the 1929 market crash.
But that doesn't mean opportunities disappeared. Far from it. Since Mr. Mobius believes strong economic growth will return to the region, the current woes present a golden buying opportunity to him -- especially in the liquid big caps that had become pricey.
"The best time to find opportunities is when the markets are as bad as they have been," said the value investor. "That was proved in 1987 and again with the crisis in Mexico."
Now, 75% of new cash flow to the group is being allocated to Asia, said Mr. Mobius.
He finds bargains in South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Among sectors, banking remains preferred, only more so. About 20% of Templeton's global emerging markets portfolios is invested in bank stocks, up from about 15% a year ago. Among the stock holdings: Thai Farmers' Bank, Bangkok Bank and Korea's Hana Bank.
Property is his next biggest sector weighting.
Apparently, a number of institutional investors see things Mr. Mobius' way. According to him, Templeton Emerging Markets has been enjoying a "net inflow of money, especially from institutions."