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(mark wragg/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(mark wragg/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

STRATEGY

Four emerging market stock picks worth a second look Add to ...

John Reese is CEO of Validea.com and Validea Capital, and portfolio manager for the Omega Consensus funds. Globe Investor has a distribution agreement with Validea.ca, a premium Canadian stock screen service. Try it.

So far, it’s been a rough turnaround for U.S. stocks in 2014. After a year in which the major indexes were up about 30 per cent, investors are getting nervous, and one big driver seems to be emerging markets.

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I think recent declines in emerging markets stocks are creating some very nice buying opportunities. In fact, a number of these shares have been getting very strong scores from my Guru Strategies, each of which is based on the approach of a different investing great.

Of course, in the short term, emerging market stocks could be in for more declines. In addition, many emerging markets, such as Russia, come with significant political risks that you won’t find in developed markets. But what I’m concerned with is fundamentals and value. Over the long term, stocks with strong fundamentals bought at reasonable prices tend to win out.

This disciplined, fundamental-based strategy is what has powered the Omega Consensus International Equity (a fund my firm subadvises in Canada) to the top 7 per cent of all international equity funds over the past five years ended Dec. 31, 2013, with an annualized performance of 13.78 per cent.

Here are four U.S.-traded emerging-market stocks worth a long hard look. As always, you should invest in stocks like these as part of a broader, well-diversified portfolio.

 

Avago Technologies

Once part of Hewlett-Packard’s semiconductor branch, Singapore-based Avago introduced the first commercially available LED dot matrix displays back in the 1960s. Today it makes a broad range of analog, mixed signal and optoelectronics components and subsystems, serving the wireless communications, wired infrastructure, and industrial markets.

Avago ($13-billion U.S. market cap) is a favourite of my Peter Lynch-based model. The firm has grown earnings per share at a 31-per-cent clip over the long term. Its shares trade for 24.7 times earnings, making for a solid 0.8 P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio. Mr. Lynch also liked conservatively financed firms, and with a debt/equity ratio below 1 per cent, Avago fits the bill.

 

Wipro Ltd.

This India-based global IT firm ($22-billion market cap) took in more than $6.6-billion in sales in the last year. It has raised earnings in each year of the past decade, and is on track to do so again in its current fiscal year.

Wipro’s strong track record of earnings growth is one reason it gets high marks from my Warren Buffett-based model. The approach also seeks out companies with manageable debt and high returns on equity. Wipro has less than $200-million in debt and more than $1.1-billion in annual earnings, and its 10-year average ROE is an impressive 24.8 per cent, so it scores high in both those categories.

 

Banco Macro SA

This Argentine bank, with a market cap of $1.8-billion and revenue of $1.1-billion, gets strong scores from a nice mix of value and growth models on Validea, which are typically a good predictor of future stock price performance.

The shares get high marks from the Lynch-based model and my growth investor strategy, which is based on the approach of legendary investor Martin Zweig. With a long-term earnings growth rate of 28 per cent and a P/E in the single digits, its PEG rate is an ultra low 0.2. It boasts a 22-per-cent profit margin and a 28-per-cent ROE.

Lukoil (LUKOY-OTC)

Lukoil ($47-billion market cap) – the world’s second-largest publicly traded oil company by proved reserves of hydrocarbons – has very strong fundamentals and financials. The Russia-based firm gets approval from my O’Shaughnessy- and Lynch-based models.

The O’Shaughnessy-based model likes its size ($142-billion in trailing 12-month sales), huge cash flow (more than $21 a share), and stellar 5.4-per-cent dividend yield. The Lynch model considers the firm to be a “stalwart” because of its moderate 10-per-cent long-term growth rate and size. For such firms, Mr. Lynch added dividend yield to the growth portion of the P/E-to-growth equation. With a P/E of just 4.2, that 10-per-cent growth rate, and its 5.4-per-cent dividend, Lukoil has a yield-adjusted PEG of just 0.27, indicating that it is a big-time bargain.

Full disclosure: The author is long LUKOY and WIT.

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