Forget China

Remember this past February, when the Shanghai Composite tumbled 8% in a day? Investors got spooked, they sold stocks across the board, and panic set in.

So what's happened since?

The Shanghai market is up almost another 100%.

The great disconnect
China's market is unquestionably hot. So are Chinese ADRs, which aren't always listed in Shanghai. In the past year, E-House (NYSE: EJ  ) has nearly doubled, and China Finance Online (Nasdaq: JRJC  ) has more than quintupled.

While China's economic growth is very real, so was the growth of the Internet nearly a decade ago -- and that turned out very, very badly.

China will likely have a stronger and more impressive economy a decade from now, but there are signs of inflation, as well as signs that the country may have to moderate its growth to conserve one of the most basic resources we all take for granted: water. In other words, the balance of risk and reward is now better in other developing economies -- ones that haven't seen their markets triple in a few short years.  

Three to consider
Here's a short list of countries that don't have the China premium yet offer above-average growth potential and plenty of intriguing opportunities:

Mexico
Mexico's economy is tied to the U.S. economy. That's mostly positive, but with economic growth in the U.S. currently slowing, shares of Mexican companies have been punished. This situation screams "opportunity," because Mexico has significant long-term growth potential independent of the United States. Furthermore, many Mexican firms have a competitive advantage that companies in other countries can only dream about: dominant market share. And that's why airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste (NYSE: ASR  ) is always worth keeping an eye on.

Brazil
Of the four BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- Brazil gets the least love. The country has struggled in the past, but it's been doing very well over the past few years and continues to have bright growth prospects, with less dependency on the U.S. than Mexico has. These reasons alone explain why Banco Bradesco (NYSE: BBD  ) , Petrobras (NYSE: PBR  ) , and other well-run Brazilian firms should be high up on any American investor's watch list.

Chile
It isn't a member of BRIC, but Chile has plenty to offer investors. The country is remarkably open and straightforward to operate in -- a rarity in Latin America -- and the government has been saving large portions of its windfall copper profits to soften the impact of the next slowdown. The number of companies that investors can pick through isn't as numerous as those in Mexico or Brazil, but it's tough to argue the growth, 4.4% yield, and solid franchise of Banco de Chile (NYSE: BCH  ) .

Grab your passport
No matter how bright the future, investors must take a pass when valuations become unfavorable -- as they have in China. Fortunately, we have the rest of the world to look to for bargains, and now is the time to get going.

We can help you do just that at our Motley Fool Global Gains international investing service, and we just returned from a research trip to Latin America. Click here to take a look at all of our picks, resources, and reports free for 30 days, with no obligation to subscribe.

This article was originally published Oct. 4, 2007. It has been updated.

Nathan Parmelee is a Global Gains analyst. He has no ownership stake in any of the companies mentioned. Petrobras is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 549958, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/29/2014 8:16:47 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you

Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early-in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!


Advertisement