You wouldn't know it by looking at today's percentage losers on the New York Stock Exchange, but there is a banking boom in India. Following five years of recession, during which interest rates hit 15%, demand exploded as rates fell to three-decade lows. The result in India, with a middle class estimated at 300 million (greater than the entire U.S. population), has been an explosion in loan demand.
Consider the following as evidence:
Retail loans at ICICI Bank
At HDFC Bank
The short answer is that a constitutional crisis has embroiled India in the wake of the election of foreign-born Sonia Gandhi. This is no small deal: The Supreme Court is listening to arguments aimed at preventing her from becoming prime minister.
Whatever the court decides, the offshore outsourcing boom and economic growth in India fueled by a surging middle class is underway. IBM
Every once in a while, markets produce buying opportunities. Rising interest rates, the price of oil, and developments in Iraq all are chipping away at the market averages. But India is in the midst of an economic boom -- and its banks are the prime beneficiaries. Investors paying attention will see rapidly improving balance sheets and suddenly reasonable price-to-earning multiples.
Today, India's banking stocks are the hardest hit on a miserable day on Wall Street. On a fundamental basis, today might also be a great time to take a look at what they have to offer.
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Fool contributor W.D. Crotty does not owns stock in any of the companies mentioned.