The most popular knocks on international investing are that the companies are riskier and that the disclosures aren't as in-depth as they are for U.S. companies. Sometimes this is true, but I think there are many U.S.-based companies that could learn a thing or two from the detailed material that Honda (NYSE:HMC) puts out each quarter. And I'd throw Canon (NYSE:CAJ) into that mix as well.

Canon's material will be out later this week, but today we have Honda's results. It's hard to argue with this automaker's income-statement performance. Sales in Japanese yen increased 14.8% to 2.6 trillion yen ($22.56 billion), and earnings per share increased 31.1% to 78 yen ($0.68) per share. The results were largely driven by increased sales of autos in North America and China, as well as increased sales of general-purpose motors and power products. Motorcycle and ATV sales lagged slightly.

Management also updated its unit sales expectations with no change in autos, slightly fewer motorcycles, and more power products than expected, with growth in power products coming primarily from Europe.

Like Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM) and Nissan (NYSE:NSANY), Honda relies on the North American market for a large portion of its sales and operating income. The company's capital expenditures for the first quarter were 72% higher than last year and are forecasted to be 24.5% higher than last year on an annual basis. These expenditures all point to what the company believes will be increasing sales in North America, and to capture those sales, it is investing in capacity and new models for the continent.

Assuming that capital-expenditure levels normalize in the future and that operating cash flow growth is also along historical norms, Honda shares don't appear to be very expensive here, but they're not exactly cheap on an absolute basis, either. However, if you compare the company with Toyota or other peers, then it begins to look a bit more attractive as an investment candidate. My vote is to wait for the valuation to be attractive on an absolute basis, but be aware that when that time comes, it's likely the economy will be in a funk and Honda likely won't appear all that cheap on current earnings.

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At the time of publication, Nathan Parmelee owned shares in Canon but had no interest in any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.