For quite some time, Brazil has been considered the hottest spot south of the border for business. But according to a report published last week by the World Bank Group, it's Mexico that takes the cake as the easiest place in Latin America to set up a company.

In a country-to-country comparison of the ease and price of procedures involved in getting a firm off the ground, running it, and shutting it down, Mexico led the Latin pack, coming in ahead of both Peru and Columbia. What's more, it even bested European superpowers like Spain and Italy.

On paper, Mexico would appear to go light on the red tape. There, it takes just six bureaucratic procedures and nine days to register a new business; compare that to Argentina's 14 procedures and 26-day timeline. And in Mexico, the average business allots about 404 hours a year toward tax paying -- but it takes 2600 hours to get the same job done in Brazil.

However, Mexico's corporate reality isn't nearly as rosy as these stats make it seem.

First off, the World Bank Group report ignores the condition of a nation's economy -- and Mexico's lags far behind many of the countries it surpassed on the list. And Mexican cities run the gamut from first- to third-world, meaning widely varying degrees of corporate efficiency.

Not to mention the widespread corruption that numbers don't reflect. The nation's increasing reliance on computers certainly helps, both expediting business transactions and offering some degree of protection from extortion. But citizens still aren't altogether convinced that the Internet is any safer, and many continue to prefer in-person cash payments -- meaning that the bureaucratic process moves a whole lot slower.

Investing in emerging market stocks presents a whole host of unique challenges. Foreign countries' general lack of transparency can result in misinformation and even fraud.

You also have to deal with currency risk: If the value of the dollar declines against the currency of the emerging market country, your overall return will be lower. And if political tensions erupt, a fragile economy can collapse.

It's tough to do your homework from afar, so one way to get started is to follow the smart money. Institutional investors have the resources to do recon you can't -- so it can be helpful to see which foreign stocks they're snapping up.

Here is a list of four Mexican stocks that have seen significant institutional buying over the past three months. If emerging markets interest you, use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas)

Institutional data sourced from Reuters, the list has been sorted by change in institutional ownership over the past three months.



Shares Held by Inst. Investors Today

Shares Held by Inst. Investors 3 Months Ago

% Change in Inst. Ownership

Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte, S.A. de C (Nasdaq: OMAB)

Air Services




Grupo Aeroportuario Del Sureste SA de CV (NYSE: ASR)

Air Services




Gruma S.A.B. de CV (NYSE: GMK)

Processed & Packaged Goods




Grupo Televisa SA (NYSE: TV)

TV Broadcasting




Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare monthly returns and analyst ratings for all the stocks mentioned above.

Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Alicia Sellitti do not own shares of any companies mentioned.