"You can go to Beirut to buy a Whopper; why can't you come from Tokyo and race in America?"
-- Michael Waltrip, NASCAR driver
Michael Waltrip has a point.
It's no secret that Toyota's
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, of course. But in any market in which there's a ton of money to be made, companies -- regardless of country of origin -- will be there to make profits. Heck, that's the American way. And NASCAR is one such market, with a reported 75 million fans that spend an estimated $2.1 billion on licensed merchandise each year.
In other words, Toyota would be downright stupid and we'd be downright hypocritical to let the Big Three have all the fun in such a profitable and growing niche.
Globalization is a two-way street
Now just as there is resistance to globalization here in the United States, the same situation plays out when American companies go to foreign countries. For instance, McDonald's
Despite such anti-American sentiment, none of these companies plans on halting overseas operations. In fact, they're expanding them. And why shouldn't they? McDonald's, Coca-Cola, and Exxon all generate more than 60% of their revenues outside the United States. If their efforts were focused only in the United States, these companies would lose tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year. And that's just not going to happen.
If you can't take the heat .
Localized protests won't (and shouldn't) stop American companies from expanding overseas. Likewise, we can't (and shouldn't) prevent foreign companies like Toyota from doing the same here. And, by the way, if Toyota is successful in its NASCAR venture, you can be sure its main competitor, Tokyo-based Honda Motor, may be quick to join the fray.
So traditionalist NASCAR fans can kick and scream all they want about Toyota being in "their" sport, but Toyota's not only here to stay, but given its far superior financial strength relative to the Big Three, it's also here to win.
Bottom line: Our lives are going global. As an investor, rather than protest this fact, you might as well profit from it.
One way is to buy an international mutual fund or ETF. Consider that the iSharesMSCI EAFE Index ETF, which tracks large-cap international stocks from developed markets such as Japan and the United Kingdom, would have netted you nearly 14% annually over the past five years. The S&P 500, by comparison, has returned approximately 6% per annum over the same period.
Another way to capitalize on the overseas markets is to hand-pick your own international stocks, which is a philosophy our recently launched Global Gains investing service wholeheartedly supports. Purchasing individual foreign equities allows you to select the cream of the international crop and tailor your portfolio to your unique investing objectives.
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Todd Wenning is a firm believer in the phrase, "rubbin' is racin'." He does not own shares of any company mentioned. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool's disclosure policy never leaves home without a secured restrictor plate.