A weak dollar sounds like a bad thing for the common American. Imports get more expensive as each buck buys fewer rands, or yuan, or rubles, and the cost of living increases as a result. But don't panic -- you can make up the difference, and much more, in your investment portfolio.
So how can you take advantage of currency trends that work to most American companies' disadvantage? You actually have a few options, short of trading currency directly. That can be a dangerous game, because your only route to profit is through correct exchange-rate guesses. You'd probably sleep better at night with an investment in U.S. companies that have a truly global reach.
If the entire continent of North America evaporated today, Coca-Cola
There are 1,162 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) listings on the major American stock exchanges today, and it should be easy to find a tasty combination of business-performance and exchange-rate trends among them.
But the Volvo ADRs trading on Nasdaq got 52.6% more expensive over the same time period. That's the kind of performance you got from oil producer Marathon
The exchange rate stood at 7.93 Swedish krona per U.S. dollar at the start of the year. After an inexorable downward march, it's at 6.86 per dollar today. That's a 13% change in one year. The British pound sterling has improved 12% against the dollar over the same period, the euro by 10%, and the Swiss franc 7%. Put those free currency gains on top of the market returns produced by one of the many excellent companies trading in these markets, and you have yourself a winner.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a Volvo and Coke shareholder, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always strong.