International equities have likely been an integral part of the portfolios of investors who have been able to outperform the market in recent years. Given the interim results that we have compiled from our Best International Stock for 2007 contest, it appears that there continues to be an ample amount of growth opportunities overseas. Of our 17 contestants, the average return without factoring in dividends has been 24%. Sixteen of these stocks are in positive territory since the start of the competition and eight have returned 25% or more.

As things now stand, Korean steelmaker POSCO (NYSE:PKX) is the front-runner, with Swedish automobile manufacturer Volvo (NASDAQ:VOLV) running second. Posco has surged 68% since the end of November, with Volvo producing an almost equally impressive 56.4% over the same period. Our third-place competitor, Latin American wireless provider America Movil (NYSE:AMX), has appreciated a "modest" 44% thus far.

POSCO has returned an astounding 118% over the past 52 weeks. In April, the company reported a 38% increase in net profits, and it expects the growth in global demand for steel to remain consistent. Volvo is another stock that has returned triple digits over the past year, which has led to some concerns regarding its valuation. However, there has been little that has slowed the company in 2007, as the global demand for its trucks remains strong.

Among our underperformers in this group of stocks are foreign automakers Toyota (NYSE:TM) and Honda (NYSE:HMC). Neither has performed all that poorly, though. Despite returning only 5.8% since the end of November, Toyota remains a top seller of automobiles in the U.S. market and recently had a record-setting month for vehicle sales in the U.S. Honda expects its total revenues to grow as well as its market share in the U.S.; however, rising raw material costs continue to be a drag on the company's profits. Its stock price is up 1.9% since the end of November.

With that said, here are the best and the worst of the first half:


Change in Stock Price





America Movil










Returns from Nov. 24, 2006, to June 15, 2007

Will this remain a two-horse race between POSCO and Volvo, or could one of our other contestants surge from behind? The Fool would like to hear your take on the picks for The Best International Stock for 2007. So check out our Motley Fool CAPS community intelligence database, which already has more than 30,600 members, and cast your rating for each of these stocks. We will check back in January and see how our contestants stack up.

Interested in investing in international companies? Look no further than The Motley Fool's Global Gains. Analysts are searching the globe for the best opportunities, and the ones they have found are outperforming the market. So click here to take your free 30-day trial.

NetEase is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation.

Fool contributor Billy Fisher does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.