With the World Cup well under way, now is a good time to take a look at some foreign stocks from a country with good chance to win the tournament. While Team Brazil may or may not triumph on the field, these Brazilian stocks are sure winners in my book.
Team Brazil roster
While you may be familiar with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras
This player really keeps the team refreshed
Companhia de Bebidas das Americas is a player anyone would want on his or her team. Also known as Ambev, this company produces beer -- and enough of it to be the largest brewer in Latin America and the fifth largest in the world, behind the likes of Diageo
For starters, Ambev is financially strong. It possesses a low debt-to-equity ratio, and it has good liquidity, solid profit margins, and strong levels of free cash flow. It also benefits from the growing economy in Brazil, as its revenues have grown nearly fivefold in the past decade. To top it off, it has a dividend yield of 2.7%, which is excellent considering the growth it has experienced.
Perhaps the only disadvantage of owing Ambev is that its cost structure is mostly denominated in U.S. dollars. Therefore, any depreciation of the Brazilian real versus the U.S. dollar will hurt profits at the brew-maker. Investors should keep an eye on the exchange rate when investing in this stock.
A player made of iron
Every team needs a steady player with nerves of steel. Companhia Siderurgica Nacional, or CSN for short, can deliver: It produces steel, iron ore, and several other materials.
It might not be as much of a crowd pleaser as Ambev, but don't discount it. CSN carries a heavier debt-to-equity ratio, but it has enough cash on hand to go along with strong free cash flow and Pele-like profitability to ensure that it remains on solid financial ground. Perhaps more importantly, it displayed resilience during the recent recession by continuing to pay a dividend despite a decline in its revenues as measured in the Brazilian real. In this case, its strong profitability was essential in its dividend policy, and the stock is now yielding a very tempting 7.6%.
While the global steel and iron markets are just beginning to recuperate from the recession, CSN's stock price has not fully recovered from its pre-recession highs. However, with the Brazilian economy going strong, expect this stock to bounce up in the near future.
A player to come off the bench
Injuries are a part of sports, and a good team needs depth to overcome them. Banco Bradesco was certainly a bench player during the recession. The banking stock's price fell by more than 50% in the midst of the financial crisis. The stock has rebounded since then and is now ready to contribute to the team.
Thanks to Brazil's economic boom, the nation's middle class is growing quickly. However, there's still plenty of room for middle-class incomes to grow in the coming decades. Bradesco is in position to benefit tremendously from this trend, as Brazilians have increased their demand for loans. In the first quarter of 2010, Bradesco's total loan portfolio grew by 10.4% from the prior year. At the same time, its delinquency ratio on its loans decreased over the past six months. As the Brazilian economy continues to surge in the future, expect Bradesco to grow quickly as well.
The final cut
The World Cup tournament may prove to have an exciting finish, but our Brazilian equities team is better than a golden goal. Sure, there are other teams out there to consider. However, the combination of solid fundamentals and strong economic growth will prove to be too much for anyone who stands in the way of Ambev, CSN, or Bradesco.
More on Brazilian stocks:
Fool contributor Gerard Torres owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Diageo and Petrobras are both Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The Fool's disclosure policy is required reading for all investors.