As markets become more globalized and economies become more entwined, it's impossible to ignore the importance of investing in international stocks. Mutual funds, index funds, and ETF's have all combined to make your international choices simpler, quicker, and in many cases, more efficient.

But for many of you, investing in a passive index fund just isn't enough because you're interested in country-specific stocks. You want to invest in companies on the ground -- not in a basket of companies in a mutual fund. Maybe you want direct exposure to Chinese small caps, Spanish communications, or German banking -- and this is where you'll find it.

In a country-by-country rundown, we're taking a tour across the globe finding out which foreign stocks are traded on major U.S. indices. Hopefully it will get your engine going.

In today's article, we'll be taking a look at five companies whose headquarters are based in Switzerland.



Market Cap (millions)

Recent Price

Foster Wheeler (Nasdaq: FWLT)

Heavy Construction



Noble (NYSE: NE)

Oil & Gas Drilling



Tyco International (NYSE: TYC)

Diversified Machinery



Weatherford International (NYSE: WFT)

Oil & Gas Services



Novartis (NYSE: NVS)

Drug Manufacturer



Note: Does not include stocks with a market cap below $100 million.

Foster Wheeler is one of the largest construction and engineering services firms in the world, and when the global economy is on the brink of instability, that doesn't bode well for building companies. As such, Foster Wheeler's stock has plummeted by 26% this year, about 22 percentage points more than the S&P 500. In addition, the majority of the company's revenues come from Europe, where economic uncertainty only seems to be increasing. And last quarter, although margins increased, sales dropped off significantly -- a possible ominous sign of things to come.

Tyco International is also an industrial powerhouse, involved in everything from home security to flow-control products. While about 40% of its revenue comes from ADT Worldwide Security, Tyco's spinoff, Tyco Electronics, just made headlines by purchasing broadband equipment maker, ADC Telecom, for a whopping $1.25 billion, which represents a 44% premium to ADC's closing price before the announcement. Tyco investors may not be as impressed, though, as its shares have steadily declined since the announcement.

Both Noble and Weatherford have been hit by the BP oil disaster, as their shares have dropped more than 20% in the last six months. As a deepwater driller that is clearly exposed to the Gulf, Noble's hit comes as no surprise; however, it's pretty geographically diversified, it generates tons of free cash flow, and, considering its 4.8 P/E ratio, it's one company I really like. Weatherford, which is more of a services company than a driller, has relatively little exposure to the Gulf, so I expect this stock to see a nice boost, especially if the Deepwater Horizon saga starts to wind down.

Novartis is involved with not only drug manufacturing (including generics) but also vaccines and diagnostic work as well. However, the latest excitement comes as a 25-person panel urged the FDA to approve Novartis's new multiple sclerosis medicine, called Gilenia. Currently Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: TEVA) manufactures an MS drug called Copaxone, but Gilenia would be in pill form, whereas Copaxone is injection-based. This comes at a good time, as Cell Therapeutics' (Nasdaq: CTIC) lymphoma drug pixantrone, which Novartis had a license to sell, was rejected by the FDA for an accelerated approval. Fortunately, Novartis is one of the more diversified pharma manufacturers, so it's rebounding nicely, especially as it recently reported a 19% boost in profits and raised its sales outlook for the year.

Know anything about any of the companies listed above, or have the inside scoop on country related issues? Head over to Motley Fool CAPS or leave a comment below. If not, check these companies out and let the 165,000-plus member Fool community gain from your knowledge!

Jordan DiPietro owns shares of Noble and Novartis. Novartis is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.