The small investor advantage
As investors we are always looking for an edge, and there are many to be had. One of the greatest edges we have as individual investors is that we don't have to disclose our positions in companies. This is not true for large institutional investors, who must report their holdings to the SEC each quarter. These filed reports, known as 13-F's, are required for funds with more than $100 million under management. A look at some of these holdings allows us to follow in the footsteps of some of the best.

The global edge
Investors were excited last week by economic data that showed a manufacturing expansion in China, as well as better-than-expected Australian GDP numbers. These numbers in large part led the domestic stock markets to their largest gain in more than two months on Wednesday. Global investors have been looking outside the U.S. for big returns as the American economy remains in a slump, and as unemployment hovers around the 10% level.  One country that is gathering steam as well as mutual fund money is Brazil. The Latin American powerhouse just posted second-quarter year-over-year GDP growth of 8.8% and is on pace for its best yearly growth in more than 24 years.

One investor putting capital to work in Brazil is Black Rock Latin America Fund manager Will Landers. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native and Georgetown University alumnus has allocated four of his five largest positions to Brazilian companies. He favors infrastructure and commodity stocks that will be important as the country continues its buildout for the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament, as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics. Let's look at the top Brazilian holdings in Landers' funds, and do some of our own research to see if they would fit in our own portfolios.

Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE: PBR)
Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras as it is more commonly known, is a government-owned and operated oil and gas exploration company. Petrobras is the largest company in Brazil in terms of its revenue generation as well as market capitalization. It is also the sixth-largest energy company in the world in terms of revenue, allowing the company to compete with the likes of ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A), and Chevron (NYSE: CVX).  Petrobras shares are down significantly this year as investors have been worried about how the Brazilian government has been handling the company. However, the market reacted favorably last week to news that the company would raise capital by selling more than 3 billion shares.  Perhaps this will give the company a much needed cushion for its massive capital-spending project over the next few years.

Itau UniBanco (NYSE: ITUB)
Itau Unibanco is the largest nongovernment-owned bank in Brazil. The bank has been performing well on the back of a strong residential real estate market in the country. The long-term mortgage is a relatively new concept and product offering in Brazil, and the bank stands to see substantial growth as more and more Brazilians buy homes.

Vale is a Brazilian mining company and the world's largest producer of iron ore.  While the company recently had to reduce its prices on the metal, strong demand is expected in the coming years from Brazil's own infrastructure build-up, as well as from the continued infrastructure buildout in another fast-growing economy, China.

Banco Bradesco (NYSE: BBD)
Banco Bradesco is a privately owned and operated bank with the third-largest banking branch network in Brazil. While the bank should also benefit greatly from the growing residential real estate and mortgage market, the company garners revenue from a diverse source of banking services. In the most recent quarter, Banco Bradesco saw nearly one-third of its revenues come from insurance services. The bank's diversity of services will be an important factor in its continued growth.

The conclusion
Landers' record of success and the business fundamentals of his top picks make his portfolio one worth watching. While I don't recommend allocating so much capital to one emerging economy, Landers' picks are a great starting point for investors looking to diversify their portfolio with global growth stocks.

How often do you follow gurus' stock picks? Do you agree with Landers' top picks? Let us know in the comment box below.

Andrew Bond owns no shares in the companies listed. Chevron and Petroleo Brasileiro are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of ExxonMobil. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.