Tickers in this Article: CL, KO, AFL, COH, CAT, SPY
It's no secret that many analysts and financial journalists are expecting a very slow and tepid recovery to the United States economy. Many are projecting that the real growth, both economically and portfolio-wise, will come from faster-emerging and international overseas markets. With the recent debt problems in Greece, Spain and Dubai still fresh in investors' minds, many are reevaluating their risk profiles and becoming more concerned with investing directly in foreign firms. However, if investors dig a bit deeper, they can find great international growth from many domestic plays here at home.

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Going Global
About 48% of the sales from companies in the broad S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) were received from sources outside the U.S. That figure is growing; in 2006, only 44% of sales were derived overseas. Sales in bhatt, yuan and euros are having a dramatic effect on asset prices. A paper presented by research firm Bespoke Investment has shown that companies receiving more than half of their revenue from international sources rose by more than 56% in 2009. That's more than double the return of their just-U.S.-revenue twins. Even with the recent outperformance, these "domestic international" companies are still a few of the bargains left in the market. Shares of globally focused U.S. firms command just a 20% stock market premium versus a 25% premium for domestic-only shares.

A Few 'Domestic International Picks'
Investing in companies that have large international dealings is quite easy, and most are large, steady-eddy blue chips. For example, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) sells far more sodas overseas than here in the U.S. By digging a little deeper into a corporation's financial statements, we can find some great investments. Here are a few picks for a domestic international portfolio:

Most consumers have brushed their teeth with Colgate toothpaste or used Ajax to clean their bathrooms, but many would be surprised to learn that Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL) sells more products in Brazil and the rest of Latin America than here in the U.S. Approximately 75% of total revenue stems from its international operations. Colgate has been turning those increasing revenues into shareholder gains. The company also just upped its dividend by 20%. Shares currently yield 2.7%.

Quacking In Japan
AFLAC's (NYSE: AFL) insurance offerings are unique in the industry, and its AFLAC ducks have helped the company become one of the most recognized names in the business. However, the duck quacks much louder overseas. Nearly 70% of the agencies' revenues come from Japan. The company recently reported full-year profit of $3.19 a share. A stronger yen led to a benefit of 26 cents a share in 2009. The company also reaffirmed its dividend, yielding 2.4%.

Luxury goods have certainly taken their lumps domestically during the credit crisis. However, in Asia it's a different story. In the fourth quarter, luxury leather goods maker Coach (NYSE: COH) opened four high-end stores in China, bringing its total to 37. Add this to its 163 stores in Japan, and the company receives 29% of its revenue overseas. While that number is less than half, it is growing. Coach executives predict that by 2013 Hong Kong, Macao and the rest of mainland China will account for 20% of the global handbag and accessory market.

Bottom Line
For long-term growth and balanced portfolios, investors need a healthy dose of international stocks. However, finding international plays may be as easy as checking the blue chips in our own backyard. Digging deeper, we can find domestic plays that receive healthy revenues from overseas. After all, Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) exports more of its 735 articulated trucks than its sells here in the U.S. This and the previous picks are great for a domestic international portfolio. (For related reading, take a look at Does International Investing Really Offer Diversification?)

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