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Tickers in this Article: BCS, UL, BP, DEO, BTI
Investors who are looking to invest beyond the U.S. can look to U.K. stocks, many of which trade on the NYSE through ADRs. Many of these stocks represent large, well-known companies that do business not only in the U.S., but around the world as well as in their native U.K. No matter what side of the "pond" you call home, these stocks are worth considering.

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A Strong British Bank
Barclay's PLC (NYSE:BCS), is a strong U.K. financial institution, which came through the British version of the recent financial meltdown in fairly good shape. Although there is some feeling that the financial markets may be further decentralized in the future, Barclay's has solidified its position as one of the top-tier investment banks in the world. With its write-downs behind it, Barclay's is currently trading at roughly 13 times earnings and 10 times forward earnings.

Consumer Products
Unilever PLC (NYSE:UL), maker of Dove soap, sells the kind of things we all need and is considered a "titan" among defensive stocks. The consensus estimates for the year ahead at Unilever look very encouraging, at slightly under 10% growth. If the recession continues to linger in the U.K., Unilever's business of necessary products should hold up well while it can still grow handily around the globe, particularly in developing countries.

A Major Oil Company
BP (NYSE:BP) is trading at 21 times earnings, but this is expected to change markedly given the forward earnings estimates, and should be in the 10-15 range in the next couple of years. BP, like many of these other large companies, also pays a generous dividend, one with a current yield over 5%. BP is selling at a bit of a rich price right now, near its 52-week high. Despite this, the company appears poised for future growth, and worth a closer look.

So-Called Sin Stocks
Distiller Diageo (NYSE:DEO) includes well-known brands such as Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff, and is also considered a defensive stock titan. It might not be regarded as a fast-grower, but again, like these other stocks, it pays a reasonable dividend and has good earnings, which have seen it through this recession. While its growth in the U.K. and U.S. markets may no longer be rapid, China and the rest of the developing world are providing opportunities for the distiller.

Another U.K. stock mentioned in the same light of global growth, particularly in China and the developing world, is British-American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI). Although U.S. tobacco companies face a declining market, as well as headwinds in Japan with its new, aggressive tax on cigarettes, the world beyond the U.S. and U.K. still generates enormous revenue from cigarette sales. British-American features strong earnings along with a dividend yield of 2.77%.

The Roundup
These large, global players from the U.K. feature familiar names and transparent companies, and many of their products are part of the fabric of daily life in a number of countries. For investors who want to branch out beyond U.S. or Canadian stocks, these British companies offer a relatively comfortable way of approaching global or international investing. For U.K. investors, they provide great opportunities very close to home.

As always, let these suggestions be merely that - do your own homework, dig into the fundamentals and invest according to your own principles on price and time horizon.

You can also use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

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