The growing ebb-and-flow of the U.S. market in front of the backdrop of Bernanke-blasting and the resurgence of sovereign debt crises has started to exhaust me. It's not that it's good or bad for my portfolio - it's just been exhausting getting tossed and turned on a daily basis. If you're ready for some stocks that are a little less eventful and a little more consistent, check out these stocks.
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In any case, here are four overseas picks that may actually curb the volatility of a predominantly-U.S.-based portfolio, and pump up your overall returns as well.
Numbers Don't Lie
Say what you want about Google's (GOOG) Android and Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, and now Microsoft's (MSFT) Mobile Windows 7, chipping away at the BlackBerry's place in the smartphone world. The fact of the matter is Canada's Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM) has increased annual earnings every year - significantly - since 2005. They were up 30.8% over the last year, and RIMM is plausibly priced at only 9.2 times next year's expected earnings.
The (Bad) Luck o' the Irish
There's a big difference between being "based in Ireland" and being "dependent on the solvency of Ireland's government". There's no doubt Ireland - as a country - needs help. That doesn't mean Irish disk drive maker Seagate Technology PLC (STX) is selling any few disk drives though.
The other argument against STX is simple that it's posted two earnings shortfalls in a row - a fact made even more painful by the fact that it had topped estimates for a few quarters before that. On the flipside, priced at only 4.4 times its trailing earnings and only 10.8 times projected earnings for the next twelve months, it's kind of hard to say the market hasn't priced the worst in already.
FLEXing its Earnings Muscle
Singapore's Flextronics International Ltd. (FLEX) pumped up its bottom line by 100% over the last four quarters, and is looking to grow it by another 65% in the coming year. And it's not like those are some low-balled, easy comp comparisons either; the trailing P/E is 14, and the forward-looking P/E is 8.3. As if that weren't enough, we've now seen five straight EPS beats from the company.
Just for the record, Flextronics reported a 27% jump in last quarter's revenue, and a 43% improvement in earnings.
Better Than Realized
Let me get this straight - Aegon NV (AEG) quadrupled last quarter's net income, and the stock didn't budge? Pretty much, But the growing bottom line's not likely to go unrewarded for long.
Much of the hangup here likely stems from the uncertainty behind its reinsurance division Transamerica. Aegon is looking to sell the unit to pay back the Dutch government. The problem is, few expect it to fetch the 1.6 billion euros it's worth. Maybe, but then again, Aegon only owes 1.5 billion euros, so it can afford to take less, and would be better capitalized regardless. Besides, after the 7% bump in life insurance sales last quarter, Transamerica may be more marketable than the company realizes, now that life insurance sales are rising - finally - again. Life sales were up 9% in the first half of 2010, versus the 2009's first two quarters when life sales dropped at their nastiest pace in seven decades. (For related reading, take a look at our Intro To Insurance Tutorial.)
The Bottom Line
Ironically, it's the overseas market that can provide those opportunities. I say "ironic" because it wasn't that long ago that I was cautioning investors that international positions were amazingly volatile. My, how quickly tables can turn.
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