Believe it or not, the economy doesn't stink everywhere as badly as it seems to stink in the United States and Europe. Though it's a drum that's been pounded for a couple of years now, several emerging markets - even at slower growth paces now - are still soaring in comparison to fading growth efforts in more established countries. (To learn more, check out Equity Valuation In Emerging Markets.)

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And yes, these nations are still an investment opportunity.

Don't assume this is a pep-talk in support of the obvious companies like Coach (NYSE:COH) (which has big exposure to Japan) and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) (which is helping build China's next generation of infrastructure). Those are fine stocks, but as said, they're a little obvious at this point.

For investors who are truly on board with the emerging market theme, the best picks may well be names rarely - if ever - viewed as foreign market plays.

Unusual Suspects
Avon Product (NYSE:AVP) may have been the prior foundation for women to build the American dream for themselves, but there's little of America left in the company. Morningstar says 80% of its sales are generated outside of the United States. Credit Suisse says 52% of its revenue comes from emerging markets alone. Brazil and Russia are two of the largest and fastest growing markets for Avon.

People need to keep food fresh no matter where in the world they live. Apparently, though, they need to keep it fresh for longer is stronger overseas. A whopping 58% of Tupperware Brands' (NYSE:TUP) sales comes from emerging markets. Brazil and India are the biggies.

Whatever the secret formula is, it works. Tupperware's top line has grown for seven consecutive quarters, while Avon's bottom line growth (on a year-over-year basis) hasn't been too shabby either, with the bulk of any earnings turbulence coming from the domestic market. Also, neither company has been shy in acknowledging that emerging markets are going to be key growth drivers in the future.

Why It Works
Neither company would be considered to be on the cutting edge of anything. In fact, both are old school, using direct sales through parties to push the product. That's exactly why it works, though.

While the notion is a little antiquated in the United States, parties and get-togethers hosted by neighbors and relatives who act as salespeople is gaining traction in markets where it's still somewhat new and where business opportunities for women may still be scarce. That's really good news for Avon and Tupperware investors, as this model also generally means stronger margins.

The Bottom Line
Investing in these two companies may be the safest and smartest way to take a dose of international exposure. Each stock has established growth year over year, and they're both respected consumer-goods brands that few people think of when they think "emerging markets".

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Tickers in this Article: TUP, CAT, AVP, COH

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