Goldman's O'Neill Says, "Bet On Growth Markets"

By Aaron Levitt | November 29, 2011 AAA

The four nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China, collectively known as the BRIC, have changed how investors view of emerging markets. When Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analyst Jim O'Neill, first coined the acronym over a decade ago, even he had no idea how big it would become. Besting even the investment banks own growth forecasts, the group has gone on to surpass a variety of developed market nations, in terms of economic prowess. Individual investors have embraced the concept in spades, with funds like SPDR S&P BRIC 40 (NYSE:BIK) seeing their assets swell. However, with the BRIC's continued rise to economic dominance, O'Neill's latest advice is to stop thinking of them as emerging markets and think of them as something in between.

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Call Them "Growth Markets"
In a speech at the Confederation of British Industry's employers' conference, O'Neill urged investors to stop calling the BRICs emerging and start referring to them as growth markets. As these four nations have seen their fortunes prosper and grow, they have moved beyond the emerging market moniker. In O'Neill's opinion, they have emerged. Although, not quite ready to be called developed, these growth markets will continue to see higher than average GDP and economic growth. Overall, the analyst believes that "it is kind of ridiculous to be thinking of these countries as emerging markets in the traditional sense. It is not sensible in terms of business." (For more on GDP, see The Importance Of Inflation And GDP.)

The BRIC creator isn't telling investors to abandon the four nations, quite the contrary. Over the next year, he believes that China will grow by the equivalent of Italy, which is currently the world's eighth largest economy. He is telling both investors and policy makers that they must see these countries apart from the traditional emerging markets; that they play a different part in portfolios and the world order.

For the average investor, these newly minted growth markets could be a great blend of continued growth opportunities, as well as some stability. A good analogy would like comparing them to mid-cap stocks, having some attributes of both small- and large-cap firms.

Finding the Remaining Growth Markets
While opportunities in the BRIC have been well documented, via group funds like the Guggenheim BRIC (NYSE:EEB) or individual country funds like the PowerShares India (NYSE:PIN), there are other "growth market" nations that offer prospects. Taking from his Next 11 concept, O'Neill believes that four other nations, in addition to the BRIC, could be great buys for the next few years.

Mexico continues to play second fiddle to Brazil, which is a shame. Rich in farmland, silver and copper, Mexico's export driven economy has thrived since the implementation of the 1994 NAFTA agreement. Recent trade deals with China and the EU will serve to do the same. The iShares MSCI Mexico (NYSE:EWW) offers a broad take on the country, while individual firms like tortilla maker Gruma (NYSE:GMK), offer an interesting take on the nation's consumer story.

Blessed with vast natural resources and very large young population, Indonesia could be the heir apparent to the growth market throne. To capture that opportunity, both the Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF (NYSE:IDX) and iShares MSCI Indonesia (NYSE:EIDO) make ideal choices. (For related reading on the forward P/E, see How To Use The P/E Ratio And PEG To Tell A Stock's Future.)

Finally, trading near its 52-week low, the iShares MSCI Turkey (NYSE:TUR) could offer one of the deepest discounts in the "growth market" world. Offering a more service orientated economy, versus other emerging/growth markets, Turkey provides a unique opportunity in the space.

The Bottom Line
For investors, Jim O'Neill's new take on the BRIC and "growth markets" presents an interesting perspective on how we should see the world. Finding their place in between the developed and emerging spaces, the previous countries, along with South Korea (NYSE:EWY), provide a balance of growth and new-found stability, for portfolios.

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At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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